I was going to post a blog about my chronic back pain and, in particular, my current training strategy to help me out of the pain cycle, but what struck me even harder was my inner pain cycle that seems to becoming more and more noticeable as i deepen my Faith. I will still post the other one, but this one came out of my brain this morning and these are the spontaneous writings that i miss so much!
Nobody told me that becoming a Christian is actually pretty painful. You start to notice things about yourself and you begin the painful process of *letting go* of all your walls and all your judgements, all your self-righteousness and all the ways you previously made sense of the world – and even all the ways you thought you understood what Christianity was about.
It’s actually pretty outrageous and scandalous because many things are nearly complete opposites to how i thought, felt and behaved before i really started to get to know *who* Jesus is. If i had only done this in the first place instead of spending years listening to what other people thought Christianity was about – i.e.: a religious belief in earning love or adding rules to make you behave. This is exactly WHY Jesus came – to rescue us from that!
There’s this thing called GRACE and it is actually one of the most powerful things about Christ and … it’s a gift. I didn’t earn it, nor can i cause Him to take it back. Even though i often feel i am desperately trying to pay him back for it or even trying to judge whether i deserve it. It’s never been about deserving or earning – it is about accepting that nothing i do or don’t do will ever make Him take it back.
Isn’t it just crazy to think that one man, who was blameless, chose to take all the blame for an entire race on himself so that we can live freely. Even if i screw up. Even when i am unforgiving or bad-tempered or i speak out of turn. Even when i act arrogantly or get insecure or tempted into something i know is wrong. By becoming a Christian, i was accepting the gift of grace and the only road to be in the presence of God (because He cannot be in the same room as sin and no other worldview could offer me that). However, the pain i feel inside is the clashing between my old way of thinking and the new. The new way says: “Grace is enough to cover you so you are seen as blameless before God” The old way says: “This is a trick. There has to be a catch somewhere. When i fail, God gets mad and he wants to punish me…so i must have to make it up to him”. But this is the way of the world – this is stuff that people often expect.
It’s not that being good is hard (okay, sometimes it is). What is hard is not totalling up the good-points and feeling proud of myself for having evidence for my salvation. What is hard is condemning myself beyond belief when i inevitably fall short. This is why Jesus came to fulfil the Old Testament Law. Nobody could keep it and everyone needed the ultimate sacrifice to be made before God could be with His people again. Jesus was that sacrifice.
So why is it so hard to walk in freedom? Why is it so hard to accept that IT IS DONE? Why do i still feel the need to add my own offering to the cross? It is simply because the world continues to tell me to TRY, to EARN, what i DESERVE, where i have FAILED. I am still seeing myself from the eyes of humanity, rather than the eyes of a loving God who hates the sin i commit, but loves me <– this is tough to really understand! God hates? He hates sin, not me. He needed a way to abolish sin so He could be with me.
The Bible is a rescue story, a love story, and beautiful story of reconciliation between God and man. Many people get turned-off by this kind of talk. Even i used to think: “who does God think He is to want to control us”. My pride wants to be in control. I want to be at the top of the world so i never have to bow down to anyone. And i think that is why it took me so long to turn to God. I didnt feel i needed it. BUT I DO!
I may not understand why it seems to be taking such a long time to complete this story, or why we have pain and suffering, but one thing i do know – God uses everything that happens (He doesn’t send pain or suffering) to defeat evil. Actually, this defeat has already occurred, but we continue to wait in this place with time – which is why we feel the effects of waiting and probably why it seems like God is distant.
My inner struggle with accepting grace as a pure gift is a one that requires me to stop holding up my old understanding or my own deeds to fight it. What if i just rested and let go of all those things i carry. It’s like I have my own survival kit “just in case”. Any time something bad happens, i rummage through it to find the tool i need: googling my problem, feeling bad about myself, making excuses, trying to plan ahead or desperately trying to make amends so people don’t think badly of me. All so i don’t lose face and seem in control. I do everything i think first and then i turn to God. Maybe i was missing the point of a saviour? LOL
What if i started dropping these things instead and began to trust that these things won’t do me any good if they are distracting me from the the person sent to rescue me. What if i put my trust in that person and left that kit behind? How light and energised i would feel 🙂 This is exactly what is happening in my life – i am so attached to all my kit that i don’t let it go without a fight. I am constantly trying to justify why i might need it instead of just giving it over to God.
Will i ever learn this? I hope so. But even if i don’t, it still doesn’t change how God feels about me and it still doesn’t change the rescue. It just might make me less peaceful while i walk through this life. It’s not ideal, as i would like to feel lighter, but it doesn’t change what Jesus has done for me.
If i can remember that, then i can lessen my grip on trying to make everything perfect.
Does anyone else struggle with this?