Without a doubt, the most beautiful grace-wrought delights of my soul have come from exalting Christ and the Cross for the glory of my Savior. I don't take it for granted that God has sovereignly chosen to saturate my life with unique opportunities that have granted engagement of that privilege with wonderful people all around the world who have inspired me to keep an eternal focus. The glories of the Cross have not only filled my heart with a passion to proclaim a power not my own, they have also filled me with a confidence to proclaim that power even though I can still find myself sinfully grasping for my own.
I can tell when I've fallen to the temptation of "proclaiming myself" instead of proclaiming Christ, because I always start feeling restless. Not only about my inevitable inadequacies in presenting truth, but also about the inadequacies of myself and of others in putting that truth into practice. I've learned to view this restlessness with its accompanying fears and frustrations as an indicator light flashing a warning. A light of grace warning me that my train of thought has veered off track. A warning that I'm trying to manage life and maintain control by the power and the strength of my own might. A warning to stop and to be still, and to claim the peace that is promised to those who acknowledge their utter powerlessness enough to humbly hide themselves in the shelter of Jesus Christ.
Whether I find myself in the classroom, conference room, or courtroom; the mud room, sun room or darkroom; the family room, boardroom or bedroom— I have learned the importance of not running from the humbling reality that when this dark noise of restless fear and frustration begins sounding off in my soul, it's a warning to pray fervently for a renewing of my mind that sets me free from the thought of self. A warning that sinful pride is capitalizing on the cry of my soul for glory (a cry ordained to be lifted from every soul), and turning it inward instead of upward. A warning that my soul's yearning for glory is pridefully seeking it though affirmation of self-worth, instead of humbly finding it in adoration of God's worth.
Every human heart thirsts for affirming glory because it’s been made for glory. And the Father of Lies loves nothing more than deceiving us into believing that it's a thirst that can be quenched somewhere other than at the foot of the Cross— holding out the false hope that we can find our life without losing our life.
We have an Enemy who loves the deception of sin that lures us into thinking we can enjoy a healthy heart if we'll simply become more self-aware and embrace better self-care; that we can cure its ache of unmet desire if we can secure closer connection and stir stronger community. The Prince of Darkness hates the glory of the Father of Light, and if he can't get us to rely on sinful things to rob that glory he'll get us to rely on good things (care, connection, community) by twisting them into sinful things that keep us from the humility of the Cross. Knowing his treachery in twisting love for family into idolatry, it's not surprising his treachery has him so successfully turning desire for glory inward for the exaltation of self.
How is your soul? Are you hungry FOR glory? Is your subsequent insecurity finding your soul’s cry being levied inward for affirmation that you are worthy? I am strong. I am in control. I am worthy.
Or is your soul resting IN glory, with its cry being confidently lifted upward in confirmation of a God who is worthy? Lord, you are strong! You are in control! You are worthy!
I confess that I am a royal control freak who has great difficulty peacefully resting between the powerful paws of Aslan. I can so easily wake up wanting to seize the day by fixing everyone and everything. Fixing this frightful world. Fixing my family. Fixing my friends. And most of all, fixing myself. And when I find myself incapable of fixing what I want to fix, I can pace like a caged lion.
So you can believe it when I say I can't adequately express my gratitude that Christ grants me access to a Father who never grows weary of this wild child running to his throne, begging for grace to trust and obey. Because it doesn't matter how many times I've found myself rushing to him with a restless desire for control, the way of the Cross has never failed in leading me to repentance. How thankful I am for a Savior who doesn't tire of gently removing my unbecoming garment of pride with its frayed threads of strong defense, snarky debate and selfish demand, lovingly reminding this forgetful one that I've been adorned with his beautiful humble one.
Are you wrestling with the swirling restlessness and frustration that inevitably accompanies our human grasps for control? Are you feeling the irritation of wanting to fix something that is proving to be out of your power to fix? Are you wanting to mend a relationship that you aren't able to mend? Are you wrestling with the pain of wanting to change a heart that isn't yours to change? Or with the sorrow of wanting to open ears to the gospel that aren't yours to open?
Run with me to the foot of the Cross, and lift your eyes to the Savior who delights in giving us rest from our anxious pacing. A Savior who delights in our exaltation of the one true Lion King of Judah whose regal roar comes with a promise of peace as we trust him and proclaim his power to exercise the kindness, justice and righteousness we so desperately yearn for in his perfect time and in his perfect way. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)