By Jenny Smith
My kids have these Magna-Tiles that are all kinds of shapes with magnets along the plastic edges. We build all kinds of structures, and it’s fun to watch our kids let their creativity run free.
But oh these magnets do interesting things. I’m guessing you know the feeling of holding two magnets together that don’t want to go together. No matter how you bring them close, they will resist.
It’s similar with different ideas about faith. There are concepts and truths that don’t make sense when they’re brought together. There’s one in particular that I used to struggle with a great deal.
People would tell me I was enough, just as I was. I could be content in the truth that God loved me exactly as I was in that moment.
Braces, acne, awkward clothes, insecurities, perfectionism and all. I tried to believed that 100 percent. Because clearly I was desperate for that to be true at the tender age of 13.
But then I got this other message that I was supposed to constantly grow and become something else. God wanted to make me new. But wait. I thought God loved me as I was. It never made sense to me. How could God love me now and want me to change?
One day I came across this Max Lucado quote: “God loves you just the way you are, but refuses to leave you that way.” Something clicked. Somehow those two truths could be held in tension.
The magnets didn’t have to meet for those two things to be true at the same time. I accepted that maybe they would always be in tension with each other.
That day, my heart, soul and brain stretched a little bit more. I now had capacity to hold some gray area in the middle of me for the things that wouldn’t easily fit into my already labeled containers. I used to think that gray area meant my faith was weak. Now, I know that gray area, the tension, brings me more faith and joy than “knowing all the answers” ever could.
So my friends, as you begin a new year, regardless of how you view your spirituality: You are enough. You are beautiful, inspired, capable of deep purpose and feeling content with the current state of your life. And there’s more. There’s more love, grace, growth, healing, justice and resurrection. Where you are now is not where you have to stay.
Take a moment this week and sit with these two truths. Where do you resist them? Where do they bring you life?
You are enough. And there’s more.
Marysville United Methodist Church pastor Jenny Smith writes a monthly faith column for these newspapers.