Perfection, Fishes, and Loaves
Do ya'll ever invite people over and then when it's time to get ready for the little gathering, you start wondering WHY you ever even thought you could pull off something that meant people would show up at your door and expect to walk in without sticking to the floors or sliding in the mud bath your dogs have tracked in? And THEN they will want drinks with actual ice in them but the icemaker is frozen up and you forgot to grab a bag of ice at the store because the checkout lady didn't remind you, and WHY didn't she remind you when it seems the people at Publix are regular mind readers?! Shouldn't she who wears the green vest have KNOWN? But at least you have snacks because if there is something you DO know, it is SNACKS...so you run to grab the snacks as a start, because you know, you want to launch from a happy place, but right when you reach for the snacks, you see a hole in the fridge where the snacks used to be because your people packed said snacks in their pool bags out of the dire need for something besides the leftover reject chips in the variety pack from the Christmas party two six or so months ago.
For years I thought that was what was happening in the fish and loaves story. I think it was because at VBS circa 1980, it was acted out by some people in a skit that resembled a hot mess of a party, a gathering of people just wanting a good time.
Back to our perceived party...So much optimism in the beginning, right? A fresh idea. Cool stories swirling around in our heads of how the gathering willl be so fun...I love how new beginnings are filled with anticipation, a fresh slate...A chance to create something from scratch and make it happen. Thoughts like, "THIS time I won't forget the ice or the reasonably dated snacks. The mud will be mopped up and the fridge will sparkle in my kitchen that has a fresh lemony scent because I was smart enough to buy the snacks at Publix and not bake them myself. THIS time will be....(insert the record scratch) PERFECT!" Anyone else do this? When I am looking at the newness of an opportunity the tentacles of perfectionism wrap their sticky little hands around all of my imagination and inspiration so quickly. While this perfectionism is seemingly the way to success, it actually stifles my productivity and creativity. Instead of helping me achieve, it bogs me down with distractions that demand I do things a certain (perfect) way instead of doing it the way that feels most inspired.
Scipture revealed itself to me in a fun way today...The passage in Matthew that seems too familiar to offer new wisdom did just that! For starters, Jesus and the disciples were with some people who were starving for their souls and bodies to be fed. Sound familiar? I don't know about you but I feel surrounded by dear people in my life who are hurting right now. I know I can't fix their hurts, and I also know I am in it with them. BOTH are real and hard. While I know I'm not leaving or turning my back, it feels scary to stay because I am just this one person that is trying to be my best, and even still I know my efforts just won't be enough.
This is where the story shifted for me...What if we are the holders of the fish and the loaves? What if my gifts and the parts of me that feel inadequate or like less than enough are actually capable of being more when I turn them over to the Divine? What if I give these parts of myself to be broken and used and multiplied to spread the love of God? Is that even possible? The surrendering part and the multiplying part seem like a stretch...But in my prayer and meditation, I hear back, "What if, dear one, by giving yourself and surrendering your small offering, your gift really can be multiplied to feed more than you can imagine?" And I realize surrender and trust are sisters.
If I surrender and start handing out what I have, might I trust that it will multiply as God works in each small gesture? I am trying to pause and attempt to hand these parts of my life over to a God that I trust with what I cannot see. I trust that I will find a lifetime of gradual surrender and giving played out again and again, even when I am planning a simple party.