Two weeks ago, my church commenced its annual autumn tradition. It’s called “Seek Week,” a week-long “festival” of fasting and, well, seeking God. Seeing ROCKHARBOR’s five Orange County campuses unite at one location for five consecutive nights was such fantastic foreshadowing for the future: people of all churches, all nations, all cultures, all ages and eras uniting in passion and purpose.
I’m so glad I finally got to take part in this year’s Seek Week. I fasted and focused on God in ways I’ve not done in far too long. I journaled everyday, jotting notes down from each night’s incredible Seek Week service. Pages upon pages of notes, thoughts, and revelations.
What follows in this post is a conglomeration of all those notes, thoughts, and revelations.
Time and again throughout the week, everything returned to my “One Word 365” theme of the year: IDENTITY. And I learned something altogether tragic: God isn’t #1 in my life. He isn’t enough — what’s more, He hasn’t been for a while.
Consider this Seek Week recap a deeper rawer “Part II” to last week’s summer/autumn IDENTITY update.
SEEK WEEK: New Revelations
From the onset of Monday’s opening service, I was rocked by multiple “Christianese” phrases I’ve heard my whole life. Stale meaningless phrases that suddenly took on new life this week.
Starting with the opening prayer, the Christianese plea went: “God, we meet here tonight expecting You to move.”
And then, the plea was turned outward and posed as a question: “Have you come here tonight expecting God to move?”
I was floored.
No, honestly, I hadn’t come to church that night “expecting God to move.” What does that even mean? How does a God beyond my vision and comprehension move in the lives of humans? How does such a boundless God move in me? What does that even look like? What does that feel like?
And so, as we sung our opening worship songs, I entered Seek Week with that Christianese question blaring: Do I expect God to move in me this week? Whatever such “moving” looks like — am I entering this week expecting to leave it differently?
I wasn’t sure at first; I mean, I’d crafted a simple list of prayer requests. Finances and direction and such. But was the fulfillment of some prayer-bullets the same as God moving, rocking, transforming me?
Confused and burdened at first, I grew altogether certain of something by the end of Night 1. God would move. He would move, indeed.
That opening night was actually led by my own ROCKHARBOR Fullerton campus, so it was a fitting christening to my first Seek Week. Here’s the complete video of that night (my personal favorite night of Seek Week, though I’m clearly biased).
In Night 1’s closing prayer, I was posed another Christianese question to parallel the opening prayer:
Is Jesus more than enough?
And, well, to answer that question —
No. No, He isn’t.
SEEK WEEK: New Vocabulary
I’m a wordsmith; I write words. Sometimes, I create new ones. (Speaking of which, I really need to bring back this series.)
Early into Seek Week, I crafted a new word. Consider this a mini/faux “Wordy Thursday” on this non-Thursday of a day. Here it is:
guydolization \ guy – dull – i – zay – shun \ n.
1. The act of idolizing and obsessively pursuing other men.
Normally my Wordy Thursday posts are humorous, or at least that’s my feeble intent. For years, though, this guydolization has been such a personal struggle, sparking innocently as all struggles do, only to fester and flame beyond containment.
For years, I’ve known about my struggle with male obsession. Believe me, it goes far beyond same-sex attractions. The term/concept of guydolization, in and of itself, wasn’t such a blaring revelation.
But Seek Week translated the term and crystallized the concept in such sobering, soul-stopping ways. Made it clear where my thoughts and hopes and energies had been going for weeks, months, years — and, subsequently, where my thoughts-hopes-energies hadn’t been streaming.
Yes, I’ve still loved and followed after God these last few years. But if I’m being honest…this following has come with the desperate expectation that He’d freaking provide the thing that’s long eluded me — that most precious thing I’ve sought for a lifetime.
The Jonathan to my David.
The Sam to my Frodo.
The Shawn to my Cory.
Over the last four years especially, I’ve hungered after something far more voraciously than my relationship with Christ.
I’ve yearned for restored masculinity.
Starting inwardly with the self-confidence that I am a man like any other man is a man, and moving outwardly toward connecting and bonding with other men as other men so naturally do — that’s been my most passionate pursuit of the last few years. Not God. Not at all.
Though such male affirmation and connection has indeed occurred in beautiful spurts, I’ve found myself left largely unfulfilled in this obsessive pursuit of masculinity, and thus, exponentially overwhelmed and frustrated.
When I actively/awkwardly attend church and life groups and insane summer camps filled with good godly intimidating men, I often cry out to God: Do You even care about what I want? What I need? Don’t You even understand the many crosses I’m carrying for You? Do you even see the holes in my heart that desperately need filling?
This post isn’t meant to be a cry for attention nor a theological debate on the meaning of “enough” and whether we truly “need” healthy human relationships beyond a relationship with God.
Nonetheless, my heart was burdened by the depth of these roots for idolizing other guys.
And gosh I need to be freed from these weeds that run so deep.
SEEK WEEK: New Insights Into What God and Humanity and Life Are All About
One of my favorite Seek Week moments came on Night 4 when ROCKHARBOR Orange’s (amazingly Australian) pastor quoted from Timothy Keller’s book, The Reason for God. Here was the crux of his message:
Why would a triune God who knows and feels and experiences perpetual love and community with Himself care to even create a fickle race like humanity? A God of “one person” creating us might make more sense; He’d create us so He wouldn’t be lonely. But a God who is Father, Son, and Spirit all at once — there is no loneliness with this God. Nothing “more” He would need. So why? Why even deal with us?
A triune God who already embodies perfect love created us — created me, created you — not to get more love for Himself, but to give it. We exist — I exist, you exist — because God wants to give us this perfect love.
Honestly, it rocked me then and the thought still jars me now: that God doesn’t need me to fill any “Tom-sized hole” in His gaping heart. He only wants to give me and you and all of us His love.
When Seek Week ended, I realized I’d lost sight of this Love. Been knocked off-kilter. For how long, I’m ashamed to even consider. Nonetheless, I find myself reawakened and replenished as I return to this wearying hungering path of life.
It doesn’t mean I won’t still struggle; clearly, I will. But may I learn to struggle anew. Struggle well. May I learn to let go of my guydolization and this myth that I need x number of deep male friendships to survive.
May I start/end my days hungering not for masculine friendships but for God.
It starts with Him, and it ends with Him. And within this framework, may I hold onto HOPE that He provides the “middle stuff” and my “daily bread,” be it actual food, finances, relationships, etc.
It sounds like such a silly stupid simple “revelation,” but rooting my IDENTITY in God and God alone remains my greatest challenge when so much else beckons for my attention and adoration. Idolization.
Now beyond the confines of Seek Week, I’ve more explicitly realized my greatest blockade to Christ. Moving forward, I pray I relentlessly pursue Him above all else.
And may He iron out the wrinkles of my middle along this winding wearying path ahead.
May He, indeed, be enough.