Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Finding Peace in the Gray: Confessions of an Overdue, Hormonal, Sinful Mess.

A highly respected professor of mine once told me, "Jamie, I think you're a Christian because you like that it makes you into a good person, it gives you all the right answers."

Those words stung. They still sting, 2 years later.
Stung because he saw straight to the core of a messy sin I don't like to talk about. He saw that I often pursue Christ for the sake of being right, rather than for Christ's sake.
Rather than caring about seeing the Gospel go forth and watching lives change, I pursue righteousness so people can see more clearly that they are wrong, and I am right.
And then I delight in my rightness, not in Christ.
Amidst the constant blessings on my life I struggle to find joy, because I don't find my joy in Jesus but in the crap that I'm desperate to be right about.

In my world, things are black and white. Only.
From politics, to parenting, to marriage, to fashion, to friendship, to music...
the sin runs in to the deep corners of the basic things I believe about everything.
Gray is wrong. Gray isn't definitive. Gray allows room for error, and excuses, and ambiguity.
Gray means that I might not get the glory. My pride runs from that idea.
Yet my regenerated heart filled with the Spirit draws me back to that idea, it prods and pokes at it until i breaks and is swept away.
God IS and will continue to break me of this sin until my last day. I have confidence in that.

 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. 
Ephesians 2:4-5

If Jesus was a color He would probably be gray.
Some things were definitely black and white for him.
He is the son of God. He is the atoning payment for our sin. He is the only possible savior.
Black on black on black.
He dined with whores and lepers. He could of called down legions of angels while on the cross but He didn't, because of LOVE. He broke every cultural norm of His time to go and find the lost.
Gray on gray on gray.
His love doesn't make sense.
His kingdom is upside down.
He hangs out in the gray because He has already accomplished and perfected the things that are black and white. He hangs out in the gray because thats where His dear ones are.

I find that I struggle most with this sin when things are happening in my life that I have no control of. (Go figure)
Like being "overdue".
For months we have been planning on having a NUCB (natural unmedicated child birth) and I pursued the idea wholeheartedly.
But, as my due date has come and gone and an induction is scheduled for Saturday morning, our plans are being thrown out the window. Then trampled. Then burned.
All kinds of ugly emotions are spewing out of me with this impending reality.
Now I'm seeing that I have made that pursuit and hopeful accomplishment of a NUCB more about having the "right" kind of birth, because I have the "right" ideas about parenting and childbirth -- not because I believe these things are best for me and my child.

I was thinking last night about our perfectly printed birth plan, and how I'm going to look like a fool showing up at the hospital on Saturday morning for an induction that crosses about half those things off the list by default.
The thought of induction brings shame, sadness, fear, and a deep sense of failure right to the surface of my heart.
But, God has been keeping me awake all night walking me through this idea and saying "child. its OK. Pursue ME because I'm good and that's the only way you'll ever have even a CHANCE of being good. Pursue ME for MY sake and MY glory -- because as soon as you try and separate yourself from My glory to get credit..yours fades instantly like a flame with no oxygen."

Praise God I haven't given birth yet.
He has taught me something in the past few days that I needed desperately to hear.
If I had gone into labor on my due date, had everything go perfect, had all of our boxes checked off our birth plan, had a baby with the face of an angel...
I still would have pursued all of those things for the sake of being right -- and attributed our "success" because we did everything right. Not because God's way is perfect and trustworthy.
My sin-ridden heart would have been dissatisfied with a perfectly healthy baby boy because our plans didn't go exactly how we wanted. Because our plans were "right" and anything deviating from that is inherently wrong.
That's ugly.
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1 Timothy 1:15

Forgive me for pursuing righteousness for my own sake.
I still believe our birth plan has good intentions and wishes. I still believe it is the best-case scenario for mom and baby.
But I will stop with the crap about being right for rights-sake, now. I will start remembering all of the reasons we made these decisions in the first place.
I will let go of the desperate, emotional, hormonal, messy mess I have created in my head.
I will trust God with His birth plan for us. It might be gray. It might have some black and white, like we wanted.
But it is already written, sealed, and accomplished, and that is GOOD.

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:30

Ok Felix,
For real though.
Now that we've dealt with that sin.....
you can come out now.
Like seriously.
You are stubborn little guy, aren't ya?
Can't imagine where you got that from.

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