holding onto the ride that is my life. Commitments at work, commitments in the arena of public elected offices I hold, and most importantly commitments at home - all of them play a daily tug of war for my thoughts, my energies, and my time.
At work I am being asked to undertake more responsibilities than most of my co-workers based upon my skills and work ethic. This is not a self-pat on the back, it is simply my values brought into the workplace. The cost is often increased deadlines and stress.
I hold two elected offices representing local and state library boards. Committee meetings regularly interrupt my weeknights. Budget meetings, policy revisions, local and state law review, countless hundreds of miles driven for board meetings; all of these time away from my home, the faces that comprise my fan club.
At home, my bride and I have undertaken a project to renovate the interior of our home. We have big plans ahead of us, all contingent upon the proper layout and finishing touches of our "remodel". It was to have been completed in May. It is mid-July and we've been 1/2 done for 6 weeks. My garden is neglected. My house needs painted. I need to build a fence in the back yard this year. I need to get a new roof installed prior to winter... the list and the stresses goes on.
In the midst of all of this: Africa. God's calling upon my heart to visit and minister to our kids at the Ludlati care point in Swaziland is sure. I felt it strongly in January at our first team meeting. I felt it again in March. I felt it during the garage sales in April, May, and June, during the Apron Auction fund raiser and subsequent team meetings. God has continued to confirm it in me even when I've had doubts. Where I've been ready to cash in my chips at times for lack of resources or will, God has opened every door, supplied every need, and placed this journey at my feet with the words "I want you to step into this".
Now, two weeks from stepping onto African soil with escalating pressures in every arena of my life, the enemy of my soul softly chants "Unworthy."
"You are not worthy of this honor - you do not belong with this team. You did not do enough to garner this privilege. You are not prepared for this journey. You aren't even holding your life together. You are not doing a good job at work - you aren't going to make your deadlines before leaving. You are not a good father. You are not a good husband. You are negligent of your family and leaving them in a terrible state. You are doing a substandard job at your elected positions. What do you think you can possibly bring to those who know daily neglect, hunger, and isolation when you can't even reconcile your own privileged American life? You are failing in every realm. You are unworthy even of your Father's love - your actions and failures have proven this."
Oh enemy of my soul, liar of liars, enticer of mens' hearts and minds. As a roaring lion you prowl. I am so thankful you have been defeated. Too often have I given you credibility. Too often have I listened to your beguiling half truths and misspoken falsehoods and walked them out to their disastrous conclusions. Too often have I ignored the power of my Father's unfailing love.
"Unfailing love" - this phrase is used nearly two dozen times in the Psalms in reference to God's love for us.
(Psalms 13:5, 23:6, 31:7, 32:10, 33:5, 36:5, 48:9, 52:8, 59:17, 63:3, 86:15, 89:2, 90:14, 130:7, 138:2, 147:11 - to name a few...)
Unfailing - Absolute; Boundless; Consistent; Continuous; Diligent; Endless; Eternal; Faithful; Inexhaustible; Persistent; Solid; Sure; Trustworthy; Unlimited; Unrelenting.
Read this definition again. Done? Now read it again, out loud. Let it take shape in your thinking. Unfailing is permanent. It is immovable. It is unshakable. It is not swayed by circumstance. Unfailing simply does not fail.
I am worthy, but not because of me. Because of Him, because He resides within me. I am called His temple, His habitation. I am loved, but not because of any action or merit of my own. His love for me is based solely on the simple truth of who He is and takes nothing of who I am, my past, my accomplishments or my failures into account. It does not matter if I claim a thousand souls for his kingdom in my life or simply one. It does not matter if I enjoy continual successes or endure continual failures, if I perfectly obey his every command or break his every law. I cannot affect or change His love for me because He is immutable, unshakable, and eternal. My response to His Word is an indicator of my love for Him, but does not alter or change His love for me.
I am worthy; worthy to live the life He has called me to, an abundant overflowing life. I am worthy to live in the arenas He has placed me in. I may not choose the circumstances around my life, but I can choose the foundation upon which I build my life - the foundation of His Word, of regular time and fellowship with Him, of thanksgiving and praise towards Him. When built upon this, my life is built upon Him and He cannot be moved or altered.
I can choose to listen to His Word which tells me I am more than (greater than, exceedingly above) a conqueror through Christ (Romans 8:37). I can refuse the lies of the enemy, the whispers in the dark that prey upon my insecurities and misgivings. Instead of focusing upon my lack of strength, abilities, and capacity, I can choose to focus upon what God's Word has stated about my position in Him as Adopted Son, Joint Heir with Christ, armed and equipped with everything needed to walk successfully in this life, the effective abundant rich life that God has called me to. Any whispered notion contrary to this is in my mind and heart is, in a word, "Unworthy".