Awhile back I was hosting a team and we were all planning to go out for dinner. I was feeling lethargic, uninspired, burdened, tired, and all around uninterested in going to a restaurant with a dozen or so other people. I couldn’t possibly expend the energy required to put on shoes and face a crowd. I blamed it on being tired; I blamed it on my introverted personality; on a long week, on too many people, on whatever else I could say to convince myself it really was okay for me to skip dinner.
Then a dear friend saw beneath the surface, and spoke the truth. A truth I didn’t even realize was truth until she said it. I think you are doubting that you are wanted.
She left the room and I dropped to my knees, the truth of her words burrowing deep and conviction confirming that which she somehow knew to be true. I had made an agreement with a fallacy; somewhere along the line I had become convinced that I was simply a burden, an irritant, a nuisance. Who was I to join a bunch of doctors for dinner? I wouldn’t offer anything worth saying, I couldn’t possibly think that I would actually be welcomed into that crowd, I would probably just make a fool of myself and say something stupid anyway. I didn’t have anything to bring to the table. So why go?
Recognition is key. Recognition is freedom. Recognition meant I could intentionally pursue truth and life to the full and put on some shoes and go out to dinner, regardless of how it felt or what I heard or what I believed.
The end of that story is that dinner was beautiful; the conversation rich and the blessings flowing from me to them and back to me again. The end of my story is yet unknown; with the greater questioning lingering in desire - a desire to know that I have something to bring to the table, regardless of the size of the table or the venue or the company surrounding it, but how do you walk in that without crossing over the hazy gray line into arrogance and pride?
In the book referenced earlier, Scary Close, Donald Miller also talks about one of the things he loves the most about his then girlfriend/now wife:
She truly knows she is good for people. It’s not arrogance, nobody who knows Betsy would think of her as prideful. Yet she knows that when she gets close to somebody she will likely make their life better.
Sigh. I want that. I want to know to the depths that because I speak and breathe life and God is in me that just by coming to the table people will see Him.
I’ve mentioned this to a few friends in recent days, and they all say the same thing. And I think, what? You? You think that too?? You are amazing! You have SO MUCH to bring to the table! How can you not see that???
And they say the same about me. But neither of us know it in ourselves, both of us cringe at the thought of facing that table of strangers but both of us longing to know with conviction that who we are and who we carry in us will, and does, and delights, in affecting those around us… for good.
As I watch the cursor blink for a few minutes and wonder what words will come next, a flicker of a story drifts through my consciousness. I believe, help my unbelief. Someone said that to Jesus once; I find myself saying it again today. I want to know and believe, to the center of my soul, that I have something to bring to the table; I want my friends to believe it; I want us all to believe it.
Because you know what? You do.
You have life to offer and so do I and there’s something about courage and something about being brave enough to step out in faith and something about trusting that when all rolled up and lifted up leads to that place my heart longs to go… to the table, to blessing and being blessed, to being enjoyed not just endured, to resting in the beauty of relationship and a shared meal or a shared heart and a shared pursuit of life to the full.