Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Failure, vanity and grace

In the bigger scheme of things, I can't help but dream that there is something more to my life--I suppose every good American thinks the same way. We imagine that there is something out there to add some significance to our time here on planet earth. For most, the thoughts are vague. Even college students, people who are supposed to know what they want out of life, know how little they know about what's ahead. I know this is the case because most of them pick their major very late in their collegiate studies. I believe this is because, while they may imagine they are accomplishing and building something significant out of an otherwise meaningless life, they still can't bring that image into focus. The majority of people I have met in college don't pick a major till at least their junior year. If they do before then, they inevitably change it at least once or twice.

I am human, so I won't deny having those vague notions of grandeur and significance. And please don't think me as shallow as to believe that it is wrong to change a major or wait to declare--far be it from me to generalize so! After all, while I did pick my major my freshman year--in my second quarter in fact--that doesn't mean I am any more visionary than my peers. I would hazard to guess that I am, in many ways, even less thoughtful than many who wait till their senior year.


I think there is a healthy balance of confidence and vagueness that can only be achieved through a proper understanding of my place in this world, and more importantly, in God's master plan. The wonderful thing about this understanding, is the way it claims priority over my own indwelling thoughts. I can still think shallow thoughts, and yet there is the ever-present glory of God's ownership in my life that supersedes all vanity. How can I yearn for the swine's food when a feast waits at my Father's table?

My Father is no ordinary Father. When he bought me, He did not leave me with nothing. He did not simply cancel my debt of love that I owed to Him. If that had been the case, the debt would simply return. No, indeed, he also credited me with the love of a perfect Son, a Son Who has loved from eternity, Who can never fail.

But that is not all he has done for this adopted one. He has given me His Spirit. Through the Spirit, He works a great work: I now desire to be a Son.

Now, I desire to live as I was created: to Glorify Him as His image bearer and Son and to enjoy His fellowship for all eternity. What small trifles of this life that would distract, may only now seem like rusty tools and lukewarm water. They only hold their value in that they are given to me so that I may work in God's Kingdom that which I am called to work. These hands: may they write what is honoring to His Name and edifying to His Church. This mind: my it never cease to guide these hands toward ever clearer harmony in their work. This heart: may it be kept with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. There is nothing left untouched. All that there is, is because He is.

I still fail.

I think of my failings; I think and ponder my future failings. I know when I fail, I fail my family, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ... I fail, more importantly, to live as the image bearer I am. I corrupt the image of God when I am not holy as He is holy--a fact often forgotten amid my desire for approval. I think about all the time I stress out about failing to measure up to the standards of those I know and love and respect.

Even last week, after failing to meet a deadline, I worried more about the way I looked in such a situation. I worried about future trust and professionalism--both certainly important. However, thinking deeper, I should have been more concerned about the fact my editor was a sister in Christ and I was not displaying a Christ-like work ethic to someone who expected as much.


It's hard to confront such thoughts and then move on without feeling like the titanic is sinking under your feet. The stomach just won't return to the lower abdomen nor the heart back up to the chest. The hands won’t stop feeling like those of a forger and a fraud. I sit down to write long sections with questionable value or intent—sections like this one.


A light comes on. Grace is more than just God's gift through his Son's death, for it is through this justification of His death that I now enjoy full sonship. For the child of God, there is an infinite river of grace. How could it be otherwise? I am so blind to recognizing it for what it is worth. It was in a conversation, in fact, that it hit me today: I sometimes don't want to fully recognize God's grace in my life out of a selfish fear that God will diminish it when I finally do recognize it and embrace it fully. How foolish of me! God does want me to see the depth of His grace, for then I would enjoy its fullness all the more. God is not a man, and will not change.

I do grieve for those I hurt by my failings. I would that all my failings were behind me, or better yet, undone. How much better though to embrace God's perfect antidote for my sinful shortcomings and drink of that refreshing stream--that stream which alone, is above all my failure and vanity.


<< Home 2 Comments:
Blogger Kristi said...

This is a profound post in which I benefited greatly from reading. I echo your thankfulness and joy in the refreshing stream of God's grace. I wish my identity to be in nothing but this grace, for I know (to my horror), what I am without it.

6:01 PM, January 10, 2005  
Blogger Kristi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:02 PM, January 10, 2005  

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