Faith, life, relationships, Spiritual Encouragement, Uncategorized
Comments 4

When You’re Disappointed (With Yourself, Again)

disappointment

New Year.

New Week.

New Leaf.

New Diet.

New Plan.

New Day.

 There are second chances with every second that clicks on the clock, but is the problem with the year, the week, the diet, the day, the plan. Or does the problem lie with me?

I almost died in August 2011. That night closed the curtains on my before and opened a new era of after. So much of our lives are divided by the accident because life changed so dramatically, much like having a new baby (remember life before?) or a cross-country move (after we arrived in Tulsa….) or any big change that separates one’s life-experiences more than the turn of a calendar page.

With a shift in reality comes a shift in priorities. Where a young couple once stayed late in bed Saturday mornings, enjoying coffee and only responded to a whimpering dog wanting relief, after the baby comes, both parents find themselves torn: desperate for another five minute’s sleep but knowing the responsibility to care for the bundle of joy screaming shades of purple lies solely with them, mom and dad. Or, navigating the new town might be fun for a few days, but trying to figure out the freeway system or the best route to work in a new city adds to the stress of relocation.

One of the challenges of nearly dying is readjusting to the normal of day-to-day living.

There is still immense gratitude. I still have feelings of awe in the way God provided just the right people to show up at the scene of the accident (all medically trained, off-duty, skilled and caring people!). I am still stopped short many times a day, tears welling in my eyes, throat tight with emotion, that I get to be my husband’s wife and my children’s mom. I am still amazed that I can tie sneakers and take the dogs for a walk. But I am frustrated by my lack of initiative, my never-ending laundry pile, my inability to “fit it all in”, my 43 year-old body, the fact that my kids rarely do their jobs without my reminders, the weeds in the garden, the new boots I want to buy, my critical spirit….

As much as I have a new life, I am the same old me.

Can I get a witness?

Isn’t this the rub of the Christian’s life? Every day, we have to turn to the throne of grace to get our daily dose, not so that we can be lights and seasoning to the world, but so that we can abide with our own self-disappointing behavior. And it gets tedious.

Will we ever stop letting ourselves down?

In a word, no.

Paul, giant of the faith, evangelist to the known world in the first century, bared his own frustration plainly:

“…But I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.

What a wretched man I am!

Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. {Romans 7:15-25}

My entire life I’ve found comfort in this passage (perhaps it’s the commiserating tone in which I read it)! Yes! I do the same thing, Paul! We are wretched worms, aren’t we?

There is great freedom in this Paul’s confession. Not the freedom we long for (that comes later, once we become complete in eternity and in the forever-presence of our Creator), but the great freedom that comes from a clear-sighted view of both God and ourselves.

Paul is writing to the Christians in Rome and his letter’s intent is to illustrate the universal need all people have for Jesus. And I love that right here in the middle of it all, he gets personal. He doesn’t tout his formula, his new-and-improved legalism, his life is rosy after his road-to-Damascus conversion. No, he peels off the veneer and gives everyone a peek into his state of perpetual conflict.

Every day Paul was in a battle with himself. So am I. So are you.

The dichotomy of living the Christian life is enigmatic, wearisome, daily and the results are often disappointing. In nature, two opposing poles of a magnet never come together, the ocean tides are always moving, going in and going out. The laws of nature are just that – laws, unchanging.

We live under spiritual laws that cannot change. We have a human nature diametrically opposed to God, yet as believers we are not wholly possessed by it. God is all love, all justice, all grace, all life –time and time again we prove that our nature is just the opposite.

Non-believers manufacture goodness and love and mercy, but don’t be deceived, they wrestle with it, too. Every day, the same old same old, trying to be good. And Christians are less than impervious to contriving our Good Christian Behavior. After all, we are called to be salt and light and ambassadors and evangelists. We are supposed to be wildly powerful in the spirit, but usually we, just like everyone else, need coffee to get going in the morning, fight over household finances, feel jealous when looked over for a promotion at work, long to veg out in front of a movie instead of serve our spouse or read to our kids.

So we force it. And then we fail. We are all in the same battle.

The only, and most astounding difference that Christians have is this:

Christ Jesus.

In his name, in his life and death and resurrection he gave us a never-ending gift: HOPE.

We have hope for change in the grace-laden gift of continual renewal.

We don’t have to wait for a new plan, a new year or even a new morning (but aren’t those clean slates beautiful?). We have only to pivot and face God—who knows our battle, knows our conflict, and loves us anyway—with hands out asking for more grace.

To grace ourselves with heaven’s help is our hope, our very oxygen to our faith.

Thanks be to God who delivers me! Present tense, friends, always present tense.

He delivers and delivers and delivers and delivers. He never stops.

But get this – the word delivers is not in the original writing of the passage. It merely states: I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

But here is what “through” means:

through

of place

with

in

of time

throughout

during

of means

by

by the means of

through

the ground or reason by which something is or is not done

by reason of

on account of

because of, for this reason

therefore

on this account

Jesus is our means, our account, our during, our throughout, our by, our with, our in.

Jesus is enough. He makes us enough because he is our “Through”.

The battle will rage, friend, don’t let it ruin you, destroy your faith, hate yourself or question God’s goodness.

Just keep turning to Jesus, moment by moment.

There will come a day when we will be released of the tyranny of the sin nature, free from the manufacturing of goodness, never disappointing ourselves again, moving in grace and the goodness of God aware only of the music of his love.

For now, we have Jesus, present tense, delivering being our greatest hope, our Great Through.

Linked with Michelle DeRusha and Heather at the Extraordinary, Ordinary

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4 Comments

  1. Alyssa, I came here because you were the blog linked next to mine. But I also came because the subject of your post – disappointment – interested me. My blog post was all about whining – so I can totally relate to the idea of disappointment. What a beautiful and true, and so encouraging read this was for me. I love your writing style, and I love the words you shared. This especially stood out for me:

    “…so that we can abide with our own self-disappointing behavior.”

    Oh, yes. Sometimes I get so tired being me. But, THROUGH Christ, I live. This is what I truly want, less of me and more of Him. May He make it so.

    GOD BLESS!

  2. Joanna Morgan says

    Thank you for this post. It was a hard day yesterday. Frustrated about why it isnt easy, why Im so tired, busy an un-cheerful giver. I needed to be reminded that of myself, Ill never get it right. But through Jesus, each day I have the chance to begin again in Him. Im so grateful for your testimony and so glad I met you! Have a tremendously Blessed day!

    This is the comment I wanted to make on your blog but was having a challenge with logging in. But wanted you to know I’m grateful for your post : )

    Joanna Morgan

  3. Aly, I accidentally unsubscribed from your blog and want to resubscribe. Do you send me the link?

    Gena

    • Hi Gena! Right on the main page of my blog is a field that says “Get Rocks.Roots.Wings. in your email”. Just put your email in and they’ll send you a confirmation email. You click on that and viola! You’ll be getting posts again:)

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