A Week to Receive

I stood at the starting line with split-times written on my hand beside women who looked like this was their life not their hobby. The race might have been a fun outing for the thousands lined up behind us, but for those of us who could see the starter pistol it wasn’t just about fun. It was about making our times.  I didn’t know then that this one race mirrored my life.

We were all sweating, early. Who knew it would be an 85 degree morning in September? We took off in a pack and I pressed mute on all around me: the music, the cheering, the high fives among racing buddies, the heat. It was me and my times. I was racing against the clock. Again.

The heat of the day sunk into my pores and clogged my thinking. Race-day volunteers called out mile-marking split times and I ignored all the signals my body was sending that it needed reprieve.

Press on. The clock is running. The measurement of myself, today, just happened to be a split- time. (Because there was always a measurement.)

And finally I couldn’t beat what had been imposed upon me. The warning signals my body had sent went unnoticed until my body relinquished its strength, under my tyrannical expectations. I collapsed with the finish line in sight, but no finish time.

The clock beat me this time.

Measuring Tape

That day was not about what I could make of it. It was all about what I could not do.

The end of me — you know, that thing we expend the sweat of our lives in resisting — is the beginning of Him, in me. Sometimes He lets our greatest attempts at achievement cave under the heat, all so that we might be cracked open, to receive. Him.

This is where adoration comes in. We say yes in that collapsed state to a new view of Him. If every day is intended for a new angle on Him, and our folly is His opportunity, then the days where we’ve really blown it are only fodder for receiving our most profound revelation of Him.

My days are positioned not for my making, but for my receiving. And when I stop pushing, and start receiving, I begin to fully live.

Fountain MJ

Adoration is receiving Him, as He says He is (not who I contrive Him to be). Adoration is choosing to believe that He likes what He made in me, even on the days when I don’t like me. Adoration is seeing Him as a God who smiles, not scowls. Adoration is looking into His eyes, flooded with love for me, not staring at the back of what I picture to be His shoulders, hunched in disappointment at my trip-ups.

There are pieces of Him — this God who enjoys us — scattered all across our unmet goals and bodies collapsing from life’s heat, that are waiting to be received, not achieved.

Practically speaking, adoration is letting my grid for Him start with His Word and speaking that Word back to Him, in my native tongue. It is re-teaching the flesh in me, to lean into the Spirit of Him, inside of me. The God who “put all things under His feet” (Eph 1:22) is the God “who has control of all the things that feel out of control in my life” to me.  The God who promised that “he who feeds on Me will live because of Me” (John 6:57) is the God who lets my daily sustenance be Him and Him alone, not my weak efforts.

As I’ve asked Him about this season of Spring (that hasn’t yet shown itself from underneath the blanket of snow outside my window), He leads me back to one word: receive. So I enter into Holy Week with this stance. Father, I want to receive You — as You really are — not as my stale grid might perceive You to be. Show Yourself to me this week.

Boy Field MJ

If you haven’t yet, I invite you to check out this corner of my blog. It’s here that I’ll be adoring Him through the rest of this Holy Week, in the rain and shine of my everyday stuff.

It’s here that I’m choosing to receive Him, and not achieve Him.

(You can sign up here to get these Morning Chais in your inbox.)

For more on adoration:

Why I Adore

Showing Up

Morning Chai, Explained

And this radio interview on adoration from last month.

 

Photos compliments of  Mandie Joy.

 

We’ve had some glitches with our feedburner account and seem to have deleted many of you as subscribers. If you happened upon this page from outside of your reader or email but were once a subsriber, you may need to sign up again {http://feeds.feedblitz.com/chai for Morning Chai, http://feeds.feedblitz.com/everybitter for the main postings} to ensure you get our regular feed.

View All Posts

Recent Blog Posts

How To Keep Your Heart Alive

At sixteen it all seemed so obvious. You either had a cross around your neck and a Bible in your locker, or a drink in your hand on the weekends. Back then, it was follow Jesus or party. My best friend and I slid each other Bible verses on scraps of paper in between class, just to remind one another…
Continue

The Illusion of Fame

My sister was on homecoming court two years in a row. For many, that means nothing, but when you grow up in middle America (where the best of life happens under the Friday night lights), homecoming court makes celebrities out of seventeen year-olds. I was in the seventh grade then. And I knew I wanted to follow her. This was…
Continue

Hidden {… but not unseen}

Sometimes you need to live a moment three, or four … or seven times, before you see that it’s purposed. We were 23 minutes late for the party that was only planned to last for two hours. I know, because I counted each minute that passed and had eyes only for the digital clock in my car at every single…
Continue

Why the Times You Feel Unseen by the World May be the Best Times of Your Life

“He said He loves me, Mommy,” my daughter Hope told me as I tucked her in, her words whispered with her hand to her mouth and cupped around my ear. Apparently, it was a secret. And I remembered her first dance recital, not long after we’d adopted her. She had practiced her routine in and out of class for a…
Continue

At 40, What I Would Say to My Twenty Year-Old Self

My diploma was still in an unopened manilla envelope on my apartment desk when I stood in front of a crowd of 300 sets of smiling eyes to tell them about what I’d committed to doing for the rest of my life. Though I didn’t say it in so many words, at twenty-two I knew I wanted to change the…
Continue