Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Ugly

Well, I thought I'd try and update you on how I've been doing implementing my realizations/convictions. And the general summary is: OK. Probably average for a human. I've been finding more than anything that I keep seeing more and more work to be done. Like it's the never ending pile of dirty laundry. For instance, I become more aware of how I steal attention and sympathy from my husband (see The Tragedian), then I start to realize that many things I say are also manipulative. Charming, isn't it? I'm pretty much not sure anymore that anything that comes out of my mouth is purely good. There was one Proverb I came across that said something like, 'Where words are many, sin is not absent.' I knew that was describing me. I do talk a lot. But that's not what this Zerbik is about today.

Talking about 'sin' is unpopular these days for a lot of reasons, one is that it's kind of a downer. But, why would God keep revealing to me more of this poopy stuff if He didn't want me to think about, talk about it, or do anything with it? I grew up in a military family, moving lots and lots, and for many years we attended the chapel on our base. If we got there early after the Catholic service we'd see the chapel staff setting up for our Protestant service. They'd close the curtains to hide statues of Mary and somebody else, then turn around the big cross in the middle with Jesus' dead body on it so it was plain for us. I remember asking why Catholics had Jesus on their cross and we didn't, and my mom explained that we focus on Jesus' resurrection, not His death. Which is exactly right. I think though, that perhaps we should see both sides of that cross. Don't we need him to both die for our sins and fulfill His promise to return in order to have true hope? That's what this is all about, I think, realizing our need for hope then getting it.

Seems to me, things keep getting dirty in this world, inside or outside my home. God could have made it the other way around, where things naturally got clean, but He didn't. (I know, I know, modern day weeds, results of the Fall, but also results of God's choice to give us free will, besides He can change anything He wants to!). Also, am I the only one in the world that keeps finding that I'm just not "good enough", not at just being a "good person", but at everything? Like being a parent, for instance? Ezra's eight months old and I can already see how I could have done things better. Being a human I can't help but make stuff dirty, but God has consistently been in the business of making things clean.

Another reason we hate to talk about sin is that it points to accountability, which ultimately points to God. That kind of poo-poos on the old "I am a god, we are all god" theory, which sounds silly to most people, but most people are guilty of it. Aren't we declaring ourselves 'god' of our universe whenever we manipulate others or get mad because things don't go our way?

The book, "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis is all about how if we all have a little voice in our heads that tells us right from wrong that this ultimately points to a Giver of moral absolutes. I was just getting ready to write about how this awareness of sin is probably intended to bring us to the realization that we need Him, that we'll always fall short without Him, then it hit me that there's lots of things God brings into my life to teach me that. Emotions like fear cause me to seek Him out, experiences like being short on cash, being in a car accident, being diagnosed with cancer all cause us to lean on Him. All these are kinds of "downers" aren't they?

I sure love to be happy. I love to anticipate the next fun thing in my life. I'm afraid, though, that sometimes I'm not being grown or molded as much during those times. I'm afraid I'm not communing with God as much during those times. What's screwy is that when I do talk to Him in the happy times it's to thank Him that I'm not enduring a painful time which is when I grow and get close to Him. WHAT?

Since this is getting long, I'll try to wrap it up. I'm trying to figure God out here. I'm getting the feeling that although I don't like to be uncomfortable or feel bad about sins I commit, He wants me to trust Him and let myself be broken down as much as He knows I can handle, so that He can rebuild and reshape me how I was created to be shaped. The worst thing we can do in our broken state is to allow Satan to taint our view of what's happening. He likes to keep us stagnant and hinder the rebuilding/beautifying phase. Ben once said if Satan can tempt and attack those who are strong, how much more does he prey on the weak? So, in all things put on the full armor of God...

1 Peter 5:10 (Amplified Bible)
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.


Deanne said...

I can relate. It seems that all I do is look at myself and see how ugly and sinful I am. And so the downward spiral goes! I struggle with this learning and growing process. The good thing is that I am aware that it is a process and that I am not expected to be perfect right now. *sigh* I'll be learning and growing until my life here on earth is done. But thank you, Jesus, for your grace along the way!

Trish D said...

Sanctification is a painful process, and Satan is always right there, reminding us of how we're not good enough. I am constantly encouraged by the stories of the Patriarchs, and how God not only allowed them to make huge mistakes, but turned those flubs to his glory (and they're now recorded to encourage us!) Hebrews 11-12 is one of my favorite passages to read during these times of struggle, to remember some of these people, and see the great application.

I am so grateful for my loving Heavenly Father and know that He chastises me as needed, but is also doing it lovingly, and never giving me more than I can take.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, one of the best reasons that "Catholic crosses" have a suffering Christ on them is to remind us that even while good is triumphing over evil...there is pain and struggle. Just because you do the right thing doesn't mean you can expect to have a "happy" life (whatever THAT means anyway these days). Case in point, even the blameless Jesus had a pretty hard go of it.

Oh and by the way... victory... Nothing good, lasting, or admirable (in this life) ever comes without cost!

Love, B (a wandering hermit)

Chris said...

" . . . when I do talk to Him in the happy times it's to thank Him that I'm not enduring a painful time which is when I grow and get close to Him."

I can definitely see both sides of this. We can be truly and appropriately grateful for blessings of comfort, because they are blessings. But so are the growth spurts that most often take place in times of discomfort. God knows we need both. But I do enjoy the comfortable times more.

And I too get tired of the perpetual relization that I can do no good thing. It breaks my heart that I am already making mistakes in my care of Donovan. If there's anything in the world I want to do right, it's this, and I can't. God has to care for Donovan through (and sometimes in spite of) me.

Praise be to God for knowing that we are dust and loving us anyway. Praise Him for loving us too much to give us only the blessings of comfort, but also the blessings of growth by reminding us of our infinite need of Him.