If I met Jesus on the streets of Ann Arbor today, longed to follow Him, yet was asked to radically change my life before taking one more step, would I be dejected? Stopped in my tracks, certainly. Would I turn away? Or be prepared to make room in my heart for Christ?
At first thought, I wouldn’t consider myself materialistic. But if I’m honest, I’m pretty weighed down sometimes. Taking up room in my heart are emotional possessions; human attachments and fears; anxieties of succeeding as a Ph.D. student while being present to myself, my community, and my relationship with God.
At the end of a long day, do I have the strength to take another deep, longing breath toward Christ? Too often, the answer is “I sure hope so.”
Yet Jesus, looking at the man, loved him—loves me. I imagine a gentle touch on my shoulder as He recognizes the gravity of what He’s asking me to do. In His humanity Jesus knows the pressures and pull of this life. Indeed, He’s on the same path that I am in this very moment.
Still, I hear Jesus kindly and lovingly prodding me to realize that I lack the same thing the man did: Space. Openness in each relationship, each task, each prayer for the work of the Spirit.
I’m sure the disciples were anxious and frustrated when confronted with the reality of such deep, all-encompassing change. And I’m sure that, like me, they stumbled along the way.
Yet, while fearful, I am in total awe that I’ve been met today with the very grace that makes salvation possible. Jesus reminds me not only of God’s power, but that I walk the path of this human life with His breath inside me. He will touch every piece of my life, shake it up, and transform it. But the first challenge is mine: Make space for His work.
I return over and over to St. Ignatius’s Suscipe as I pray for the strength to let go of those things that take up space in my life and in my heart. This musical setting beautifully captures the release and trust that I long for, and that Jesus reminds me I must work toward on today’s journey.
“I surrender, Lord, all I have and hold.
I return to you your gifts untold.
Give me nothing more than your love and grace—
These alone, O God, are enough for me.”
What do you need to let go of in order to turn and follow Jesus on His journey? What scares you about doing so? Where do you need Jesus’s gentle prodding in your life?
Colleen McClain is a Ph.D. student in the Michigan Program in Survey Methodology and a member of the GRAD/YP and Small Church Community lead teams at SMSP.