Sunday, February 13, 2011

Grace, again...still?


There is this quote I saw once, "I try to take things one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once (attributed to Jennifer Yane)."

It has been that kind of week, month, really.  The house was torn up for a remodeling project, the puppy has been teething on my arm when I try to read or blog, work has been challenging and busy, my son was in a car accident (tho he was just a bit sore thankfully), and I have just been generally grouchy.  Menial chores feel like huge expeditions.  Sleep is never restful.  I am thinking, fretful, even in my dreaming.

I chose not to go to church today.  I am too grouchy.  I smoked a couple cigarettes.  I cursed a lot yesterday.  I can't find my way out of this self destructive, self deprecating mind set.  I have also decided that I don't act like much of a Christian, so I will stop identifying myself as such.  In fact, maybe I will give up this gig altogether, altho I cannot relieve myself of the presence of God.

This passage that I stumbled over seems so appropriate:

"The greatest damage to self-esteem, however, comes from repeated failures at trying to change addictive behavior..... In some other culture, in a society that reveres the mystery of human nature more than ours does, such failures at self-mastery might not be so devastating.  They might even be seen as affirmations of one's essential connectedness with the rest of creation and of one's  essential dependency upon the Creator.  But in our modern Western society, we have come to see ourselves as objects of our own creation.  When we fail at managing ourselves, we feel defective."

Who told me what a Christian acts like?  Who told me how "good" a Christian must be?  Seriously???  For people who have been saved and loved thru grace, while in our filthy sin, somehow, now we have to speak, eat, act a certain way?  Seems like this is a longstanding problem of our arrogance:

 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Galatians 3:3 NKJV

It is amazing that we will begin with awe at grace, but at some point take up our own efforts again, as tho we can keep God happy or earn his love.  But, I can't.  I wish I had the power, but I don't, even with something as benign as work.  Sure, I study and have been trained in many parts of my job, but it is hard leading stubborn, sinful people (I have a whole new understanding of Moses and respect for the local pastors!).  When I lay it all on God, ask him to guide me thru the day because I need to rely on his strength, want to demonstrate his loving-kindness and make decisions that follow his wisdom, my day tends to go well enough, with less anxiety. 

 It brings one of my least favorite verses to mind: My grace is enough for you.  When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NCV.  I suppose what I dislike most about this verse is that it tells me I must be weak & inadequate; these are things that I fight against with ever fiber of my being.  But, is it just the influence of my "modern Western society" that I must be better, more, overachieving, self sufficient, type A?

This is my nature, but my spirit understands differently.  My spirit understands that I am a new creation...being transformed...even as my nature argues that I have not changed.  No miraculous relief, but rather a continued hobble reminds me of how much I still must rely on God.  Perhaps that is just as well given my leaning toward pride and self reliance.

Oh, how annoying this journey is. 

Passage is from Addiction & Grace by Gerald G. May.

2 comments:

Janet Oberholtzer said...

I get this! Totally get this. I went to church today, but was wishing I was home the whole time I was there.

As for these questions you asked, "Who told me what a Christian acts like? Who told me how "good" a Christian must be? Seriously??? "

I've decided to be me ... I can't be the christian others think I should be. I need to be me and that will probably look different than it does for others. So be it ...

God is love ... not rules :)

Jaime said...

Amen!