An Anonymous Critique
You are. such. a navelgazer. which means. self focused. always thinking. about yourself. under. the guise. of thinking. about God.Words that greeted me from my inbox this morning, an anonymous comment left on Monday's rather brain-fogged post. Cruel words calculated to wreak heart-havoc. A voice of accusation, condemnation, dismissal.
sorry, kelly. i'm leaving. never to read your blog again.
They sink deep.
I've heard them before.
They don't affect me the way they once did.
I know they don't carry the weight of Jesus-come-in-the-flesh-to-die-and-be-raised-to-Life-again. The spirit behind the words doesn't understand grace that frees to cling to a Savior.
I know what I am. I am a navel-gazer. I am self-focused. I am human.
But I don't seek to disguise myself by talking about God. Really, the fact that I talk about Him at all gives testimony to His work in me.
A Place in God's Heart
You see, about a year ago, I gave up altogether on God. The idea of being crucified with Christ, of having everything I wanted stripped away from me with no promise of reward but God Himself - there was no appeal in it. Why should I try to serve and love Someone whose stated care for me is entirely based in His own glory?
I almost hated Him then for wanting to use me when I had the sense that the God of the Universe did not really care about me at all.
Thus my heart was grieved,God destroyed my limited concept of Him. My world went silent, a strained silent listlessness that gradually eased into "wait."
And I was vexed in my mind.
I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
- Psalm 73:21-22
In the waiting, I began to see that He is more than I can define. Or understand. Or manipulate. Or control.
And I saw something else. That His love for me prompted God to come to earth as a Man and die. For me.
Yes, I am self-focused.
We who love Him love because He first loved us, and gave Himself for us. If we are all honest, we must admit that our only point of reference for the reality of His love is - and must be - based in our own experience and understanding of what He did for us individually.
To say otherwise is to leave our humanity behind. To dismiss our need for grace. To grasp equality with God. To raise ourselves to a position to judge the weak and the fool that God has chosen for Himself.
I am the weak. I am the fool.
Yet I am not ashamed.
Good News Most Sufficient
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ..."To be holy as Jesus is holy, to be perfect and complete in God's sight, this is a work no one knows how to complete but the God who Himself is perfect. It must be His work, for all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
- Philippians 1:6
The knowledge burns within my soul as I scribble here my daily ponderings, my rambles, my random. As a fool, I do not seek to cloak myself or my sin; as weak, I do not try to hide my questions or my oft-misplaced desires.
When I consider God, I do consider myself. I consider who I am in relation to Him, who He is in relation to me. And He often calls me to realize Him outside of me, but even this leads back to my heart, which responds to Him with worship. I am at times undone by Him.
Every word I speak is not His. One post from my blog does not encompass the whole story of this girl who once wanted to be something for God. Her story got rearranged. Now, she knows He will be God in spite of her.
And yet He died for her. He has chosen her to know Him. Given her this faith that she could not dredge up in a million years of trying. Predestined her to good works. Given her His Spirit as a seal upon her heart.
Oh yes, I have failed. Oh, thank GOD I have failed.
You see, I know all is not lost.
I have been redeemed already. I am being sanctified. I may give thanks for self-focused things when I am brain-fogged and still learning to speak again of God. I may live my whole life in the dust that I am and walk by this faith He has given that He Himself is my perfection, knowing that Jesus became sin for me so that I could become the righteousness of God in Him.
This is all my glory, this Christ who took on flesh. He is the Good News that brings me boldly to the throne of Grace to freely obtain mercy I have not deserved.
Faith Not My Own
"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."It would be ludicrous for me to say that this reckoning happens overnight. It would be a lie for me to say that I am every day overwhelmed by this Gospel.
- Romans 8:8-11
But this Eternal God, the Alpha and Omega I AM who is both Beginning and End - He does not live on my daily schedule. He exists outside of time, and His work begun in me is His to complete.
I feel like a child before Him sometimes. Puttering around at His feet, living in my dailiness, changing diapers, writing words from my limited perspective, cleaning house, preparing for a new baby, learning to pray, learning to notice His goodness in my life and giving only small, self-focused thanks when He gives me something I want.
By the grace of God, I am what I am.
"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.I - who am nothing - have known His faithfulness, so much greater than my small faith, faithful from this God who swears by Himself and keeps His Word.
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
- Romans 8:26-35, 37-39
I am willing to wait for His promise. And this, I know, is Him in me.
Forgive my earth-puttering, please. He is still at work.
This post also linked at Holy Experience for Walk With Him Wednesday. It is a little off-topic, but this is what His advent means for me, how it changes my life. This is why I seek Him.
(Image © Informal Moments Photography)