Monday, March 8, 2010

The Journey

I like road trips. There is something about hitting the open road that appeals to me. I'm not necessarily a fan of taking them with six children, to be sure, but when I'm alone or with my husband, there is nothing better. I love the newness of stopping to get snacks from the gas station, listening to my favorite music (for more than one song), enjoying a People magazine (if I'm not driving), and just watching the world go by.

There comes a point in every trip when the newness wears off, my back starts to hurt, the coffee has run through me, the sugar buzz is over, and if I have to hear that darn cd one more time... It is time to take a pit stop, eat some protein, drink some water, stretch, and run in place. It is time to take a break, to regroup, to refresh.

And so it is in my spiritual walk. The Lord calls me to a task...have a boatload of children, or homeschool, or raise a special child...and I run with gusto to complete it. I am excited for the journey. I am blessed just to be chosen.

After awhile, my strength begins to wane. I am tired, uncomfortable, and just a little cranky. The newness has worn off and I begin to wonder why I left home in the first place. This is not the journey I thought I started off to take.

I need a pit stop. It's time to take a break, to regroup, to refresh.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galations 6:9

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I feel it again...that stifling, caged, not-good-enough feeling I get when legalism is being heaped on me. I'm so grateful that I can recognize it now and don't need to live there anymore.

I wonder why we do this. Why do we insist on listing rules and taking away grace and replacing it with burden. Freedom is so beautiful, I think it must be painful for some to see. They are blinded by what they do not understand and respond harshly to the person who's reflecting it. Because they've not tasted it, they fear that no one should.


That's how legalism is packaged...all bundled up in neat little shoulds. You should do this, you should do that, and you, most certainly, should NOT do that. If you live a different life, free from the package that was presented to you, then, sadly, you have missed the mark. But don't worry, I am certain that some more "mature" member of the Body of Christ will be watching and will be more than willing to put you in your place.

I think that we, American Christians, have too much time on our hands. If we have time to nurse our petty offenses, to think of shoulds that even God missed, to put people in their rightful places, then we are missing out on the glory and the intent of the gospel.

There are some who feel that I am a sinner. They would be surprised to discover that I agree. As the t-shirt reads, "I am the wretch the song was talking about." I am a reprobate sinner completely without hope apart from Jesus Christ. The cell of bondage is my rightful home. Without Jesus, that is where I'd dwell. I did dwell there for many years, long after I met Him, even. I ventured out of my cell but not very far and for not very long before returning to my place of twisted comfort.

But, now I'm free. That freedom cost something...something precious, and, until I was willing to truly embrace the cross, a prisoner I remained. I will be attempting to repay that debt, without success, until the day I die.

And I will not be dragged back into the cell of bondage, even by well-meaning Christians who refuse to leave.