I’m reading a book by Mark Buchanan called The Rest of God. He talks a lot about finding rest and taking time to notice God in our lives. This morning, his words have been a divine encouragement to me:
“I used to think the spiritual life was mostly about finding and using our gifts for God’s glory—my utmost for his highest. More and more, I think it is not this, not first, not most. At root, the spiritual life consists in choosing the way of littleness. I become less so that Jesus might become greater. Its essence is No—No to ourselves, our impulses and cravings, our acts of self-promotion and self-vindication, our use of power for its own sake. It calls us to deny ourselves possessions, rights, conquests that we’re tempted to claim just because we can. It is growing, day by day, into the same attitude that Christ had, and by exactly the same means: emptying ourselves, giving ourselves. It is refusing to grasp what we think is owed us and instead embracing what we think is beneath us.” (Buchanan 101)
Somewhat recently, I have been stuck in self-promotion and striving. Specifically, I have some unspoken and perhaps imagined competition in my life; it lives beside me and everyday reminds me of its presence or my inability to overcome it. But I am so horrible at competition. Unwilling to compete, I quit or turn sour. But the words about becoming little, remind me that instead of being overcome or trying to overcome, I need to be saying no to myself, no to using power, self-vindication, or even my own worries to overcome this. And instead, I need to be emptying myself, taking my eyes off self and the situation and allowing him to fill me up.