Monday, November 4, 2013

Jealous of Jesus

Within the past week, an idea kind of seeped into my head and now, it's consumed my thoughts. I'm jealous of Jesus. It's not that the jealousy is overwhelming; it's why that has me thinking about my own life in relation to my God.

It's kind of an interesting thing to say, I know, and now that I've got you thinking, let me start by telling you why I find myself more than a little envious. It's not really the obvious things that your head might be jumping to right away. It's not that the Man was perfect. I don't sit around longing to be so perfect and sinless. (Sorry. I don't.) It's not the tremendous size of His following. (I have some encouraging blog statistics this year, but number still are not my priority.) It's not the closeness of His relationship with God. (Although, of course, that is admirable and aspiration-worthy.) It's not even how perfect His hair always looks in the portraits we paint of Him.

What makes me jealous of Jesus is His absolute confidence in who He was and the way He was so comfortable with that.

My mind goes to the scene when Jesus is about 12 and His family has ventured to the city for the Jewish festival. On the way home, they suddenly realize their emerging young man is not with them, and they set out in search for Him. They find Him in the temple, and His response is a confident, cool, "Of course this is where I am. Why would I be anywhere else?"

What were you doing at 12? Heck, what were you doing last week? What are you doing right now?

One of the reflections I have on my life, particularly in this exciting time of growth and change, is that I have spent a vast majority of my life asking for, and waiting on, permission to be the very thing that is so clear in my heart that I am created to be. I've been feeling things out, trying them on, waiting on someone to tell me whether it's ok or not ok to be this way. I have been harboring my heart, holding it close, protecting it from the idea that it just might not be ok to be fully who I am, although it's agonizing to be stuck just outside of the fullness of what God has put in me.

I imagine I'm not alone.

I think about little Jesus walking into the temple, taking a seat among the teachers and not expecting anyone to ask Him to move to the children's table. And not moving if they did. I think about how long He might have waited to speak, whether His holy humility would have given some deference to those for whom this had been a life, or if He was anxious to begin His riddles and revelations, to show them that this could also be a calling. I think about how there wouldn't have been one tinge of arrogance in His voice, because He wouldn't have needed it. I think about why He wouldn't have needed it, which was only because He never felt the need to prove Himself. 

I wonder what that must be like.

As much as I spend my life asking for permission, I think I spend equally as much of it trying to prove myself. Like I just keep digging holes that I then somehow have to fill. Like the world may be tolerably accepting of my desire to be here, to do this or that thing that God has put in me, but like if I have any hope of staying, I have to earn it.

But now, I'm thinking about my Savior's beautiful life and...I wish I had His confidence. I wish I had His comfort with Himself...with myself. I think about what it might be like to trust my heart, to lean into this keen God-sense inside of me and decide simply to be as I've been created to be and decide that it's perfectly ok to be that. I think about what it might be like to be such..without arrogance, without feeling like I have to defend or to prove myself in that identity. If I could be like Jesus and just know, and be ok in knowing, and simply live, and be ok in simply living.

It seems kind of a mild aspiration, I know. If you could be anything that Jesus was, why wouldn't you want His sinlessness? Why wouldn't you want His grace? Why wouldn't you want His teaching ability or His power to build a name?

I guess it's because I know I wasn't created for that. I'm never going to be sinless. I'm not sure I can imagine what perfect grace looks like; I have a hard time finding it even for the girl in the mirror. I have my own way with words, but I don't think much about big stages or small hillsides. And in the eternal scheme of things, my name is only a name; it doesn't have the power of the name of God.

But I was created to be me. I was created a certain way and of all the things that Jesus had and that He did so well, I think that's the one that we have in common - we were each created to be a certain way. That's the one thing we can both touch, and I'm longing right now to be able to touch that with the same confidence and comfort that He did. I want to know that powerfully who I am. It's the makings of a beautiful life.

And truth? I wouldn't mind His portrait-perfect hair, either.

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