Blessed and Broken

I have a confession – I am plagued by the feeling of inadequacy.

Many times, it grips my heart, its cold iron fist squeezing the breath out of my lungs and suddenly, where I was previously moving along with steady and increasing speed, I find myself screeching to a halt. It’s like this Nairobi weather which creeps up on us and turns a sunny morning into a wet and rainy afternoon, catching us all off-guard and before we know it, the entire city grinds to a halt. In those moments, I find myself struggling to do or even complete tasks which a day earlier, were almost second nature.  The worst thing about these moments is that its tentacles touch every area of my existence; nothing and I mean, nothing is spared from it’s cold icy touch. So in no time, I find myself second guessing all my decisions and actions, I suddenly doubt everything about myself and my steady, strong stride becomes a slow and laboured slouch. I become the judge, jury and ruthless executioner of me.

The cloud may linger for an hour, a day or at worst, a week.

With time, I have noticed how devastating the effects of these moments are. If not reigned in soon enough, I could very easily find myself at the bottom of a ladder I had earlier struggled to climb. I also noticed that it is easier to resign and remain in that place of utter helplessness than to climb out of it: unless…… Unless I deliberately, fiercely and fearlessly face that bull and slay it. Unless I speak louder than the voice of inadequacy.

I am glad to report that with time, these episodes have become less and less. I have spent less sleepless nights in the last several months, shed fewer tears and enjoyed life a lot more. In fact, I am able to trace back to the day I chose to face this bull. I remember that night, many nights ago. I had characteristically lost sleep at around 2:00am. As usual, as soon as my eyes opened, my mind roared to life like a race car and before long, I was cruising along, turning things over and over in my mind. I made mental notes, checked items off mental lists and did an appraisal to determine where “we were”, what improvements to make and what adjustments were required. I reviewed my list of expectations both real and imagined, self imposed and society imposed, and at that point, realized it was all too much for me. I did not have all the requirements to deliver on those expectations. I most certainly did not have adequate resources to even scratch the surface. And instead of pointing my mental vehicle heavenward, I started to turn onto “Inadequacy Avenue”. I felt the icy fingers begin to tighten around my heart and my mind started to spin.

BUT. GOD.

At that moment, that very moment I remembered the story of how Jesus had fed 5,000 men (beside women and children). I took my mobile device and looked through the gospels and found the story as recorded in Mark 6. Here, the Bible records that Jesus and his disciples had set off to a remote place with the hopes of getting some much needed  rest. However, the multitude that had earlier crowded around Jesus saw them leave and followed them on foot, actually running and arrived at the “remote place” ahead of Jesus and the disciples. These guys were determined!  What did Jesus do? He was moved with compassion and sat down to teach them. Soon, evening was approaching, so the disciples suggested that the multitude be sent away to the nearby towns to find food. You know I can relate with the disciples – this was a crowd that decided to crowd their private space! They should go wherever and sort themselves out. Kwani? But Jesus ni nani? He told them to give the multitude food. Now, imagine, uhuru park, jam packed, then Jesus tells you – feed them! 12 men, who last time I checked, had no sustainable source of income, to feed 5,000 people. One word-  I.M.P.O.S.S.I.B.L.E! So after Peter and the rest recovered from the shock, Jesus tells them to go and find out how much bread they had.

That caught my attention-  it means that they had some bread. They had something. It may not have been much, but it was something.

So they went, checked and came back with a report – 2 fish and 5 loaves, they said.  Now, they not only knew the what, they knew how many – the quantity of the “something”. Jesus did not fall over is shock, or tell them they were joking. No. Or ask how that was meant to feed even him alone. No. Why? He knew it was enough. So,He instructed them to sit the crowd in groups, ranks of 50s and 100s – that is in order. They needed to know what they were up against, yes? Have you tried counting tomatoes in a gunia…. you must remove them and group them as you count. Yes? Anyway…… after they had sat, Jesus took the 2 fish and 5 loaves, blessed and broke it, and gave the disciples to feed the multitude.

Did you see that? He gave them to feed the multitude. It was multiplied in their hands! The only breaking Jesus did was the initial one.

You see, as long as the small boy retained possession of the 2 fish and 5 loaves, it remained just 2 fish and 5 loaves. But as soon as he surrendered the basket to Jesus, He blessed it, broke it (multiplied it) and gave to the 12 disciples.

End result? 5,000 men besides women and children were fed AND……. 12 baskets of remains were collected – one for each disciple.

As I read and meditated, I noted several things:

  • As long as I focus on the multitude, I will want to make it someone else’s problem. Send them away. 
  • As soon as I send them away, I will not take time to evaluate what I have. My something.
  • Also, as long as I don’t know what I have, I will not come to the place of releasing it to the Lord for His use. Surrender.
  • And as long as I am not surrendered, He will nothing to break. Multiplication.

So before I drove further down “Inadequacy Street”, I screeched to a halt, turned my “car” around and headed up towards Heaven. And oh the joy?! At that moment, I released EVERYTHING. Everything – the 2 fish (smallest) and the 5 loaves (biggest). I emptied my basket…

I simply asked Him to take it all, bless it and break it….. then feed the multitude.

You see, He has seen the multitude and He knows I only have 2 fish and 5 loaves. Once I surrender it to Him, I know He will bless it, break it and give it back to  me to feed the 5,000. And in the end??  I will have 1 basket full of remains to meet my needs.

Imagine that: 2 fish + 5 loaves = 1 basket full for me.

Nowadays? I don’t thing twice- I simply appraise the multitude, take stock of what I have, surrender it and wait. I can’t wait to see which multitudes He wants me to feed next. But when He shows me, you know what I intend to do – surrender.

I promise.