I still suck even at the things I used to think I was pretty good at.
Generally, I suck as a human. A lot. In fact, I suck so much God literally had to die to save my hide. And this is not one of those beat-yourself-up-so-they-think-you-are-cool kinds of honesty. I am SERIOUS.
But then, there are some things I like to think that I do not suck so much at, some times when I have this sneaky suspicion that maybe, just MAYBE, I’m not so bad after all.
Like a day I was to take a solo in my choir. We had rehearsed the song several times and in the rehearsals, I nailed it every time. And if you asked me, I would have confidently told you I was a pretty neat singer (still am *ha! See what I said?).
So, as I stood before the very many eyes, I was pretty confident that I had it all figured out. Then the song began and after singing good for a while, I got to a point where I just went off key. YOU GUYS! And I just kept going and going like a car that was having a fight with its brake. It took a lot of control to keep me there after that because I just wanted to cry, laugh at myself, drop the mic and run off into some cave till everyone could swear they had magically gone deaf at that point and not heard me flop so miserably.
And it’s wasn’t the first of its kind. In fact, it is to my shame that I say that my tendency to think ‘I can handle it’ shows up more often than I would like. Giving, speaking, thinking, writing…doing. I did not ignore Jesus when he said:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 – NIV) Emphasis mine.
I heard him, alright. I just don’t think I get it.
In fact, I don’t think I get a lot of things he says. But this particular scripture did not really stick with me because I would think ‘He didn’t really mean nothing. I mean even atheists DO stuff’). But then, there was this time in church when the Minister spoke on this scripture and his explanation made perfect sense.
He said, since God doesn’t see things the way we do, when Jesus said, ‘apart from me you can do nothing’, he was saying, ‘yes, you can do a lot of things that seem to matter to you and to the world, but in my eternal eyes, they are really…Nothing.’
And then it HIT. I got it. I understood that anything that I do apart from Christ, however wonderful and maybe even spiritual to human eyes has no eternal significance. It is poof! Wind. Air. Nothing. Meaning that I can think that I have the skills and whatever-it-takes to do stuff myself but even as I run off at full speed on my own steam, it is still nothing to God. I still suck. If I give all my wealth to the poor, offer my life in service of humanity, serve till I drop and die from exhaustion…whatever and it is all apart from Christ, the best I would be doing is NOTHING.
But then, the question would be, how do I practically apply this?
The answer is simple; going back to the scripture, we find something interesting:
“I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 – Amplified Bible)
To be apart from Christ means to be cut off from a vital (dynamic, vibrant) union (relationship) with Him. And it is when we have lost that touch, when we are so out of tune that we miss His rhythms of grace, when our eyes are too fixated on the world to see His face, when we do not allow ourselves to be swallowed up in His eternal embrace through total submission and humility, then we begin to find ourselves heaping mounds of treasure that have NO value to God. And I know even in my relative obtuseness that the last thing I want is to break my head doing stuff only to find it was all for nothing.
Just imagine that feeling, the feeling of plugging your phone to charge, leaving it for 12hours only to return and find you had forgotten to turn on the switch. Now multiply that disappointment-mixed-with-oh-how-stupid-can-I-get feeling a million times and you get the picture.
It is not a good feeling.
Here’s what I am saying basically; whatever we do, however important, mundane, secular, church-y, business-like, easy, difficult etc. etc., we should ALWAYS put Jesus first because even after we thought we’ve done a good job, we still have no capacity whatsoever to do anything by ourselves (imagine the horror when we even dare to think we can get salvation apart from him). It may look like something but it is indeed just . (<__< *ha! See what I did there? 😉 Literally we just become experts good at doing nothing.
Yet this is one of the journeys and lessons a Christian needs to learn – staying out of God’s way, hiding ourselves behind the cross and depending completely on Him for even the littlest, most familiar things.
We may think we know these things, we make think we are talented and skillful to perform these tasks, but God still wants the glory, wants us to do these things with Him, to totally surrender everything to him – not just the hard ones – but ALL because apart from Jesus, we still suck at the things we think we are pretty good at.
And no one wants to be good at doing nothing.
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” (2 Corinthians 3:5 – KJV).
Image via thesehumansarenuts.com
I know you noticed – as I also did – that I am back to doing the What I have been learning series. I really was going to stop it but after a lot of going back and forth (I would love to say ‘due to popular demand’ but nah), I decided I should stop being a quitter (well, this quitter just finished college; project and all. Just so you know *smug smile).
So, yeah, this is me giving you fair warning so you don’t get mad when you get constant email letters from me in your notifications (yeah, that was me doing a cheap version of ‘subscribe to my bloog!’). Let’s see if I can finish the list this year though.
I hope I do.