Wednesday, June 22, 2011

 Calling it sin

I have a pretty decent talent. It's called justifying sin and mentally making it so much less than it is.

This morning in my quiet time (glorious quiet at 6am, when I can actually hear myself think and then, maybe even put a few coherent thoughts together!) I knew that I just needed to listen.

To quiet my heart and listen to God. There is so much that goes on in my mind at all times. Even while I sleep actually. Which is weird. I keep having these dreams that I, a) have lost the lens cap on my camera and look everywhere for it, to no avail, b) am editing pictures and making them look worse and worse and worse, or c) my friends are telling me they hate me. :) Subconscious insecurities anyone? Geesh...

I totally digress.

Moving on.

On to what... Where was I?

Yes, quiet time. Listening to God. Sin.

So, after some prayer, I felt in my spirit that instead of starting with my daily Bible reading, I should sit down with pen and notebook and begin to list the things in my life that are "pet sins". Things that are comfortable to me, and that I try to pretend are not sin. You know the whole denial routine. Right? You know it right? Because if I'm the only one, I'm going to start continue having bad dreams.

It was brutal. And good.

I've been thinking alot about freedom lately. What it means to truly live a life free from any kind of bondage.  And I have come to the conclusion that in my life freedom looks very similar to what my picture of being constrained, limited, and confined used to look like.

I would venture to say that some of the memories I have of my childhood have legalism branded on them. Whether that brand has been placed there from truth or from years, bias, and subjective influence I do not know. What I know is that I went through a period of time where I was frustrated with rules.

With "have to's"

With "because I said so"


"That's just how we do it."

My mind was processing and saying, "I want to know why. I want a pure heart, but not on account of tradition, or to look good, or because of any scare tactics"

So for awhile, I was quite ready to throw off routines of discipline and any kind of rules that were "just because that's what we do."

So ready to be so doneThese routines and traditions didn't have meaning to me.

I was NOT ready to throw off my relationship with Jesus. Quite the contrary. I wanted to explore that deeper. I wanted to know Him, really know Him.

Not by trying to please him with bold check marks on a checklist.

Not by living a life constrained by things that felt unnatural and forced.

I knew that the Christian life was supposed to be a life of freedom. I kept hearing about it. About deep rooted joy, and doing things motivated by love, not duty.

So that left me with the tight rope balance of trying to live this abundant and free life, while balking rules, disciplines, and perhaps even some of my heritage. And for awhile that spelled freedom to me.

I am so thankful for God's indulgent grace. Wow. Where would I be if He left me where I thought I wanted to go? As I explored who He was, I came to this point of beginning to embrace disciplines motivated by love. He led me down a path where my past and present collided into a beautiful way of life that is full of meaning for me. 

So, you are saying, what is all this about justifying sin and pretending sin isn't sin, if you are living this great victorious life now?

Ha! I said beginning to...

It is such a process.

I am so in the midst of change. Always evolving, always striving, always transcending.

So, this morning I got out my notebook and I wrote "bondage".

Under that word, which whispers of all things that hold me back, I wrote:

Approval - get it from God

Compulsive time wasting (excessive computer time, any kind of literature that does not spur me on to love Jesus more)  - stop!

Avoiding house work and the organization needed to run this household smoothly - Discipline to do the work God has given me with joy

...And there was more.

It hurt.

It really was quite a chiseling.

See, during my phase of trying to find freedom my own way, I would have balked at this process and said, "but I am free!! I can not be held to specific regulations and constraints. This will harm me."

But as I have stepped up and walked in obedience to some very specific things that God has asked me to pursue, or to stop, I have experienced the truest form of freedom ever to be lived.

It's a day in and day out thing. I have to be honest and say that yesterday I lived in some pretty blatant disobedience. I regressed to that whole faux freedom thing. The lie that if I remove discipline, I am removing enslavement. What a contradiction of truth!

And then I wondered why I was grumpy, why my house was a humongous mess, and why my kids didn't seem to like me very much.

Really Wendi? Really??? 

Ahh, if only I could remember that it is only in that deep abiding love, resulting in discipline, that true freedom is found.




It is love and duty.

Duty just happens when love is authentic and abundant.


sara said...

beautiful post and very well said. I think if we are honest we would have to say that this is an area we struggle with.

Trisha said...

You put so many of my thoughts into words. This is a path I seem to be walking too. I want to experience true freedom, and experience His love and presence out of that, not because I feel like "I should do this..." Trying to find the balance here, and let the Holy Spirit lead me. I want to love Him truly, deeply, from the heart! Thank you Wendi! (I also spend too much time on the computer...wondering why my two littles are into so much trouble!)

Kristin said...

Let's do this girl! We can begin our path of obedience together, our path of passionately following Jesus, throwing all hindrances to the wind. So glad that you were with the Lord today and listening to Him.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Wonderful post that really spoke to me

Christine said...

Thank you for sharing your heart; it did mine a world of good to take a peek at a fellow mom's world....

Mama Belle said...

I love how honest you are. Great post!

jr said...

wow amazing. i have recently had the same experience of finding true rest in being obedient to God. love your blog!

Cheryl said...

I found you through another blog that linked to here and I am so glad I did!
I am right there with you and the ugly reality of calling sin, sin and realizing that joy comes from the discipline. I balked at the legalistic view of spiritual disciplines for so long and now realizing that there is true joy found in "loving the standard." I blogged about it about it awhile ago, here:
Anyways, I'm your latest follower. :)