“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” – Mk. 12:30

To love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength... what would that even look like?

Often I give God only pieces of me - the things I’ve done that I’m proud of, the areas that are clearly in need of desperate help, the intentions and prayers I desire for others.  However, when I struggle in the small everyday moments, I tend to first rely on myself to “fix it and get through it” and forget to turn to God until it seems a bit more dramatic.

This Lent I struggle feeling like I am consistently not meeting some self-made expectation of being “holy enough” and “getting something” out of this liturgical season. My Lenten journey has consisted of daily inspiring Lenten emails left unopened in my inbox, pages unturned in my prayer devotional, and an empty journal waiting for the pages to be filled with hopeful prayers.  Day after day, I feel disappointed about my lack of “effort” and it leaves me feeling shameful, frustrated and even a bit motivated to hide myself from God or “work harder and fix it” tomorrow, knowing darn well that’s probably not going to happen.

Recently, I was reminded by Henri Nouwen in his book, In The Name of Jesus, “that the Christian leader… is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self.”  So central to ministry, to loving, to leading and being like Jesus includes nothing but the humble gift of our vulnerable selves. Could it be that simple?  All this time, I set the bar higher and higher out of reach, expecting to jump over the unrealistic hurdle to produce something for God.  However, God simply invites me to take another step forward and show my entire, vulnerable self as a gift to both God and those around me. 

In today’s Gospel, I realize that as Jesus commands us to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, my daunting, out-of-reach expectations are exchanged for the simple beckoning from the Divine.  The beckoning that summons me forward to be the me that God created, the me that the Spirit knows deeply, the me that Jesus calls me to be - all of my vulnerable self.

Lord, help me desire to love You with ALL of me.

What would it look like if we began to notice our out-of-reach expectations and exchange them for God’s simple invitation to give of our whole, vulnerable self?

Jaclyn Torres