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.
Since my earliest memory, doing the right thing has not been my natural instinct.
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.