Thursday, July 26, 2007

Getting Over (and Past) Ourselves (April 2007 article)

Why is it that at times I can be SO confident, so sure of my abilities, my talents, my gifts, my strengths – but at other times I can doubt, be pessimistic, sullen, and be overcome with feelings of inadequacy? It’s like some sort of bipolar disorder – not clinical – just acutely personal. For instance, as I write this, I am certain that I will finish the article – that it will make sense to some degree – but will it really make a difference? You see, I struggle with my humanity.

But, when this happens – and it does happen often – it serves as a great reminder to me that I was never meant to question the quirks, the personality traits, the idiosyncrasies that make me ME. It allows me to recall not only WHO I really am, but WHOSE I really am. After all, God took a great deal of time in knitting together every little detail to form the person – the soul and spirit – I have become.

You know, this truth can really be difficult to grasp when the road gets rocky. I don’t know about you, but when the going gets tough and I am stuck in a rut, I tend to focus more on my weaknesses rather than God’s strength. I have a propensity towards questioning my skills and my aptitudes in the valleys of life. I fail to realize that I’m better off admitting up front that I don’t have my act together, and that God has my back. If I’ll just let Him do His thing, it’ll all work out. But, I get in the way. My pride. My stubbornness. My selfishness. My blindness.

We are told over and over throughout scripture that God’s strength is perfect in our weakness. Seems strange, doesn’t it? I mean, aren’t we supposed to be strong? Aren’t we supposed to have it all together? Astonishingly, the answer to these questions is a resounding “no.”

Ironically, we are most likely to realize this great truth when we are at the end of our rope. Think about it. When things are going well, do we fall on our knees seeking God? Begging for His mercy? Hardly! When things are going well, we set our lives (and our hearts) on cruise control, and leave God out of it.

But, what happens when we hit the skids? When we lose that job? When our marriage is crumbling? When we (or a loved one) are diagnosed with cancer? These are the moments when we stop looking around us, and we begin to look up. And, likely, this is exactly where God wants you to be. He wants to remove the crutches of your life to make you totally dependent on Him. It’s the only way we learn – to stop leaning on ourselves, to stop looking for approval and satisfaction in all the wrong places, to stop worrying about circumstances beyond our control, and to stop buying into the lie that we aren’t worthy of His grace.

You may be struggling with that right now. You wonder, “How can God love me after all I have done?” Meanwhile, God is saying, “How can I not?” After all, He sent his perfect, blameless, sinless Son to this fallen earth to tell us – and show us – who He really is. And when He obediently and willingly fulfilled this mission, He was put to death so you and I would never have to taste it ourselves.

Today – maybe right this minute - eagerly and confidently accept His great gift of grace – and leave your feelings of inadequacy and your fears behind…because He already has.

No comments: