Commitment is costly–don’t let anyone tell you different. Saying yes to one thing means shutting the door to something else. Going one direction means turning your back on another possibility. Focus on something you desire, make it your priority, and you’ve already assigned lesser value to a myriad of other good things in life. And that is perfectly all right, because we were given free will in the Beginning, and told to use it well and wisely in order to have the best life. But somewhere along the line we picked up the notion that we should be able to have everything we reach for, without strings or consequences. Maybe it has to do with our losing sight of what choosing the best life looked like. Or maybe it’s this delusion we seem to have in general about limits: like I can always squeeze in one more appointment on my calendar, talk to one more person, work all day and make my house/kids/face/dinner photo-op perfect, and still have fun me-time with friends. It’s just a click away. And everyone else is doing it, so it must be possible, right? Being more-than-enough is pretty much expected, these days.
But it is costly, oh yes. No one talks about the toll it takes on heart and mind and sleep and self-image. A wise woman once said that “perfectionism is slow death by self” (Ann VosKamp), and I would be the first to raise my hand and attest to the impossible weight of trying to be good enough, to get everything right enough, in order to have the life I thought I needed. The hard truth is that I will never be enough– that I am indeed limited by the hours in a day, by the physical needs to eat and sleep and play, by the particular frailty of the way I am wired, by the circumstances of the life I have been given. And Jesus’ gracious invitation offers healing and freedom to every heart looking for a better life: “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) I could trust an invitation like that…let go of all my striving in order to find rest. Leave behind this busted-up heart for an easier way. It would be so worth it. The Musician-King wrote it in one of his songs, that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18) When we are ready to give up, at the end of what we can do, then we are finally in the right place to find Him near and big enough for every need.
And that would be me at the end of my rope, because grace costs too, for all it is freely given. It means stripping off pride, feeling the shame of your humanity in all its not-enoughness. It costs in tears and broken dreams of what you thought your life would look like, shattered ideas of who you are, burst illusions of control… but if it was all a house of cards anyway, what do you really have to lose? And Jesus keeps talking about the impossibility of camels going through the eye of a needle, and aren’t we all just as silly, trying to get what we long for by our own efforts? Grace says the best life is a gift, because Jesus was willing to pay for it entirely– an impossibly crazy plan to rescue our run-ragged hearts. “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) I could trust a sacrificial love like that…banish fear and run into the arms that accept me completely. It’s more than okay to mourn your own need, to turn in a new direction and leave the past behind when it means finding what you’ve been looking for all along. All you have to do is say yes to Someone who loves you enough to move heaven and earth to rescue you. Terrifying? Absolutely, but so worth it.
The Church-planter Paul tells us over and over again that this is what we were made for, the wisest choice. Because when we choose Jesus, He is everything we could have hoped for in life, and all His plans are for our best life: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10) On this side of surrender, it doesn’t seem like that big of a leap after all. It has been so worth it.
This is loveEmpires, Hillsong Umited
Bending skies to heal the broken
This is love
Bleeding life into the grave
Hear the sound
As our hearts cry out forever
Breathing in a brand new world
…may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.Ephesians 3:18-20