There was a spider in my shower this morning! Can we all just agree that there is no better way to ruin a shower than there being a spider in it?!
It was too high for me to reach to crush mid-shower and really what was I going to do? Take it down with my incredible ninja with a bar of soap skills?
So there I was and there he was (spiders are always ‘he’s’ because a girl would never frighten me like that. Never.) and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. It was squirmily trying to make its way lower down, sporadically leaping down bits of web to get closer to me (and my utter demise, I imagine!) and I couldn’t look away.
Grab soap, stare at spider, shampoo, eyes transfixed, curse spider for ruining what should be relaxing while conditioning and all the while gaze locked.
I assure you I was not looking at the spiders beauty. I was not soaking in the glory of the eight legged beast. No, I was staring because I was scared. Scared of what might happen if I look away. Frightened by the dread of what might come should my glance stray for merely a moment and suddenly the biblical language made sense to me.
Fix your eyes upon Jesus.
I’m slow to get things. I know it’s true. My solace comes from the fact that my boys and I are reading in the book of Mark right now and it turns out the disciples are a bit thick skulled too.
Sure, I may be lamenting some things in my life but I’m certainly not asking for the most glorious seat in heaven. (I’m looking at YOU James and John)
I mean, really. How self-absorbed can you get? You’re already walking the dusty streets with Jesus himself and now you want to ensure your position for all eternity?
And how many times exactly did they see Jesus turn a few piddly scraps of bread into dinner for the multitudes? It was a couple for sure and yet still each time they go on and on about, “How are we going to feed them all? Can’t we send them home? Shouldn’t we call up the caterers and have them helicopter in some fancy sandwiches and deviled eggs?” (Is it weird that I just used deviled eggs as the food source example here? perhaps…)
I read these accounts and I shake my head and think what poor saps these guys are. I see story after story and I can’t help but think I’d be different if I was walking around with the man himself. Certainly I would be! I would see those miracles and I would just know that he could do it again the next time! I would watch him heal the blind man and jump in excitement! I would get down and wash the feet that he’s washing. I mean, it’s Jesus! I’d be doing the thing just perfectly.
But it’s different now because Jesus isn’t here. And it’s not like he’s walking around with me teaching me all the time. And it’s not like he’s pointing with his index finger directly at opportunities for me to serve so that I can just walk right over and do what he asks of me. No, the disciples had it easy. They could fix their gaze on Jesus cause he was right there!
So not fair, right?
Oh, except for this little passage:
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. John 16: 7
Did you catch that? Jesus just said that it was good that he was going away. That it is to our advantage that he leave. Um….why? Oh, because if he didn’t go away than the Advocate (aka Helper aka Holy Spirit) wouldn’t come.
So what he’s saying is something like this. I gotta go. ‘Cause if I don’t go then the Holy Spirit won’t come. Bottom line? You guys need the Holy Spirit. And if I’m here then the Holy Spirit won’t be so I’m gonna check outta here and send the Helper to you to…well, help! Cause you guys need help! (oh yes we do…)
This little passage kinda irks me cause it completely nullifies my whininess. It means I can no longer get around my thick headedness by saying, “but they had Jesus!”
Cause I’ve got the Holy Spirit. And that’s awesome. But sometimes I forget that it’s awesome. And that sucks.
So I’m here to remind you and me that the Helper is here and is with us! And scripture says that he will help us and guide us into all truth and convict us of sin. And we should probably start taking that to heart.
What this means is that my thick skulled nature is really my own sin. I can’t blame it on the fact that I don’t have Jesus right next to me cause I do have the greatest helper ever and still I don’t listen.
Here’s the thing, if we’re going to be totally honest here, I’m happy in my life. I like things the way they are and I also like my own ideas about how my life should go.
It goes something like sleep, coffee, pray, hike, care for littles, get littles to leave me alone, coffee, chill, sleep and repeat! Maybe with a bit of eating in there. And sour keys. And cola bottles.
And my prayers? Well, they definitely just fit right into the system. Maybe a few more littles, Jesus? So I can sleep, coffee, pray, hike, care for (more) littles, get (more) littles to leave me alone, coffee, chill, sleep. Easy right? Doesn’t really mess too much up. Doesn’t throw off the good thing I’ve got going here. Yeah, Jesus. Do that! That’s a good idea I had right there!
But Jesus doesn’t always give me what I want even when the things I want are good things. Yes, he says care for the orphans but he’s not rapidly sending any my way so then what? What about the things he IS sending my way? Oh, I’m sorta kinda missing those because they don’t fit my perfect little mold and they throw things kinda off kilter and I’m busy praying for the orphans over here can’t you see that?
Yet God is placing things right before me. The Holy Spirit is bringing opportunities to me and I’m flat out saying no. Oh, I have a million reasons ranging from, “It’s not what I’m called to,” or “I don’t feel gifted in that,” to “that just freaks me right out!” So I see these things and I turn right around and I have every excuse in the book not to take them on. Not to dive right in. Not to follow into the way he is leading me because I’m so busy looking the other way.
I was challenged recently by two people I love massively. They said (more graciously than I’m pronouncing here) that I’m not using the gifts I’ve been given and I’m not seeing the opportunities that are placed before me and let’s just call it what it is.
But here’s what I know about fear, it causes me to never take my eyes off of the spider.
And fear about things God is asking of me? It causes me to never take my eyes off of Jesus.
Because relying on the Lord for something that you feel incapable of is scary. Way harder than taking on things you know you’re good at. Way more prayer-inducing than finding the things that fit your groove and don’t shake it up too much. But since when do good things come easy? When do good things come from relying on our own strength? When do good things come without being just a bit (or a lot) frightened and crying out to Jesus that you need Him to accomplish this because without him you just can’t?
And so I’m diving in. I’m responding to emails and arranging meetings and following the path that the Holy Spirit is guiding in. And my knees are knocking and my fingers shaking just a bit and I am focusing my gaze on the only one who can take my weakness and use it.