Return to the Ground (Thursday)
Today's devotional comes from "Falling Into Goodness," a book of Lenten reflections by Chuck DeGroat. You can purchase the entire book on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle.
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:4-5
My limitations frustrate me.
From an early age I didn’t quite like myself. I was too skinny. My ears were big. At bedtime, I tried to tape them back, in fact, hoping they’d find their way into a more normal position. (It didn’t work.)
Sometime around middle school we wake up like Adam and Eve in the Garden to our limitations. We begin comparing. We take notice of our awkward bodies. We feel the sting of shame. And perhaps we even hear the whisper of the serpent, our budding false self, saying, “We can re-brand. Different clothes. A new attitude. Cooler friends.”
We learn at an early age to despise the beauty of our dusty humanity, our creatureliness, our limitations.
By college, we’re editing résumés in ways that highlight our strengths and hide our failures. We include “graduated cum laude” but surely don’t include “got through it on Xanax, beer, and a few too many one-night stands.” The self we present to the world is polished for display. Our insecure, fearful, ashamed selves are boxed and stored away, often until mid-life (unless a therapist gets a hold of us first!)
And yet, here is the invitation of Lent. If you can wake up in time to the myth of your polished and poised self, you might just realize that the fullness of your God-created, God-imaged self is waiting for you, waiting to reveal beauty, waiting to shed tears, eager for a long-awaited homecoming. You might reconnect with parts of yourself that hunger for the nourishment of Christ-within, loving and caring for each.
You, the big eared kid, are loved. You, the bucked-tooth one, are loved. You, the plain-Jane, are loved. You, the abuse victim, are loved. You, the scared little girl, are loved. You, the last-picked for the team, are loved. You, the deeply insecure star quarterback, are loved. You, who cut your wrists, are loved.
And, you might even discover that as you embrace your limitations, Jesus is already there, waiting to embrace every weary, broken, and unloved part of you. You might discover that in trying to be like God, you actually distanced yourself from God. But in embracing your humanity, you are connected to the fully human One who sets you free from the burden of being someone you are not.
Loving God, how can it be that my limitations do not disappoint you? I have lived too long believing that I am not enough, but I ask you to enliven my imagination into the extraordinary truth that you embrace every part of me in Jesus. Will you meet me in every limitation I experience? Amen