Boxed Out

May 11, 2021

It’s happened often that I hear something from the Almighty … a pithy bullet point or an image worth a thousand words, that pops into my mind as I sit in the garden enjoying the touch of His breeze … His exhale … on my face. I believe He told me several months back that I ought not wait for anyone in the church to discover my passion, my talent, and my desire to get involved and then invite me into the fold to help the team make a difference.

That I don’t need anyone else to make an impact, really.

That I have Him, and He is sufficient.

I shared this with one of my Aussie friends, which was a mistake, because he immediately went to me having intimacy issues. Maybe so, but that’s not the point. The point, if I’ve been too vague, is that if God has called, He will enable, and He will deliver the result He intends. My only job is to be willing. And for me to be willing, I must recognize and trust that He as the creator is everything required to make it happen.

My response at the time was something like, “Easy for You to say.”

Now, those of you who’ve grown up in a loving family surrounded by a circle of supportive family and friends probably don’t understand at all why I might hesitate in the trust arena. Yes, I’m talking to all two of you. Let’s just say that I hear too many voices from the past who rise up with objections whenever I contemplate moving forward with some crazy scheme that couldn’t possibly work without a charismatic leader and a huge team of the best and brightest to make it happen.

Anyway, I am a big picture person (I’m about to explain and justify myself here). I also dig deep. Framing out the larger context and then drilling down ad nauseam to reconcile the micro with the macro, finding the flaws causing hiccups, misfires, and downright failures, and then searching for a remedy. Think of the macro as the mysterious heavenlies and the micro as something like quantum physics. The rule of correspondence indicates that the perfect life that is eternal can only be lived when the organism is set in an unchanging environment perfectly suited to the organisms needs (see Henry Drummond’s book Eternal Life). Any deviations create change and spell trouble. Think Eden.

What does this have to do with anything?

I suspect these kinds of musings make me a weird chick. A chick who lives in her head and is chronically misunderstood; and who habitually misunderstands others, mistakenly assuming that they are like me. If I’ve learned anything from the pandemic, most people are not like me, and this discovery has really thrown me for a loop.

Anyway, what do you do when you’re feeling boxed out and God is telling you that He’s enough to get going and pursue your crazy idea?

Well, I don’t know what you would do in a situation like this, but I usually read another book.

A.W. Tozer in The Size of the Soul writes in Chapter 1

[1] The size of a man’s soul is likely to determine his success or failure in the rough, competitive world of the 20th century. And after his conversion to Christ, it will go far to determine his usefulness in the kingdom of God. Undoubtedly there are many genuine Christians who are not doing much for their fellow men nor for the Church into which they were born by the miracle of the Spirit’s regeneration. Such as these need to hear the words of Christ, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8). The only hope for a restricted heart is the mighty inworking of the Spirit. He can enlarge the mansion of the soul; but only He can do it.

Later in Chapter II, Tozer writes …

[2]There seems to be a notion abroad that if we talk enough and pray enough, revival will set in like a stock market boom or a winning streak on a baseball club. We appear to be waiting for some sweet chariot to swing low and carry us into the Big Rock Candy Mountain of religious experience.

… Our mistake is that we want God to send revival on our terms. We want to get the power of God into our hands, to call it to us that it may work for us in promoting and furthering our kind of Christianity. We want still to be in charge, guiding the chariot through the religious sky in the direction we want it to go, shouting “Glory to God,” it is true, but modestly accepting a share of the glory for ourselves in a nice inoffensive sort of way.

And then from Chapter III …

[3]Understood aright these are truths full of great encouragement and good hope. Nothing can hinder you or me from experiencing the revival we need. It is a matter for God and the solitary heart. Nothing can prevent the spiritual rejuvenation of the soul that insists upon having it.

The man that will have God’s best becomes at once the object of the personal attention of the Holy Spirit. Such a man will not be required to wait for the rest of the church to come alive. He will not be penalized for the failures of his fellow Christians, nor be asked to forego the blessing till his sleepy brethren catch up. God deals with the individual heart as exclusively as if only one existed.

If this should seem to be an unduly individualistic approach to revival, let it be remembered that religion is personal before it can be social.

And boom! … there’s my answer.

Problem distilled: I’m wired to achieve, looking for God to give me something to do that I can take credit for, be validated by, and then extract from the accomplishment a warm and fuzzy feeling of self-righteousness.

He will never allow this to happen, not in any true sense.

Instead, He wants me to become immersed in His glory, receive His unconditional love, and become more and more like His Son.

Similar … but completely different. It’s not about me. It’s about Him.

I can only be a hero when I lose my aspirations in trade for gaining His.

 

[1] Tozer, A. W. The Size of the Soul: Principles of Revival and Spiritual Growth (pp. 2-3). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[2] Tozer, A. W. The Size of the Soul: Principles of Revival and Spiritual Growth (p. 4-5). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[3] Tozer, A. W. The Size of the Soul: Principles of Revival and Spiritual Growth (p. 10-11). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

 

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