Baby I Was Born This Way!

About a month ago a sweet sister in the faith, who has walked with Jesus as long as I have been alive, blurted out these words I never expected to hear her say.
 “I was born this way ok? Stop trying to make me like you!”
While the intensity of her confession caught me off guard, after some deep reflection, I realized I am no different. I was born the way I am too.
Sinful.
Since my earliest memory, doing the right thing has not been my natural instinct.
MINE! NO!
Those are words that you do not have to teach to your children.  Putting others first? Living a disciplined life? This definitely does not come naturally.
Ya know what does come naturally to me? Feeding my flesh. Literally and figuratively. Let me explain.
When I see someone running down the road, arms pumping, looking fit, I think to myself, “Self….I am going running when I get home.”
But as I walk through the door and see a tin of brownies, I think, “Maybe I’ll run tomorrow.”
When I hear someone speaking another language, I remember that German language course I started. Yet when the house is quiet, and those CDs are staring at me, it seems like a better option to binge watch Netflix documentaries.
When I see a romantic movie, I think of how much I love my husband, and how blessed I am to have him. But when he doesn’t meet (some) my (many) expectations, my reaction is not always so grateful.
If you look at my life, my personality, my temperament, a lot of what you see now, has always been this way. I love to talk. (didn’t work out so well in school.) I struggle keeping things in order (ask my mom) I am careless with important papers (I still have nightmares about 3rd grade-Mrs. Olson), I stay up too late (obviously) and on and on.
I struggle. But my struggles are not the same as other peoples struggles, namely this friend. In fact, that was her point. She was indignant at my suggestion that maybe she could chill out a little and be less of a perfectionist.
“No,” she argued. This is who she is, and I just need to accept it.
The problem is, however, I can’t find that concept anywhere in scripture. When Paul struggled with his flesh, at no point did he concede, “I was born this way. You were born that way. You do you! ”
Truthfully, God has given us certain gifts and definite propensities.  If we use them according to His guidelines, they will become a beautiful part of who we are. However, we have also inherited a sin nature which goes against God’s perfect design for who we are. The questions then becomes, what do I do with these shortcomings? Throw my hands up and say, “Baby I was born this way”?
As a wife and mom with five kids, I do not have that option. I fight every day against how I was born, and that is a good thing.
God’s plan does not include surrendering to every feeling. Scripture does not describe a life of ease and going with the flow. The Christian life includes fighting against principalities and powers, running a race, looking ahead for the joy that waits, picking up our cross, denying our flesh. This is our destiny. Jesus wants to redeem every part of our life. Every facet of our personality. Every inclination in our soul. Everything.
But how? How do we determine what stays and what goes?
The answer is simple but increasingly unpopular.
 The Bible is our final authority.
The world around you would say that you determine what is right for your own life. But this is the exact opposite of truth.
Take a look around for proof if you need it.
“Do what makes you happy,” is how the world determines what is right for our post modern society. “As long as you don’t hurt anyone,” they add.
Except this is obviously (or should be) ridiculous. I mean, think of the hearts  that broke all over the world when my husband was taken off the market. Does that mean I was wrong to marry him? And more specifically how do you define “hurt.” But now I am talking non-sense…. To think we should use words that are definable and have measurement! Silly me.
We are told to do what feels right. The problem is we live in a sick society. Our hearts are wicked, not good. Doing what feels right is dangerous. (Watch the news)
God’s Word is the only constant. In it are the words of life. This is not a 2000 year old book of letters. It is living and active. It is tried and tested. It has been surveyed and scrutinized. Don’t take my word for it. Study for yourselves.
 I am so glad that I am not who I was when I was born. I am grateful for the friends and loved ones that forgive me and even struggle with me as we work out our own salvation. And while it’s cliché, I am most thankful for a God that loves me just as I am, but also loves me too much to let me stay that way, even if that’s how I was born.
Advertisements

The best Valentine you can give anyone and how it will change you both! Psalms 130

