Sunday, May 12, 2013

honest mess

When Emmett got sick a few years ago and I started blogging, I largely gave up writing in my journal that I've kept since seventh grade because it seemed redundant.  Every now and then, though, I pull it back out because I can't bring myself to open my computer and be completely honest.  I haven't pulled that journal out in over a year, but this morning I was halfway through an entry when I thought, "oh, crap, you're going to make me post this aren't you?"  So here is what I wrote in all its honest mess....

...This morning I find I need to tuck myself away in a closet of private confession. Oh Lord, I have cherished sin in my heart.  I - who professes to love you, who rejoices in praising your name among your people, who delights in your tender, compassionate love - I have been secretly feeding a thousand cherished lusts and self-indulgences.

I have lusted after relationships and food and material things.  I have indulged in spending, eating, and gossip.  I have been impatient, ungracious, boastful and malicious.  Even when these sins were unnoticed or comparatively small, I enjoyed them, welcomed them, planned them, and sought to continue in them like I was the whore of Babylon.  I can list specific instances where you hemmed me in or pinned me down to keep me from sin, and I responded by squirming and trying to get around you.

Yet you have laid your hand upon me.  You have brought me into the sanctuary and shown me truth.  I know better, and still I have let sin wriggle into my heart and chain up my soul.  I have driven nail upon nail into the heart of Christ every day and dragged others down with me in my sin.

I have been tempted to compensate for my sin by setting up rigorous laws, an elaborate series of self-deprivations and self-imposed humiliations.  I am tempted to make myself feel better by some elaborate and rigid system of ordering my life to impose the outward appearance of holiness to compensate for the inward decay of my heart.  There was a time when I would have done these things with a desperate desire to earn your love, frantic to bribe you to love me, eager to make myself worthy.

But this time is different, I weep because I am confident that you love me, despite my sin.  I never expected to have this kind of confidence, to have no desire to cover my self-indulgent sinful nature with a more self-righteous version.  I no longer want rules to take away my freedom because I'm not strong enough to walk rightly.  I don't want to give up indulging in sinful pleasures merely so I can indulge in self-righteous condescension.

I want your Spirit that sets me free to run in the paths of your commands.  I want to get a little angry with you because that Spirit is so hard to hear and then have you laugh at me because my sinful nature fabricates that excuse to trick me into sinning.  I want to wrestle with you and lose.  I want to live in freedom, knowing and accepting the risks of falling down.  I want to teach these crippled legs to run instead of confining them to a wheelchair because I'm afraid of being found out as a sinner.

But today my soul is weary with the sorrow of my own sin, so strengthen me according to your word, not according to mine.


  1. “The heart knoweth its own sorrow and there are times when, like David, it is comforting to think that our tears are put in a bottle and not one of them forgotten by the one who leads us in paths of sorrow.”
    ― Hannah Hurnard, Hinds' Feet on High Places

  2. your honesty is so good for my soul. loved the reminder in this week's sermon that though we battle long and hard in this life, the flesh is not stronger than the spirit. we know he wins! glory be.