There was a time not long ago that I found myself celebrating a small victory, the man that I had been crushing on was giving me a little extra attention…in that moment of celebration I was struck with the earth shattering realization, that I was living off a victory of crumbs. Dry, tasteless, hardly palatable crumbs of attention. I sat in silence, momentarily paralyzed by the truth of what God was showing me. Suddenly amidst the truth of His abundant grace, I caught a glimpse of how short – lived my victory would be; how unsatisfying this win would be, that soon I would once again be scratching in the dirt for another event that would bring me joy.
It’s in that moment that I felt God’s heart towards me, His desire to see me living off a true and constant stream; or even, a river of overwhelming, supernatural constant joy. I am to live off true victory and not off fickle spurts of attention. Which brings me to this question:
Have you ever really liked someone?
Have you ever had a crush on someone and still felt unseen. It’s like having a parched throat, and trying to quench your thirst with the last drops of a water bottle. It works only momentarily. No sooner have you swallowed water, than you find yourself thirsty again. You see just an ounce of attention drives you giddy with excitement, but it’s not enough when you want the whole pound. Am I right?
I find this hunger for significance leaks from my relationships into work. Sometimes I work so hard on a project, straining and investing all of myself in it – hungry for praise, thirsty for worth, begging for significance.Yet for all of that I do, I am rewarded with a simple, “well done” which to me hardly seems fair . My expectations are fairly high but the result is paltry to my parched heart. Again God reminded me that in all my efforts, my earthly reward is but crumbs compared to the fullness of joy that is mine in him. So when, “well done,” is momentarily sufficient, and I am okay to work for morsels, I am only stoking the ravenous fire of hunger, a single coal at a time.
With new clarity I could see that once my one craving was met/ fed I would start asking for more attention – seeking for something else to fulfill my heart. That’s rather ungrateful I thought to myself, but God was right this is how I would become perpetuating a cycle of craving & feeding and then craving some more, if I refused to acknowledge that people I don’t know could not meet such high expectations. In that moment, God showed me he wants me to learn to revel in the abundance of His grace, because when crumbs are weighed against the bread of abundance, abundance wins hands down.
I can be fueled by God’s love, His Word & His Presence or I can be fueled by attention from the guy I like, my boss, recognition at work. One source is ever present (omnipotent) and the other is fleeting, temporary and inconsistent.
So what does it mean then to experience the grace of the abundance:
In a talk by author of “Boundaries”, John Townsend illustrates grace with a picture of God, or a parent, coming into the deep well off water, where we are drowning in our dilemmas. He describes grace as coming to sit with us and tell us that he is with us. The abundance of God’s grace is the love of God demonstrated for us in our relationships, with our safe people – people we can be vulnerable, whose presence is reassuring, who can love us through and despite our weakness. These are the people we can count on when we feel lost. The abundance of grace, is God filling us in our needy places, with the help of our community – it helps us not to look for significance in things and people that don’t know us, who don’t know how to meet our expectations, who aren’t committed to reminding us of our worth. When this abundance stands up against the crumbs of attention (from people who have no business holding us up, who have no knowledge of our worth) this all encompassing abundance wins, reminding us that we have and will always be loved, held up and embraced.
Those crumbs of attention that I spoke of at earlier – they always demand a performance for me to gain the approval, I was so desperately seeking. But that abundance of Grace, only requires me to be who I am, whether I’m messy or organized o whether I am just figuring things out, so that in my imperfection , I can let go and let my self be carried, as I discover the restorative power of someone being patient with me, of someone loving me without requiring me to meet a standard.
We need to know that we are significant before we do something right. Our rightness cannot be based on performance, but rather it is based on a grace and love which has been offered to us before we know how to love back.