The first time I tried to write this article I found myself beginning by listing all of the things that are so difficult in my life right now.
I was making excuses.
Perhaps somewhere in the back of my mind (my sinful, fleshy mind) I would still rather not take full responsibility for what I am going to share with you. Something tells me I’m not the only one.
The story goes like this:
I was busy yesterday and trying to get away for some sanity time at the end of the evening. Finally, I put myself together and was on my way out the door. My oldest son was helping take the puppies out so I wouldn’t come home to yet another mess.
He is helpful like that. Brian is always stepping up to help whether he has asked or not. I would like to take credit for this, but I believe it is more in spite of my parenting than because of my parenting.
Some people are endowed by God with a servant heart.
Brian is one of those people. I was one of those people as a child… and then the world broke me.
In fact, I can recall the exact moment when I decided I would stop serving other people; the moment I threw deuces to the rest of the world and decided to just “do me.”
One afternoon, as I visited with a friend, someone asked me for something. I think it was to get an apple for them from the kitchen or something like that. Something simple. Immediately I jumped up and went to go get it.
As I walked into the kitchen I heard a voice behind me say, “good dog,” followed by a room full of hushed laughter.
No, this is not some story about how I was bullied by my friends.
It was one of my own family members sitting in the living room that said this to me. One of my sisters who had been encouraged by our parents in her taunting because it was “funny” and she was “just having fun”. Nevertheless, the part of me that cared started to harden that day.
With each subsequent request or need for help that I refused, my heart hardened even more.
This went on for years.
Now, as Christ is healing me from this, I realize I still have a long way to go. I had become like that critical mean voice in my head. Sometimes daily, I battle with it so that I don’t spill it onto my own children.
Each time, I have to turn it over the the Lord because I have proven no match against my own flesh.
So yesterday, as I ran to the car to get my much-needed “me” time (because it’s mine and not the Lord’s right?), I fussed at my son for not helping properly in the way I would have done it.
While he was helping, I fussed at him.
I caught myself and stopped. Then I hurried into my car, dropping my phone on the driveway in the process.
As I drove away I lamented my broken phone. The Lord put on my heart to consider where I am placing value.
“You would become so upset, so angry over a broken, lifeless piece of technology… And yet you fracture your son, your own son, and move on with no regard for what you have done?”
I hate that I still have this struggle against my flesh. I have known this struggle for sometime. I know why I do it. I know that Ido it less. I just can’t change it as fast as I would like… and that’s not good enough for me.
Such is the frustrating process of sanctification.
Sure, there are professing Christians that make few, if any, changes to their lifestyle. Personally, I could never live that way.
I have been forgiven so much that I consider even the smallest sin to be a terrible offense to my Father. I know He forgives me. It is because He forgives me that I want so much to please Him.
I know He was pleased when I returned to my son (I called him as soon as I realized what I had done) and asked for his forgiveness. I explained what the Lord had revealed to me about my behavior and that it was not my son’s fault that I had a bad attitude.
This process is always painful.
So the point of this particular post is simply tell you (for those of you who are enduring this as well), you are not alone.
We all struggle…
We all sin…
Those of us who are passionate about serving our loving God in a way that honors the Spirit He has gifted us are brokenhearted when we fall short. If we were not, we might do well to question why we have chosen the label “Christian.”
So, if this is you… if you find yourself in shoes like mine, rest assured you are in good company. There are many who toe the same line each day, learning to surrender old habits as we are being made new.
We are in this together my friends. Let us then, share our struggles openly and encourage one another. Please be in prayer for my continued sanctification as I will be also for you and yours.
Be blessed in the Lord today.