May 16, 2010

under pressure

I really want to go to bed right now, but I gotta get a few things out of my head first.

I was driving home tonight and the top 40 station plays the club mixes on saturday nights, and little Justin Beiber came on. Now, can you imagine people grinding hard to poor little 10-year-old Justin Beiber? It just seems wrong . . . at least juxtaposed.

Anyway, that's just a side note.

One of my favorite places to cry is church. For a lot of reasons, I think. Because during that time purposed for worship songs, meditating on God's word, and how often God speaks through our pastor - I like to get emotional during all of that . . . and also because no one is really looking at you. It's like crying at the movies.

I've been thinking and wrestling and struggling a lot lately, which is good.

It's good to see that I'm human. I'm messy. People are generally messy, actually.

I want to retire the plastic smile. Why should I put on a front? Why not be real, vulnerable and transparent - even when it's scary? I think that can speak more to people about what God is doing in your life - when you can be more honest.

If you're bringing all of your questions and struggles and baggage to God, trying to work it out with Him. When your problems don't get cured overnight, and they don't just gloss over . . . and you're laying it at His feet, trusting that He'll walk with you through all the crap.

Acknowledging my weaknesses, faults, bad days and humanness causes me to see my need for a savior. It forces me to rely on something outside of myself. It opens the door for me to rely more fully on God - which is something people need to see.

I want to just surrender. To let go of my guilt and my never-ending quest called perfectionism. I am trying so hard to be perfect, and I'm the only one putting that pressure on myself. No one else expects me to live up to the unrealistic standards that I've created. I've been struggling to be self-sufficient without fully acknowledging it.

Being a christian doesn't mean I have it all together or am perfect. I think it means that no matter what, I belong to God.

And I did nothing to deserve that relationship. That He reached out to me when I didn't even know who He was. That He initiated the relationship and He reconciled me - and I have done nothing to earn it.

So . . . I can rest, knowing that I am fully loved and I am His, and nothing is going to change that.

I am just thankful that God is bigger than my questions. He's bigger than satan, who keeps on making me question my identity and worth. He's bigger than my doubts, my desires, my fears, my anger, my frustration, my sin, my pursuit of perfection. There's nothing too big for Him, there's nothing I'm gonna throw out that He can't handle.

It's just so hard sometimes. I hate wrestling with the bigger issues. I hate questioning. I can't handle pat answers. Just because you think or say it's going to be OK doesn't mean that it will be. I can't handle a random verse taken out of context . . . I have to really sit down and digest it to get the answers I'm searching for. All of these things frustrate me, but I can take it as a sign of maturing. It's like a love/hate relationship . . . growing pains.

Back to being OK with being human . . . why would God send His Son to die for people, if they could be self-sufficient or righteous on their own? God created us . . . He knows we're messy, sinful and rebellious, yet He wants us to be reconciled to Him anyway. The whole grace thing baffles me, in a mysterious beautiful fashion.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:4-9

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