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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

How To Be Okay With Being Okay


If you ask the internet for help on blogging, it will suggest such topics as:

- How To Train for a Triathlon
- How To Make the Most of Your Grade 8 Violin 
- How To Capitalise on Your Cooking Masterclasses 
- How To Learn A Language Rapidly
- How To Inspire the Masses
- How To Be an Origami Blackbelt

Now, I live in a university town filled with people who could do any number of the above things, and probably all at once, whilst polishing off a Masters on Particle Physics. I have friends who are incredible  pianists, vocalists, bakers, triathletes, seamstresses and flower arrangers- and in their spare time. I can't quite figure out what I was doing when people were learning to do stuff- probably memorising MC Hammer Lyrics or thinking up funny taglines for my MSN account. And although "U Can't Touch This" has some flashes of lyrical genius, I often find myself feeling ... bottom set.


This feeling has not been helped by the fact that as a young Christian, when I wasn't committing the centre pages of Smash Hits to memory,  I was reading thousands of autobiographies about people who got on boats, squared up to gangs, gave up everything, started revival, and changed the nations. And I wanted in.

Right from age 16, flicking through pages in the attic, piling high the stories of Incredible Faith and Transformed Lives, I was desperate to make a difference. And when it didn't happen immediately, I thought- it will happen at Uni. But when Uni was a long battle with depression I thought- it will happen on the mission field. But when France was a bewildering encounter with frustration and futlity and, well... French, I thought- maybe it will happen in the work place. But the work place has been difficult- hard to navigate and slow and largely lacking in convertable gang lords- and so honestly, "making a difference", as I envisioned it, still hasn't happened.

Often then, in roll the clouds: clouds of insignificance and emptiness and inadequacy. I can let go of my lack of sports-skills and piano-inadequacy- I mean, I didn't practice, and I quite like not having to play at weddings, and if I'd stayed sporty there'd be no blog post for tomorrow! But that lurking spiritual insignificance- that feeling of living a mediocre, "okay" life... that fog is harder to dispel.

So, here's some brief advice addressed to myself, and others like me: How To Be Okay With Being Okay. 

1) You are not okay.
Firstly, it's insufficient to categorise ourselves as being "okay." It's not a term the Bible uses to address humans, ever. The reality is, on our own- we are sinners. We are dead. We are in the dark. We are "children of wrath." At no point are we given the luxury of being told, "chin up- you're okay." At no point can we say, "I'm alright." We're not okay. Not even the singing, dancing, ganglord converting heroes of the autobiographies justify themselves by their singing, dancing or ganglord converting. The death of Jesus on the cross is what it takes to justify humans. On our own, we are categorically Not Okay.

2) Jesus is not "okay".
We are made adequate in Christ's adequacy. And gloriously, his adequacy is not just "okay." At the cross, He gives us his righteousness. He becomes our strength. He becomes our righteousness, our wisdom and our justification. (1 Corinthians 1:30) We are united to the Lord of glory! And so our identity is thoroughly and absolutely in Him. Which is why Paul can command, "let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:31) Some will have to turn away from fullness to boast in Him. They will be tempted to find their identity and justification in talents and effectiveness and spiritual impact and reputation- and the challenge of the Bible is: let him who boasts, boast in the Lord. And some will have to boast in Him when there is nothing else to boast in. They will be tempted to despair of their lack of talents and effectiveness and spiritual impact or reputation- and to them the challenge of the Bible is: boast in the Lord.

3) Stop Chasing, Okay?
We all, I imagine, have this deep drive to be significant. I feel it deeply and often fear it will completely consume me. But what ultimate significance can we attain apart from being united with Christ? If Christ has lavished his love on us (1 John 3:1), if Christ's banner over us is His love (Song of Songs 2:4) , if Christ has demonstrated His love for us in dying for us while we were still desperate sinners (Romans 5:8)... what greater significance is there? What achievement could ADD to the significance of one loved by the Creator of the Universe? What record of spiritual greatness do I want attributed to my account other than that of Jesus? Jesus offers us Himself: if we have Him, we have every reason to boast. And if we have him, nothing else is worth boasting in. 

So I can't write any of the internet's suggested "How To" blog posts . I know I can't look to my own life and build a case for its significance. But right now, Christ has made me significant by loving me. And He is the Ultimate Significance- and that is more than okay.



2 comments:

  1. Thank you. Your story is mine when you substitute France for Syria and Lebano, and add being a mum to 2 wonderful boys. I feel I'm living a small life. I really appreciate your part on being significant by being loved by Christ. My friend reminded me that God sees what is done in secret. Thank you for the encouragement. Emma

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  2. How kind of you to comment! Thank you so much X

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