I came across this phrase recently—I can't lose you—written about someone's relationship with God, and instantly found myself wondering about its multiplicity of meaning.
My mind works in strange ways. I love rhyme and alliteration. I love puns and cleverly constructed language. I see words, phrases, or ideas and often find myself toying with them, stretching them, and massaging them to squeeze out significance.
And I find this specific phrase—I can't lose you—interesting because it can be read multiple ways and have (seemingly) opposite meanings. On the one hand, it conjures thoughts of desperately longing to hold on to God; to not have Him slip from our grasp or our life. And that's a beautiful sentiment, where someone feels their faith slipping from their grasp but remains committed to keeping it as a foundational part of their life. But the phrase “I can't lose you” could also be read as trying to get away from God, but being unable to do so. It could mean trying to get Him out of our lives—trying to run—and just not being able to get away.
Now, of course, at first glance the former understanding of the phrase seems more apparently faithful than the latter. What person of faith would want to run away God, desperate to lose Him but unable to do so?
But what if those two meanings of this simple phrase are really just two sides of the same coin? What if our faith is a pretty even mixture of desperately longing for God AND simultaneously running from God, ducking and dodging his presence, hoping he never finds us?
Because, as I further ponder the dual-meaning of the phrase, that’s actually a more honest description of my life of faith—equal parts saint and sinner; full of both wonder and doubt; faithful one minute and faithless the next. I tend to be a pretty even amalgamation of desperately longing for deeper relationship with God while also resisting God and His presence in my life.
But what if naming that reality is actually the path forward in discipleship? What if the refusal to play perfect and hide our doubts and pretend all is well is actually an essential part of our growth? What if honesty and vulnerability are actually vital pieces in our formation?
Pretending all is flawless doesn’t pave the way for it to be so. Hiding our imperfections doesn’t perfect them. But owning our struggles, admitting our failures, and illuminating the dark places of our faith...now that makes space for real growth.
Am I proud that I’m equal parts desperately trying to maintain relationship with God and desperately trying to lose Him? Well, no. But I’m also not filled with shame over this fact, because knowing and owning this reality is what makes space for growth, spiritual formation, and a more faithful walk with Jesus.
So, God, I admit it...I can’t lose You.