Of Failures and Freedom

Over the past several weeks, God has continually brought to light exactly how human I am, and exactly how beyond humanity He is. Over and over, He’s brought to mind Paul’s words…

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness”
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)

Over and over, He brought this Scripture to mind. And over and over, I applied it to the fact that my failures are not beyond God’s capacity for restoration. And for a while now, I’ve felt that I had wrapped my head around that verse pretty well. And yet, I kept hearing, “Chris, My grace is sufficient.” So why does He keep telling me if I already had it figured out?

Of course, it’s because I didn’t. And, frankly, I still don’t, though I’m making progress.

The past two months have taught me a lot about myself, but more importantly it taught me about my relationship with God. It taught me that I’ve “gone through the motions” since day one. I’ve never fully given myself over to Him and intensely, actively, intentionally pursued intimacy with Him. I’ve just intellectually known how good He is and acknowledged His handiwork in the world around me. I’ve seen His forgiveness and mercy active in my life; I’ve always known I’m a screw-up. But I’ve never experienced the power of God that I know He’s capable of.

A combination of my incompetence, lack of character, naivety, and weakness has lead me down the path of destruction and death. Over and over, He’s saved me. I’ve stood up, dusted off, thanked Him, and kept going down the same path. I’ve destroyed my marriage, countless relationships, several jobs, and possibly even my freedom. And, as a good friend reminded me a couple days ago, I can do absolutely nothing to fix any of it.

So, why try?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any intention of going down without a fight. But what am I fighting? Am I fighting my circumstances? Am I fighting my employment situation? Am I fighting to make my marriage work? Am I fighting to regain lost friendships? No. I can try (and for my entire adult life have tried) to fix it all, but I will fail (just like I always have). So I’m giving up. I’m not going to try to fight any of that.

So what’s my fight?

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
–Matthew 6:33

It’s not my job to fix anything except for my own lack of intimacy with God. He’s ready already, and He’ll draw near to me at the same rate and degree that I draw near to Him. If I get on the right path with Him and make sure that I’m sticking to that, God will work out the rest of it. I’ll have a happy marriage that bring joy and life into my heart. I’ll have a fulfilling career in service to the Lord. And I’ll have the genuine friendships that I’ve always wanted but never seemed to find myself in.

So I’m not going to try anymore. I’m giving up on all the rest of it. It’s not my responsibility. My sole responsibility is intimacy with God, and I’ve made a promise (to myself, to God, and to others) to devote everything to making my relationship with Him what it always should have (and could have) been. That’s a much lighter load than trying to make up for all my mistakes and clean up my mess.

And that’s freedom.