Ready and Willing {Accepting It’s Not About Me}

Fitted wranglers wrap around well-worn cowboy boots. His button-down shirt pressed with precision, silver snaps polished clean. The top button flails slightly to make room for the place he is now breathing through.

Long, sun-worn legs fold neatly next to him, adorned with wedged shoes that would make any mouth gape. A common armrest sits empty between them as she begins her feeble attempt to lighten the looming air. She shares all about her life of service behind the tray. Her pride on her shoulders as she proclaims she now has regulars. And based on the stories inked on her skin, I’m guessing this is as close to casual banter as it gets. He listens while nodding at the floor. His hands wringing to the rhythm of whistling air.

A nurse checks his wristband and offers to usher him away. His companion’s brightly patterned nails slap his knee and she cheers as lightheartedly as she can “Go get ’em, Walter!” Her stack of bracelets add to the chorus and all heads turn to join in on the encouragement.

I can’t help but watch her. With one glance I know we are worlds apart and with another I’m intrigued. Curious to see how similar we truly are.

When he is no longer in view, she melts in the chair, conforming to its curves and lets out the biggest sigh of “Thank God!” I have witnessed in years.

Whether it was intentional praise or indirect relief makes no difference. He heard her. And I saw Him answer hours later when the surgeon emerged with good news.

With that, she is ready to be on her way.

The doctor pleads otherwise.

Reasons or excuses come next and the man draped in white is having none of it. He tries to listen patiently but time presses hard. Finally he exclaims “Ma’am, I’m trying to save your brother’s life here, but I’m going to need your help…”

Out of words, she collapses into the same chair and nods in agreement. No longer helping in conversation but listening to the instruction he brings.

I finally see the resemblance.

Later that night, while thanking God for answering my prayers in that room, He reminded me of her. Rather, He showed me a mirror.

Friends, I’ve been known to pull a Jonah. I’ve had experience running from Nineveh. Excuses and reasons why I shouldn’t be the one come easy for me.

I’ve ignored His call to harvest before. I argue. Complain. I’ve even tried to remind God there are other things more important. Things affecting me today.

You know what? He listens, but He doesn’t relent. He simply keeps pointing the way, asking for my help. As if He needs it.

Sometimes I show up and trust my presence will be enough. I smile and encourage and play the part the best I know how. But there is no fooling The One draped in pure grace… No, He wants all of me.

I’m not sure when I figured it out: The fact He doesn’t really need my help. His glory will always prevail. But I’ll never forget the moment I realized this truth is a mere incidental.

Because the reality is: It is I who needs to help. To contribute to His glory. To show others He is my all in all. To deny myself and pay attention to my brother/sister. To focus more on Him.

A portion of verses have ended up in my lap numerous times lately (it helps they are found in Matthew and in Luke). I’ve talked about them before. And I’m ashamed to admit it took this long for me to really listen to what He was telling me.

It wasn’t until I had read it in The Message interpretation that it really hit home:

Then Jesus went to work on His disciples.
‘Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead.
You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am.
Don’t run from suffering; embrace it.
Follow me and I’ll show you how.
Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way,
My way, to finding yourself, your true self.
What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself?
What could you ever trade your soul for?’
Matthew 16:24-26

So this is what denying yourself is all about. This is why selfishness doesn’t have a place in His Kingdom.

  • It’s not about me.
  • The harvest is plentiful…the workers few.
  • And Home is on the horizon.

Father, oh how You pursue me. Thank you for Your persistence…for always being willing to work on me. Yes. I’ll deny myself today and live like I mean it. For it’s all about You. Why wouldn’t I want others to know and join me on this journey Home? Lord, I’m ready and willing. You lead, I’ll follow…

How about you, friend? Are you ready and willing? How do you deny yourself? Do you contribute to the harvest? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

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34 thoughts on “Ready and Willing {Accepting It’s Not About Me}

  1. Nikki, I have thought of you often. You must know how loved you are by this community. Your storytelling here is breathtaking and powerful even though it is truly wrapped in tenderness. So fragile, this.

  2. Beautiful writing as usual. I could see every detail of that waiting room in my mind’s eye. I think we all have our Ninevahs that we run from. Thank you for your encouragement and honesty here.

