I will warn you before you read any further. I like to tell the truth, even when it makes me look like a fool, and today I feel something tugging on my heart that I can’t help but share with you. So here goes.. (cringe…)
I was successful early in life, but it did not do me any good.
In fact I was a mess.
Later I discovered a word, “hubris”, a word the dictionary defines it as “Excessive pride or self confidence” And I am beginning to think that this word was created for me in my early years as an adult.
I thought I could do anything, and the more I tried and succeeded the more I fed into this false sense of self.
I was however a Christian at the time, and I battled with the now seemingly insignificant question of who was to blame for all my success.
“I owe it all to Him” I would say with my shoulders held high when someone would comment on the business I had created, yet inside I wondered what part of this was His doing, and what part may just be that I was pretty awesome.
“He created me to be this great, so I better keep telling people that it is because of Him” I would tell myself when wrestling with the issue of giving God the “Glory” in my life.
I just need to stop here and say that I warned you in the first sentence of this post that I was a mess, so don’t sit there all surprised that I was such a screw up of a person back then.
I warned you.
On that note, let me just warn you about something else coming up in this post; I am still a screw up today. But I will get to that later…
Back to what I was saying.
So here I was, wrestling to understand God and success, and thinking I was hot stuff and that God really broke the mold when it came to me. Taking all those things that my mother told me when I was a kid about how I was “special” or “wonderful” and applying them literally to my own view of myself.
A few years later it was all gone. Every last shred of the success, every penny, every compliment from strangers, every bit of what I thought of myself. Instead of the newspaper writing about my latest venture, they wrote of my demise.
And I wanted to blame it all on God.
If there really was a God I mean…. Because after all those years of telling myself and others about how He had done all these amazing things, where then could all this disaster be coming from?
Surely a “Good God” would not allow this? I wondered as I smashed my face into my pillow trying to bury myself away from the world that I wanted so desperately to ignore.
“Maybe He is real, but he does not care” I announced one day, trying to find order in the chaos. But soon became disillusioned with that theory as well.
“I must have not meant it from the bottom of my heart when I spoke to others about how “God had been my source”, and He was now punishing me, showing me that I had not meant it when I said those things.” I said on yet another dark gloomy day in the middle of my long fall towards the bottom.
Finally though, and I cannot point to a moment, or an exact month even, but finally. After a season of God cutting deep into my soul with His scalpel, showing me the selfishness that lay inside me, and taking away parts of me like my pride, and my self reliance, and my self confidence, parts that I thought I could not live without, finally I was able to see the ugly castle to “Me” that I had built.
It is interesting though, in this time, this season of God taking things away from me, it felt like He was not putting anything back, like He was pulling things out and leaving me hungry.
“What next?!” I cried out to Him, aching from the new hunger and void that had been left inside me by all that He had cut out.
“Are you really going to leave me like this?”
The answer is: Yes! He did leave me like that, and it took me months to realize that this was just where He wanted me. His hope was for me to wake up each day with a need, one that only he could fill. He was quietly waiting for me all those years, asking me to stop pretending His love for me was even remotely relevant to the success or failure that I was finding in my life. His love is constant, and He was after my heart, and the only way for me to be at the point where I was willing to accept this great big extravagant love that He had for me was for me to first be empty.
I had to be aware of the nothing-ness that lay inside me, before I was willing to seek out the everything-ness that He was offering me.
And I am not talking about me being some perfect monk like dude that meditates and achieves the perfect state of “empty” I am saying that I am more and more aware each day of my ability to mess things up, and how if I am left to my own devices I will turn into a selfish pig of a person and I will stink to the high heavens. And that is right where He wants me! Aware more than anything else of my need for Him every single day of my life.
Like that void inside me is the only thing I can feel when I wake up, and I become desperate for Him to come fill that space once again.
Empty, and full at the same time. Hungry and finally aware that nothing but He will ever satisfy.