Saturday, January 2, 2016

Let this be the year

I have a distinct memory of, at age 10 or so, compiling a list of every flaw that I perceived in myself and creating a plan of action to defeat those shortcomings and achieve perfection.

I have always had a deep awareness of the layers of internal filth that keep me so far from the perfection of Christ; those secret motivations of the heart that can't be scrubbed away by an outward change of behavior. I was aware of them as a little girl and I'm still confronted by them now. Like...all the time.

Going to be really transparent here: Sometimes I think I should be famous. If not famous-famous, at least recognized and admired. I take inventory of the things I've achieved and I question why I'm not succeeding in the same way so many others seem to be. I hate that I'm admitting this, but I'm specifically talking about things like follower counts and platform size, here. I hold myself up to others again and again who have had success in these arenas, and every time I do it, I lose. Either I come away from the time I've invested in comparison believing that I'm better, and go on to begrudge another's success, or I'm defeated by the belief that I'm worse, and proceed to wade around in a pool that's filled with words like inadequate, unseen, missed-your-chance, and going-nowhere-fast.

There are resolutions I could make this year that would—temporarily, at least—combat some of these icky thought patterns that kept surfacing in 2015.

I could minimize my time on Instagram.
I could delete Instagram altogether. 
I could actively practice encouraging others.

And on and on it goes.

None of these resolutions are bad. In fact, I think they're all great steps in the right direction. But I'm not sold on the idea that implementing any of them will produce a permanent fix to the heart issues the Lord is so graciously revealing in me. Creating a game plan for achieving my own perfection didn't work when I was 10. Why would it work now, at the angst-y age of 25?

I have since wept over that image of 10-year-old me, longing to go back in time to lift the head of the small blonde-headed girl leaning over her spiral journal; to tell her that while her recognition of the sin that separates her from Christ is right, her method for resolving the gap is wrong. That perfection will always and only be found in Christ alone. That the sacrifice He made is sufficient for her shortcomings of the past and the present and the future. That she can just rest in God's grace.

Instead, I'm going to give that pep talk to the 25-year-old typing on her computer, so desperate to put into words this fire that's stirring up inside. I'm telling her:

New Year's resolutions are not going to get you where you want to be in your walk with Christ, and achieving every last one of your secret hopes and dreams is not going to bring you the fulfillment you desire, either. You know this because you've experienced it. You've won the crown. You've gotten the award. You've moved to France. You've traveled the world. And it's never been enough. The truth is that you could press and you could strain, and you could work incessantly at building an empire that's centered around yourself, and you could come to the end of your life—or even just the middle of it—and realize that everything you're holding in your hands is dust and ash. The truer truth is that you're already there. So aware of the fact that your eyes are in the wrong place, your heart is in the wrong position, and that you're in danger of missing it—the life that is truly life.

That place where eyes are opened, bodies are healed, and the dead are raised—yes, even in the here and now. That place where the cry of your heart is to know Him more, and you're not afraid to throw your arms open wide in worship and be seen by others as you truly are—a broken woman saved by His grace alone, so in awe of His glory and love. That place where He says, "Go," and you respond without hesitation, unafraid to leave it all behind and step into the unknown. That place where you forsake it all for the chance to know Him more. That place where authentic, heart-rending compassion replaces every trace of comparison, where eternities are secured and present circumstances are radically changed.

I'm not making resolutions, but I am going before the Lord and asking, "Let this be the year." The year of no more numbness. No more distractions. No more blending in. No more what-ifs. No more wishing for what's real while pursuing what's false. The year that passion replaces complacency. The year that God-stories aren't for reading, but for seeing. The year that I stumble, and I fall, and I fail in the pursuit of serving my Savior, but retain the privilege of going back again and again to His well for more grace, more mercy, and just a taste of Heaven touching Earth. The year that with everything I know how to give, I seek after the Life that is truly life. The year that I realize once and for all that my own resolve to change is simply an illusion, and that the fulfillment of any and all of these things will be accomplished through His power alone, in 2016 and forevermore.  
"Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed." 1 Timothy 6:17-19

"O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing." Psalm 34: 8-10

Karley with a K. Todos los derechos reservados. © Maira Gall.