The good, the bad, and the ugly

Posted by Heather Conrad at 12:09 AM

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How does one live a daily life with God? What does it actually look like? What do we we do with all the "stuff" that happens to us? Why does it seem that the harder I set my mind on him, feelings aside, the more I get knocked down? At the end of the day, is this pursuit worth it?

In full confession, I actually want to admit a struggle I've had as of late. Ask me just 2 years ago to admit anything I'm struggling with, and you would have received the "ARE YOU CRAZY?" look. Funny thing is, the more I search for the truth, the more I realize I've actually believed lies for the duration of my life. I believed (and still do at times) that admitting weakness, sharing my ugly thoughts, showing that in fact, I am not capable of keeping it together, could cause others to think less of me, to loss respect for me, and to subject myself to the thoughts and glances of disappointment and shame. I not only believed this, but I lived in fear of it for most of my life. I became a professional mask-wearer. I played the game so well, in fact, that I no longer knew who I was, I became only what others needed me to be.

As one who's been there, done that, I can tell you that as God has peeled back one layer after the other, I've experienced something that I never expected. Where I assumed condemnation would reign, instead I found freedom. Where criticism loomed, I found love. Where ostracism was spoken in my ear, relatability, authenticity, and a true realness has prevailed. How? I started to know my Jesus. How? I started reading, I started joining a study, I started surrounding myself with women who were real, welcoming, and unbelievably wise. I started asking questions, I recognized a thirst, and I began to allow my heart to fill up with the only one who can pour his living water into my dried up soul - my savior, my Jesus.

Wow, wasn't expecting to go down that road, but here we are. So my recent struggle - my ugly words. Lately it hasn't taken much for me to quickly point out the faults, mistakes, and failures that my children have made, over and over again. (Can you say, projecting!) I recognize it, I repent, I apologize, I'm genuinely sad about it, and I do it again. And I do it again. In my never-ending quest to "figure myself out" to fix things and move on, this one has stumped me. Why do I continue to do this?

As we walked to the park, I simply decided to say, Lord I'm going to thank you today (failed to mention anything specific). I'm simply going to chose to praise you today, even if I don't feel like it. I can't understand right now (several facets of my life), but I'm going to trust you. At lunch, I read a blog entry that put it to words for me. As you have a chance, click on Marla's site, her entry entitled "depleted, defeated, deflated". She directed me to a passage in Romans 7 (this is a good one!), taken from the Message:

What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.

17-20But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

21-23It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

24I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Pretty awesome, thank you Paul! So, back to my first question posed, how do we do this thing of life with God in our everyday moments? Today I started with this... Good morning God. I'm telling you right now, I'm going to mess up today (sin). I'm thanking you in advance for loving me. Now, please, help me get out of bed. (Last morning to sleep before our precious Emma starts kindergarten in the morning, sniff, sniff).

How did the rest of the day turn out? Too amazing to explain. What began as waking up to sibling squabbles yet again, turned into several moments where he showed evidence of his sheer presence again, and again, and again - starting with my attitude, showing me a quarter, greeting me with a stranger's face, helping me to shed a tear, calling a friend in need, listening to my children say thank you, helping another child compose an apology letter, listening to prayers, catching up with my husband, enjoying a run while watching an amazing beach volleyball game, and now allowing time to post. Not quite what I expected this morning. I'm coming to learn that the unexpected is what I cherish the most (this coming from a person who craves predictability, only God.)

Is it worth it, this pursuit of Christ? May I say this again, and again, and again - YES, YES, YES. I keep finding myself saying this, but the lowest moments I now feel as one who has placed Christ back in the center of my life, I would ask for again. I would do this if it means I get to spend more sweet moments with him. If it means I get knocked down, side-lined, or knocked out, I will get up and I will do it again. In light of what my Jesus has done for me, it's the least I can do. Have a delightful day with Him!

So sorry for this lengthy post, next up will be the last post for the armor of God series (really!)


arminda said...

I really really really needed to read this today. Thank you Heather.