She said it loud enough for me to hear, this little treasure of 2 and a bit, tousled hair and perfect little face.
I sat near her and as the meeting went on she had a moment,
one of those moments where all of a sudden you know exactly what you want.
and she said it out,
I want bikkies
And it echoed through me like a shimmer of joy – this uncensored, un-demanding, un-manipulative, statement.
This simple connection between what she wanted right in this moment – and saying it aloud without the need to demand or pretend it was something else.
And it whispered in my heart how I don’t say what I want.
Sometimes I imply, or suggest, or even demand.
Or I close my mouth tight and squash it down because I feel embarrassed by my desire, I feel like no-one else is saying or wanting it so why should I.
and let’s be honest – sometimes it is bikkies I want.
but other times it’s more
I want you to wait for me to finish speaking and hear my heart as well as my words
I want to be honest without being fearful or harsh
I want to be given an opportunity
I want you to take a chance on me
I want to please Jesus, even if embarrasses you
I want to live careless, instead of trying not to be too much
I want to be funny and serious, irreverent and awestruck all at the same time
I want to be Miriam
and not the Miriam you’d like me to be.
It’s strange how I’ve become less skilful at saying what I want. Being able to state what I want or need with authenticity, and honesty, without fear and without manipulation, has gotten lost.
If I even own and understand what I want, I dither on the edges – trying to work out how to say it, if I should say it, what angle to come from. Like it’s more important how you hear it. I’ve complicated myself, I’ve censored myself, I’ve feared your reaction, and in reality I’ve tried to control you.
So today I heard truth from the sweet little mouth that sat next to me. Who realised what she wanted and stated it. I wonder if we could all do with a little more of this honesty, this simplicity, this authentic ability to state what we want come what may.
Because saying what I want, or need, doesn’t guarantee I’ll get it. But it does keep me free and honest.
I think sometimes we hide behind words to protect ourselves from the disappointment of not getting what we really do want. Sometimes we get so good at feeding ourselves a story we start to believe it
like all the excuses we make aloud to stop ourselves from connecting with what our heart really wants, because it’s easier to act like we don’t really care than embrace the difficultly of longings unfulfilled
like the woman who says I want to be relevant to everyone, and not offend anyone so I need to temper my faith, when all she’s ever wanted is to recklessly pursue the One whose captivated her heart…
and I realise this thing…. that I’ve been so busy wanting it all, and wanting none of it that I have missed the glimpses of this thing I really want.
I want Him.
I undoes me when Jesus says to the disciples, ‘do you guys want to leave too?’
and Peter replies, ‘where else can we go? You alone have the words of life.’
and that is my thing… where else can my heart go?
because I want to be in His house
with his beautiful, messed-up, infuriating, slightly weird people
and I’m tired of pretending, and trying to convince myself that’s not for me
and I don’t know how it will look for a girl like me who loves The Church so hard;
because it beats in me for all of it
the high, the low, the community church with one musician in a musty hall, the slick huge congregation…. like it’s all a family to me. A family that confuses me and messes me up and makes me cry with anger when it starts shooting arrows at itself, and makes me cry with joy when it responds in love.
This is what I want – here in this sacred moment
I want to serve The Church, and a local church too to be certain, but The Church universal, with all my heart
to whisper to her when she is worn down and weary – nothing can snatch you out of his hand
to proclaim loud to her – your God reigns
to challenge her – this is how the world will know you are His, by your love for each other
to call with her – rend the heavens and come down
to see the creative unleashed – to give a platform for us to all share our gifting
to pray for her – may the people praise you, Oh God may all the people praise you
to stand unified – loving each other, other denominations, despite our differences
to teach her well – with integrity and sound theology
to prophesy faithfully – because God is speaking
to see her experience – Holy Spirit at work
to stand with her – and see the miracles we have heard of renewed in our day
to be clothed with strength and dignity together,
to laugh with joy together,
to work it out messy, humble, imperfectly
and how does that happen?
and how do I get there?
I don’t know. That’s God’s job.
What I do know is I want bikkies.
I want to serve, strengthen, encourage, bring joy, spend my life on The Church. Because I love it.
and today that is enough. To be able to say what I want and leave the rest.