Last weekend our church held a marriage event. Some pastors and their wives shared stories from the pulpit, encouraged us with scripture, and answered questions. We went because marriage is important to us. And there is always room for improvement. But what happened there truly surprised me. You see.  I was really convicted. My heart was pierced. During the worship, with tears streaming down my face, I felt so repentant. I felt so sure. I needed to confess. Yet when the music faded, and they gave us a moment to look our loved one in the eyes and honestly admit sin, a strange thing happened. Nothing. Not one sound would come out of my mouth. It was awkward. I wanted to say something. Anything. But I couldn’t. And just like that the moment was over. I couldn’t believe how powerless I felt. The service continued. More stories were shared. More inspiring verses. More songs. More conviction. Lord, I prayed. Please. Help me say something because I don’t think I can. And sure enough- I couldn’t. As the service closed we walked to the front to pray for others, all the while wishing someone would pray for me. I know they would have. Gladly. But I couldn’t ask.
Days passed by and I wondered if I had missed the moment. Maybe I was over-reacting. I could just ignore my sin. My heart is in the right place, right? I’m a pretty good wife.
Until I did it again. Lost my temper. This time at my daughter for something she didn’t even do. And her face. It nearly broke my heart. I have to change. But I don’t know how. No time to think about it. Besides, everyone loses their cool. It’s just life. On to the next event.
But the next event was me sobbing in the kitchen. Crying over pictures of smiling Facebook faces, because their smiles- meant someone else’s heartache. A new romance budding while the ex is left reeling. God please. Make them see. Open their eyes. That.is.not.love. That.is.not.romance. Not in the slightest. Children left wondering, will their prayers be answered? Or will their dream of living with mommy and daddy die with a new wedding. 
I pull myself together. I pray for healing in broken families. All day.  Until it’s night. And I can’t go on one more second. 
“I have to tell you something.” I blurt out closing our bedroom door.
“I have something to confess.” These words seem dramatic. In fact, I would die a little inside if he said those words to me…again. Because they are terrifying words to hear.  Mostly because we don’t say them enough.
I assure him it’s nothing horrible, all the while knowing that it really is. Because sin is horrible. Every single one.
 With no more hesitation I laid my heart bear exposing my weakness, my sin, my failings, my bad choices, and he listened. 
There were no surprises. 
Maybe that’s what made it so hard.
He knows my sins. He is well acquainted with them. I pretend they don’t exist while he can’t escape them. My plank-eyed vision is skewed, staring always at the spec in his eye, as if I am his sanctification. I am not. 
No more excuses. No more finger pointing. It was time to own it. 
Even if he uses it against me in the future. 
Even if I am going to mess up again.
Even if he doesn’t believe me when I say I want to change. Because I don’t blame him. I kind of don’t believe me either. Yet I know that it has to be said. Confession must be made.  I know this because the Bible tells me so. Confess your sins so that you might be healed. And I want that with every fiber of my being. Healing. So it’s worth the risk of seeming insincere. 
And I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. 
“I thought I would stop sinning when I got saved. I just kept asking Jesus in my heart, thinking I  must not be saved because I can’t stop sinning” my daughter cries to me after messing up…again. And I get it. You almost don’t want to apologize one more time because it feels so fake. You know you are going to do it again. You’re almost sure of it. So why apologize? Why confess? Maybe just pretend it didn’t happen. But Then I open to my scheduled reading which takes me to Psalms 130. And I read this. 
Hope.
 
Psalm 130

Waiting for the Redemption of the Lord

A Song of Ascents.
130 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.

My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.

And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.
Confession. This is a gift. And I can’t think of one close relationship I have that wouldn’t benefit from it. A little raw, loving confession will abundantly bless any relationship you have, whether it is a friend, family member, spouse, child. Anyone. This one gift of love will heal relationships that don’t even seem inherently sick.
Open your heart. Wait for the Lord. Hope in Him, because with Him is abundant redemption.  Pray for strength to take that step. Confess your sins one to another and be healed!  I am healed. I know this. I saw it today. Time stood still today while my perfectionism, my controlling inclinations, my instinct to nag taunted me in the realest of moments. But I said nothing. I smiled and kissed my man on the lips. And kept walking. Just like that. 
Hope. And Redemption. Starting with confession. 
So I wait. I wait for the Lord, and in His word I do hope! 
I dare you to share this gift with someone and tell us how it goes in the comments- remembering that true confession doesn’t blame and expects nothing in return. You can do it!!