Hey, who’s got it all together? (not me)

Last weekend I came late to a friend’s going away get-together. People were tired and subdued, just like me. What a gift.

Lately my heart’s just been too heavy to party like I used to, and part of me always feels responsible to match the joviality of others. As I drove to the party, I worried my little storm cloud, the heavy haze I seem to carry everywhere these days, would dampen my friends’ and acquaintances’ fun.

Instead, the partiers were worn out enough that, by mere contrast, I was peppy, outgoing. Also weird, but that’s normal. I’d give an example, but I really can’t nail down a single thing I said, if that tells you anything.

I savored the human interaction. Didn’t even fret over being the oddball of the scene. At one point, I did playfully apologize for being so silly, and this brings me to the title of this post. One of my new acquaintances said to me,

“Oh don’t worry. You look like you have things together.”

The moment passed quickly, and the person soon left. But inside I was smiling. Could anything have been further from the truth?

I’m guilty of making similar ridiculous snap judgments about other people. Yet I never really believed someone could think the same laughable way about me. Dozens of things had to happen before I could even leave my home for that party. And by the next day, my effervescence had fizzled.

My life goal used to be getting my act together. I thought if I could just get good at life, and find my indisputable niche in the world, then I would be a success. Then my life would have value.

Bad health and painful losses made it clear how far from reaching my goals I really was. Oh friend, I am so, so far. Hopelessly far from making it. No use “loving myself” or telling myself I’m a “good person.” It’s just no use… I know myself too dang well.

I didn’t really know where I wanted to take this post outside of sharing how funny it was that someone looked at me and decided I MUST have my life together. But it honestly made me wonder what Jesus has to say about being tired, cranky, and done with trying.

This is what I found:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30, The Message

Am I tired? Yes. Worn out? You bet. Burned out on religion? Extremely. To all that, He says “come to Me.” Or “come away,” if you will. =)

To tell the truth, I don’t know how to do this.

Whatever capability or aptitude it seems like I have, it’s only skin-deep. It’s like I’m a child again, and I am still so afraid. The good things Jesus promises, like “the unforced rhythms of grace,” seem so good, like a painting of a dream. There where times when I thought I really was getting it together, but it’s always fallen apart. Why would things be any different this time?

Yet somehow, this is the path to freedom and flight. Despite my track record. Despite my performance projection. Somehow, the Jesus I barely knew, will be the Jesus who brings me out. These promises make a music for a party I can come to–tired, angry, lost–and dance.

“Nobody’s Got it All Together” by Jill Phillips

“I have seen the darkness of my heart
And found a love that taught me its too hard
To walk through life and not let down my guard.

What good is it to say, ‘Please Savior come,’
If there is nothing you need rescue from.
Life is something no one has a corner on.

Don’t whitewash the truth about yourself ’cause
Nobody’s got it all together.
If you want to be like everyone else, well
Nobody’s got it all together.”

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