What happens when there’s a rock in the way of our growth?
We may try to move it, pull it out, bury it, blow it up – but in our own strength, we can’t – even if it’s just a little rock, and we are a living, breathing, growing tree. We are destined to outgrow this little annoying pest of a rock. And the rock won’t keep the growth from happening – because we’re all growing at every moment of everyday – time marches forward and takes us with it – so growth, in some form, just happens. And when we can’t manage to move that annoying pesky rock that is right in our way – in the way of what we think it our optimal growth – we learn to adapt. We go the long way around since we can’t go straight, we go above, sideways and under. Because we have no other choice, because time marches on. Even though we adapt, and we still grow, and we may even grow strong – the annoying, pesky rock is still there to drive us crazy! And whether or not we realize it – it impacts HOW we grow. It causes our course to shift. Our perspective changes because of it. Our view of the world. But maybe because it’s always been there, we’ve don’t really think of it as a source of our issues, we just see the evidence in our lives of something being off kilter. And over time, as we grow, that little annoying rock – and the way it’s caused things to shift off balance just a little bit, starts to become more of an issue. More noticeable. More of a hindrance.
That little tiny rock in my world, is something that I let become an insurmountable, immovable mountain of fear in my mind. And it changed everything in me.
And I’ve been thinking that all the fear, the doubts, the excuses that I use on a daily basis in my life, were the causes, the root system…
But they’re not…
They’re just symptoms…
They were just the coping mechanisms that I latched onto and put into place to grow, in spite of the rock.
This morning I got to see how something so seemingly small, when introduced at a foundational level, can impact and color everything else.
I’ve been trying so hard, my entire life, to somehow prove that I’m worth something, to anyone, for anything. And I never seem to be. I never quite feel like I fit. And that rejection, that wound, cultivated fear.
I do believe that Jesus came, he died and he rose again. And he did it to rescue us, to save us, so he wouldn’t have to lose these created beings that the Father cared enough to knit together in our mother’s womb. All these years, I’ve been thinking that if I protest loudly enough, search enough, get enough people to say that I’m worth something – that I would somehow believe it. And even though I understand, at least intellectually, the theology of how Jesus came to save us, of how God see us – sees me… it’s never really fit.
But that belief that Jesus died to save me, even while I was in bondage and sin, was tainted. It wasn’t coming out of love, or simple faith – but out of fear. Trying to cling to any hope that it might be true – that I might somehow run into the kingdom before the gate swings shut- before anyone can question my worthiness to be there, because I really didn’t believe that a God this big, this just… would ever place any real value on my life. And I was terrified to admit that I wanted that – I wanted that so much – because it just made me want to run away even more. Because again, if I couldn’t find anyone here who was willing to place any type of value on my life – think that I have anything of worth to offer them –
What I didn’t see is the beauty of the truth – that if people think I’m crazy or worthless and foolish or ignorant because of what I know is the truth – that God is very real – that’s okay – because that worthlessness is true. The truth of how broken, how utterly and completely unable I am to accomplish anything on my own I really am. And in that single truth, lies freedom. I’ve known for years, understood the theology, even believed that it’s the truth – without it permeating my heart – that it’s that very weakness, that very same ineptitude, that Jesus meets me where I am. That it’s nothing more or anything less than that love that gives me worth. I can’t lose it. I can’t change it. I can’t even run away from it. And while me sinning and running and being forgiven, may show the world that my Savior is big enough and good enough to forgive me… it’s that moment, that raw unhindered truth that my Savior is not just big enough to rescue me from the raging waters in the center of the storm but that He’s big enough to give me the strength and the ability to swim – and then to walk on the waters with him.
And I can’t really embrace God’s plan, His direction, be on board with His vision if I’m doubting that I’m hearing correctly – if I’m believing that God wouldn’t trust me to do anything, so how or why would I ever dare to think God has things for me to be and to do?
Which brings me back to the rock. …
I was given an opportunity to see my massive, insurmountable mountain of fear through His eyes. The same mountain of fear, that has tainted everything I have ever done. I got to see that these choices I’ve made, even to some extent, my belief that Jesus rescues me out of Love and GIVES me any worth . . . were not solely out of a place of faith and trust – but again, driven partially by fear. This mountain, that I couldn’t move with all my strength or bury with alcohol or relationships, run away from, or hide behind, or blow up, is really, in the hands of God, Just a pebble. Nothing insurmountable to Him. Something that, in his strength, is easily picked up and thrown away, or kicked to the side.
And I, of course, wanted to know what it was doing there, how it got there, what it was, that would throw my life – my growth – my connection to God, so off course.
His response? “Does it matter?”
Mine – “uh…doesn’t it?!?!?!!”
Then I learned something I hope I never forget: that it doesn’t matter at all. Even more than that – His actual answer to my somewhat “uh – duh” response, was that this pebble, was always meant for me.
Always meant to be a part of my life.
It’s a lesson I’ve always been meant to learn. Always been meant to overcome. It doesn’t mean God wanted me to run away, to try to hide, bury it, or blow it up. But something I was meant to learn to surrender. To learn the truth that in His strength and His timing that a mustard seed of faith, really does move the mountains in my mind. That all the junk – all the bad choices I’ve made – all of the ways that I let the fear permeate my life, morph into pride and doubt, that’s all on me. Those were all my decisions.
But he can redeem it. He is redeeming it.
It means I can stop trying so hard to prove myself to anyone, stop working so hard to prove that I’m not worthless – because if I was able to be enough on my own, under my own power, Jesus never would have needed to come. Stop letting the excuses and the fears have such an impact on how I think and respond. What rocks are holding you back in life? What is the Lord redeeming? What do you need to surrender?
Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
2 Corinthian 13:5 NLT