So how do you rise up, anyway?
“Just do it” is a great slogan for selling tennis shoes, but it leaves me groping a little; I need something more…descriptive…more practical…
I have wasted a lot of years–so many years–trying to conjure up the willpower to follow hard after Christ, to just do it. Sometimes, when things were stable and happy, it would work, for a while. In my own strength, I might have a good week, or two, but then illness would strike, or crisis, or just the downward plunge of the hormonal roller coaster, and I’d be laid out.
I waited for the day when I would simply wake up with the endurance to run this race. With enough love to pour out to everyone in my life. With faith that moved mountains. I wondered at my apathy, my lack of fruit.
I prayed that I would be better about praying. Better about running with joy. Better about loving others. Better about trusting Him. But honestly, I didn’t feel like I ever changed much. Not significantly. Not so you’d notice. Life was kind of a drudge, and pasting on a smile and singing “this is the day that the Lord has made” didn’t really help.
Something in my heart was hopelessly askew. Something in my prayers was utterly lacking.
Entering into His throne room, muttering my doubts and fears, passing under that torn veil without even a thought to the torn flesh that made it possible, confessing to Him how I didn’t really think He would do it, but here I was, because I knew I was instructed to pray, and Lord knows I like to be obedient, but anyway God, here I am…and here I go again, out into my life, still carrying…no, curling around it protectively lest He deal with it…my endless shit…
Oh the mercy and endless patience our Great God has with us!!
I wanted lots of things, asked Him for lots of things, but never thought to ask Him for HIM. Never asked for Him, never wanted HIM to become more and me to become less, not really. So painful, that laying down of will, that burning up of self that makes room for more of Him. No, didn’t really want it, not so much. Just stay at arm’s length, God, if you please. I will mutter my self-centered prayers that only ask for what I want instead of what You want, and be safe.
(But safe by that definition means the zombie wins, the zombie drags and gnaws and whispers and it is not really safe at all, but at least there is that spreading numbness.)
Often had I prayed, but rarely had I bowed the neck, or the knee. My prayers were full of pride, asking Him to make me able. Make me patient, Lord. Make me strong. Make me brave. Make me loving. Make me joyful.
Make me look good.
Make me look good so I can just do it!
The day my heart started changing was the day I stretched out before Him, sick of the reek of decay that lay just beneath the barely-maintained appearance of goodness, and told HIM to JUST DO IT. Burn it up, Lord. Burn up my SELF. Only when the “me” is burned is there room in the ashes for Him to be resurrected. He is the true phoenix, taking the dead spots and breathing His Spirit upon them, transforming our weaknesses into places where His strength shines most strongly. We just have to ask.
WE JUST HAVE TO ASK.
Are you sick enough of the zombie yet? Are you weary to the depths of your being of excusing your shit, reconciling yourself to the gnawing, telling yourself that’s just the way it has to be? If you are, then rising up really means falling down. Fall down before His grace, and let Him do the surgery that needs doing. It’s really that simple.
Lord God…JUST DO IT.