Are you willing to be a nobody?
Two weeks ago, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I loved him. After 4 days of wrestling with him and finally being pinned to the ground I said yes. I thought the hard questions were over. Shouldn’t the love question be it? Shouldn’t that be the only thing that matters? Nope. It is certainly the most important but it is important because it allows so much more to happen. The love question starts everything else. It is the spark that ignites a bomb. It is the catalyst to go deeper. You could argue that I have been going deeper this whole year. I would agree, but I would also say that it was not the right kind of deepness.
Here is a good analogy. Let’s say that God is buried deep in the earth and we are all trying to dig holes to get down to him. Two weeks ago, I finally accepted the belief of Christ in the Eucharist. Something that I had previously been unable to come to terms with. Before that point, I would have been digging my hole toward Christ, but on a slant. A slant that allowed me to walk comfortable down and also provided a way back up as well. A slant that meant that I actually had to dig farther to finally get to the center. Thus the amount of time I was spending digging was the same as others but I was not as deep as those who just dug straight down.
Since two weeks ago, I have steadily begun a descent that is straight down. I have grown tired of walking for miles in my tunnel without actually getting very far. So, by finally allowing God to open my heart to his love and the knowledge of his existence I have been able to stop digging forward and just start digging down . . .
However, now that I am going down much faster, there is a lot of hard to stuff to get through. One of them came up a few days ago: Are you willing to be a nobody?
It came a little unexpected because I sat down to pray for a witness talk that I need to give at a confirmation retreat. I sat down hoping for some guidance on what to say to the kids. Instead, God looked at me and asked me if I am willing to be nobody.
I didn’t know what it meant. I couldn’t get it out of my head. What does he mean am I willing to be a nobody?
I spent the Youth Ministers retreat that we had last week pondering it. As I was unpacking the question, I went further into my heart and further into my soul. I realized that myself and the rest of the youth ministers on the retreat had one thing in common. We wanted to change the world. We wanted to affect people. Some for the right reasons. Some for wrong. Whatever the reason, it was the same desire. We wanted to change people.
It has been a desire in my heart since I was young. I would look at motivational speakers and think, I wanna do that. I want to create change in the world. I want to be somebody! Somebody that others look up too and someone who can cause things to happen! . . . . It is a feeling that, after being asked by God, I realize I am strongly attached to. I don’t want to live my life in obscurrity. I desire for people to mention me when they talk about their conversion stories. . . . selfish isn’t it. I want them to look at my name and remember it! Even if they didn’t remember my name, I still am hoping to at least be a part of the change that Christ is making in the world.
EW. . . even I know that that is NOT cool. As I began digging deeper I was almost repulsed by my selfishness and my arrogant pride. Who was I to think that MY name was worth remembering? Who am I to think that I can change people? Who am I that teens would even take a second glance? As I look at my past I realize that I am NOT anybody. I am not anybody worth remembering. Any good that has happened hasn’t even been because of me. It has been because of Christ either in myself but more than likely in someone else. The only reason that I am here in this spot is because of someone who died on a cross for me 2,000 years ago. And he can easily take my entire life away if he really wants. I am at his mercy and cannot do anything unless he allows it.
I think when God was asking me this question he was really looking into my heart again. He looked at my selfishness and pride and thought to himself: “Hmmm. . . . this isn’t really compatible with my plan.” To do anything in this world I need to give up all sorts of attachment. Including the idea that I can do anything in the first place. I don’t mean that I give up this idea knowing that as soon as I do God works. That is just another selfish move. No, I gotta give up this desire altogether. I HAVE to be willing to accept the fact that God might or might not use me. . . . ever. He could just be calling me to his side to love him . . . and that’s it. I have to give up the desire to change people. I have to accept that I could ultimately live my life in obscurrity. I have to be ready for smallness. Because, otherwise, I am in this relationship for myself, not for Christ. This is hard.