Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Give Him Some Credit

There have been things in my life that God has asked me to do, and I've done them, only to wonder "why?" later.  I would wonder why He would ask me to do something, knowing how ill-equipped I was.  "Shouldn't You have picked someone else?" I would repeatedly say to Him.  Lately, I've begun to realize that He picked me exactly because I'm ill-equipped.  If I were perfectly able to do the task on my own, I could take credit for myself.  I'd probably end up feeling very proud and thinking how wonderful I am for my accomplishments. 

My whole life, I've heard the answer to the question, "Why are we here?" as "To bring God glory."  I don't think I ever really understood what that meant until now.  I used to mentally shrug at that answer, not certain of how that applied to my life.  It seemed such a vague statement.  I think if you exchange the word "glory" for the word "value", though, it makes more sense.  It's not that we can somehow cause God to have more value, but we can cause people to see His value, the value that is already there.

If I were entirely able to do what God asked on my own, how would that show anyone God's value?  My accomplishments would be credited only to me.  But when I find myself in a place of reliance on Him, the results belong entirely to Him, not me.

I've mentioned this in other blogs, but I go back to it because it is one of those memories that I always return to, "threading the beads of detail into an eternal loop, a rosary to be fingered for a lifetime" (from the book Atonement by Ian McEwen--I love that quote). 

It was my Senior year of High School, and up until that point I had always gone to a Christian school.  That year, however, I believed God was telling me to go to public school instead.  I had grand aspirations to tell everyone about Jesus, be a friend to the friendless, sit with the kid who was all alone at the lunch table, and just generally "be a light", to use a familiar "Christianese" term.  It all sounded really good beforehand.  Actually being there turned out to be very different from what I expected. 

I've always been a quiet person, but in Junior High and High School, I was dreadfully shy.  It was very hard for me to talk to new people.  The first half of that year, I literally dreaded going to school.  I don't think I had any conversations about Jesus.  I was happy if I could just have a conversation at all, about anything, without feeling horribly nervous. 

I would walk to the library after school to wait for my mom, and I would have conversations with God that went something like, "What were You thinking, asking me to come here?  It makes no sense.  You know how bad I am at this."  I felt pretty much like a failure.  Not just while I was there, but for a long time after I had graduated, I would still look back and wonder why I was there.

I am seeing now that my inadequacies, failures, and weaknesses all served a purpose: to give God the credit.  If there is even one person who came to Christ because of me being there, I can say with all certainty that it wasn't because of anything I said or did.  It was all God.  I was there and I was willing...and that's about it. 

This all relates directly to where I am right now in my life.  I am a mother.  It sounds so simple.  Especially to people who have no children.  To those people, I am "just a mother."  Instead of "doing something with my life" I "just" got married and had kids.  What a waste, right?  It's the kind of thing people shake their heads over.  "She's already got three kids, and she's only 26."  And I want to have more.  This is what God asked me to do.  So I'm doing it.  

But it's anything but simple.  I had beautiful pictures painted in my head of how wonderful it was going to be, and how I was going to "raise up a Godly generation".  Well, now that I'm here, I can honestly say that most of the time I don't know what the hell I'm doing.  I'm pretty sure that's exactly where God wants me, that place where I realize I'm not going to even make it through the day if He doesn't help me, let alone, "raise up a Godly generation" all on my own. 

At this point, all I can do is be here, and be willing.  If these boys turn out well, you better believe that I'm giving God all the credit!  And that is exactly what He wants. 

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