Explain to Me How It’s Possible

Photo Credit: Clemence
Photo Credit: Clemence

My whole life I’ve been afraid
of square one.
I remember Four Square in the middle of the street with the boys
wanting to be king of a square of concrete, but only
if it was number one,
and I hated square four, always end up there,
so I just wouldn’t play unless I knew I could win.

When I was in school I had to be number one–
the first to turn in work, the first to be on time.
100% on tests and A’s in all my writing,
110% effort put into math, fighting
for a passing grade from a teacher who scoffed
at my passion and made me cry on the soccer field.
I added the hurt to a recording heart and swore that math didn’t matter in the real world,
that I could subtract that failure from my spotless record and on average
still be winning, never spotting that Square A + Square B doesn’t equal Square C
if you’re calculating from square one.

Years later I’m learning to find my identity in Jesus
stripped of all the things that made me number one–
my words, my beauty, my likability,
all the things that kept me from square one–
my learning, my certainty, my defensive road blocks
my running when I realized I couldn’t win.
And still I’m desperate to avoid coming back to where I’ve been,
always moving forward, always pressing in,
always living in the victory that belongs to him, not realizing
that claiming his victory is just another means of keeping me from square one–
I’m so afraid of failure, so scared of being stuck it’s got me thinking
that the proof of walking well is coming out on top
instead of resting in his love.
When did I become convinced that I must always be victorious?
My pride and fear absorbed me, and Satan pitched his two cents in:
“Your value lies in winning, and because you are in Christ, therefore you must win.”
But still I’m losing battles and tripping on square one
I’m tired of being boxed around, tempted to throw the towel in.
I know his love is in this and his grace absorbs my fears,
“Stay where you are,” he says, and because I trust him,
I sit in the middle of square one.

Only when I’ve stopped running, when I give up winning does he show his hand,
the paradox of what I’ve been missing.
Explain to me how it’s possible to walk hand-in-hand with God and still have hands that sin,
to trust a God whose pierced hands have handed me the victory and still lose battles,
to believe–hands down–in freedom but still find my hands bound,
to be his redeemed handiwork but bear the hand-print of the world,
to be handled by the Spirit while fighting my flesh barehanded.
Explain to me how it’s possible
to win the final war by surrendering this battle.
Explain to me how it’s possible
to be freed by realizing I don’t have to have every victory.


One thought on “Explain to Me How It’s Possible

  1. Pingback: Dream Demons | Grace Upon Grace

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