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Being Nothing Gets You Everything
With Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
Special Guest: Jennifer Wentzel and Joan Wentzel
This is the continuation of a series of podcasts started in Episode #648.
We fight being nothing, so sure that we really must be something! How strange then to discover that being nothing opens the door to getting everything.
Well, since I’ve referred to my long wilderness, I believe that this revelation came through with this enormous power and light and the specific words and insights and revelation… I think the real, the real issue of my long illness has been to show me, to reduce me to nothing in order to show me that I am nothing. And it’s been a long, long process where I could do nothing. I’ve often said I was so sick I couldn’t pick a pen up off the floor.
But it was all so that He could be everything.
And He was everything.
And He was, He absolutely was.
Everything for me.
The entire time He did everything for you.
I wrote one of, probably my largest book, Altogether Forgiven, while I was sick, trashed, unable and it, it flowed like a river. And then, then it was gone. I, my only strength during this time has been what God gives me when He deigns for me to achieve something. Otherwise I am nothing. I am nothing and I can do nothing and that has been the lesson of this long… It’s the cross! The cross reduces us and kills.
What a… The something I wanted to be was very right. I wanted to be a
servant of the Lord. I wanted to fulfill my destiny and I was wanting… And my doctors would say, “What is it you want?” Because I would say, “I’m not feeling well yet. I’m not feeling well.” They said, “What do you want to do if you were feeling well?” And I knew they were just, you know, kind of giving me a chance to vent. “Oh, I would garden, and I would write, and I would work in my house, and I would decorate, and I would, I would write, and I would go, and I would speak, and I would travel!” And they would say, “Okaaaay” (laughs). And God bless them. They did everything to get me to this place where I can live that kind of life.
But I didn’t realize until I started telling this about my illness that it’s, it was the graveyard of my need and compulsion and effort and assume that I should do, should be something for God. No, no, I’m to be nothing. The nothing I am.
And the reason this could flow so loudly, so brilliantly, so richly was because I have finally admitted and, more, I’ve always known it, I’m nothing. I’ve said it many times before. But this time I’m willing, because I know that I don’t have to be anything. I am nothing; one who is given everything so richly during this time.
People helped me with outlandish joy that shocked me. People took care of me. Everything was done for me. Things were repaired in my house that never get repaired. On and on I could go, that because I was nothing He poured everything including joy through those who helped me and it just was a continuing wonder and amazement that He really was a God taking care of me.
And I think that Martha’s just hit it and even the great irony is in the Christian world, we want to God’s somebody. In the world people are just there. They want to be someone. Doesn’t everyone say to you that you meet, “Well, what do you do?” Meaning, “Who are you? What kind of somebody are you?” I mean, this book is so counterculture that it’s just… I think that’s the beauty of it. It’s just in its simplicity, it’s completely counter culture both Christian and the world, in all honesty, that I’ve encountered. And it’s so wonderful because God never called us to be anybody. He said, “Let Me be all.” Those, you know, “You don’t have to have anything” He said, “If you’ll have nothing, then you’ll have Me and I’m everything.” But it’s just… That’s the, that’s the exciting part of this is we don’t have to be anything. We don’t have to try to be someone, even in light of the Christian culture.
And I’m smitten more, more than ever that He said that, “No man will boast in My presence.” That’s why. God wants to be all because He is. And when I’m nothing He can be all and He’s proven it to me in living life, in amazing provision.
Well, I’ll tell you a funny story of God’s provision. I have an old Lexus and it began to give me so much trouble. It would… The battery would die. And here John would have to come over and over again to my house and start the car. And one time it quit in the middle of this, the highway, and I got out of the car, started to wave people down that we couldn’t move and the car stopped with five young men in. They immediately got out and said, “What is your problem?” And one of them… We said, “The battery is dead.” But we couldn’t get it into neutral to get it off the busy highway. So he goes in my car and does something and gets it into neutral. He knows a switch that we, that John didn’t even know about that you can switch in your car somehow, John knows how to do it now, and get a car into neutral. And so they pushed it off the road. And they said, “Is this where you live?” It stopped right at my driveway. So they pushed it in the driveway and, and said, “Goodbye!” And we said, “Thank you, thank you,” and off they went happy as a lark. Nothing to them! And that’s the kind of thing that has happened over again.
Well, one time John kicked the car and said, “Go away if you’re not gonna serve the woman, just get out of here!” – to the car (laughs). And beware if John ever says this because he’s done it to several things that have exited the room and exited the world.
