During a period of prayer, specifically a time of listening, this morning (and again this evening) in church we as a community corporately and individually asked God what about us makes Him proud.
I had a difficult time asking this question. I live in and know myself by my failures. So spending time in quiet anticipation of an answer from God was excruciating. Why would God see me any other way than how I see myself? And why would I want to hear that inevitable answer from the God whom I so desperately try to appease.
Instead I spent those few minutes in the service hearing from Him, and arguing with Him, about the way that He sees me. God mainly reminding me about the method by which He evaluates my worth and value is nothing like mine.
I live in my regrets. I daily see the scars I've emotionally and spiritually cut into me. I cringe whenever anyone asks why I was suspended for a week in high school. I weep when I recall the moments that led to my resignation (read termination) from my ministry in North Carolina. I know the potential for my darkness and the struggle it takes to resist.
What about me would God feel any need to even look upon me, let alone be proud of me?
So then. I head home and enjoy dinner with great friends. People I respect immensely and in no way measure up to. Their levels of commitment and service baffle me.
We eat some spaghetti. Someone opens a bottle of wine (I drink water because I'm out of Dr. Pepper). And another inserts Rob Bell's The Gods Aren't Angry tour DVD. I saw this tour live and have seen this DVD on several occasions. Each time it leaves me breathless. Broken. Better.
As Rob traces the evolution of man's understanding of our awareness of forces outside of our control and our burden of continually trying to appease those forces, he eventually reveals the "culmination of the ages". And because of Jesus' satisfactory and fulfilling sacrifice we no longer "have to live that way". (That's a very brief and limited recap of the presentation and I would suggest you watch it get the full impact.)
So tonight. I grapple with not living that way. When will I allow Christ to define me? One would think that twenty years of Christ-following would have brought me to a place of confident assurance.
Tonight's prayer as I head to bed: Rescue me from myself. Renew me to Your understandings. Revive me, making me a living sacrifice, so that I may live out Your good news of the "culmination of the ages".