Day 24: How dare you?

I haven’t participated in Five Minute Fridays for a few months and this month doesn’t seem like the best time to jump back in – and yet, through the #write31days challenge, I’m reading a lot of great FMF posts and I’m inspired.

This week, the word prompt is “Dare.” So, I will attempt to entertain you with some of my inner self talk presently taking place:

HOW DARE YOU? 

Excuse me?

Who do you think you are? You post such brave and challenging things aimed at others, but what about you? You don’t dare show your own weaknesses or put too much spotlight on your own idols and kingdoms. How dare you?

Well, I thought, maybe…

YOU thought. There’s your first mistake. Look, you write a nice blog and have some talent at stringing words together, but you’re no studied theologian. Six years at Liberty University doesn’t exactly qualify you to preach to others or point out their weaknesses.

I know. Look, it’s difficult. I feel the pull to share hard things but don’t feel like I have the qualifications to speak. It’s partly what tied my hands and shut my mouth this past year. I look at my failings (repeated ones sometimes) and I’m desperately looking for someone to help me through it. Finding no one, I write. Yes, I’m writing to others, because it sounds silly to write posts directed to “Dear Me.” But what I write is for me. I’m not trying to become famous or get a book deal. I just want to help others who may be hurting as much as I am.

Oh, well, when you put it that way…

LOL – I went over the five minutes, but was amused by arguing with myself. The truth is, I laid out where I want to go in this post, but I’m pretty scared about actually going there. It means talking about hard things that may upset some people. It means talking about the things in myself that I’d much prefer remain hidden. And, I suppose, they can still remain hidden – so I need to determine how much to actually put out there in the interwebs, where my mom, family members, friends, and possibly coworkers may see it. I’m awed by the bloggers who put themselves out there on a regular basis, but I don’t know if I’m ready to be one.

All right now, in some ways this feels like stalling. I’d better get to the serious writing. 🙂 See you as we press on through 31 days of crushing your kingdoms.

bold_crushing

I’m also linking up with Five Minute Friday:     

 

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Day 23: God’s grace is greater than my sin

I’d like to take you back in time a couple of years to share something I wrote on the weekend of Easter 2011.

candles

Friday night, minutes before the start of the Good Friday Gathering, Tom and I had a minor disagreement. Not even that, just a miscommunication really. He had to serve & the Gathering was about to begin, so we had to just drop it. Thanks to modern technology, we texted things out over the next 10 minutes and everything was fine by the time the service began.

But…

In the moments before that 10 minute window, I wallowed. My husband doesn’t care. Doesn’t he know I am already having a hard time with other issues and then he throws this at me? Around me I heard friends visiting with one another cheerily. No one cares. I am alone. It only took seconds before I saw the absurdity of my thoughts. How small and selfish and vain my heart is. In that instant, I was broken. Here I came to remember the suffering, agony, and shame that Jesus Christ experienced dying on the cross for the sins of the world, and here I proved yet again, why he died for me. I can’t even come to church and not sin! The truth rang loudly:  nothing I do is ever good enough, nothing I bring is ever worthy enough, nothing I say is powerful enough to forgive my sins, to cleanse me of the blood-guilt.

Here grace steps in. God, in his grace, offers me what I do not deserve and could never earn. God generously gives his son, the only one perfect sacrifice, to pay the debt I owe for my vile actions. Jesus willingly allowed himself to be crucified, for me. He rose again from the dead, for me.

This blows me away.

Bianca Olthoff posted (in 2011) about grace, at her blog, In the Name of Love. I would like you to watch this video she posted, and I encourage you to check out her blog (I’ve lost the link to her original post).

 

What hit me like a ton of bricks was his sentence, “I cannot pay my debt,” and the realization that my debt is as great as this man’s. No less atrocious in the eyes of a holy, pure, and righteous God. And I, too, am forgiven.

Doesn’t that just blow your mind?!

~~~

I’m reposting this today as part of the #write31days series, Crushing your Kingdoms. Click to read all posts in the series.

crushing your kingdoms

I Messed Up (and so did you)

Splash

Photo credit: Yashna M (Creative Commons)

I screwed up. Again.

Not just again, as if I’ve made this same mistake before. Again, meaning I did this last week, yesterday, even mere hours ago.

Sin.

I try to be the good girl and even succeed in making most people think I’ve got it all together. But it’s a lie. Whoops, see, there I go again.

Try as hard as I may, I can’t do it.

Be good.

God looks down from heaven
on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.

They have all fallen away;
together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.

Psalm 53 lays it out so clearly, doesn’t it? There is none who does good, not even one. Ouch.

Yet,

Isn’t that a comfort? Didn’t you feel a little relief to hear that I screwed up? Again?

Because, here’s a little known secret.

You can’t do good either.

Oh, you knew that already, didn’t you?

But with your sin tucked away so no one will see, you look at me, at your neighbor, at your friend, and think we’ve got it all together. She would never struggle with this sin. He would never screw up like I have.

Wrong-O.

No one does good. All have fallen away.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

The Psalmist cries out for hope in that last verse. And hope comes, in the shape of the God-man, Jesus. One, without sin and secret screw-ups, took on the consequences of our sin.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26

So rather than despairing, hope. The salvation David cries out for in the Psalm is come.

—–

I’m linking up with Everyday Awe today:

Psalms

Day 21: When Broken By Sin

A Clean Heart

photo credit: listentothemountains (Creative Commons)

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin! (more…)

Day 10: When You Need To Come Clean

A few months ago, I found myself alone on a Saturday night with nothing to do and a free preview of premium movie channels on TV. Tom and I take advantage of those free preview weekends to record movies that we missed in the theaters or favorites that we haven’t seen in a while.

uncover your eyes, it's all a lie

(Photo credit: stars alive)

But on this lonely Saturday, I watched a film that I originally wanted to see when it showed at our local theater. Reviews that made the plot sound a little too dark for my preference stopped me from seeing it. Turns out, the movie was disturbing. At one point, I asked myself why I was watching it (because a lot of friends had said it was so good). Later in the movie, I actually put my hand up to block the screen from my view, like I did as a child during a scary scene (tell me I’m not the only one who did does that). (more…)

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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