Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Holy Conversations: I can't do it myself

Spiritual journey: I can't do it myself.
This essay is a response to an ongoing conversation and discussion of the book 'Holy Conversations' on Thursdays at First Lutheran Church in Jamestown NY and online at Facebook. I've carried out the prompts and my responses here as well if you'd like to join in on the conversation here as well. Thanks for listening and taking part in this holy conversation.


From a young age, I've had a very independent streak. When my parents would ask if I needed help with something, my most common response was, "I'd like to do it by myself." I don't know if I was trying to prove to my two older siblings that I was not so much a baby as they thought, but I was determined to make it on my own if I had to.

The funny thing about drawing close to God, is that it requires that all of us come to a point where we surrender. As I explained, I tend to not surrender very well. I like to be independent - but when I reach the end of my rope, I usually cry out to God. Sometimes as a kid, I'd pray to ask God to help me find my shoes, and usually I'd find them right after sending up a prayer.
Although I've grown in my faith since my child-like requests for my shoes, I do think I still have tendencies to want to 'do life myself'. I want to have it together, always be prepared, and never fail. But life often does not work that way.I've found a song called "One Small Voice" by the Sparks that captures this conflict of self-sufficiency and surrender to God.

Inside this heart is a fragile soul,
Inside this soul there is a fear,
that You won't love me if you could see me as I do.
So I try real hard to be a big success,
and then I see You are not impressed,
I don't know why - You probably see me as I do.

This one small voice is hear by only one,
This one small voice can tell about God's son,
This one small life can be useful indeed,
This one small heart can heart can start to understand,
Every effort I give is precious in his hand,
This one small life will bring glory to God.

You take the smallest opportunity to show you love me and you don't need
big displays to prove my love for you. I am small I simple too, and whatever you give it could not compare to what you've given me. I'll give my all to You.

This one small voice is hear by only one,
This one small voice can tell about God's son,
This one small life can be useful indeed,
This one small heart can heart can start to understand,
Every effort I give is precious in Your plan,
This one small life will bring glory to God.
It's Amazing.

Oh - one small voice.


How simple and yet how difficult it is to grow deeper in faith. This journey officially started as I grew up in church through my childhood. It was recharged in an experience of calling when I was seventeen and I've since then served in local mission and ministry ever since. For me it is a daily challenge to rely less on myself and hold fast to God as we journey together side-by-side on the road of life.
I suppose the whole point of the gospel is that we can't do "it" on our own. We need God and each other to make each step in the journey. One thing I'm learning on a daily basis, is that I need Jesus more and more with each step I take, not less. This might be what was meant by the verse in 2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.


God knows I need that grace - I'm not so much that child saying, "I'd rather do it myself." - I'm that child saying "More please", with her empty hands reaching out for a little help, because now I know "I can't do it myself."

1 comment:

Mel said...

You and me both.....you and me both.

Boy, that 'opened hands' is a toughie for me to do some moments......