Well it's been 4 months since my last blog post! And as I expected, God had a lot to teach me in this hiatus from writing and none of it has been what I expected. For those of you who have prayed for me and sent encouraging messages: Thank you!!
Just before this break from writing, I had been asking God to grant me humility. I am very aware of my struggle with pride and I feel that it is a stronghold in my life. Pride is very subtle and can take many different forms that we can't see right away, so I felt very helpless in the battle against this sin and had been regularly asking for God to bring a new level of liberation from it. It was soon after I began praying for this that I began to sense I needed to take a break from writing.
As I mentioned in my last post, I also felt that this season would be full of temptation as well. And sure enough it was. There were numerous occasions where I was presented with a clear choice to walk in the Spirit or walk in the flesh. For example, there had been a miscommunication between Jimmy and I and it genuinely inconvenienced me. But I knew it was a complete accident and unintentional. He had been so sweet throughout our conversation about it and was headed home. I remember hanging up the phone and thinking, "I can respond in grace to my husband and be forgiving or respond in entitlement to what I feel like I deserve." And without feeling like I could do any differently, I chose the way of entitlement.
This happened numerous times where I chose to be selfish, unforgiving, mean and focused on "what I deserve.". And after each incident I felt totally bewildered at my actions! "How could I act this way? I know how to be a Christian! I've been walking with Jesus for years! This isn't like me! What is wrong with me?!"
And boom. There it is... my pride surfaced. I had begun thinking way too highly of myself, assuming that when temptation comes that I know how to be a "good enough Christian" to get through it on my own. I had traded total dependence on God for self-sufficiency, which is just another form of pride.
In the midst of wrestling through all these things and processing them (which happened over a period of weeks), Jimmy was gracious to watch Lively for a few hours so I could have some dedicated time alone with God outside the house. While I was away, I decided to read almost the entire book of Romans and write down everything it had to say about me as a sinner in need of grace. It was unbelievably refreshing to read through these basic doctrines of the Christian faith: If I could gain my right standing with God through my own efforts, then faith is made void (Rom 4:14), righteousness is only found as a gift from God by faith (Rom 3:21-23), I am united with Christ in His death and am dead to sin and united with Him in His resurrection and have newness of life to walk in (Rom 6:4-7).
The more I read, the more aware I became of how incorrect my way of thinking had been. I had been looking to my own efforts, my own knowledge, my own "years of experience" as a Christian to help me in my fight against sin. Ironically, in thinking I am an experienced Christian, I forgot the very foundations of my own faith: that it is never through trying to keep the law that I find victory, but only through trusting in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus! We are not just saved by faith alone, we live by faith alone.
I have known that I tend to try and be good enough on my own throughout my day, but this was the first time I have associated that with pride. The reason I try to live life in my own efforts is that I think way too highly of myself. I need to have a sense of hopelessness in my own abilities apart from Christ which will naturally lead me to a greater level of dependence on Christ, which is the true key to success. Jesus Himself said in John 15, "Apart from me, you can do nothing."
Unfortunately, I think my years growing up in church and struggling with very little outward sin have contributed to this deep root of pride in my life. You see the same struggle in the religious leaders in Jesus day, the Pharisees. Confident in their own ability to obey the law, they could never see their need for Jesus. While I know there is still much to do in the struggle against pride in my life, God has significantly uprooted this sin during these past few months. How grateful I am for an answer to my prayers!
There have been many other significant things going on during these months. My desire and passion for writing has been increasing and I feel like God is giving me more inspiration than ever. There have also been some very surprising topics that God has brought to my attention that I believe He wants me to write about and deal with on my blog. And I must admit I am slightly intimidated by it. But I trust His leading in this. To top it all off, I found out that I am pregnant in December! We will be having our second baby this coming August. What an eventful few months it has been.
Thank you again for your patience during my season off and I have many new blogs coming soon!