Okay, so as I sit here, I have written two nearly-full, absolutely terrible blog posts for this morning. I have written about the servanthood of Jesus and what He really meant when He said the Son of Man has come to serve. I have written about what it means to do your own thing versus joining someone else in their own thing, and what that means for leadership and community. And I have deleted them both. Even from draft form. They are just gone. The jumbled, messed-up way those words poured out of me declared they are not the story for today. And yet, I have to admit that I'm not sure what today's story is.
The truth is that I'm thinking about these things. I've been thinking about these things quite a bit, and they're probably connected. I'm thinking about what it means to be a part of something bigger than yourself, to be at the mercy of a greater hand. I'm thinking about the way it feels to just go out and join someone. It answers so many questions we have about ourselves.
That's opposite of what the world tells us. They say if you want to know who you are, you have to do what feels right to you. You have to follow your heart. You have to be your own man. You have to do your own thing. They say that that's enough. I'm not so sure. In fact, I'm not sure at all.
Because it seems to me that I only know myself when I'm into something bigger than me. A man who pursues his own heart finds himself nothing more than lonely at the end of the day. Maybe he's doing his thing, but it doesn't take long before he realizes he's doing it alone. And no one can stand on his own for very long. It either breeds resentment that no one is coming along or self-doubt that the man is anything worthwhile at all. A man out doing his own thing either turns on his world...or he turns on himself.
And yet, as I write these words, I think about my own insecurities. They run deep, and if you know me at all, then you know that's the truth. I think about the way my heart catches whenever I think about stepping into something bigger than me. I think about the doubt that arises when I try to find a place at the table. There is a part of me that could see my name written on the place card and still decide there's no space for me. No real space. That I have nothing to contribute to a meal so grand. There's a part of me that, just as I step up, continues to step back and is never quite sure what to make of it all.
I don't know when this happened. I used to be so beautifully arrogant, so wonderfully full of myself. I used to think there was a way in this world and I just had to bushwhack my way through it. I used to think I just had to make my place. But the more time went on, the more I realized that I never found a spot that felt quite right.
Now, I'm entering a season where I think I know my way. At least, I'm starting to. I'm stepping into something bigger than me and there's that constant pull to step back. Part of me sees the way forward and knows what's coming; part of me can't believe there's a place at this table for me. Part of me sees my name etched on the path; part of me thinks they must mean someone else.
Several times over the past few weeks, I have seen my life stretch out before me. I have seen the invitation. I have reached for the outstretched hand. I have considered what it all looks like. I have seen new things growing. Old things being repaired. Broken pieces coming back together. I'm excited. There's a certain measure of finding your way that's satisfying...and a whole heap of it's that scary. Who knows what to make of such a thing?
I think about my insecurities as life moves forward and, for the first time, I find myself stepping with it. Not being dragged along. Not kicking and screaming. Deliberately stepping forward into a life that is calling me. I think about how the fear doesn't let go, but I don't let it stop me. I think about what it means to carry that fear forward, to let it be a part of this moment but not a defining part. I think about what it means to choose faith.
I think about what it means for the first time in my life to rid myself of mock arrogance, to be quietly unsure of myself. And to be okay with that. My own uncertainties somehow make me surer of the bigger thing. I think about what it means to be in this place where I know what's coming but don't know how. I trust in tomorrow but don't know when.
And I think about, in a world that tells me to do my own thing and a heart that thirsts for something bigger, there is this beautiful place for both. That I come into my next adventure fully as I am - unsure, unsteady, nervous, excited, confident, questioning, and a whole mix of other things - that I bring into new territory all that I am, that I am about to do a new thing in my own way but that it will still be a thing that is bigger than me. Because it was here before I got here, will go on without me, and I am but graced to join it for a short time. I get to do a bigger thing all the while doing me. And I don't know what to make of that.
All I know for sure is that it's decidedly blessed. Deeply holy. And profoundly graced.
It's a good season to be in. Even if I don't know what today's story is. Maybe...it is simply this.