It amazes me how easily I can make this vision a machine, and make myself, as an extension of that machine, a simple gear. The danger then is forgetting my humanity and the part it plays. I am not simply a machine to faithfully carry out assigned duties and tasks. I am a man. I am susceptible to weariness, flawed reasoning, discouragement and distraction. I’m also capable of great moments of passion, courage, creativity and reckless ingenuity.
And such things matter.
So I don’t forget that I am more than my assignments, I will be taking my pulse each Monday, and relaying how I am faring as a whole because it’s important to know how the man is functioning within something that often feels like an unwieldy machine.
Last week was a roller coaster. I don’t remember being this tired before. I lay down for a moment around 8pm last night with plans to rise and do more only to wake about 3:45 this morning, lights still on. I quickly fell back to sleep for another five hours. A part of me felt guilty about yet another two hour late morning nap, but I simply didn’t have the energy to do anything more. Finally, I woke with the energy I’m accustomed to feeling at the start of a day. Needless to say, I am very thankful for this day off!
As I reflected today, I realized that over the past week I felt more the divided man caught between Spirit and flesh than i ever have. More than once, broken to tears in worship and overwhelmed by God’s goodness and peace, but letting loose careless and coarse words in anger and frustration only minutes later. At times I was the coward frozen in place, and at others I courageously placed one foot in front of the other despite my fear. Laziness and hard work intermingled. Time was both spent well and wasted. It was quite a week, and at the end of it I am tired, but encouraged. I’m not encouraged because I have some secret tally where the good me beat out the bad me. With all that happened over the past week, I have no idea who won out. Thankfully, that’s not my count to keep and Christ’s blood covers it all.
Therein lies the key.
You see, if I were a gear in a machine I’d have been tossed out. I, at times, am tempted to toss myself out. I’m cracked, and worn and broken. But God doesn’t view me as a simple gear, he sees me as a man. He sees me as His man, and he loves all of me even when it breaks His heart to do so. So today, after a long week filled with the best and worst of me, I take a deep breath and listen to God’s words of encouragement shared so abundantly throughout last week’s struggles. I’m a man, not a machine, and He loves me. There’s still more work to be done, and He’s chosen me to do it. So once again, I take another step forward as part of God’s vision for Memphis and this world, despite this gear missing a few teeth.