“For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God Himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband – Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.” -2 Corinthians 11:2-3
This week has been filled with questions, and the Lord has pruned my soul with each one.
A week ago I made myself sick with stress as I broke into tears beneath the burden I so quickly loaded on my shoulders.
I was taking 21 college credit hours and working a job on campus while maintaining my extra-curricular responsibilities. God never asked me to do that. But I did. Why?
It is both humbling and disturbing to realize sin manages to creep into our lives each day. I think the worst part is that so often we are oblivious to its stronghold in our lives.
“You put up with it when someone enslaves you, takes everything you have, takes advantage of you, takes control of everything, and slaps you in the face.” -2 Corinthians 11:20
In over 16 years of schooling, I have never put significant focus on my grades. I usually tried my best, but never stressed about making that A – until I realized I could make all A’s my latter-half of college.
Being a perfectionist to the core, the double 4.0 GPA boost, my name on the Dean’s List, and the “honors” student title not only enticed me, but they each combined to fuel a new personal addiction.
Whether you want to call it a struggle, an idol, a secret sin, a stronghold, or an addiction – my latest is simply this: performance.
Knowing academic perfection was becoming within reach, I formed a tight grip on my new resume additions and was not letting go.
“How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” -Galatians 3:3
I got permitted to take 21 hours this fall, forced into the classes I needed to be in and hired for the job I applied for. With every door that opened, I felt like I needed to walk through it. God never asked me to do that. But I did. Why?
My new 4.0 standard was quickly permeating my relationships as I found myself easily angered with my innocent family members when they did not view extensive studying as a crucial part of my day.
This performance mentality immediately translated into my spirituality.
“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for He is the one who called you to freedom.” -Galatians 5:7-8
Each day I would examine myself and analyze whether God was glorified in me that day. Each day I fell short of my expectations, and I did not let myself forget it.
“More of you and less of me” categorized my prayers in a twisted way I am sure Paul never intended.
God never pulled out a measuring stick for my faith, and He certainly never asked me to. But I did. Why?
Somewhere in the midst of the last nine months I have spent desiring for the Lord to be the ONE I worship, I have lost myself in Christ. But this is not the sentimental Christian radio tune about losing myself in the unending love of Christ kind of lost – I lost myself and I did not know how to find me again.
All I could think about was Jesus. In every situation of every minute in the day, all I could see was Jesus. No matter the question, the only answer I could imagine was Jesus.
We are called to live in the world, but not be of it. As followers of Christ, we are called to make disciples. One basic requirement of that divine call is to be able to relate to those still stumbling in the dark.
I had lost touch with my ability to relate with those who have yet to believe the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“Meghan, these days it seems like someone has to love Jesus to be able to love you,” a wise and precious woman told me. “I don’t believe Jesus ever wanted to be a fence between us and relationships.”
I believe the Holy Spirit used this woman to speak a mighty truth into my soul yesterday.
I have been so adamant about pursuing my relationship with Christ, that I have slowly stopped fervently pursuing His people in this world whom He is waiting to redeem.
The more I stared into the face of Christ, the more He turned my eyes to see His people crying out for a Savior. But every time He shifted my focus from upward to outward – I shifted it right back up, and ultimately, right back in to myself.
I have dedicated far too many prayers to repeatedly requesting the Lord’s presence would shine through me to the degree that when people meet me, they would see Jesus. How selfish and unbelieving can I be?
As a daughter of the Most High King, the Lord has my heart – all I am is His. Of course He is going to make Himself known through me – and there is nothing I can do on my own to make that happen.
All I can do is trust in the Lord’s faithfulness with open hands and a surrendered spirit.
“Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law – I stopped trying to meet all its requirements – so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” -Galatians 2:18-21
This story is not about me. It is all about HIM.
Praise God He opened my eyes to the burdens He never asked me to carry this week. Praise Him for encouraging me to let go as I dropped a class, dropped a job, and finally dropped my performance analysis.
Today Christ set me free from my sin I had become such good friends with. Christ set me free from worrying about myself, so I can see the needs of those around me that Christ longs to meet.
I can only preach freedom to the degree in which I have experienced it. Praise God for His unending grace He lavishes on His children at all times! The Lord is good, and He is forever worthy to be praised.
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” -Galatians 5:1
God is molding us each day for His glory. What is keeping you from fully experiencing the freedom of what has already been done in Christ today?
I pray you would join me in learning how to find joy in living a life of freedom in the Lord. The more we love Him, the more He will love His people through us. So let us embrace love. Let us embrace CHRIST.