Finding Reason for Thanks

Up and over

I’m sitting at Coffee Society here back home,  journaling and feeling generally overwhelmed by God’s goodness. I’m not sure when I felt it, but it might have been yesterday’s slow, rambling run through the foothills from pre-dawn dusk to midmorning cool, or experiencing the long-anticipated togetherness of a Thanksgiving meal. Or maybe it was just hanging with Annie over lunch and being able to feel like a big brother again, or that my dad just dropped a new iPhone in my lap… just like that. I’m seeing movement in my life, and things feel like they’re coming together. I just had the thought… I can’t deserve much of this. Things shouldn’t be this good.

I’ve been realizing lately there’s this dichotomy in how I see myself — on one hand, I have a very outside-in view of myself, painfully aware of others’ perceptions of myself and always trying hard to do things that create a polished image (see: Enneagram 3, of which I’m becoming increasingly convinced of). I can experience myself as a high-performer, a compassionate human, and generally rad dude.

Then there’s the other part of myself that’s pretty painfully aware of my flaws and shortcomings. It knows my hiding places and how often I can retreat to them… the places in myself that I experience fears and insecurities.

The achiever in me lives in fear of failure, the sense that things can’t always be this good and I can’t enjoy good things because I’m bound to eff things up, or the sneaking suspicion that something catastrophic is around the corner. The hidden places in me are always wary of being exposed, or worried that I won’t live up to expectations (whose?).

The longer I live the more I’m realizing that these two parts of myself are redeemed by the Gospel. In the Gospel I can acknowledge my imposter and broken self. In the Gospel I begin with the fact that I deserved no good gifts, but then I am given something truly Good. It grounds me and humbles me, and most of all it allows me to yield and experience gifts for what they are… and allow myself to savor the significance of this delight: that I’m simply his son, and he’s a good Father to me.

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