A reoccurring delusion I live under is that I am wholly strong enough to be able to live, love and move the way I ought to. I inhale affirmation, tasks, talents, and significance like they are oxygen, leaving me shell-shocked when all of it turns to smoke. I white-knuckle love from others, simultaneously convinced that I am the greatest giver of love and that I am a fraud fooling everyone. This illusion which enraptures my sight is one of the reasons the Lord’s Prayer is so humbling for me, uttering the words “give us this day our daily bread,” becomes a re-posturing of my otherwise hell-bent heart.
Every few months, it seems, I am externally reminded of just how dependent I am on the grace of God for every good thing in me. When I come face to face with my own insufficiency it feels a lot like a sobering. As if I am being sobered up from the illusions which, while intoxicating, were never real, and were in fact violent to my being. Illusions of my self-sufficiency, of my control, and of the way “things ought to be.”
Only when I recognize my insufficiency (and by His grace does He remind me of it), am I able to hold my hands out to receive what He gives.
I am once again detoxed from these illusions, I find I am able to see and receive what Christ has on offer for me –– daily bread. Just enough for the day, leaning on his chest like the beloved disciple, and inviting the Spirit of God to infiltrate my sight. Only when I recognize my insufficiency (and by His grace does He remind me of it), am I able to hold my hands out to receive what He gives. The illusion of my autonomy causes my hands to grasp fading things while grace-filled sight allows me to extend my hand to meet His.
I wrote the prayer that follows during a moment of soul-level weariness from my prideful toil, in the throes of one of those “sobering moments.” It’s not structurally profound or beautifully crafted, but instead I give to you the overflowing of my heart. I would love for you to receive what is below as a prayer for you as well as myself. May we have hope awakened as we limp towards the throne of grace with boldness.
So we sit, being sobered by reality,
as we release our intoxicating illusions.
O Lord in this hungover space would you awaken hope?
In your presence…
May we find our imaginations of what can be become shaped by the cross.
May hope prove to be more real than the fears.
May your presence awaken hope amidst the chaos.
May your grace be sufficient.
May your power be perfected in weakness.
Oh weak and weary souls - praise your God. Praise God with your tears and trembling hands. Praise God as you limp to His table.
In the middle of it all - oh my Lord be praised.
Amidst the weakness - oh my Lord be praised.
As we reach for the hem of your garment – oh my Lord be praised.
Awaken hope, even here.
Blake Dean is a senior religion major with a minor in psychology. His greatest talent is spilling beverages indiscriminately. He is passionate about theology and social justice. Ask him about Mary Magdalene if you want a good conversation starter.