You are neither brilliant nor spectacular. The truth of it immediately threatens you because in desperation, you have wanted to be both. It is never easy to face the ordinariness of ourselves. But let the truth of it sit on your skin: you are one in seven billion, a speck on the still point of the turning world, the present pinhead I in the thread of all who have been and are and ever will be. Others will write books that will be better received, speaking truths more substantial and elegant than yours. Others will be funnier, smarter - more godly. Their lives are, in every way, more interesting that yours. These can become the fragrant and freeing truths of your life, throwing the door open into the wide world. Go free. You, into your ordinariness, you into your stories, be they predictable and boring, you into all of your uninteresting and clumsy words. You, take up courage, and do this little bit of creating and living, You, be faithful in your small and invisible ways, you who are neither spectacular nor brilliant. You are loved.
Every time I retreat, I expect some further clarity and demand to get a few things figured out, especially around questions of calling and life purpose. I clamor for those answers, driven by the threat that my brilliance and spectacular-ness might indeed be wasted. I've got to corral my capacities, let them sing a memorable song, make a name for myself. The tower-building that has become my life, it's a sneaky business, especially when I put Jesus' name on the bricks.
You are loved.
I don't know of a greater truth than this, and it seems I'm destined to spend my life getting this and only this figured out. I am loved? Not spectacular and brilliant me, not me and my tall towers and fascinating mud pies. Small, 1/7,000,000,000 me whose head and hubris are far too heavy for her shoulders. Ordinary and uninteresting me?
I spend my last afternoon of the writing retreat with a woman from Dave and Jody Nixon's community. She has been gifted in healing prayer, and I surrender myself to her touch and vision. She takes my head in her hands in our first moments together and begins the prayer she can have no idea is so prophetic.
Lord, your desire is for us. You want to be with us, and it is not difficult.
She cannot know that I've spent the week at my keyboard, hacking out the hard truths of my own struggle with desire and the concept of wanting. Here, the word desire is reframed rightly, not as the forbidden fruit, as I've seen it so often in my own life. No, as God's desire for me. He loves me, wants to be with me.
And it is not difficult.