Friday, February 28, 2014

C.S. Lewis on Love And Vulnerability

Read this quote today and I like it:

"To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, unredeemable."  -C.S. Lewis

For further reflection on this quote, check out this blog post by Jonathan Rogers.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Insufferable. Redeemed.

(I have received two recent requests to readdress my blogging habits.  So here is what I have been thinking about.  Which is largely why I have not been blogging.)

I am insufferable.

This is the word that has been dominating my thoughts as of late.  This is the word that constantly resonates.  Unbearable.  Intolerable.  Not to be endured.


"Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
"Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.""
-Zephaniah 3:14-17

He rejoices over me with gladness.  

He rejoices over me with gladness.  


The insufferable one.

Those who love me and think they know me well may not find me entirely insufferable, but that's only because I make a fairly valiant effort to hide the darkness within me from the people I like or want to impress.  (Don't we all?)  They don't see my heart, don't know my motives, and they don't (often) serve as the recipients of my bitterness and anger.  But the man I honked at last week for annoyingly driving just under the speed limit, the Wells Fargo bank teller whom I harshly told to stop asking me personal questions because the answers didn't matter to her life anyway, the acquaintances whom I hold at arm's length because I've deemed them not worthy of my time - I think they would all agree.  They get unadulterated glimpses of my heart and it is not pretty.  I should also include the couple standing beside me in line at a Christian conference I attended this weekend whom I yelled at because they misunderstood the system and by inadvertently budging in front of me, they inconvenienced me for at least 30 seconds.

I was angry for hours


because the system was broken, because it was hard to understand what to do, because the staff were giving the registering attendees mixed messages and because I love competence more than I love Jesus.

I believe that God forgives me but it is much harder to believe that he likes me.  

Right now.  

Not the future me 10 years from now that finally has my act together.  

The right now me that feels like my act falls apart a little more every day.  

He rejoices over me with gladness.  

Right now.  

He exults over me with loud singing.  


Something deep inside of me is very broken.  And it makes me difficult to be around.  I feel bitchy, irritable, rude and constantly inconvenienced.  But even more, I feel bad about feeling bitchy, irritable, rude and inconvenienced.

My pursuit of sin has destroyed much of what was once tender and beautiful inside me.  I see such little progress in sanctification in my life that it causes me to question the presence of the Holy Spirit within me, for how could His presence bear such little fruit?  My sin is ever before me.  My tormenters never let me forget.

The failure.  The sin.  The shame.

Unworthy.  Unclean.  Useless.  Hopeless.


"What though the vile accuser roar
Of sins that I have done;
I know them well, and thousands more;
My God he knoweth none.

My sin is cast into the sea
Of God's forgotten memory
No more to haunt accusingly
For Christ has lived and died for me."
-His Be the Victor's Name

"I often wish I wasn't such a disappointment to myself but the only reason I wish I was better is so I could validate myself and not have to trust Christ's righteousness on my behalf." - Elyse Fitzgerald

"God is not disappointed in you because 
that would mean He has unmet expectations.
He has no unmet expectations because all
of the law has already been fulfilled on 
your behalf." - Elyse Fitzgerald

"The temptation is always to believe that further, better, more aggressive living produces life....Our exhaustion is not because we are working, maintaining relationships, etc., but because we are trying to save ourselves through these things."
-Tullian Tchividjian

Free from the law, O happy condition!
Jesus has bled, and there is remission;
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace has redeemed us once for all.

Now we are free, there's no condemnation!
Jesus provides a perfect salvation;
"Come unto me," O hear His sweet call!
Come and He saves us once for all.

Once for all, O sinner, receive it!
Once for all, O doubter, believe it!
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall
Christ has redeemed us once for all.
-Once For All

I love to laugh and this is God's greatest joke: 
that of all people, He chose to redeem me.  The insufferable one.

Good one.

"When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing I have asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple."
-Psalm 27: 2-4

What would you pray for if you were surrounded by your enemies?  Weapons? That the enemy would be destroyed?  That you would be rescued?  I would pray that I would be delivered from the situation.  That the unfavorable circumstances would simply go away.  Poof.  Gone.  I pray a lot of those prayers.  I pray to be delivered from many circumstances, some external, but I most consistently pray to be rescued from myself.

But David doesn't pray for deliverance from his circumstances.
His one request is that he would be allowed to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.
Grace connects him personally to this beauty and it redefines who he is.  
His identity is firmly rooted in his Savior who justifies and redeems.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?"
-Psalm 27:1

David's enemies can attack him.  They can take his family.
They can take his kingdom.  But they can never take his identity
because it was never in his enemies' hands in the first place.  
His identity is rooted in the Lord who is his light, his salvation,
his stronghold.

I often pray to be rescued from the torment I feel.  I want the accusations to just go away.  But this is not what David prays for.  His hope is not rooted in his deliverance.

His hope is rooted in his Redeemer.

My hope ought not to be that my demons may ever stop tormenting me (although that sure would be nice!).  

My hope is rooted in the truth that, 
even if their voices should get louder with every passing year, 
they will never, ever, say one true thing about who I am.

Grace connects me to the beauty of my Lord
and my identity is firmly rooted there.

My light.

My salvation.

My stronghold.

I may be insufferable,

but I am redeemed 

and I am clinging to that truth

as if my life depends on it.

because my life depends on it.