i've been meaning to post about this for a couple days but couldn't find the time to actually sit down and write it. part of that is probably because writing it makes it more real and fessing up to it (especially on the internet) means i can't hide behind a facade of perfection. who really wants to wear that heavy mask all day anyway, right? my arms have certainly grown weary of trying to hold it up so this is my attempt to put it down.
it's funny how surprised i get sometimes when i'm able to relate to authors in the bible. i shouldn't be surprised though; after all, they were all humans like me with failures and shortcomings. i think growing up in a christian environment you find yourself putting those people on a pedestal without even realizing it. the more you read the scriptures though the more you discover how much they wrestled and struggled with their own weaknesses and you realize they're no different than you are.
look at king david. God called him "a man after my own heart" and yet he was a liar, an adulturer, a murderer... the list goes on. what was it that made God say that? i think it was david's recognition of his own depravity and his ultimate need and desire for God. he KNEW he failed over and over and yet each time found himself falling at God's feet. read pslam 51. he lays it all out there- a cry of repentance that goes deep. as i read that i feel my own heart bursting out in the same manner, "have mercy on me o God..."
all that to say that i have failed this week in so many ways. i've allowed myself to turn to other sources for comfort, fulfilment and happiness and yet i still feel so empty. why, oh why do i continue to act as if i can do things on my own? why am i trying to be so independent? what am i trying to prove? i've lost my focus this week and it's trickled down to every area of my life. i can feel this cloud around me threatening to swallow me up. the pressure is building and i find myself sucumbing to it.
as i read the words of paul in romans 7, i wonder how it is that he's read my mind? how can his sentiments echo mine so closely?
"I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. 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. But 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. It 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. I'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?*
why am i so drawn to the things that keep me from separated from the person i need the most? this flesh vs. spirit battle is exhausting and yet it's one i know i'm going to fight for the rest of my life. and so even though i still don't fully understand it and even though it will take multiple times to sink in i'll press on. i refuse to stay on this sinking ship and i might get tired of trying to keep my head above water but i'll remember how paul wraps up that set of verses:
The 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.*
*Romans 7:14-25 (The Message)