Thursday, March 24, 2011

Falling Up

The story of the past six months of my life is the story of the struggle with grace and mercy. This is part two, I guess, to the post I wrote in December (High and Low).

I have thought a lot along the themes of inadequacy over the past few months, and about what it actually means to be enough. I have felt like I was betraying God by the fact that I am not who I should be. I do not love enough, I do not obey enough, I do not trust enough, I do not give enough.

Recently I have felt the quiet reminder from Jesus... that’s the point. You were not enough. That’s why I came to rescue you.

It is funny how, for me at least, accepting grace takes a much greater act of surrender than accepting condemnation. What is it in our human hearts that is so broken that it turns away these freely offered gifts, this breathing grace that waits at every moment to transform us? Why do we shrink from that? What are we afraid of?

I think I am afraid of a loss of control. It is so much easier to believe that we were meant to mend things, because that is in the field of the familiar. We get a false sense of security from the illusion of control. One thing I have learned is that in a sense a lot of our striving is a search to save ourselves. In a moment of bitter honesty, I had to admit to myself that in the past I have been obsessed with saving people because I felt that it was the only way to save myself from myself (if you followed that sentence first time through I applaud you, by the way). When I admit that there is absolutely nothing I personally can do to fix anything, that means a complete loss of control (“it seems honesty has finally got me to confess I can’t save anything”). And sometimes that can feel like dying.

Surrender. It’s like sitting back and letting every single thing you ever thought was secure shatter, holding onto only the belief that He will rebuild something better. When talking to people who are struggling with the Christian faith, I have found that this is perhaps the absolute hardest thing for people to accept. The reality is that when Jesus asked us to take up our crosses, He wasn’t just saying “come and suffer.” He was saying “come and die.”

I do not take kindly to that, if I am honest. I want to cling to my own concept of what it is to be good, I want to cling to my own sense of fulfillment, I want to cling to the picture of salvation that I have scratched out on the wall of my prison. Anything but letting go. Anything but admitting how needy I am.

I have found that complete surrender is different than we might think. Yes, at first maybe it will feel like dying, but only for a little while. Then it begins to feel a little like falling up... relentless, unstoppable motion, pulled towards the light out of the dark. When we surrender, we are drawn to God with a pull stronger than gravity. Grace is like that. It doesn’t give up. It keeps pulling, keeps working, untangling these shadows and straightening out the sunlight...

I am not enough. But Jesus is, and somehow He loved me enough to cover my inadequacy with His perfection. I fight so hard to try to gain something He already gave me, to deserve something that is by its very nature undeserved. Maybe it’s better to stop fighting. Maybe it’s better to let His voice speak above my noise. Maybe it’s better to let go, to fall up, closer and closer to the only One who holds salvation...

“You’re not guilty anymore, You're not filthy anymore. I love you, mercy is yours. You're not broken anymore, You're not captive anymore. I love you, mercy is yours...”
- Aaron Keyes

- Elraen -