Graham has a great story that he’s used frequently this year. It’s about a wild dream where Jesus seems mad at him, shouting “Give Me back My stuff!” But Graham doesn’t know what “stuff” He means and is overwhelmed. Finally, Jesus explains, “All that anxiety, fear, worry… I paid for it. I died for it. Give Me back My Stuff!” Then Jesus explains softly, “I want to give you My peace, My joy, My life instead. Please, give Me back all that other stuff. It isn’t yours anyway.”
I’ve heard Graham do this story in a room with a thousand people and in a circle of 14 leaders… and the impact remains stunning. It’s a powerful example of God’s passion for us to live in the fullness of what Jesus died to give us.
But I learned recently, that God is quite delighted to go rummaging around the closets of my life for “stuff” that I don’t even know is there. Of course, in a magnificent moment of inspiration several months ago, I gave Him permission. I impulsively rewrote the last line of my inheritance word in Psalm 139 and changed it from “Try me and know my anxieties” to “Run through my life with joyful abandon. Throw open my closet doors and bring Your light to things I don’t even know I’ve hidden away.”
Yup, I actually wrote that of my own free will.
So why should I be surprised when I think I’m sailing along in my process of living a stellar Kingdom life and discover, “Oh my… that’s not God’s perspective.” Followed closely by “Ouch! I really think like that?” Sigh. Time to give back some stuff.
The years of hearing Graham say: “No shame. No Blame. God doesn’t do that” has actually taken hold. Repentance has become the joy of turning and going another way. God really doesn’t see what’s wrong, He only sees what’s missing and He has every intention of providing it. Those are life giving words to remember on the day your angel is desperately trying to trade your card in Heaven for another, less challenging assignment.
I would like to think that I would see the missing pieces of my life through academic observation. But the reality is, it’s often the stumbles along the way that bring the obstacles to light. I’m trying to forge ahead and Jesus is saying:
“Wait! There’s some stuff here that you will trip you up in the future. See that anxiety (you call it “concern”)? Why don’t you give that back to Me? It’s causing you to completely miss My heart in this. And that need to have all your ducks in a row? I thought you got rid of that last year? Let’s let the ducks out for a run. You’ll be fine.”
I realize once again that I’m the only one that’s shocked to see the gaps in my life. God already knows they’re there and He’s glad to have an opportunity to get some more of His stuff back. Good friends can see the gaps too and have a way of coming along side to say, “You’re better than this.” They are grace-filled accelerants to the process of maturity.
So my internal space has more room today than yesterday. Jesus is smiling and I have a new journey to take. This was just a beginning, not an ending. There are fresh mindsets to explore and establish and new discoveries about the true nature of God that I will behold and eventually become.
There’s room for all that, now that the “stuff” is no longer cluttering up my closets.