For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:15
I came face to face with the many demons that lurk in my soul 3 years ago. There was no question in my mind that I am bad (and that nothing good lives in me). I came to the realization that many of the “good” things I’ve done were, for the most part, born from evil, selfish motives. I grieved that I was so damn wrong, and that I would never be right.
After months of life in the deepest darkest pit of despairing of myself and wanting to end it all, the light came back into my life. The light came not because I got better, found some new formula to improve myself, or checked all the items off the Christian to-do list.
“The Evangelical industrial complex has done its part to escort the gospel to a pre-Reformation level of darkness. Time to turn on the light.” Zachary James Cole
Light came because He came. Jesus came for broken, messed up, n’er do well Christina.
Tullian Tchividjian says “Until you first realize how bad you really are, you cannot know how good Jesus really is.”
I’m not saying I didn’t know Jesus before or desire a relationship with him, but I was still hanging on to what I’d been told for years, to what was so obviously not working – that if I worked hard enough, dug deep enough, I would tap into some goodness buried deep down inside of me and make things right – live a prosperous, victorious, happy Christian life.
The first step of recovery is: “I realize I am not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.”
That’s quite the opposite of what evangelical Christianity taught me. Yes, I did hear about surrending to him, letting go of my agenda, seeking truth in His word…but that message got muddied with self-help theology, a culture of denying or minimizing pain and suffering, and exhausting sin-management techniques.
I confess that I have not moved past Step 1. Every. Single. Day. I have to return to Step 1.
I cannot find within myself any sort of anything to make myself right. I am alot worse than you think I am. I am a lot worse than I think I am. I don’t even have to dig anymore…every day I get new insights into my depraved broken, sinful nature. I still have days where I’m surprised with just how broken. Sometimes I’m surprised I have any friends at all. It’s lonely living with that brokenness, one day hoping people would find out the truth about how messy I am so I can be free, the next day, using every worldly tool available to cover up my sin.
I know I deserve death. Death by firing squad. The worst possible death.
I continue down this road with Jesus, and a few good “non-blinking” friends who are allowing me to be more real than I ever imagined. His light shines into my darkness, and I can live another day knowing he’s not leaving me, no matter what trash he may find in the depths of my soul or what messes I make in my daily life. My sin is no surprise to him.
He came. He lived. He died. He rose. – for me, for you.
“Cheer up; you’re a lot worse off than you think you are, but in Jesus you’re far more loved than you could have ever imagined.” Steve Brown