Today I was walking to class. As the universe would have it, the class is on the third floor. As I made the trek from home to the classroom, I found myself out of breath to an embarrassing degree. When I reached the top step, I was pretending to breath normally, partly due to embarrassment that such little physical activity makes me sound like gollum, and unwilling to relinquish the pride that the half of a pizza I picked as a sensible lunch choice might be a factor.
I tried to pretend like I wasn’t out of breath. I tried to act like the mountain I just climbed was nothing. I was thinking for all the people around me, assuming they’d notice, assuming my extreme out-of-shapeness was weighing on their minds too.
This is how we treat God.
We go to vast lengths to convince God that we are not out of breath. We hide our mountains. We think for Him. We become so utterly convinced that our will is the only way to get up three flights of stairs, but fail to notice that God’s will is the elevator.
But this is not what we are called to. We are called to be out of breath, openly and unapologetically. Because if we are out of breath, that means we are alive. That means we are tired, that we are in awe, that we are loved. The list of things that take our breath away in this life are not limited to too much pizza for lunch or one too many flights of stairs, but found in the pursuit of the beauty only God’s hand can craft. In joy, sorrow, love, discomfort…in beauty we find the buttons that work the elevator that is God’s will for us.
We think that being out of breath makes us less whole, that it gives way to an abundance of other faults, weaknesses, shortcomings. But with God, we are full because we are out of breath.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:10)
This notion that choosing God has to be accompanied by perfection is exactly the trap we are meant to fall in to. The idea that holiness can’t be pursued before our moral compasses are pointing due north is just what we are supposed to believe, just what will keep us on the ground. It is much easier to not climb the stairs. It is much more comfortable to not be out of breath, but comfort is not a factor in determining God’s will, and there is no fulfillment waiting at the bottom of the stairs.