Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nothing More and Nothing Less

"God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth." Matthew 5:5 (NLT)
Lord, how can I become content with just who I am, nothing more and nothing less?

I'm certainly prone to want to be more, or less than I am. To be smarter, prettier, funnier, fitter. To be more productive, happier and higher energy. And then also to be lower key, calmer, more level-headed and focused.

I want to have better self-awareness, and yet I want to be less concerned about what others think of me.

I want to be a better cook, to sing on key, and to keep the house neat without so much perceived effort. And did I mention fuller, thicker hair would be nice too?

I want to be a better writer - one that's both highly creative and meticulously organized. And I want fewer propensities to run late, slack off or procrastinate.

Yes, I want to be both more and less of me.

Jesus shushes my endless listing of the things I want to change or improve about myself. Things I'm certain would give me be a better life. He asks me instead to humbly make peace with it all. 
To lay down my notions of a better woman and life by letting Him be the judge of that. To simply take what I'm given and offer it back to Him, in surrender and service.

Today's verse in the book of Matthew is among several in the Bible that fuels one of my core convictions: When I stop striving to create a life for myself, I find the life God creates for me. This is a powerful truth, indeed a divine secret.

His life for me begins precisely where mine ends. My life ends in my sin and striving and begins again in God's grace and power.

His empowering indwelling affords me everything I truly need and nothing I truly don't.

Do you too long to be content with just who you are in Christ - nothing more and nothing less? 

Jesus addresses us both in Matthew 23:11-12. Eugene Peterson describes that passage this way: ""Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty" (MSG).

Amazingly, God's grace humbles a woman without degrading her, and His favor lifts her up without inflating her.

The life she finds in Him makes her the proud owner of everything money can't buy. As Jesus put it, "the whole earth." What she gets with humility is a life of contentment. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Dear Lord, help me quiet my critical, striving spirit today and gratefully accept who I am and where I'm at in this moment. For You are here, ready to empower my life to count for plenty right where I am. Help me also to seek and hold Your definition of "plenty" - nothing more and nothing less. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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