  3. I’ve been marinating in your words all afternoon. Like Mary Beth, I can see and hear everything happening in that waiting room and in the background I hear your heart beating. I still have trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that He pursued me, He still pursues me. The knuckle head that I am, He wants to use me? I don’t get it but I’m with you. Ready and willing!

    • Oh we are kindred. I’m reading “The Cloister Walk” by Kathleen Norris and in the first few pages she says “I can’t imagine why God would want me, of all people, as an offering. But if God is foolish enough to take me as I am, I guess I’d better do it.” My goodness…she sees right into my own heart.

      Yes…let’s not question this crazy love and jump right in!

  4. “Because the reality is: It is I who needs to help. To contribute to His glory. To show others He is my all in all. To deny myself and pay attention to my brother/sister. To focus more on Him.”
    yes! YES! that’s so it! i’m feeling this w/ the youth in my care so often lately. I don’t have to “feel like it” to obey HIM!
    praying for you darlin…that He will open your eyes to where you are to plant your feet!

  5. Oh Nikki, I have the same heart! I love the book of Jonah because it has brought me deep into those parts of my heart that I didn’t know was there. And that version of the passage (Message?), says it in such a way that it pierces deep. Thank you for this sweet friend. So glad to be in this journey together!

    • We have talked about our love of Jonah before I think. I love it, too. And have a whole slew of drafts about it. waiting for my heart to catch up with them… ; ) Thank you for joining me on this journey, friend!

  6. So often I find myself wanting to run and then I have to remind myself that only when I run to Him do I find real peace and joy. Loved this post, and I sure don’t want to end up in the belly of a whale! But the most important thing is just to make Him happy. “It’s all about Him.
    Joy”

  7. I feel silly saying it. But choosing to homeschool, was a big, “it’s not about me” decision. You painted a powerful portrait today Nikki.

    • I love that you said that, Laura. As I fought between trying to figure out if it was an all about me decision (because I like to control things) or if it was denying myself decision–which it has turned out to be ten fold!

      So glad you shared with me, friend.

      (I’ve started my email to you…it will be sent soon) 🙂

  8. Nikki, I love visiting you! You speak so graciously and with so much love! Thanks for sharing this beautiful story that really does draw on the heart. I am the same way…a Jonah. One who fights against God, because I don’t understand. All the while, He’s wanting to save lives! I’m glad He is persistent with me…in a sense interrupting all my excuses and telling me to sit down! It’s a good thing and I’m slowly growing… learning to deny myself and follow Him. I love, love this! Blessings dear friend!

    • We are on similar paths, Jacqui. I’m still discovering what it means to deny myself I think…and follow. humbly follow.
      So glad you’re joining me here where we can work through it together! Thank you, friend.
      praying for you…

  9. I think there’s some Jonah in all of us.
    That verse in the Message is amazing and I needed to hear it.
    From “the other Elizabeth” 🙂

    • You make me smile, “The other Elizabeth” 🙂
      Doesn’t it really bring that passage home? Through the Message? This is the first year I’ve read the Message if you can believe it! So many things are coming more alive to me (although I still retreat to my trusty Translation I know best!)

  10. Nikki you weave your stories and I am lost in the words. I love how you keep us coming back for more of your grace, humbleness and love. My friend and sister you are a harvester…don’t ever think otherwise! 🙂

  11. Dear Nikki, I’m so thankful for your heart sister. The way He allows you to write your words is beautiful and the pictures too. I just opened up my message Bible on my nightstand. I normally use my NLT but the message does hit it home so directly for moments like these. I think I’ll open up to that Matthew chapter tonight… ~ Love, Amy

    • Oh I read the NLT in 90 days this year for the first time! I loved that translation. And I thought…I haven’t read The Message through, I wonder what I’ll think of that one! So I did (well, I’m in II John, so I’m almost done) and I couldn’t believe the perspective. Still, it’s not what I’ll resort to, but I sure did enjoy it! Yes–read matthew….or the Luke version. The Luke version spoke to me first…

      So blessed by you, new friend! Love and hugs…

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