Overwhelmed!

I often wonder about whether or not God is pleased with me.  I foolishly compare myself to others.  I try to measure myself and my accomplishments and contributions to figure out how bad I really am.  Even though I know it is a total waste of time that is destructive, I do it often and I cannot seem to stop.  No matter how “good” I am or how much I get done, I will NEVER measure up.  It is impossible.  The reason for that is because God is not comparing us against each other, but against His standards of perfection, which are sinless.  I can NEVER measure up.

No one can.  That is why Jesus had to come.  He was the only One who could pay the price for our lack, our sin,  our evil, our sin stains.  He is the only human who was perfectly sinless.  Now He was able to do this because He is also God. He was not born in sin, like the rest of us, yet He was tempted to sin by the devil.  He overcame that temptation and lived a sinless life and then He volunteered to go to the cross for us, to pay the price for our sin.

But, since He did pay the price for our sin, why do I wrestle  with my inadequacies?  Why can’t I leave my ugliness at the cross, with Jesus?  Why am I so tormented with guilt, shame, fear and hopelessness?  God has done His part.  Why can’t I do mine?  Why can’t I just accept what He did as sufficient?  Why can’t I walk away from my mess and walk in the freedom that Jesus’ death bought for me?  Am I really so horrid that I can not forgive me?

I listen to many preachers and other people who talk about why we humans need to do this or that.  My trouble is I do not know HOW to get it done.  I want to walk in freedom.  I want to walk in Truth.  I want to stop wallowing in self-pity and self-loathing, but I do not know how.   I read the Bible sometimes, I pray often and I ponder… and ponder… and search, but I am approaching old age now and I am still battling the same issues, most of them are internal.  My worst enemy is me.

Maybe Satan helps me be my worst enemy.  Maybe he is supplying me with some scotomas and other roadblocks to freedom.  But at some point, it is my responsibility, right?  I have to find the Way out.  But didn’t Jesus provide it already?  And if I accept Him as my Saviour, which I have done, then isn’t that also accepting the Way out of my own prison?  If so, why am I still bound?

Life is cruel.  My family largely rejects me.  The Christian part of my family rejects me because I am either too emotional, or because they think I lack character.  Well, I am very emotional.  I understand how that can tax someone’s energy.  I am exhausted almost all the time because I have to live with me.  SIGH.  I do not think rejecting me is a very charitable thing to do, but it is practical.  In short, I understand the family members who reject me because of my emotional volatility.  I do not think it is what Jesus would do and I do not think it is what Jesus wants them to do, but I understand it.  I regret it and I miss them very much.  It hurts to be cut off from them because I am too emotional.  I am unacceptable to them as I am.  I do not measure up to their standards of acceptability.

The other segment of my Christian family members reject me because they think I lack character.  I am not disciplined enough.  They question my integrity, my honesty.  They do not question my love for them.  They know I am honest with them.   I highly value honesty and truth in relationships.   In fact, I do not see the point in having personal relationships with people if both parties are not being honest about who they are and what they are.  Deceptive relationships, where someone is masked, are worthless, in my opinion.  They are necessary sometimes in the workplace, where the purpose is to fill a certain role and how you feel or what you think about that role is irrelevant.  You do what you are paid to do, as long as it does not conflict with your moral values.

But in personal relationships, I value knowing the real person and having them know the real me.  That requires honesty and openness.  So, I am honest in my personal relationships.  I do not lie to people to achieve some agenda to get my needs met.  In fact, I have done without  getting my needs met when the other (non-Christian) party requires I lie.  So why is it that this segment of my family rejects me exactly?  Because of things like my credit rating.  My credit rating is poor because I do not pay my creditors.  I can give you reason after reason as to why, but that is irrelevant to this topic.  Part of my family sees this as stealing.  While I can see their point,  I do not concur.  In addition, is this an adequate reason to reject a family member?  I do not think so.  Jesus does not reject me because I have a bad credit rating.  He does not approve of some of my methods of surviving, I am sure.  I am not proud of those.  But He still accepts me.  Why can’t they?

They are angry that I am needy.  They are angry that I am not consistent and stay the course when I set a goal.  You know what? Me too!  I am angry that I do not reach my goals.  I am angry that I am sick.  I am angry that I get so overwhelmed with life that I cannot get out of bed some days.  I disappoint me often because I depend on me to get some things done and they do not get done.  But my family who rejects me because of my character, they do not depend on me.  How are my inadequacies disappointing them?

Or instead of disappointing them, perhaps they are ashamed of having me as a family member?  Maybe having a family member with a mental illness and several physical illnesses is embarrassing to them?  Maybe they just want to distance from me.  Maybe they just want to pretend like I do not exist, so then mental illness does not exist so close to them.  Maybe rejecting me is their way of rejecting my illnesses too?

I dunno.  I am good at raising questions.  I am not so good at finding answers.  Jesus and Questions is what I have.  Jesus and pain and shame.  Even so, I am rich by comparison, because many do not have Jesus.  I have a friend who loves me no matter what.  I am grateful for that as I carry my questions around.

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One response to “Overwhelmed!

  1. Wanna hear something funny?… I came to faith in 1986 and have studied theology and the Bible from then till now. Preaching and teaching in Mexico, miracles, the whole nine yards but In the last year or so I have really come to believe that God actually loves me. All those years and finally I have come to a simple basic truth that God loves me. My life fell apart and every thing in it ,including my faith, became dislocated and shattered. I could not deny His existence because I recognize his presence, but I could be angry at Him and tell him that I think He sucks. You mentioned your questions you have… It made me smile because God loves to answer questions ( He might be the One putting them in your head) Oh I had questions.. and accusations and why didnt you this or that… all I got was silence.

    I realized that part of me that was angry at him, and cursing Him…. was simply a faith that refused to die. He that comes to God must believe that He is…. Well, I got that part down. Changes were slowly happening inside of me that I knew were gonna put me on a collision course with God. The hardest thing I had to do was accept me.. all of me. the good and the rotten. I came to realize, my master was shame.. leading me around by the nose, beating me like an old dog and heaping diatribes of criticism on my head.

    What shame told me about myself were lies and half truths. Shame explained to me that I was basically a waste of air food and water. That little broken boy inside of me needed to be embraced, reconciled and healed, but if I kept hiding from him and ignoring him he was never gonna get well. That acknowledgement and ownership of my shattered self stripped shame of its power.

    I wont go into details but a couple of years ago God shows up at a local pub where I am watching a Blues band. Two different people, at different times, said they had something to tell me from the Lord. Whole streams of my thoughts spoken privately in my heart, were told back to me by both these people. They even used the same phrases and words that I thought but had never spoke to anyone. That is a life changing event. I was in total shock, the words that were spoken to me were very kind and healing. As God sometimes does, over the next week or so, broken bits and pieces came together, the answers to those questions began to form. You know how God is… if you have 20 hard questions all He needs to do is answer one….and the one He answers satisfies the other 19 questions completely.

    I guess my point is that sometimes God lets us wrestle with the pain, suffering and questions (rather than take them away) because He knows us very well and he knows that when we come through the depression and the dark places, He will have formed in us a gift of great comfort and healing for others. The empathy, encouragement and comfort we impart to those who are isolated and alone like we were, comes because of our own suffering. For me. the old saying applies.. When you know who you are, you’ll know what to do.

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