somewhere new, someplace safe: the feeling of small

I want to be great.

It seems as though my entire life has been an endless quest for greatness and esteem.

I want to have a great life.

I want my life to be full, bold, trusting.

I thirst for adventure and wild living.

I sit and listen to Bon Jovi, soaking in the lyrics.  “It’s my life.  It’s now or never.  I’m not going to live forever.”

And in a moment, I am propelled forward into great dreams of a large life.

Isn’t the point to life to live it as fully as we can?  To take risks, live with no regrets, say “Yes” more than you say “No.”  There’s a societal fear of wasting life.  We combat the fear with white water rafting and romances.

I want to be great.

I want to have a great life.

My summer is coming to an end and I leave to go back to Oklahoma in just a few days.  This summer, I’ve tasted and experience a level of fullness and greatness that I have never experienced in my life.  I was pushed passed my own boundaries, doing things I never thought I’d do.  I made memories, I made friends.  I fell in love with the people and the work.

Tonight, I took a drive and reflected on the summer and there’s grief.  There was fear, too.  I want this fullness for the rest of my life and I am afraid to let it go.  What if my life is never great again?  What if I never go on another adventure?  What if I go home and get stuck?  What if my life from here on out is boring?

What if I am not great?

What if my life is not great?

I looked off to the side of the road and spotted a sunflower.  I stopped the car and jumped out to pick it.  And the moment I opened the car door, I was struck by an intense sense of smallness as I stood in the shadow of the mountains around me.  I felt their largeness deep down inside me and all I could do was look up and stare.  In that moment I realized something:

I am so small.

And after the haunting realization, a subtle reassurance:

I am supposed to be.

I just stood there.  I looked around me at the majesty.  At the end of summer, I am standing in the shadow of the greatness I experienced.  And I feel so small.  But in the midst of it all is this indescribable beauty and depth and assurance.

It was in the moment I felt the smallest that I was able to appreciate the greatness around me.  I was so incredibly in awe of my God and all of a sudden, words came alive inside me and I meditated.

Would I rather be great or loved greatly?  Would I rather be large or loved largely in the middle of my smallness?

We are too afraid of being small.  We are too afraid of being boring.  We are too afraid of being still, being quiet, being just like everybody else.  We are afraid of normal, we are afraid of regret, we are afraid of the things we don’t tell anyone else.   We are afraid to be human.

Too often do we celebrate the triumphant spirit and too little do we appreciate the broken one.  What is so wrong with being small?  We try to make our lives great to prove we don’t need the One who gave it to us.

I am going home, leaving behind a truly wonderful summer.  I don’t know what the next adventure is going to be.  But, tonight, I remember and I pray.

Jesus, you are my fullest life. 

You are my greatest adventure. 

Teach me to be small.  Teach me to press into you, teach me to learn from you. 

Humble me with your beauty and grace. 

While I struggle to be great, remind me I am loved greatly. 

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