So what… Okay, so my son-in-law and my daughter… My son-in-law called me and said, “Martha, we want to give you this car.” And I was fretting because I was going to have to get a loan to get a car and I was going to have to find out what to get and it was going to be for me a real tedious thing that would, of course, would resolve on to John and Dave and who else would be willing to help me with it. So here comes this cute little white car and John said, “Martha, do you realize you didn’t even have to go get it? It was delivered to you. All the paperwork was done for you. You didn’t have to even choose and any of that.”
We were actually on a writing trip when this all happened. Basically we were gone and the car was delivered to your house while we were gone. Came back and there it is.
I don’t know how… See, you have to be nothing and know that you deserve nothing. That’s not in the book. That’s a new one. Oh, we’ll have to add that, Jennifer. We deserve nothing and so we have everything when we deserve nothing. And so I cried over that little car and loved it and it’s perfect for me. And that’s only one of many stories, really.
It pays. In other words here’s, here’s the sign, Jennifer. It pays to be nothing.
That has absolutely, that has been my experience. It is utterly counterintuitive but when I just let go and that’s all I can do. My effort really is grasping. That is the best I can produce is grasping onto someone, something, some idea, some thought. I’m holding onto it with all my might to somehow try and make it so, make it mine, make it be, right? But when I just let go, when I – and I’m gonna put this very specifically because it matters – when I simply accept the despairing truth that I cannot in any respect. I can NOT, because I haven’t got it. I can’t make it work. I can’t make it make sense. I can’t make it happen. I can’t do.
In that moment where I am so low and often times just saying, “God, why do you even! I’m so sorry. Here I am again. I got nothing. I got nothing for You. I can’t fix it.” (Laughs) It’s, I mean the Spirit is sometimes… Let’s just say He talks to me in a way that I understand. And I’ll leave it at that because it’s a little personal. But it’s in those moments where it’s almost like a divine “Duh,” you know? But not accusing. Just kind of like, “There you are sweetheart. Hello!” You know. You’re the, you, you’ve gone off and it’s like I’ve had this whole conversation with myself. I’ve had this whole deal and God was never involved because that was never Him. And as soon as I’m down there like a lump, you know, finally saying, “Okay, I give up. I give up. I’m sorry. Once again.” It’s amazing what happens at that moment.
It’s amazing what happens when I am in the full reality of my situation, of my being. And it is counterintuitive but when that happens and when God speaks and moves and is, love comes, I will say, because there’s no longer an impediment to it. I no longer have a hand out on His chest saying, “Hold up. Let me get cleaned up first. All right, I got this. I’ve got to put my clothes away and then You can come in.” No! Okay? There’s no longer any impediment so He comes in and I’m loved like I’ve wanted to be loved. I’m taken care of like I can’t take care of myself. All of a sudden I exist in this whole new plane, this place of just ease and joy and it’s Him and me. And I don’t know how else to explain it because it shouldn’t work that way logically, reasonably according to…
Legally! Thank you, Martha. That’s the perfect word. Legally! Because I’m a lump and I haven’t it earned it and I haven’t… You know, I’ve fallen down on the job, and what are you doing? Uh uh. And He says, “Finally!” Like you would say to a three year old who’s pushing a mop around the kitchen and doing nothing but moving dirt from one end to the other, not making anything clean. And when the three year old finally puts down the mop and says, “I’m tired. Can I have lunch or something?” You’re like, “Finally! I get to, I get to hold you, I get to feed you. You’re a delight to my heart, to my soul.” I mean, think about it, you know?
So it doesn’t make sense but that is my experience every time, Martha. And this booklet, it somehow captures that. It captures that, that love and the love that makes being nothing bearable, really; not just bearable maybe to be even celebrated, (laughs) enjoyed!
Being Nothing Gets You Everything – Episode #649 – Shulamite Podcast
We fight being nothing, so sure that we really must be something! How strange then to discover that being nothing opens the door to getting everything. God is everything! He waits only for His children to stop trying. Have you let God be your everything?
Brilliant, Doug! That needed to be said. Though I can see the goal – to reduce me to dependence – I will never be able to BECOME nothing. The Holy Spirit and the daily Cross accomplish EVEN THAT for me.
Please correct me if I’m mis-apprehending this, but it would seem that I can’t empty myself, becoming nothing on my own. Even in becoming emptied and nothing, I’m in complete need for God to work that in me. Otherwise it would just be another ‘striving’, something for ME to accomplish. What He has performed in Martha and others is His work, His glory, manifested in those who love Him enough to receive the gift of nothing but Him.