I had a discussion with a friend last week that left me pondering this question in the midst of life just not feeling right. Something has been unsettling, almost weird. I asked my friend, is my discontent with life based on a) rose-tinted view of the past, or b) the realization that what I am experiencing is simply the way life normally is and I have just been fortunate not to have experienced it in this way, or c) am I just chemically unbalanced.
I liken what I have been feeling to wearing a pair of pantyhose that is just one size too small with the elastic worn out at the top. Yeah, it is that uncomfortable. You know what I am talking about...you get it up to your waist, or above your waist for those that are so blessed to be short-waisted. Drag the legs up so that the crotch finally fits into place and continue to get dressed. At the beginning of your day, the pantyhose feels pretty good. It keeps your legs a little warm, evens out the color in your legs, maybe even hides a varicose vein or so. But then, as you walk about your day, the hose begins to sag. First, the waist rolls down, then inches toward your hips, dragging your panties with it (exempt only if you wear a thong). The crotch is the next to go sliding down your thighs until it is nearly at your knees,greatly limiting your stride. It gives me shudders just remembering that feeling. You head to the bathroom to try to repair it and while grabbing at it to pull it up, your fingers thrust through the woven elastic, ripping a finger-sizes hole and causing them to run. Thus, you ruined something you were already really struggling with anyway.
It took this Sunday at church to give me my answer. I realized that issue of my daily grind being a bit irritating was not a, b, or c, but because I have been trying to fit into something that really isn't me at all. I have been wearing a pair of hose the size and fit of which initially gave me a "warm fuzzy." But as time progressed, that hose became my enemy, dragging me down, leaving me frustrated. It left me constantly trying to make it stay in place, perfectly stretched to my frame. Sunday, I realized I had been conned. It was and will never, ever going to work. Instead, I have been missing the truth - what was perfectly designed for me.
I have been living in the world. This worldliness is lived out daily in my life because as Jerry Bridges defines it, I am just accepting and going along with the values and practices of our culture without discerning if they are pleasing to God. I have always believed that the world thrusts it influence upon us. Revelation time here...the changed occurred inside me first. That pride began inside me.
As a result, I kept trying to use my own strength to get me through some tough emotions. Guess what? I ruined it. Like wearing that dreadful pantyhose, life hasn't been comfortable. Trying even harder to make it work has ultimately destroyed quite a few things, ripping destructive holes into relationships and circumstances and most painfully my relationship with God.
We can't resist the pull of the world if it is left up to us. It hurt to hear the reality of what I had been doing. I chose to don that pantyhose believing that it would make me appear better in the world. Essentially, I was living like what He did was not enough. His actions, His presentation to the world was not good enough. I have been valuing my position in the world more than what Christ did for me.
Little lies to present myself as more together than the reality. Little tales to present myself as "cool" or acceptable to others. Little choices of what I was doing or reading or wearing to present a certain image. Little tales of my children to put off the fact that I am a sinful mother that fails miserably every day when I am mothering on my own strength. Little words that just slip out of my mouth without a thought or care. All those "littles" similar to those little tugs and pulls to wear a pair of stinking worldly pantyhose, pantyhose woven with all the pride of the flesh, the eyes, and the possessions of my soul. You know, God didn't mean for me to try to make something fit that shouldn't have been in my drawers to begin with. In fact, I think when Christ was nailed to the cross and he eliminated the need for pantyhose altogether! Can I get an AMEN!?!
"When someone sets his affections upon the cross and the love of Christ, he crucifies the world as a dead and undesirable thing. The baits of sin lose their attraction and disappear. Fill your affections with the cross of Chris and you will find no room for sin." John Owen
There is no better life than the tap, tap, tap on your shoulder from the Holy Spirit alerting you to self-promoting behavior and stopping it in its tracks. Praise the Lord!