Sometimes we need a reality check. It’s so easy to day dream about another life. You see it on FB or IG and think, “Wow, their life is so picturesque. I wish I had that.” That’s a lie. Life is messy. Life is hard. And “your hard” isn’t as hard as someone else’s, just like “my hard” isn’t either. We lose perspective in the day-to-day and then start mentally architecting an easier, cleaner, wealthier, healthier life. I know you do it, because I do it, too.
I'm not into New Year resolutions. Mainly because they set our human flesh up for disappointment and failure, and I've pretty much got that covered for life. However, these last couple of years I've had a word. Not a goal, not a resolute, but a single word the Lord stamped on my soul. Last year, it was sit (link provided if you want to read it). The year prior it was white space.
This year, I went more phrase-ish. You know, because one word wasn't enough and I had to raise the bar [insert sarcasm]. The phrase is this: Here I am. Three potent words I can feebly speak to Christ. I've chewed on these seven letters for a couple months now, and God has had an echo...echo...echo by way of His Word and in random conversations which caused me to latch on to this statement.
We read several Here I am examples in Scripture:
- Abraham spoke these three words in Genesis 22:1 and 22:11 when God was testing him with the sacrifice of his son, Isaac.
- Jacob answered the angel of the Lord in Genesis 31:11 by saying, "Here I am."
- Moses said it in Exodus 3:4 when God called to him from a burning bush.
- The Lord called Samuel and he answered, "Here I am" (1 Samuel 3:4).
However, with Here I am being a short sentence, it's easy to pin on conditions (and it was effortless for me to type these because they've been whirling around in my mind):
- Here I am...as long as it's doesn't interrupt my plans.
- Here I am...whenever it "feels" right.
- Here I am...once I get this next thing marked off my list.
- Here I am...but, please don't ______________.
I know God wants a period (.) after the statement. He's not looking for a comma, ellipsis, hyphen, or any other sort of punctuation. He wants the entirety of me; and frankly, that's unnerving.
When I was younger, I played the piano. I enjoyed it, but I didn't much care for performing in front of others. Any time I would have a recital, competition, or play for church, I'd almost always wear a long dress. No one paid attention (except Grandma), but I did it because my knees would shake so hard it was the only way to keep folks from seeing them rattle like a warped set of brakes. Maybe I'm a touch on the melodramatic side, but the words "here I am" rank far above my childhood performance anxieties!
In hindsight, I'm grateful I had those knee-knocking experiences. I still want to throw up in my mouth a wee bit rehashing those memories, but it was an invaluable experience. If I hadn't conquered those tousled struggles, I wouldn't have the courage I do today. As Mark Twain once said, "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear."
While my 2018 "Here I am" statement makes me a touch nauseated, I know God will never force Himself on me. He overflows with everlasting patience, and as He calls me out upon the waters where my feet fail (and my knees knock), His grace will abound (props to Hillsong United for those lyrics). Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Samuel uttered those same words and served God fiercely. Don't miss this next part because what is even more comforting is what we read in Revelation 3:19-20:
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Jesus says "Here I am," too. They weren't just words for HIm, but a complete expression and unabridged outpouring of Himself. I love how Jesus speaks to our hearts the very same words He desires us to say. And with that, I open the door and graciously accept those knee-knocking interruptions from I AM because I know He's faithful and it'll totally be worth it. Amen.
What's your word (from Him) for 2018?
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Are we going just far enough from the world where we can go back when convenient, or are we leaving it all behind to fully experience His grace? Run with all you have to His feet!