“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord…” (Romans 7:21-25a NLT)
On days like today I remember exactly why Paul was a man after my own heart. I can always tell when I need to regroup. There are tell -tale signs. My room and my car are a wreck, my nails are jagged and uneven, my thoughts are jumbled, and I just feel disconnected from myself; like I’m just going through the motions but not truly living. I become like a garbage can that is too full and the debris on the inside begins to spill outside. These times are very conflicting for me, because I like it better when everything is going well. Who doesn’t?
So today as I sit on this conference, call staring at my unkempt cuticles, wicked hangnails and ragged nails, I realize that I’ve been neglecting my “regrouping” time. In fact for months now I’ve been hitting the ground running every morning and falling into bed each night. I talk to God in the car (when I’m not “assisting” other drivers that is), but that designated alone time is has been non-existent, and I’m really feeling it today. In this moment of exhaustion and frustration, I understand more than I ever have why Jesus would go to a solitary place every morning to pray. My soul is thirsting for God’s presence right now and all I want to do is quench that thirst, so why don’t I just do it?
Good question. Here is my answer. I am in that place Paul talked about in Romans 7 where I know what I need to do, but I don’t do it; instead I do the very things I don’t want to do. It’s the worst, but it is part of life I suppose. Ordinarily this is where I would insert a long dissertation about my plan to fix this problem, but I won’t do that this time. Rather than make spiritually lofty statements about what I plan to do from this day forward, my plan is simply this: to take each day as it comes and do what I need to. My plan is not to beat myself up when I miss the mark, but to get up, dust myself off and start over instead. My plan is to rejoice on the days I get it right and repent on the days I don’t – remembering that God forgives me and so I must also forgive myself. My plan is to throw a load of clothes in the wash each night until it’s done (Oh who am I kidding? The laundry is NEVER “done”). My plan is to take a minute and file my nails. My plan is to do my best with every day I am given, one day at a time - that's it.
I guess the purpose of today’s post is to encourage us in our journey to remember to be gentle with ourselves because we are works in progress after all. God doesn’t expect perfection from us. He invites us to draw from Him - He IS perfection. That’s the only way we can ever hope to be better than we are. If we could do it in our own strength it would have been done. So join me as I take a deep breath, get up, dust off, and seize what is left of this glorious day! Be blessed!