October 14, 2015

Pressed

Without advanced warning, God called me to answer for myself yesterday, pointing to a new line on the account sheet that I hadn't ever really seen. 

Isn't it amazing that we can be so completely blind to our own sin? And then one day, God takes our hand and graciously and patiently points it out, and only then is it so clear.

In those moments, I am prone to despair. I'm embarrassed and overwhelmed. I want to look away and perhaps pretend I never saw it in the first place. 
He is pressing hard and, although He promises not to crush, I wonder if He might and I might be overcome. I wonder if I really want the transformation, because it requires repentance and confession and submission and surrendering to the pressing. I don't want that. But yet I do. 

I haven't slept well. I wake in the night and my mind takes me places I don't want to go. I can feel the spiritual pull battling over my soul, one toward despair and the other toward hope. I fear falling into the abyss if I let the pressing continue, but I also fear desiring the quieted clamor more than true repentance and cleansing. It's difficult to look at sin and at the same time look at God and trust that He hasn't grown weary of me. It's not natural to run to a holy God for help when all your unholiness is showing. 

How will I ever change? 

I feel imprisoned by myself and by the ruts plowed so deeply in my heart. I am tired of myself. My mind is hazy, my body heavily oppressed by sin. 

And then the next moment I am intent on changing myself. I can do it! I will do it! I've got this! I see that clearly too though, because God will not stop pressing. I see all too well where my can-do spirit has gotten me--into this mess. I see all too well that His intentions are to press on me until I'm done with that.

Until I'm free of me. 

I fight the surrender. I fight the process this will be. I fight the confession this will require.

This morning I reluctantly opened my Bible and myself to God. As I read I randomly thought, "This is the exact Bible I was reading when God moved me from legalism to understanding His grace." That felt important to me, as if it were God Himself reminding me of what He's done in my past to transform my mind and revolutionize my life. 

A sliver of hope. If God has brought me this far, He can take me further. He loves me enough to not be finished. He loves me enough to press. 

So what do I do? How do I respond? When God presses, it feels like upheaval. 

I am prone to despair when I see that I am poor and needy and oh-so blind, that I am captive to myself and oppressed by my own desires.

But Jesus comes to meet me in that exact place:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Luke 4:18-19

Although I have so far to go, I can breathe again. The weight sitting on my chest, threatening to crush me, has been lifted by hope.