Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Important Poverty of "Enough"

I dreamed all night about chicken.

I was slicing it into pasta with tomatoes and basil, chopping it into Cobb salads with no bacon, baking it, pan-frying it. I woke up tired.

And hungry.

On top of that, I still didn't know what to do with the chicken thawing in the fridge for the company set to arrive in my kitchen later today. The floor is still a little sticky from two nights ago, when Silas and Calvin got into a shoving match over who got to sit on the stool at the island and spilled a gigantic cup of orange juice. The mud room looks like a crime scene. And I can't even talk about the upstairs bathroom.

Here's a confession: the first thing I do every morning is pray read my Bible kiss Cory scroll through my phone. It might be one of the least popular things to admit, but I have a hunch I'm not the only one. And in my defense, my phone only gives me two chances to hit snooze. I max them out daily, then grab the nearest lit object which happens to double as a device which encourages the opening of my beady brown eyes. It wakes me up. Life goes on.

But what sometimes happens is that I end up reading things when I'm only half-awake. That can pose a real threat on even a Thursday or Friday. Just imagine the stakes when it's only Tuesday, and a rainy one, at that.

This morning I had an email from a name I didn't recognize, with a subject line that sounded only vaguely familiar. Turns out, it was in response to a guest post I wrote for The Art of Simple, The Weird Route to Real Community. The timing of being reminded of my own words was...not ideal. Because if what I said was true, if I'm a woman who believes we all land more softly in authentic community when we're willing to be the truest version of ourselves, then I was going to have to get a hold of myself and live like my words have a heart and soul, that they're more than one more attempt at making myself look good.

This might go down as the very fight of my lives - to continually back myself into the corner of being forced to believe the truth never loses its flavor. I'm brilliant at finding opportunities to cop out and retreat to a place of false security, where I prop myself up and pray my legs don't give out, at least not until the crowds have dispersed.

I know I cannot live that way, I can't possibly bear my own weight, yet I find myself inching up on the tips of my toes, over and over again.

I'm slowly overcoming this urge to rise up as I learn to lean heavy against my neighbors. They have become my Sunday School, my catechism, my communion road. We come together with all our baggage and realize just how much smaller we are than we ever knew. It is a very good thing. 

My wise, true-blue friend D.L. Mayfield says in her mic-drop of a book (one of my favorite reads ever,) Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith,
I am poor, in that I do not know how to love people just as they are. I am poor, in that I do not know how to love myself if I am not actively giving something. I am poor, in that I do not know if I have the strength to see the kingdom of God as it was meant to be played out. I have a poverty of relationships, in that the more I try and forget about the evils of our age and my own responsibility to them, the more my heart is revealed for what it is. In reality, I am impoverished. I am starving. I am weeping. I am oppressed by a world that runs in opposition to the dreams of God. And only when I recognize how poor I really am do I start to understand that I am right where I need to be.
So, what can I do to recognize and own my poverty today? How can I sweep my DIY support systems under the rug, stare hard at the face of Christ, and dare to believe He is enough? I honestly don't know, and I'm already afraid of failure. I know myself too well.

But I pounded the chicken thin, and though it won't be fancy, it will be enough.
I walked around quickly with a dishrag, daubing at the most egregious spots on my kitchen floor, and it will be enough.
I hauled four boxes from the mud-room to the basement, and it will have to be enough.

Here I am, neighbor. There is nothing perfect about me, my family, or our home. I value the hope for a relationship with you far too much to pretend otherwise. Come on in. Have a seat at our table, the one scarred from years of art projects and scorching hot soup. I want to see God's glory reflecting off your own scars.

I need His hope and see it so clearly when we come together and dare to be awkward humans, in need of pretty much everything.

//

Assimilate or Go Home releases today! I cannot champion this book enough. I find myself in every page and though really seeing myself can be painful, DL's story points straight back to the grace and hope of Jesus. Do yourself a favor and order a copy of this stunning work.


*Amazon affiliate link

7 comments:

  1. Love the word "Enough." One year, it was my word. It's everything really, isn't it. I also love your post on Enough! xoxo

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  2. Your words have moved me and need contemplation,lots to think about.I would love to get the book but I live in Europe and have failed to get a book from another blog.

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  3. Here are my thoughts, I totally agree! :)
    http://sisterslearningtolive.blogspot.ca/2016/08/on-being-needy.html

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  4. Wow. You figured me out without even knowing me! I am just blown away by this, and so guilty of all that you mentioned. I knew I was too self-sufficient and too self-reliant, but didn't want to admit how much it affects my relationships. I am really struggling with connecting with people right now, and I am tired of feeling so empty. Thanks for the extra push I needed to reach out, instead of continuing to reach in.

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  5. So very true! I love your honesty. My youngest, an 18-year-old, and I have been having discussions about really getting to know yourself, being authentic and real with yourself. You, Shannan, dare to go there, to the raw and honest places, exposing the less-than-perfect areas, and I love it! It is only then that we can really grow and move forward. Thank you!

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  6. You say out loud what many of us feel but are too clumsy to put into sensible words. I will be ordering that book, plus your today.

    On a completely different note, that pic above of your kitchen window where you can see your neighbors window? I would put a bird feeder right between the windows so you can both see the visiting birds, but not a large one so that you cannot see your neighbor. KWIM?

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  7. I too am very self-sufficient,I do have mostly acquaintances but only two good friends.I find this is ok for me.Am I missing out.??

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