I have been struggling with some things down deep this past week or so…often manifested on the surface in things like stuffing my face with every unhealthy food I can get my hands on. I have not really known "what" I was struggling with…only known that there was a battle of sorts being fought in my subconscious somewhere. These battles are always accompanied by restlessness and dissatisfaction…and vagueness.
This morning I read this paragraph during my quiet time.
"The Greek word philautos is a compound word made from philos, which by now you know means 'friend of, or lover of' and autos which means 'himself.' This term in no way suggests a healthy appreciation of who you are in Christ. The term means 'self-centered or selfish, an undue sparing of self with the primary concern that things be easy and pleasant for oneself.'"
Something inside my spirit jumped when I read this. This is what I have been struggling with…this notion that things should be easy and pleasant for me…this desire to unduly spare myself.
It has been almost two years since Todd died, and it is like I am saying subconsciously to myself…"I've done my time. My kids and I have suffered enough. I've done a lot of hard work… it is time for this part to be over…I deserve for things to be easy and pleasant for me now."
I think some of it comes from the fact that as I am beginning to rebuild and heal more thoroughly, I am scared because I know how much I have to lose if things aren't easy and pleasant from here on out. There are just no such guarantees. Fear does such funny things to our psyche. I do not want to acknowledge this fear…maybe if it goes unacknowledged it doesn't really exist. Intellectually, I know this is not the case…but fear has little to do with intellect.
This morning (and right now) I felt liberated by this epiphany. It is interesting to me how just identifying the lie you are buying into can free you from the hold the lie has on you. My goal in this life should not be to make things easy and pleasant for myself…for in the pursuit of those things I lose any chance at real, lasting joy and peace.
My goal is to know God better this day, so that I may be His hands and feet in this broken world—showing love in the face of hatred, offering comfort to those who are hurting, extending mercy as I have been shown mercy, and meeting the practical needs of others as I am given the opportunity. I know this is a spiritual battle I want to win--that, in fact, has already been won for me…I just have to walk in that victory…claiming what is offered so freely—God's all-consuming love for me. This doesn't guarantee a free and easy life by worldly standards, but if I will let it settle into my very being, my joy and peace will be complete. This will require moving the fear from my subconscious to my conscious…and every day choosing to side against this fear. I will fail at times (and of course have failed many times before) because I am, after all, human. But, thankfully, that doesn't have to be the last word in my story. I am always given the opportunity to get back up and try again.
I wish that I could articulate this more clearly. I have this feeling my words may only make sense to me. But, I guess that is okay too…because you guys probably have the important stuff figured out already…patiently waiting for me to catch up.
While I was typing the last part of this post, the lyrics to tobymac's song Get Back Up were playing in my head:
We lose our way,
We get back up again
It's never too late to get back up again, …
You may be knocked down, but not out forever
Toby Mac (Get Back Up)