Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Blurred vision and bruised hearts

"My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness."
So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ can work through me.
2 Corinthians 12:9


So there's this phenomenon in psychology known as "highway hypnosis". Most of us have experienced this: lost in thought along our daily travel, we find ourselves home - completely unaware of how, exactly, we got there. Oh, we know we drove ourselves, but if we try, we can remember very little of the drive itself, as if we'd traveled through a time warp, semiconscious.
Yea, traveling through this life's like that sometimes. . . 
I was talking to an old friend over dinner recently, one who has known me since the hay-days of our very early twenties.   She & I often laugh– and cringe – at old memories that we share, but the conversation always leads to where we are now, deep into our thirties.
 
Redeemed. Restored. Blessed.

Not perfect by any means, which is exactly what makes this gospel of grace so outright scandalous that it encites raucous laughter.  It's ridiculous, really. 

The the truth is, no one could deserve this life, this grace less than us - less than me.
 
We talked about my writing and how much I’ve written and yet, how much I haven’t lately, but how I’m trying –and yet, failing – and grasping for how to begin again, wondering where to start.

"Write right where you are," she said.  Which is what I've always done.  Or did, rather. 
 
Truth is, it was easier to write from deep within despair, I told her. I wrote through the struggle, in the midst of the storms. I wrote through my seasons of doubt, discouragement, chaos and confusion. I wrote through my darkest moments.
 
I wrote out of desperation when it was all I knew to do, when it was all that I could do.  I wrote because there was so much going on inside of me, I had to have a way to transfer some of it out. 
Then my life shifted. God did the unthinkable, this seemingly impossible thing.  He moved the pieces of my shattered life together again in spite of me and my repeated failings and flailing. In spite of all I had done and who I had been and who I still am - He proved Himself faithful over and over and over again. 
And so, I settled and resettled into this new/old life with my family and my home where we all live under this one roof instead of divided between two.  I took it all in and I took a long rest. 
Rest like how I imagine the prodigal son must have rested after returning home, after the celebration had ended.
But in some ways, the rest and the quiet and the peacefulness of it all lulled me into this spiritual comfort and complacency.  I was going through the motions of religious routine while my relationship with the Lord languished.  Amidst the safety and security and peace, a sense of self-sufficiency emerged.  The lack of struggle subtly diminished my dependence on Him, my desperation for His word and His presence. 
"Without the lens of His word, [my] world warps." ~ Ann Voskamp
And I'm reminded of this all over again - this warping, this slow bending  of the corners in our minds.  Our vision becomes blurred, our perspective altered. 
And after all, no one can walk straight with warped vision. 
The path beneath our feet begins to feel unsteady, but we realize we are the ones unsteady - with these unsteady eyes, this unsteady heart, this utter lack of desperation...
"And it’s the lack of a sense of desperation for God that is so deadly. If we don’t feel desperate for God, we don’t tend to cry out to him. Love for this present world sets in subtly, like a spiritual leprosy, damaging spiritual nerve endings so that we don’t feel the erosion and decay happening until it’s too late." - John Piper
And we fall.  Hard.

This blurred vision that leads to skinned knees and bruised hearts - we find ourselves where we began - face down in the dirt.  Desperate. 
Disheveled, disheartened and discouraged by the realization of how far we have not come - and frightened by how fast we can stumble and fall. 
 
And just like that, 
I am desperate all over again.  Desperate for daily dependance and learning over and over and over again that I cannot walk through this life, not through a single day, without His word guiding and guarding my steps - and my heart. 
 
You're Not
When I'm
Weary and exhausted
You're not.
When I'm
Confused and discouraged
You're not.
When I'm
Fickle and unfaithful
You're not.
When I'm
Doubtful and disheartened
You're not.
When I'm
Fearful and anxious
You're not.
When I'm
Short-sighted and fearful
You're not.
When I'm
Tired and about to quit
You're not.
When I'm
Lacking in hope and love
You're not.
When I'm
Shocked and surprised
You're not.
When I'm
Angrily withholding grace
You're not.
When I'm
Unfaithful to what I've promised
You're not.
When I'm
Selfish and disloyal
You're not.
Oh, Lord of
Faithfulness and grace
I am so thankful
That
In those moments
When I'm
Losing my way
You're not.


~ Paul David Tripp

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