Soma leaders on the gospel, community and mission in the everyday…
Living in the Love I Have (Rather Than the Lack I Feel)
Earlier this week I took my computer to the Apple Store. It is five years old. The video card had gone out. The repair was more than I felt I should afford, and I was unsure about the time my computer had left even with the repair. I use it every day for my business and volunteer activities. I was feeling especially broke and very emotional about the fact.
Sometimes expressing financial need can be awkward. We wonder together how we will meet needs if no one brings them up, so we commit together in our missional communities to be open about such things. Then when a need is expressed, it often comes out sounding like a request. Saying, “I need this because . . . , but I can’t afford it because . . . ,” is easily taken with the implication: “. . . so you should help me.” But maybe help isn’t the answer. Maybe the answer is that we struggle in faith or that we would wait for God to supernaturally provide, or both. So there is something tricky about committing to share life together, even financial struggles, and still allowing the Holy Spirit to give discernment to the community, to call them to help, or pray, or speak truth. Even though the community should know what its members are struggling with, “bearing one another’s burdens” can look a lot of different ways.
Nothing anyone could suggest to me to do felt like an answer. “Just pray for me,” I asked my community, knowing that the emotional burden was far greater than the problem, and therefore no practical solution would bring peace, which was all I really needed.
As they prayed for me, they responded with confimation that this was an issue of faith for me. Steve responded via text saying this: "I feel like God is speaking a lot about faith right now—fighting to live in the love we have, rather than in the lack we feel. It is a fight for sure."
Later in the week I was preparing for the Neighborhood Concert Series in Browne’s Addition. I usually have plenty of backup at the shows: company so I don’t have to hang out alone the whole time, a check from the treasurer to pay the band, my boyfriend to carry things and just be generally supportive, volunteers to perform basic tasks, an MC to announce the band . . .
One by one these fell through. First my MC wouldn’t be able to make it, then my boyfriend had other plans, then I couldn’t find enough people to commit to volunteer. I had no one to sit with me during the show, the check was written for only a fraction of the amount promised, and I couldn’t park closely so I made several trips across the park carrying heavy things by myself.
At this point you are probably thinking that I was must have been throwing quite the pity party, but—due to grace alone—this was not the case. When my boyfriend told me he was going elsewhere and saw clearly my internal dialogue, which was self-consolation: “It’s okay . . . it’s okay . . . it’s okay.” “Do you need me to be there?” he asked, “I don’t have to play soccer.” “I don’t know,” I said, “there might be enough people to help. Maybe only emotionally, but I don’t know if I should need that.” I felt so helpless in general. It was a bad day to be alone, and it was the perfect day to be alone.
The Holy Spirit assured me that the codependency I was experiencing was just misdirected. “Rest because I am here,” he told me. “Your boyfriend, your friends, your volunteers . . . you don’t need them, if you rest. You don’t have to hold it together, if you let me hold you together.”
And that was the truth I approached the concert believing wholeheartedly. There were too many little things going wrong for this to not be the plan. And if this was part of the plan, I felt at peace to let it play out. When I had to hand out programs and collect donations, there were exactly the four people I needed, and then they were gone, and I was alone again. And I was okay. Well, I wasn’t okay, but I was okay with that. I was very unstable, but held quite close by my savior, which was all I needed and, remarkably, all I wanted.
By this point I was feeling very in love with God, very loved, very humbled, one hundred percent dependent on him, and so grateful.
After a day of enjoying the peace and intimacy I'd found in trusting God with my computer, my work, and my extra-work activties, an amazing thing happened. I went to pick up my computer from the Apple Store, having elected to make the repair in faith and pay for it myself, even though it meant borrowing the money from my tax savings account. I waited a while. When they finally brought my computer out, the Apple Store employee told me that I basically had a new machine. He also said he had never seen them replace so many parts for free. The only things they didn’t replace were the speakers and the hard drive. (I only sent it in to have the logic board replaced, and that is all I paid for.) My computer is literally perfect, which, while it is small in the scheme of things, is another clear assurance to my heart that God wants to give me everything but is unwilling to give me away to the many lusts of my heart.
The only thing I can say to Him is this: “Thank you. Never stop. Please, trip me every time I take one step from the throne. Close my eyes when they glance away from you. Cut off my right hand when it causes me to sin. I only want to be yours. . . . and thanks for the computer!”