We celebrated around the table for hours, telling our stories, exulting in the surprise of finding ourselves uniquely, individually loved. All of us single or single again, the youngest was in her thirties, the eldest in her ninetieth year. One just a few weeks into her new life, others had experience of twice my lifetime walking closely with Him. And all had stories of ways He has met us, called us by name, kept us looking and longing and unsatisfied with everything less than Him.
His creativity and persistence stunned me. One woman heard a beautiful, sing-song voice calling her by name and recalled the old hymn, “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling.” Others found their objections melting away in the love of community. Jesus met another in dreams.
The beauty, the variety of His touch spoke into my fears.
Last week as I sought the cause of rising anxiety, I saw it again: my fear of failure. It’s not a simple fear of failing: getting an F, bottoming out, being useless by anybody’s standards. In my subconscious, failing often equates to being anything less than excellent. Being ordinary.
I find myself afraid of getting a B in Hebrew.
Afraid of people skimming my blog and moving on without a thought. Without hearing God’s heartbeat.
Afraid that those who hear me share will wish they had stayed home in bed. Or even that they will think, “that was okay,” but leave untouched, unchanged.
I discover myself afraid of insignificance, of not making a difference.
But God reminds me. He reminds me while I’m lying on the backseat of a hot car feeling sorry for myself because I need to lie down and can’t be in the cool woods watching the sun filter through the leaves. He does not turn His back and wait for me to fix my attitude. In the midst of my disappointment, He steps down to be with me, His grace reaching out with a stunning image.
Through the car’s open window I watch the sunlight pouring down, making all in its path glow. It’s a bit like watching light on water, the waves catching the rays, breaking them and throwing them back, water transformed into shimmering light. But now there is no water, just tiny insects, dandelion fluff, distant birds. Things normally ignored, invisible. Each, as it passes through the sun’s path, transformed beyond the possible.
Tiny wings glow translucent as insects buzz and hover. Birds are outlined with silver thread. Fluffy beads of latent life, next year’s flowers, glimmer as though lit from within.
None is aware of its radiant beauty. Each goes about its ordinary day, carried on the gentle breeze, drawn to the warmth of the sun. It does not know it, and yet it shines. Not because it has worked to learn. Simply because of the strength of the sun’s light in whose path it flies. No matter how fragile or simple or despised, none are ordinary, untouched with glory.
And I rest. I need not fear being ordinary.
This is the freeing truth. As we live our days in the path of His glory, we are transformed, given a unique story of Love reaching into our ordinary lives and calling us by name. All are given their own way of shining in His glory.
“All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.”
(2 Corinthians 3:18 The Message)
Today I’m writing in community with Ann Voscamp and others. If you would like to read the thoughts of others on the topic of “How are you seeing Jesus?”, please click on the button above.