Thursday, August 19, 2010

Giant Despair

Our goal with this blog is to edify and encourage believers and to hopefully lead any lost readers to salvation. Some days I question "Why did I have to post that?" And, I am tempted to beat myself up for showing just how silly and immature I can be. But, here's the thing - I leave most of these posts up, because I believe that God is growing me (albeit ever so slowly). And, I think that there are a lot of women who are similar to me in their trials. And, if my openness helps you to face your struggles with any greater ease, then my humiliation in writing any post is worthwhile.

That said - I want to write a little about my Giant Despair who holds me captive in Castle Doubt. (I am taking these terms from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.) My giant could aptly be named "Perfection."  Because, I have such expectations of myself that are highly unrealistic. I don't know about you, but some days I expect myself to be better than I am...to never make the same mistake more than once.

Here is a picture of my Giant Despair (with Bethany writing in third person... how annoying):
Bethany wakes up at 3 am and trudges to the kitchen to put Paul's lunch items together. Bethany feels good about this service, and knows that she is doing the right thing by seeing her husband off and kissing him goodbye. Several nights mornings a week Bethany will stay up and do her Bible reading at that quiet hour. She is deeply convicted by sin and begs God to give her more love for God and more love for mankind. She makes some resolves about how to better serve her family.

Bethany grows so weary with this reading that she decides to go back to bed... the sun is just rising. She is sleeping soundly when screaming begins in another room. Such a call to attention! She gets up and races to the other room to see two children wrestling on the floor and another cutting holes in clothes with the new scissors. She immediately loses her temper and, in a fit of anger, screams at the children.

Feeling immediately guilty and defeated she flies back to her room and throws herself down on the bed. "Lord, I am so wicked. How could I be so impatient. Why did I have to go back to sleep?! Why did I have to yell? I am such a heathen." Giant Perfection sits by laughing, feeling proud of himself. Until -

Bethany goes and apologizes to the children (after a few more minutes of crying). She hugs the children and they forgive her. All is well.

Within the hour, while she is folding laundry, someone has wasted all the hand soap again, put a toy in the toilet again, wrote on the wall again, and spilled water all over the bathroom floor again (at least, she hopes it's water).

She immediately goes into hysterics, "How many times have I told you..." And, the cycle continues. 

Giant Perfection then sequesters Bethany while she is in her room begging God for mercy. Giant Perfection tells Bethany that she has no patience, and since patience is a fruit of the Spirit, then she must not have the Spirit, Bethany cries, "It's true, Lord. I am so impatient. I never improve. I must not be a believer at all, because clearly I don't have the fruits of the Spirit."

Unless God breaks through with the Key of Promise (that is, promises of assurance from the Scripture) then Bethany will be doomed to dwell in Castle Doubt for far too long.

This same scenario can be replayed using the theme of joy, love, peace, etc. Any time I have a bad day (or several in succession) Satan jumps at the opportunity to make me feel like the worst mother/wife/Christian in the world. Some days he succeeds, and I downward spiral into deeper despair.
But, some days I remember:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 NASB)

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.(Phil 1:6 NASB)

As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.(Psalm 103:12)

“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins." (Isa 43:25 NASB)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John1:9 NASB)

I know that I will never be perfect in this life. Yet, Giant Perfection wants to make me his slave! His is too hard of a master! I choose Christ as my master. His yoke is easy and His burden is light!

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”(Matt 11:28-30 NASB)




Disclaimer: I am not using this as a license for habitual sin. God's Word is plain that we ought not "practice" our sins.

9 comments:

Alan Knox said...

I like your story. It reminds me how amazing it is that God loves people like Bethany, even if Bethany doesn't realize it.

-Alan

Holly said...

I think you are bring extremely hard on yourself...I like the posts because they make me feel like I am not alone in my thoughts or actions...You are an inspirations to me daily...and I am sure you are reaching more Christian mommies than just me...
Keep up the good work and as far as I can tell you are a Proverbs 31 woman...This is who I stive to be.

:) God Bless

Holly

Mama Hen said...

Bethany, you are being hard on yourself-but guess what? I am too. I think we humans tend to do that. We are so independent and think we can fix any and everything. Such freedom in knowing we can't. And such freedom to know that we are signed and sealed with the Holy Spirit. It can't be taken away from us. His sign and seal is not dependent on our feelings that day. It is dependent on the death and Resurrection of Jesus. Sometimes it seems as our sanctification is slow or not happening at all. But just the fact that you run to God and say, "Am I even a Christian?" shows God is working in you. You are crying out-and that is the only thing we can do in and of ourselves. We can physically fight the good fight (and we should), but we want even be able to fight if He is not the one doing it. Sorry for the novel.

NYLass said...

:O)

"But you dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
...To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy - to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." (Jude 20, 21, 24, 25 NIV)

Bethany W. in mid-MO said...

Alan,
What a wonder!

To Holly,
You all are exactly right, I am too hard on myself. That is just what I am trying to say here. But, I think my being too hard on myself grants satan a foothold to do the same.
You are very kind in your compliments. I am glad that the blog is a help to you!

NYLass,
Amen and Amen!


Thank you all for reading the blog and bearing with all my ups and downs!
Love to you all,
Bethany

Alan Knox said...

Bethany,

Everyone... EVERYONE... has ups and downs. I like to read your blog posts because of your honesty. It is a breath of fresh air. To me, your struggles do not demonstrate your weakness, but God's grace.

-Alan

Bethany W. in mid-MO said...

Alan,

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Cor 12:9

Thanks for your comments!

NYLass said...

AMEN! and amen!

Prudent Knowledge said...

God is bigger than "impatience".
God is bigger than "hatred".
God is bigger than "unforgiveness".

Bring it all to the Lord. Lay it all down before Him and let Him lead you.
(I write to any readers.)

God has conquered the biggest "obstacle" of all: Death! Nothing can stand in God's way. Nothing!

Bring it all to God.

No amount of "unforgiveness" or "impatience" in our lives is too much for the Lord to squash. "Our problems" aren't bigger than God. God is bigger than "our problems".

Bring it all to God and let Him move you.