Taken From A Past Journal Entry.
I would describe the last days as a shattering. A shattering of ideas, ideals, beliefs, patterns of relating and the condition of my memory.
I have known in the past years my need to earn my way to the kingdom has been met with realization that all I have done and all I would be allowed to do would still not measure up to what would be needed to get myself through the gates of heaven. This has led to much repentance as I realize much has been wasted on my end; time, energy, hurts and sorrows that were unneeded, unhelpful and not intended for me, have been experienced. In fact, learning and recognizing that your life has been an unrealized and unintentional sham is not only unnerving but there is much to mourn for in the realization of that loss. I had traded the keys handed into me in my moment of first belief for shackles and chains that I could not just simply choose to hand back. Much like my faith has been provided, my chains would have to be removed, by the blood of Jesus. I would simply have to rest in the knowledge of my need and the depths of my longing, waiting for the Spirit to move and heal me.
The shattering in the last days has come from realizing the depth of the brokenness. That perhaps the needs I had met before were not only a piece of the earning, but the earning was part of the joy. That the sacrifices I have made for others to be comfortable or to help them feel loved, even at times out of a desire to make them feel or believe or know they were safe, included sacrifice but not necessarily sacrificial love.
Love, as we read in the Bible, comes with an ultimate sacrifice. Jesus died on the cross so that we might live. Often times I think we get caught up in the idea that the same is required from us. And in some ways it is. We are called through the gospel within the arms of safety, within the understanding that we are here for a short time and our divine purpose is not defined by us but by Him. That purpose is to make much of His name. We miss that part, though. I think we often translate that into meaning we need to live a righteous life, one that is built on our ability to be clean and good and whole, to make much of Him. In fact, that is not what He is asking for. He is not asking for your righteousness because He simply just doesn't need it. What He is asking for is that we trust in His righteousness. That we trust He in fact is big enough for us to draw from, for us to rely on. That He already made the sacrifice and the one required of us, more resembles the sacrifice of trust in Him, not in ourselves. The sacrifice resembles our love of His heart, not the meeting of our needs. The sacrifice resembles choosing His leading not our good ideas. The sacrifice resembles choosing faith over works.
The critical point is that Jesus did not die for us to take on the role of savior. He did not die for us to give so much of ourselves that nothing recognizable would remain. He is to remain. And as we lose our own resemblance we would take on His. As we see ourselves in light of our depravity and brokenness it would be replaced with bandages and scars that have a story of His repair. That is what the sacrifice looks like. We may be broken and we may be a mess, but He has no reference point of Himself being so. He remains the same, unchanging; omnipotent and unwavering amidst our sin and suffering. Standing firm and available to all that He has set out to do from the beginning. That has never been our cross to bear for He already bore it. It is finished.
This week I realized that what I was experiencing as expectation was something that I had set up. The pattern of relating had been taken advantage of but I had played the largest role in the setting up of the game. I had made the rules and now I wanted Him to change them. The old rules were set up with me as the maker of the game and the new ones were made by some one much larger than me, the Creator of my life and the freer of my chains. And over time, I have heard Him whispering a familiar phrase, “There’s enough grace for even this, too.”
In all of that, once again I am brought back into the belief that my home will not be found here. My family is much larger and yet smaller than I realized before. My good works, abilities and strengths are but dust and He offers me strength and care beyond my wildest dreams. I am healed and free, broken but meant for repair.
Psalm 51 The Message
1-3 Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.
Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!