Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Create in me a new heart

I think I now know why non-Christians sometimes get disillusioned with what it means to be a Christian.  The way it is so often portrayed is a person who has been filled with the Holy Spirit and saved by God's grace then goes on to have "all of their cares taken away" and their life becomes a happily ever after.  This is most often not true.

The reality is (and many true Christians know this) is that after the initial "glow" of conversion fades, life, in fact, can get much more difficult.  The biggest difference is, I know this difficulty has purpose and that I am NOT alone in it, even if I feel alone.

This is what I have been going through lately.  And today, I feel led to put it into words.     

Some of the difficulty has been from external things:  car and house maintenance issues, issues with my boss/job, old friends continuing to leave,  not being able to find a suitable new connection for fellowship (reached out to two house churches in my area with no response).  But most of the difficulty has been internal.   

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to be in control, to micromanage, to orchestrate my desired outcome for a situation.  My way is usually the "only right way."  And when I perceive being wronged, I generally let people know in no uncertain terms how I feel about that.  I'm also a perfectionist intent on doing something right the FIRST time.   And when virtues were being passed out, patience was NOT the one that was handed to me.

I thought that, over the years, I had learned to overcome, or at least, manage these.....er um....traits.  But given my experiences of the last month or so, you sure wouldn't know it.  Those dragons have blazed their way through the flimsy artificial covering I had on them to let me know they are most definitely still alive and well.  And I have been feeling incredibly helpless in the midst of it all.

So this is what the crazy wheel I've been spinning on looks like: 

I have an overwhelming desire to love and serve God, to get to know Jesus personally more and more.  I have these dragons that rear up and shred any attempts I make to demonstrate (both in my thinking and in my actions) this desire in my life,  I feel like crap for letting God/Jesus down, I double up my efforts/resolve to "do things right", I fail miserably once again (usually within 5 minutes of renewing my resolve) and then I throw my hands up in frustration and despair.   I then remind myself how the whole point is that I CAN'T do it myself and to surrender my will and let God do it, but then I feel so incredibly unworthy of letting Him in and then I realize that by feeling that, I am denying the work that Jesus did on the cross and so I redouble my efforts to fight the lies going through my head by countering it with Truth and then my mind retaliates and I fail miserably again and fall into despair.......and........

Yea, you get the idea.

I feel humbled, hollowed out, and like I'm being broken like a wild stallion.  Every time I want to get up and run away, or look aside or cover my eyes, I'm brought right back around told to be still.  And in the process, I am reminded over and over and over again why I need Him. 

Surrendering one's will to God is an every moment of the day act.  

And it can't be done perfectly.  (hmmff)
And it can't be done on my terms. (grrr)
And I can not just rush through the process (argh)
And it does not mean that those old traits just magically disappear (sigh...).

And I think the hardest one of all for me to truly and fully accept is that He absolutely loves me and there is not one darned thing I can do to either earn that Love.......or lose it.  (tears.......)

God promised to create in me a new spirit and a new heart. 

I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.                 Ezekiel 36:26 

It appears He's most definitely in the process of doing just that.



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