relentless journey


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I’ve been more aware of the physical beating of my heart this week. Something we likely take for granted on a daily basis. Maybe because I have found it beating a little faster at times. Maybe because it has felt a little achy and labored. The truth is, this entire week has felt like a battle to not return to old ways of thinking. The kind that says, “you’re not worthy”, “you missed your chance”, “I will only love you if”, “you should have.”

You see  what happened at this thing called IF:Gathering this past weekend was a defining moment. I feel like so many women have resolved to draw a line in the sand. Permanently. I have left conferences before feeling inspired only to have that wear off and fade back into everyday life. Truth be told this says a lot less about the quality of the content than it has about the condition of my heart. YOU ARE NOT WORTHY. That statement may as well be a cuss word and I may as well be called a potty mouth. I know you feel it too. Every single person that I meet does. And you know what? Your right. You are not worthy and neither am I.

I read a quote from Tim Keller the other day that stopped my in my tracks, “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” Paul says it this way in Romans 5:6-8, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Let me summarize. We were past tense and are present tense unworthy. But the only one who was blameless went ahead and suffered the most excruciating death anyway. He knew this wouldn’t change us, but that didn’t matter to Him. Wait, WHAT? Yeah, oh, and he loves and accepts us far beyond our ability to comprehend. It wouldn’t be grace if it was deserved.

Paul could have dropped the mic after these versus. This should be enough for us to live our lives unashamed of the gospel and unabashedly showing love for others. We have been given something freely that we most certainly don’t deserve. It should be the reason we are compelled to not waste our time with stopping at the fact that we are unworthy. It should be the reason that we live like we believe the rest of the story. It should be the reason we are quick to forgive and show compassion. For goodness sake, if we all actually believed this, we would have world peace.

But we don’t. This idea messes with us. We just can’t accept it. The day that sin and shame entered into the world it became a generational sin. It is in fact, unavoidable. Paul goes on to explain further in Romans 5. You should read it. It’s good stuff. But he ends by saying this, “But where sin increased, graced increased all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20) Jesus bore our sin and shame. And He died for us. The unrighteous. So that we may have eternal life. Period. It’s an unfathomable gift.

Even as I type this I feel the beating of my heart. The truth is, I know the reason I am more aware of it this week. I can’t help but shake the words of a lady named Julie that took the stage this weekend. She read from her notes, didn’t have any funny jokes, and she never raised her voice. But her message compelled me perhaps more than any others. It has been keeping me up at night and is why I am drawing a line in the sand. I will not return to these old ways of thinking. You see, Julie has a heart condition. She has cheated death. She shared her story from that stage. How she is aware that she may be saying goodbye to her husband and kids for the last time each day she leaves the house. That even as she spoke, she may be taking her last breath. She was unapologetic in talking about our mortality. But what got me is this. We all have a heart condition. All of our days are numbered and we have no idea when we will take our last breath. So why do we self inflict these thought patterns when they are not meant to be? Because it feels safe. Or because we think we have time to sort them out. Or maybe because if we exit them that we will enter into an obedience to God that looks scary and unknown. You see, Julie doesn’t have time for surface conversation or days without an intentional love for her God and the people in our life. And neither do we.

As long as we stop at feeling unworthy, we will never step into the acceptance of grace and the obedience of God. It can seem like a daunting task. But it can be replaced by what we know as truth. The Bible says we are forgiven past, present and future. Not so we can act like crazy people and ask for forgiveness later. We should run towards holiness. But that we have already been forgiven for what we will do wrong tomorrow. That should free our minds to stop acting from a place of unworthiness and to start chasing after the things of God. Small steps of obedience will reveal just how big the grace of God is. It will lead you out of endless introspection and into loving others. You are unworthy and so am I. But Christ died for us while we were still powerless knowing full well that we would stumble. That looks a whole lot like freedom. Grab it with me and lets get to work!