Saying yes to God when sparkly, safe faith is no longer enough.
“Making Jesus enough isn’t about good works or being good enough. It’s about peeling back all the layers, the blessings, the stuff in our hearts, and discovering our desperate need for Him. When we remove the extras, we find we are not enough. And we see that He is. When you make Jesus enough, He becomes all you need.” I discovered this title from a blog post by Ann Voskamp, and was intrigued by the words Ann said in reference to its topic and its author. To summarize, it is the story of a girl turned woman, a wife turned mother, who found herself in a place of wanting more of Jesus, more out of life. She was asked to visit and write about what she saw on a trip to the slums of Africa, and from then on she was changed. While there they visited a boy named Vincent, and the author notes how peaceful he seemed, so she asked, “Why are you so happy? Why aren’t you afraid?” To which he responded,
“Because I have Jesus.”
She then writes about how she returned home with this battle raging in her soul, how when she returned it was like an invisible veil had been lifted from her eyes.
“When I honestly looked into my heart, I knew I equated Jesus with comfort and blessings. Vincent had nothing except a leaky roof over his head, and yet he was content. I envied him. In a few days I would return to a lifestyle with every convenience and only want more. I added Jesus like salt and pepper to a tasteless dish. He wasn’t the main course for me, just an extra on the side.”
After being home for a couple weeks, the stirring in her soul kept growing, a God-sized dream and call building, and she and her family embarked on an adventure to establish a home/ministry in Kenya for young pregnant girls. She quotes Holley Gerth,
“Why are God-sized dreams so compelling? Because we powerfully experience God’s presence in our lives through them. It’s not about destination. It’s not what we will get if we complete the dream. It’s about a relationship… the pursuit of any God-sized dream is ultimately the pursuit of the One who placed it within you. It’s like a homing beacon for your heart.”
As Kristen (the author) continues to tell her story, I was inspired. She spoke of hard things that happened in her marriage, of the difficulty in adjusting to American life after seeing such heartbreaking realities across the world, her fight for balance in her family’s daily life, raising her kids in a way that reflects Jesus and compassion for people; and throughout it all, her own strengthening of faith when things were wearisome, when goals seemed impossible, and when circumstances called for so much doubt. I admit that as I was reading, sometimes I felt a little overwhelmed by all she was doing, because I haven’t experienced anything like that, done anything like what they did, and then I read this…
“God has a unique purpose for you. Your yes won’t look like anyone else’s yes; it will be completely one-of-a-kind, just like you. Who are you supposed to look like in your calling here on earth and in the way you follow Christ? You’re supposed to look like the version of you that loves Jesus with everything in you.”
Reading that, I was filled with a confidence that whatever God has in mind for me to do during this life, if I’m loving Him with everything in me, it will come to pass. Maybe a small fear had been growing in me that I would miss it, or that I wouldn’t have the eyes to see something that big, that God-sized, but just like she said, my ‘yes’ will be different than anyone else’s, so.. I’ll live mercy and love Jesus and see what happens. I’ll love Jesus with my whole heart and if that whole heart prompts me to do something, I’ll do it in faith!
Reading this book, where I am in life, didn’t prompt me to do something radical or drop everything and move to a third world country (Although I confess sometimes my heart aches to do just that). It did however, challenge my perspective. Kristen quoted Elizabeth Dreyer, “In a profound way, our intentionality is a key ingredient determining whether we notice God everywhere or only in church or only in suffering, or nowhere. It all depends on how we choose to fashion our world.” When we open our eyes to what we have and how others live, it affects the choices we make. I am challenged to be more intentional with my time and with my money, my communication and my relationships.To be more intentional in a way that will allow me to glimpse God in even the mundane.
She also prompted readers to find their one thing.
“Finding and pursuing your one passion changes your life and ignites a godly desire to support others in their divine pursuits. When you get involved in someone else’s God-sized dream, you are a part of his or her story.”
It’s easy to read books like this and feel burdened by a weight of condemnation or anxiety over not doing enough (whatever enough is). I think everyone is called to do something, just not everything. I think it will be both freeing and life-changing, to focus on my one thing and do it well to His glory. Ann Voskamp said, “You were made for the place where your real passion meets compassion, because there lies your real purpose.”
Coming off of graduation, I don’t think I know what my one thing is yet. But that’s okay.
When I do discover my God-sized dream, I’ll enjoy the journey of digging deep into His Presence, because the beautiful reality is that I’ll never walk alone.