I’m a nerd. I’m analytical. I weigh options. I draw conclusions and parallels. I separate concepts that don’t belong together and combine those that do. I figure things out and make them work.
Those skills all help me with my day job as a software consultant, and I’m actually pretty good at what I do. But I often find myself carrying those same traits over into other aspects of my life. Eventually, I start to realize that those same things that are “skills” for work have become “obstacles” in other areas of my life.
My dad tells me that I like to put things in boxes. I can’t deny that it’s how I make sense of things. It’s how I understand, and how I solve problems. Maybe you’ve seen the YouTube video (go watch it quick) from a few years ago where the girl argues, “It’s not about the nail!” Sometimes I feel like the guy in this video: “It is about the nail! I love you! Let me help you!”
A few years ago I started a plan to read through the Bible in a year. With a number of starts and stops, it’s definitely taken me longer it should have, but I’m finally up to 2 Corinthians now. A few months ago during my reading, I really heard a word from God. He was saying, “You know that stuff you just read? Here’s what it means right now for you.” And it was deep and meaningful. It changed me. I shared it with others and later found out that it was meaningful to them as well.
That happened on a few different occasions over the span of a couple weeks. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, reading scriptures from an early age, but now I was really starting to feel like I was getting something more out of it—something deeper than just the words on the page.
So of course, now, every day, I’m looking for more than the words on the page. I’m looking for that depth and meaning. I’m trying to draw conclusions and parallels, separating concepts that don’t belong together and combining those that do.
And it’s not working.
Yeah, there’s absolutely great stuff I’ve been reading, and some passages have really spoken to me, or revealed something to me, or encouraged me. But I don’t consistently find that depth I experienced a few months back. Tonight, literally as I was writing this, I figured out why. And it’s not
rocket computer science.
As I typically do, I was listening to some music while I was starting to write. It was a playlist of songs that Spotify thinks I would like. This song was #8 on the list. I’d encourage you to listen if you can, but in case you can’t right now, I’ll try to summarize.
In the first verses, the singer is longing to please God. She says, “What can I do for you? What can I bring to you?” She calls Him her “beautiful King”. She sincerely wants to do something to express her love and thankfulness, but can’t figure it out. So she asks again, “What can I do for you?”
Then she finally hears His voice saying, “You don’t have to do a thing. Simply be with me and let those things go.” The moment I heard those words I understood why I was struggling to find that depth I had experienced before—it was because I was trying to find it.
It reminds me of the story in Luke 10 where Martha was angry at Mary for sitting with Jesus instead of helping her prepare dinner.
There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.
My problem is that I’ve been trying to do something for God in my time with Him instead of simply being with Him.
Yes, there is work to be done. But right now, in my time alone with God, the only thing I need to do is simply be with Him. Rest in Him. Love Him. Listen to Him. Linger in His presence. I didn’t find that depth because of my ability to put things in boxes and sort things out—I found it in spite of that ability. I didn’t receive the words to share and encourage someone else because I am a problem solver—I received them from a God who lovingly placed them in my heart to share.
Besides myself, what can I really give to God? On my own, what encouragement do I really have to share with someone else? What problems can I really solve? All of the real problems were solved that Friday afternoon when a bloodied, victorious Jesus cried out, “It is finished!”
I bet sometimes He feels like that guy in the video. “It is about the nails! I love you! You don’t have to do a thing. Simply be with me.”