Just the other week I sat at our community table drinking highly prized ground coffee and chatting away with the wife of the house parents to us married couples. We were talking through what the last couple months held when I confessed that given the level of activity and never-ceasing noise, “We aren’t at our best here.” It was a simple moment of me being honest and real to the challenges of life and how it was affecting us.
“You’re not supposed to be at your best,” she quickly replied. “It’s not the point. You’re supposed to be at your lowest.”
Her reply felt so counter to my ingrained aspirations and yet completely spot on. Instantly, I let out this huge exhale, being pierced by the restful aroma to the words she spoke. Lowest, I thought. Yes. Lowest.
Those words over coffee were like an arrow hitting on target what this African season is purposed for in my journey. This land isn’t teaching me how to be my best, shine my brightest, or catch the eye of those around me. Instead, through moments like this, I am soaking in the richest revelation of my journey’s intended downward direction.
The question I keep asking myself is, what if the trek we are to embark on is not the upward one of more, better, and pull-it-all-together, but the simple one of lower still?
Because maybe best isn’t the prize. Maybe it isn’t about the medallion I strive to earn on my shirt marking me as having arrived, holding it together, or as something special to the world. Maybe the prize to be treasured and worn is the one that says I’m heading lower into the engulfing waters of His deeply lavished love where at my hungriest I am filled, at my meekest I inherit, and at my most dependent, I am empowered.
What does lower look like? It looks something like laying down our lives every day, whether in the offices of huge corporations or in dark regions of the world. It’s where we live understanding life isn’t about us, but about serving something far greater. It’s where we’re dependent on His presence for everything, from healing the blind to loving family members right before us. It’s where we become hungry, humble, and poor in spirit that the fullness of the Kingdom comes.
Lower isn’t less of us. Nor is it about being without purpose, vision, or identity. Lower is restful, surrendered, dependent, and trusting. It’s about pursuing again the simplicity of the gospel and life – love Jesus and love people.
How easy it can be to get caught up in the promise of books, sermons, and tweets that tell me in 5 steps or 3 keys I can succeed and be the best and brightest around. The grandeur of the guaranteed results is alluring, but the return is almost certainly void. Why?
Because Jesus went low. And when He was as low as possible, somehow He journeyed even lower. It was never about Him being the greatest around; it was always about being love. And out of that love, the precious Son was born a baby and dependent on an earthly mother, found washing the feet of those who would betray Him and suffering for those who couldn’t stand Him.
He paved the road, showing the direction to pursue. It’s the journey of more dependence, more trust, more risk, more laid down love for Him. All I am asked to do is follow. And when the moment comes that I think I have clicked into that low place, oh how I pray I will find my journey even lower still.
When was the last time you willingly chose to go low in the moment, whether by the laying down of your life or the pouring out of your love? How could this very day be altered by one simple choice to go a little lower… and maybe even a little slower?