T.S. Tuesday: How Far is Too Far?

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T.S. Eliot

This past week (and especially weekend) has been particularly rife with nuggets of words, wisdom, and fits of unwarranted compassion. Every meager attempt I’ve made to write down these tidbits and stirrings in any coherent, accessible way have ended in writers block. Which, by the way, is a condition I don’t even believe exists. More accurately, they’ve ended in writers procrastination with a hefty dose of divided attention disorder. But more than that, for one of the few times in my life, I am awed speechless, or wordless.

I’ve been reminded of the immense gift it is to even say the words “God speaks to me.” I’ve been sobered by the weight of that statement. Don’t get me wrong, I love being loved (who doesn’t?), but I’ve been reminded of the great responsibility that comes with being loved. The responsibility to receive and respond to that love, to reciprocate.

While I’m usually thrilled to share what I’ve learned or am learning on this blog, this past week I’ve been hesitant to commit to writing the many exhortations God has spoken to me. I’m scared to share what God has spoken in fear that I will not hold up my end of the bargain.

The past four years have been a time of basking in God’s love (more on this later), and learning to love myself and receive inordinate amounts of grace.

Of course God has still been speaking that love to me, but I also have a greater sense that he’s asking me to participate, to give back. Not that I haven’t reciprocated or worshiped or served these past few years–I have–but the thing is, I had never felt asked to do it. Everything I have given or expressed has been completely voluntary, an organic response to these fits of unwarranted compassion.

Like the beginning of a dating relationship, I had no expectations for God and he had no expectations for me (at least that’s what I told myself). I think we both surprised each other. But what happens when you get to the point where you have to make a commitment? When words like ‘compromise’ and ‘sacrifice’ begin to enter the equation?

What if God is asking me to die to this self he has just taught me to love?

Right now it feels like I’m going a little too far. A little too uncomfortable. I have an unease with language like “a first time decision for Christ.” Shouldn’t we be making decisions for Christ daily, hourly, minutely? My story is more of a weaving of thoughts and ideas and experiences than an Old and New Testament divide.

I have to remind myself that this command is from the same God who wants me to bask in His love. Who in the same breath of the command to die to myself also whispered, “I have good things for you.”

I’m scared that as soon as I put expectations on God, he’s going to let me down.

But that’s not the God I know. That’s not the God of Love who taught me to love myself. Who gave me friends and a church community that helped me see his face and his presence in my life and the world around me. That’s not the God who loves me whether or not I serve the poor or work at non-profit, shop fair trade organic or don’t whine to my mom on the phone.

He’s not a God of letdowns, but a God of surprises. Is it really that hard for me to see that he has good things for me?

It’s scary, but it’s also a privilege. I have dreams of starting a support group for people who struggle with eating disorders. I can think of nothing more meaningful or humbling than to see people set free from the bondage of believing their worth is intrinsically linked to their body fat percentage or sex appeal.

I need to remember that the reason he is calling me to serve is that I now have something to give: Him.

So, here’s my confession: I’m scared to lead. Scared to fail. Scared to go farther.

But if I’m not willing to risk going too far, how can I possibly find out how far One can go?


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