What It Takes

It was a long way to jump.  I was pretty good on the family trampoline and as a typical 15 year-old adrenaline junkie, I had mastered most of the tricks.  Front flips – ho hum.  Back flips – piece of cake.  Twist flips – check.  Suicide dives – no big deal.  But this was a little different.  The house didn’t look all that high when I looked up at it from the ground.  But standing at the edge of the roof and sizing up the leap to the trampoline below was a different matter.  Fifteen year old judgment being what it is, “SHOULD I do this?” was never really a question.  All that really mattered was: “Do I have the guts?”

I’m not the first one to ask the question and I won’t be the last.  From boyhood it has been one of the most pervading mantras that has run through my subconscious.  “Do I have what it takes?”  Seldom is the question actually vocalized, but throughout our entire lives this question permeates our hearts and motivates our efforts.  As a boy the questions went something like this:  Am I courageous enough?  Strong enough?  Fast enough?  Smart enough?  Popular enough?  As I grew older the questions evolved:  Am I sufficiently qualified?  Loving?  Virtuous?  Dependable?  However I have phrased it, the question hadn’t really changed.  In all of my self-examination, what I was desperate to know more than anything else was this one thing:  Do I have what it takes?  After much soul-searching and reflection I came to the conclusion that the answer is as I had feared.  I do not.  And all the ego massages from well-meaning friends can never compensate for the deficit in my ‘enoughness’.  As hard as I try, I can never attain to the level of excellence for which I long.

In reacting to this revelation, my natural tendency has been to mourn my inadequacies, while at the same time covering them up.  To sulk in my insufficiency while compensating with a show.  To despair at my inconsistency, as I bury the evidence.   But sulking is not helpful.  Despair will not add quantity or quality to my life.  And hiding my flaws is a burdensome career.

I used to expend great effort putting my best face forward.  I built intricate façades around my life to make sure that I appeared ‘everything’ enough.  Like the movie set of an old western, all the store fronts of my life were in place, and as long as I kept everyone on ‘main street’, they never knew that it was all a ruse.  As long as I could keep the public eye on the exterior, I was able to keep them from discovering that behind the doors and the windows and the porches lay a carefully assembled system of two by four supports.  Struggling to maintain the masquerade proved to be an empty pursuit, and what I finally came to realize is this:  My value is not measured by the height of my store front, but by the land I am built upon.

When I finally decided to light the match of integrity and incinerate my ‘front’, I was left with two things:  freedom and space.  The freedom that came from confessing my inadequacy was immense.  Because with my confession I was finally giving permission for God to come onto the scene and be, well, God.  Once the façade had burned, I became free to rest from the manic task of set-building and I discovered open space for God to begin HIS construction.  I became free from the unwinnable goal of being ‘enough’.  Free to put the sufficiency of Jesus on display.  Free to show that my weakness plus His strength equals MORE than enough.

In her blog, author Connie Cavanaugh dispels a common Christian myth and describes how our inadequacy highlights our need to rely on God:  “The reality is, God does give us more than we can handle. If you are following Him you are likely living a much ‘larger, harder, scarier’ life than you ever thought possible.”  I will never be smart enough to solve all the dilemmas that come my way.  I will never be skilled enough to do all that I was intended to do.  I will never be stable enough to go the distance alone.  I will never be righteous enough to measure up to God’s holy standards.  As painful and scary as it is I must ultimately admit it.  I am not enough.  On my own, I do not have what it takes.

But Jesus is enough.  He is completely qualified.  He is ever-loving.  He is perfectly holy.  He is always dependable.  There is no ‘enough’ worth being that He is not.  And the beautiful thing is that He has bundled up all of that sufficiency and against all common sense, He has given it… wait for it… to me.

Do I have what it takes?  No.  Well, actually, I kind of do.  You see, I know someone who DOES have what it takes, and I have Him.

You should see what we are building.

Colossians 2:9-10; Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 3:8

Comments

Posted On
Feb 23, 2014
Posted By
Valerie

Great word.Have heard the words”Not enough”enough times to last a lifetime and then some.

Posted On
Mar 19, 2014
Posted By
Betty Marshall

Great blog Tim. Your blogs are a great inspiration to many

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