This morning finds my heart saturated with gratitude, overwhelmed by the immense display of love and encouragement I have experienced over the last couple of days. I have long admitted my lifelong approval addiction – and continue to strive to overcome it – but this has been a tremendous fix. I am so amazingly blessed.
I have long identified with David, King of Israel. His writings have been instrumental in teaching me so much more about prayer and honesty with God than I ever would have imagined. I guess it probably soothes a bit of my own insecurity when I see him, this warrior king, crying out, “But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God!” (Psalm 70:5). As I limp through this life, embarrassed by the scars of my failures and weaknesses, I realize I’m in good company with kings and prophets and fishermen and soldiers – each of us a testimony that God does some of His most amazing works with broken tools . . . just because it’s more obvious that He did it.
But in all of the love and affirmation I have so freshly experienced, I find a resurgence of a stirring in my spirit that makes me want to stretch a little further, reach a little higher, pray a little longer, serve a lot better. I can’t help but think of the words that Solomon prayed as he took the throne at the command of his father. Though I am no king, I have been called to take a role of leadership in my marriage, my family, my church family, and my community. This prayer strikes a powerful chord of recognition for me:
“And now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give Your servant therefore and understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this Your great people?”King Solomon, 1 Kings 3.7-10
That’s what I want. I am not called to govern or rule, but to lead. I just turned 40, but I feel like a child in my inexperience. I don’t know how to do all of this. And He has given me such an amazing and immense circle of influence in which to serve. I desperately need an understanding mind, a discerning heart, and a God-sized empowerment to be and to do that for which He has called me.
In all of the kind words, funny cards, generous gifts, and the tremendous work that went into making my fortieth birthday an immensely special day, I am so very grateful. I would borrow a line spoken by the great Jack Nicholson, though I think I’ll give you a link so you can watch the scene for yourself. Just know that, because of the love and support and acceptance I have received, I will keep striving. I’ll take the pills. I’ll walk the miles. I’ll lift the weight. I’ll pray the prayers. I’ll preach the sermons and teach the lessons and make the visits and the calls and so on.
So, what is it that makes you want to be a better man (or woman)?