These past 40 days, I’ve been quieter than most. I’ve made an effort to listen, to filter out the excess, to not turn away from the difficult issues that I’d usually tune out. I started volunteering, reading more, being more intentional to listen for God’s whispers. And as a result, I’ve never felt so helpless.
Before this, I had felt so important in my little bubble. I had curated it carefully, and it was translucent enough for me to look out into the distance every once in a while and pretend I had wise things to say about topics I didn’t understand. It was nice.
And now, everything’s a mess. I put away my toys, and washed the windows, and now I feel like I just see hurricanes tearing across the land in every direction. Climate change. Politics. Racism. Oppression and indifference. Systematic inequality. Goddamn capitalism.
Not to mention the fact that my house is already collapsing on itself. All those pillars I thought would be there forever or built when the time was right – just aren’t made of the material I thought, or don’t seem like the right thing to put in anymore.
And I’m even close to being the enlightened, wise, informed person I wish I was. I don’t even know what I don’t know, I just know that I’m ignorant and limited.
I have never been so uncomfortable in my comfort. I have never been so uncertain in the midst of so much built-in stability. I have never felt so useless to enact change on my circumstances – let alone the world – and never so directionless on where to start. I didn’t see this coming.
I have no answers. That’s probably a good thing, in some ways. I’m just going to post a bunch of things that give me hope at this point.
Grace will take you places hustling can’t.
– Elizabeth Gilbert
God, I hope that’s true. I’m terrible at hustling.
I think our culture isn’t very helpful when it comes to addressing our helplessness. Maybe because we think the attitude of helplessness isn’t (ahem) helpful, that it’s weak, that’s its not productive, or maybe it just causes us to stare into the black hole of humanity just long enough to make us itch for our phones. Regardless, I think we just end up defaulting back to the idea of “doing what you can,” – in the most efficient manner, of course – and not think about it too much.
But I do think about it. It seems important.
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” – Matthew 5:3 MSG
Lord, I know that’s true too, but I’m really not that amazing. Don’t expect anything big. And while we’re on the topic, aren’t You supposed to be changing the world? You might want to reconsider using humans – we haven’t been doing a great job since we started. Maybe You should get crackin’ soon too – have you seen the Great Barrier Reef lately?
All this time I was praying
All this time You were saying
“Come lay your burdens down on Me”
-Tim Be Told, “Lay Your Burdens Down”
Jess always tells me that it’s not my job to save the world. Maybe not, but this world’s been in sore need of some saving.
The disciples … learned … that when God seems most absent He may be closest of all, when God looks most powerless He may be most powerful, when God looks most dead He may be coming back to life. They learned never to count God out.
– Phillip Yancey, “The Jesus I Never Knew”
Hosanna. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.