A couple months ago, I found myself re-discovering dependence. Psalm 63 is a treasure my heart never tires of finding.
O God, you are my God. Earnestly I seek you.
My soul thirsts for you and my body longs for you
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I remember reading these words and asking God to be my one source of life. My bread; my water. I asked because I knew it was Truth – Jesus came as Sustainer. But, I also asked with a privileged assumption.
I am mostly a regular person. I love coffee in the morning. I get lost in the pages of good fiction. I enjoy debate. I crave ice cream. Call it regular. Call it normal… whatever it is, I get pretty comfortable in the realm of regular. Every once in awhile, I’ll venture outside regular into the Caroline de-centered universe. I glimpse this worldview and see I am merely a part and not the whole. But I often end up back at the coffee counter, housebound by a novel, or with a coffee-flavored, coconut-topped ice cream in my lap.
And this is my privileged assumption.
See, when I ask God to be my only bread and my only water, I expected the regular with a few less coffees. I expected the regular with a few more challenging days. I expected to navigate the shoals with a bit of an effort and then tell stories of arduous adventures. I expected to have the luxury of admitting faults and confessing failures at my convenience and (ashamedly) benefit.
In the past two weeks, God has given exactly what I have not expected. I have been stripped bare of regular. The privileged assumption that the Lord would teach and discipline around my schedule was shattered when I abruptly stormed the borders of the regular realm into the unknown territory of true dependence.
A nice evening turned sour when I caused a car accident on South Congress and William Cannon that totaled my car (which was on loan from my parents). An affordable and amazing living situation became impossible when I had no transportation. My “personal space” became unreasonable when I humbly accepted my co-workers’ offer of their living room couch. A simple errand brought more tears when I hydroplaned in my co-worker’s vehicle and firmly met the curb. A nice Christmas shopping cushion quickly depleted after repairs. This turn of events has sent me back to be refined by fire.
All these years, I have felt compelled to pair the Lord’s story with what I have to offer. I needed to be able to say, “See, I am a giving person. I make sacrifices for other people and good things are said of me. I take people out to coffee and leave thoughtful cards and messages at the right time.” I needed to be able to make God look good.
For the first time in my life, I have nothing to offer.
The Lord is answering my prayer for Him as Sustainer by opening up the most closed places; my failures laid bare in my professional and personal life. The LORD’s story is indeed every bit as glorious as when I first met Him, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the presence or absence of my offerings. I am finally seeing that He can stand alone. His story and glory need not be paired with anything in my life – it’s enough that He died and rose again. It’s enough that He paid the price of sin.
It’s got to be enough, too. Because right now I literally have nothing else to offer.
I submit that life in the regular realm is lame. Regular is mundane mediocrity; the sloppy seconds with enough lackluster charm to woo a trance. C.S. Lewis wrote that we are like the little boy who would prefer to play in mud puddles over taking a vacation at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
A vacation at the sea is a glorious exodus from the realm of the regular, muddied puddles and onto the shores of divine dependence.