Back in January, I wrote a post about how my resolution for 2016 was to let go of the worldly perfection I chase daily.
This struggle is still in the “I see this two-ton pile of dirt in front of me that I want to move but I only have a teaspoon to start picking at it” stage, if that makes any sense.
Earlier this week I had an interview for a leadership position with the student ministry I attend here. Back in the fall when I had my interview for my overseas trip, I was asked questions like What have you failed at? and How do you respond to failure? It was then that I began to consider how the life I’ve been living has really been one of performance; a life of living up to academic, relationship, body-image, and even spiritual standards that I had built for myself. Hence, the post in January about wanting to grow in this area.
And at this week’s interview, the topics were similar.
Self-improvement. Holding others to my own impossible standards. Failure to show grace. Superiority. Large mood swings based on my own successes and failures. Exhaustion. Constant feelings of pressure, inadequacy, and bitterness. Maturity in head knowledge but not in heart.
It was a lot to swallow, and I think any other day before this I would have been overwhelmed by hearing the weight of all of those weaknesses. Listening to two other people describe my “pile” so accurately made my emotions bubble and swirl. But the Holy Spirit was definitely present, because the thing I felt most was free, the very thing that I have been craving more than anything.
Because as I heard the words “I’m not sure if you truly understand what it means to live day-to-day in grace and dependence on Jesus” from the mouth of a person, I heard “I want to teach you how” whispered by my Savior.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11: 28-29 (ESV)
Yes, here I am. I am the laborer, the heavy-laden, the one who fills her soul with pressure instead of resting in grace.
But yes, Jesus died for this soul. Yes, this Good Friday is good because Jesus is the “gentle and lowly in heart” that I am not, yet he chose the nails for me. He is God, yet he suffered for my addiction to self-glory and desire for independence from him.
And this is grace. This is the truest beauty any heart can ever know. This is the only goodness I want my life to be consumed with, the only song I want my life to sing to those I come in contact with.
I’m still blown away by just how much filth my small soul can hold. Today alone I have already run toward what I have done/not done instead of what Jesus did/continues to do more than once. But I’m also certain that I am not alone. My Savior is with me, washing away the dirt and giving me grace in all the moments I fail. And this makes my Easter too sweet for any words I could type.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
Ezekiel 36: 25 (ESV)
For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Hebrews 9: 13-14 (ESV)