Feeling Small in a Season of Big

This season has been one of feeling small and in need.  I grew up learning to be quiet about being in need beyond the borders of our immediate family.  Part of this was because we moved often, stateside and abroad, and usually lived without the geographic closeness of our extended family.  Moving always felt like a relational-restart button and engaging in new relationships over and over again is exhausting.  It's taken work and intentionality and perseverance to engage in new seasons and settings and to fight against the lie of rugged individualism that's so embedded in our culture.

Between the ongoing costs and emotional support needs that come with the process of international adoption, saying "yes" to a trip across the pond that will land me in a continent and country I have never been in, and normal everyday family life with little ones, my feeling small and in need has been pretty constant lately.  Both my family and I have felt like we are stepping into more than one thing that is much, much bigger than we are.

The space between my smallness and the big things that God opens the door for, feels so vast at times.  Sometimes this space terrifies me.  I can easily think of everything that could go wrong.  What if I don't raise the money I need by the deadline (God has already provided all of my trip funds through an amazing community who values believing God for big things, btw)?  What if I have a terrible reaction to the immunizations I have to get to enter the country I am going to? What if I heard God wrong and I shouldn't be doing this at all? What if we never get a referral for our adoption?  What if we can't save enough or raise enough to cover the cost of our adoption?  What if saying yes to these big things leaves me or our family feeling alone and isolated and at our wits end?  What if I regret any of these yeses?

In all honesty, I have had a tendency towards fear for as long as I can remember.  I remember being afraid to go to school without my parents.  I remember my fear of the mean little boy who used to chase me and pull my hair in preschool.  I remember being afraid of the dark and of gremlins and clowns under my bed and jaws in the ocean.  As I got older, statistics and practice merged with my vast imagination, and some of my fears went away.  But, in reality, the fear just shifted towards other things and I only learned to avoid situations that would bring on that feeling of fear or smallness or need. This tendency towards fear hasn't changed and I am not sure it ever will.  Like a thorn in my side, I have asked God to remove the fear, to make me bold and brave at the get-go.  He hasn't done that and I haven't found a formula or food or oil that will do anything about that.  Do you know what HAS changed, though?

Knowing Him and inviting others into seasons of smallness and need.  It sounds so airy and kumbaya-ish,  I know.  But it is the truth and so beautiful if we will allow it.

It wasn't long after choosing to follow Jesus and surrendering my life to him, that he began asking me to step out into things bigger than me. Things that would make me want to turn around, thinking there must be a better person for the job behind me.  Things I did not feel equipped for or ready enough for, or big enough for.  Things that made me tremble. Things that made me feel very small and afraid.   But saying yes anyway, has changed my life and continues to.

The space between my smallness and the big things that God opens the door for, feels vast, yes; but that space is filled with opportunities for a sweetness of intimacy with him that is irreplaceable and the sweetness that comes from leaning on others in vulnerability, that is also irreplaceable.  This irreplaceable space has become bigger than my fear and it moves me forward.

This morning as I was journaling about feeling small, the Holy Spirit brought Psalm 63 to mind.  As I read it, it soothed my thoughts and reminded me of past moments of choosing Him over fear and how worth it they have been.  He upholds me!  And He will uphold you!  He makes me brave.  May our thirst for security and the familiar never come close to our thirst for Jesus and knowing him more.  May we know the gift of community where we can be vulnerable and in need.
Psalm 63

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.

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