“I’m at my worst when I’m passionate about a new idea. I can drift into selling instead of listening and can easily become dominating. My heart is a dry and weary land. But when I begin to pray, the energy of my life is directed into the life of God and not into changing people’s minds… and I shut up!”
– Paul Miller in A Praying Life
This is something I’ve realized about myself as a blogger. Sometimes, I’ll see something or feel something and I’ll get fired up about it. Pride filled self-righteousness will surge up and a snappy comeback comes to me, I’ll think of a really good hashtag or several “swords of truth” to cut the heads off my perceived enemies (who usually end up being the neighbor I’m supposed to be loving). “They just need to knock that off!” I say to myself. But then, when I stop feeling so certain of myself long enough to restrain my reaction, when I refuse to push publish, or even to type at all… it gives the Holy Spirit a chance to break through my folly and He gently corrects me before I make a total fool out of myself. Other times, I learn the hard way and return back to the foot of the cross, my spirit broken, humble again.
Ironically, it is in the times when I find myself writing about things I’d really rather not talk about — struggling with my body image, when faith falters, embarrassing mental health problems, modesty (blerg!) or past sexual sins — all things I’m not proud of and asking questions to which I don’t necessarily know the answer that my words genuinely seem to help others. It is in my weakness, my incompetency, my inability and hopelessness that Jesus always comes through.We like to romanticize the phrase, “death by living”. It is a good phrase, a solid truth, but we sometimes forget that death isn’t glamorous. Death by living isn’t sitting on a picnic blanket with a wedge of brie and a bottle of good wine. Death by living isn’t marrying a man who loves you perfectly. Death by living isn’t doing all the right things and having all the right answers. Some of those things are wonderful gifts, but death by living is a much harder gift to come by. Death is ugly, embarrassing even, it hurts, it is misunderstood, it is cast out and forgotten and therein lies the beauty of a life in Christ. He lifts us out of the ashes, out of misery we cannot overcome on our own, out of our sins and broken hearts. He gives us a new life, new purpose, a new song — one that does not make us stronger, but more reliant on Him in all His radiant glory and abundant love.
You and I, we don’t know what we are doing half the time. The world is big and complicated and getting busier all the time. We are frail and self obsessed and have a freakish need to know and control everything everything everything. But God is bigger then all that. We cannot achieve life but through dying to everything we think is right, and trusting that God knows what is really right. When we do that, when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will find the mac daddy of all jackpots on the other side.
Stay strong, Friends, but stay strong in Christ. Deny your self-respect and find worth in Him. Take up your cross and follow Jesus.