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7.24.2011

Broken

"I don't care if it hurts
I want to have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul"

- Radiohead, "Creep"


My closest friends know that I've been though an absolute roller coaster of emotions over the past year. It's been a year of joy mixed with pain mixed with fear and uncertainty. There have been times when, given the chance, I might have taken everything back - the joy and pain alike. I know enough now to say that that would be a grave error. God doesn't make mistakes when he shakes up our lives. Though my actions and the actions of others have caused great pain, to take it all back would be to rob God of the trust his sovereign hand warrants.

In all of this I have found myself wishing along the lines of the song above. I could do without the body, honestly. I just want a perfect soul. I don't want to do wrong by anyone. I don't want to cause hurt or pain or be a participant in evil. But even that wish is poisoned.

My wish to be perfect and blameless is, at its core, incredibly selfish. If I am honest with myself 100% then I know that I wish to be prefect not for the well-being of others, but for me. Think of all the benefits of a perfect soul for a moral man! My conscious would never plague me with those nasty feelings of guilt. People would like me, trust me; look up to me. Best of all: I would be the master of my own fate for no God is needed.

That's what's at the heart of my seemingly good desire. Ouch.

What I do need and don't wish is to be broken and humbled. And not just once. Over and over again.

My pastor said something to me a few weeks ago that I hope I'll never forget. "Biblical Christianity is a series of new beginnings. A series." And just when I think I've used up my last new beginning... well, I haven't. It's as simple as that, really. The difficult part is the balance of belief.

On the one hand, I have to believe that my sin is great. If I minimize my sin - if I overlook it, I run the risk of falling into a pattern. No. My sin is great. Fortunately, my Saviour is greater. That's the other half of the equation. If my view of God is disproportional to the view of my own sin, then there's a real problem. At that point I begin to wallow in despair. Again, I do not give God his due. The equation is balanced by a proper view of God (so many things are solved by that) which is far, far easier said than done.

So what am I supposed to get out of a year of intense joy and pain culminating in a sense of loss? That's asking the wrong question. It's a selfish question. The real question is: what am I going to do now? I have no idea.

For now I pray I don't forget the lessons I've been taught. I don't need a perfect soul. God will grant me that when I can handle it - not on this earth. I need to continue on with my imperfect soul depending of God to work though my deficiencies. What I need is a broken heart and contrite spirit.


"I cannot look you in the eye
So I check the knots on my disguise
‘cause I fell in love with fashion in the dark
and now I want a broken heart"

- Derek Webb, "I Want a Broken Heart"

7.17.2011

Afraid to Lose Endurance

"If I could have it back
All the time that we wasted
I'd only waste it again
You know I'd love to waste it again
Waste it again and again and again..."
- Arcade Fire, "The Suburbs (continued)"


I am a consummate time waster. I have wasted hours, days, weeks, and months of my life. I've even felt as though I've wasted years. It is easy to blame distractions around me. It was toys when I was a child. It is movies and video games now. And while much has been said about how those things can be time wasters and how there is some benefit to them as well, that is beside the point here.

What I have to realize is that, if I'm honest with myself, I am my own biggest obstacle. My problem is a lack of endurance. For a while I know what is right and do it. And slowly, over time, I lose resolve. I get lazy and everything reverts back to its original state. The original state of a human being is not a good place to be.

This lack of resolve has led to a lot of waste in my life. There's a lot of ground I might have covered, a lot of things I might have done or learned if not for my own lack of endurance - a lack of endurance in my work, in my behaviour, and in my faith.

I used to think there was no point to this line of thinking. Why think about where I might be if I had done things differently? What's the point when I can't change anything? The point is to be haunted.

Mistakes only count for something if we learn from them. Whether it is curiosity, pride or a combination thereof, I am the kind of person who often needs to learn things the hard way. Understanding something by experience is more effective than taking a "trust me" from someone else. Childlike faith is difficult for me.

I have been taught difficult lessons and I am certain I will continue to be taught them as long as I live. I need to be a bit haunted by what I've done. I need that incentive to not fail in the ways I a can prevent failure. I need the reminder of the pain. That's the only way to redeem the time that I've wasted and the wrongs I have done.

When we fall we bruise, but the bruises heal... all but the most serious. I pray it will not take a permanent scar for me to remember the hard lessons.

I need to be afraid to lose endurance. I need to be afraid of what that loss will bring. I need to be afraid of waste and wrongdoing. Most of all I need to be confident that God is fully capable of bringing about the change I need in my life. He can make this all have been worthwhile.


"Wasted hours before we knew
Where to go and what to do
Wasted hours that you make new
And turn into a life that we can live..."

- Arcade Fire, "Wasted Hours"