a prayer for the self-sufficient

So, here we are.  Six weeks into our pre-Malawi training with one tiny week remaining.  Years of prep- of seminary courses and church planting cohorts and books upon books- are behind us, and in just a matter of weeks, we’ll be standing on African soil.  Our family of five.  In our new home.

One might think that all of these weeks, months, years of preparation have surely left us feeling well-equipped and fully capable of tackling this task that lies ahead of us.  Surely, we’re patting ourselves on the backs with hardy “you got this” words of encouragement.

Not exactly.

In fact, all of this training- all of these many, many hours of prep work- have left me all the more confident that I, indeed, am exceedingly incapable of this task that lies before me.

All of this training has squashed any remaining notions of self-sufficiency and has left me praying a pretty simple prayer:

God, I need you.  Help me to be okay with needing you.  And help me to keep needing you every day.

I breathe these words in and out, day after day.  My desperate battlecry against my bent toward self-sufficiency.

God I need you.

My intellect, strength, and abilities can only get me but so far, and as it turns out, “but so far” comes up way short.  I could have never breathed life into my own lungs, nor do I have the power to sustain the life He has granted me.  I need His strength.  His peace.  His joy.  His righteousness.  I can spin my wheels all the livelong day, but at the end (and beginning and middle) of the day, it is God who I need.  Not my own abilities.

Help me to be okay with needing you.

It’s one thing to cry out, “Lord I need you,” but it’s a whole ‘nother deal to actually be okay with it.  Because real talk?  I’m often not.  I know I can’t do this life on my own.  I know I’m weak and in need of strength.  I know I can’t save my own jacked up self.  I know these things.  But I hate them.  So, I buck hard.  I resist.  I say one thing but believe another.  I become my own functional savior.

It’s as instinctual as breathing to me.  As if I can’t inhale the prayers of need without exhaling my acknowledgement that “THIS IS SO HARD.”  But what if God’s glorified when He meets our every need?  What if the Bible’s true and God’s strength actually is magnified in our utter weakness?  If God’s glory is our aim, should I not be okay humbling myself in weakness and lack?

And help me to keep needing you every day.

We’re getting a bit crazy on this one.  I might as well be asking God, “Make me REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE, Lord.  Every. Single. Day.”  Actually, it’s just like that.

But if I’ve learned one thing in recent months, it’s this: the more I need God, the more I know Him.  And the more I know His character, the more confidence I have in expressing my need.  Because, in God’s kindness and faithfulness and justice and goodness, I can trust that He’s going to come through for me.  Every time.  Maybe not in the way I desire.  Maybe the path won’t be the easiest.  And there could very well be days marked by more questions than answers.

But this I know for sure: He will draw me in close.  He will remind me of who He is.  And, because of this- because of who He is- I have everything I could possibly need for life and lasting joy.

So, to the self-sufficient ones… to the ones who want to run the show… the ones who need no one and nothing… the ones who have GOT THIS… join me.  Come along as I wave my white flag.  Because when we surrender our idol of self and turn instead to the sufficiency of Christ, we never walk away empty handed.  He will meet our needs, yes.  But better yet?  He gives us Himself.  And He will never, ever disappoint.

 

Leave a Reply