the end of self-sufficiency

Recently an email exchange occurred between my love and myself that caused me to reflect deeply. The email consisted of chatter about this and that, our failures and shortcomings as we act as, gasp, sinners. 

There was conversation about how, when we are struggling and things are hard, we know we need Jesus and prayer.  I grasp for any sign of grace and faith. But, when things are good, I become completely self-sufficient. My prayers consist of “Hey God, what’s up? Cool sunset today. Can you help my loved ones in Honduras? Bless Collin, my family, my friends, my students. You’re great and glorious. Sorry for those times today when I screwed up.” 

But, when I was writing this e-mail, I thought about those gut-wrenching, “I cannot do this, save me now Jesus, how can I possibly hold on?” sobs on the floor of my room, apartment, and once, the shampoo aisle at Wal-Mart. I thought about how aware I was of my need for Jesus in that time, and I began to miss it. Don’t get me wrong, I love what is happening in my life right now, but I miss the awareness of need, the awareness of grace and mercy. 

I wrote this to Collin in that e-mail:

“I think the arrival at the end of self sufficiency is beautiful. Because we cannot do it alone. I will fail you, you will fail me. But that does not mean we are failures, because of Christ. I am not enough for you, and I’m not supposed to be. He is sufficient. For you. For me. For us.  And that is freedom, and rest, and joy. Leaning into Christ as we lean into one another, knowing that we want to be the best and enough, and striving for that, but knowing His grace is sufficient to cover our shortcomings. And we can rest knowing that He fulfills us. It’s not up to me to be enough for you, so I can rest in that when I screw up. It’s not your job to be enough for me, so that frees me up to be gracious and kind when you mess up. ” (and vice versa, of course)

It is beautiful to be in that place. The place of complete rest, knowing that I am not going to be enough, nor do I have to be. Knowing that I can’t, no way, no how, do it. I can’t. 

I can’t love Collin well.

I can’t teach well.

I can’t be patient.

I can’t be kind.

I can’t be gracious.

Heck, sometimes I can’t even eat an apple.

Not without Jesus. Even on those days when I feel like I’ve got this, I’m rocking this, I’m awesome. Even those days where I have major food victory, or am able to quelch the lies and anxiety, those days when things are fabulous. 

Even on those days, I can’t do it. It’s happening because of Christ in me. 

And, I’m so glad to know that. To be able to rest in His strong love in trouble and in joy, knowing, fully, that I am not required nor able to carry it all alone. I am not self-sufficient. 

What a place to land.