Thirteen years ago, I stood staring at a display in a room above a deep South Dakota cave. Truthfully, I am not easily enamored with these types of displays and am usually content to cast quick glances at them as John walks slowly, reading every single word.
But this day, I stopped in front of a display about grass. I saw the picture of short grass plants no higher than my knee, but underneath the ground the roots extended down many times the height of the plant. The root system ran deep, entangling with other nearby plant roots. Hidden from view, the root system was extensive and important to the health of the plant.
As I stood reading, I felt God whisper to my heart, “You worry about your depth and I will worry about your breadth. I want what people see of you to be just a fraction of the depth you have with Me.”
These few words made an impact on me, but I had no idea how freeing these words would be over time. In a world where value is measured by impact, where purpose can feel elusive and must be visible to the outside world, where your life needs to have quantifiable meaning to count but the days and small moments can feel meaningless, where smallness is shunned and largeness is celebrated and where success is measured in ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’ these words brought life to me.
In years since, the pressure has only mounted as social media has made us believe that we all must be shining stars and the shining stars who shine the brightest are the most successful. All around us, this message shouts at us causing us to live at a frantic pace.
This way of thinking has made its way into the church world as well. When this is our way of life, we stop rooting for one another and start competing with one another, because the largest life is the most successful life and sadly, we sometimes believe, the most valuable and useful to God. There is a lot of talk about ‘doing great things for God,’ but I have come to think doing life with God is a lot more important. Many times this leads us into the hidden places where no one sees. All of the time it requires cultivating an inward life with Him in the quiet places.
It is in the quiet places with Him where He makes us into His image. He tells us who we are so we can love others better and not use them for our benefit or to bolster our identity. This is where He helps us see more clearly the important so that we are not sidetracked by the unimportant. He heals our hearts and helps us to forgive those who wrong us. He lovingly shows us places in us that are not like Him and invites us to live lives of repentance and shamelessness before Him. He roots our identity in Him and more and more we begin to respond as He would.
Life with Him is a lot more about who we are than what we do, but who we are will surely impact what we do and how we do it. As we learn to follow Him moment by moment through learning to hear His voice, our lives will surely be purpose-filled. We cannot miss His purpose for us if we are living in intimacy with Him and daily doing what He asks. Life is really all about living life with Him.