I do believe that if we want to truly be blessed, live the life of the beloved*, we must first be willing to be: “taken” (to be used by God), "blessed" (in order to receive the grace to willingly and even joyfully do as He asks), “broken” (both in dying to ourselves, our plans, our ways and even our hopes and dreams), and then “given” out to others (in order to help to meet their needs in any number of ways). It is in this feeding of others, truly "giving out" of our very selves, that we get to be most like Christ.
I have learned this first hand very recently in a most vivid way. I share with you this, not to boast, but to encourage. God gives us each opportunities every day that at first we may recoil from because we think we have a better plan for ourselves, but in reality, I can tell you most sincerely, no one has a better plan for your life than God.
My sister came to live in DC this past December after a major health crisis. Her body was failing in many ways and it became very apparent that she needed ongoing support in order to thrive. I must admit, at first I was overwhelmed at the possibility of taking on the responsibility of supporting her in this way because it meant putting my own plans on pause and quite frankly, she was not overly excited about receiving the support I had to offer. But God knew better. By His grace, these last four months have been the sweetest and most healing in every way. I cannot thank God enough for giving me the grace to be able to say YES to His plan and receiving the blessing of so much love and restoration. I believe with all of my heart, I received far more than I gave.
At the BLESSED RETREAT (watch here) I spoke on the Beatitudes. The one I love the most is “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” That word “peacemakers” really means “wholeness makers”. We are called “children of God”, when we look and act like Him--meaning are willing to become “whole” ourselves, having our “loose ends” tied up to Him, becoming a complete circle because He completes us, and then sharing that wholeness-- that peace-- with others.
May you be open to being “taken”, “blessed”, “broken” and “given” as the Lord gives you opportunity. May you be used by God to be a "wholeness maker". You will never regret sharing your chosen, blessed and broken self with others, and in turn, allowing them to share their chosen, blessed and broken self with you. Fear not! With God, there is always plenty enough to go around. That my friends is called “commun...ity”.
“Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over—twelve wicker baskets full.” Matthew 14:13
Ouch. It hurts to die to self, or at least at first. But, by Your grace, I am learning that the life You give after we abandon ourselves to You is far better than the life we thought we were enjoying before You asked for us to join You. Please give me the grace to always be quick to say YES to You -- Your plans and Your ways. Help me to not be so stubborn and self centered, arrogant even in thinking I know better. Lord increase my capacity for YOU. To ask for anything else is not worthy of my breath. Help me to see that being taken, blessed, broken and given is the way I become to resemble You most- I get to decrease and You get to increase! Thank You God for each opportunity of grace.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
*Want to read a really great book about this? Try Henri Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved.