The Currency of Zero


“Did anything surprise you?” my husband asked.

“Not really,” I answered a little too quickly. “I know myself pretty well. I could have told you where I’d end up without answering all those questions.”

Pause. My husband wisely waits me out sometimes.

“Well, I guess one thing surprised me. For the past 21 years, I’ve been immersed in the area of my absolute weakness. Do you know I scored a zero – A ZERO! – in the Motivator category?”

“It’s what I do every day. Every single day. Motivate. Encourage. Find hope. Seek good.

“A zero. Not one single point. And this, this is where God chose to place me for the past 21 years? No wonder I’m exhausted!

For the past two decades, God has been chiseling away at my stubborn independence, sanding off my “I don’t really like other people” edges, teaching me to make eye contact when I’d rather just walk on by, encouraging me to step outside myself where I can be very content, and placing me in a household of ever increasing population.

And I’m not a people person. At all. I struggle with small talk. It actually makes me sweat. I can carry on a four-hour conversation about something that touches me deeply, but put me in a room where I need to converse casually and there is suddenly not a thought in my head. Not one. It’s embarrassing, my inability to chitchat, something I’ve struggled with all my life.

Enter five kids. And homeschooling. Add one mom who adores the quiet, the still, time alone to read, write and think in full sentences, and you get a glimpse of my life for the past two decades.

Deep and rich and good. Full and busy and peopled, spilling over with jackets and shoes and phones, laughter and tears and a crescendo of words, sometimes late, always worth it.

Yet for one who relishes time and space, solitude and quiet, who longs to retreat inside her own head, who all too often still has to remind herself to make eye contact with passers-by, to engage with the world at her doorstep, I’ve been stretched and chiseled and pruned by the Hand of God every single day of these past twenty-one years.

And isn’t that just like God?

To gather up the shards of our selfishness and pride and inconvenience? To choose, even when it stings, to winnow and sift?

To wrap His hands around our brokenness, our willfulness, our stubbornness and apply just the right amount of pressure to soften and mold?

To allow us the proper time to cure before sanding and glazing and firing?

To redeem the days, the shards, the years? Weaving the threads of His love into our hearts that we may one day be vessels fit for the King?

Brimful, spilling over, pouring out? To no credit of our own? But all to the glory of God?

Yup. That’s His Kingdom. Upside down and inside out.

Where the currency of zero is always precious tender.


7 thoughts on “The Currency of Zero

  1. “And I’m not a people person. At all. I struggle with small talk. It actually makes me sweat.” Oh my…me too!!! Give me those one-on-one conversations and I’m so much more comfortable. Because I so get this, it really truly spoke to my heart. Love your heart. Love you.


  2. A long time ago when the King’s Ransom was frolicking happily through the streets of Port Washington in the “Holy 2” van, I observed your adolescent quietness. But, I also observed your seemingly happiness in that big smile of yours. Sometimes that smile was a little tentative. But it was still there! Perhaps Psalm 46 might give you strength & promise: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of…..” and my favorite, “Be still and know that I am God”. You know how to do that!! I DON’T!!!! I wish I did! Those of us who are far too enthusiastic, far too boisterous, and much too loud seek out that gift that God has given you. We look for you in the madness of our own lives, if only to know that yes, there is a refuge, yes there is a stillness, yes God doesn’t have to laugh all the time. He can be still too! God’s strength comes to each of us in many ways.


  3. Eric

    Wow. I get it. Boy, do I get it. I have struggled with my independent streak for a long time. God knows just how to “winnow and sift” as you so elegantly put it, in just the right places for each one of us. All to help us grow – if only we would just recognize the trials and even the joys for what they truly are. And I think that is where the magic resides in your words, Cindee. It is in the fact that you can so clearly recognize the lesson to learn from the swirling chaos that surrounds your/our daily lives. Thank you for that clarity.


  4. pastordt

    I’m wondering why you assume that your discomfort with lots of people is somehow inherently selfish, Cindee. It’s how you’re wired, and in and of itself, it’s not sinful or wrong. You’re an introvert, a lover of quiet – that doesn’t make you sinful, friend. It makes you real, it makes you YOU. Yes, God has used the crucible of your family to help you add layers to your personality. Like all of us (extroverts included!) I’m sure you deal with your share of stubbornness and resistance – but just because you love quiet, that doesn’t make you a stubborn person, you know? There is not one thing wrong with needing to be alone from time to time – in fact, God so often invites us into the silence so that we can better hear the whispers of the Spirit. I think maybe you’re being a little too hard on yourself here. :>)


  5. That last line. I love that last line.

    What’s this test. I want to take this test. Or not.

    Oh, and maybe God’s seeping your inner still into others–your family and all those who enter your home. Just make sure to take time for you. Jesus did. xo


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