One of the last days of school my little love’s teacher came out to the car and asked, “Did you see the note that came home with Liv yesterday?”
I looked back at Liv, sitting too quietly in the back…she wouldn’t make eye contact.
“No ma’am I didn’t.” I responded back. Knowing that the reason I hadn’t was that the little rascal in the back had conveniently lost it. People…it starts young.
“Well…” her teacher said, trying to hold back a giggle.
“Text me when you find it,” and she winked.
I dug around and found the note in the very bottom of Liv’s backpack. Exactly where she had “lost” it.
Here is what it said:
Dear Abigails parents,
I accidentally cut Abigail’s hair. I’m so so sorry about that. I didn’t mean to do that. We were at rest time and I had some scissors and I came to cut the rug because there was a long string and I came to cut it but then I wanted to try to be a hair cut shop and my hands just had to do it. But I said no, but they did it. I apologize.
From the first line I gasped and put my hand over my mouth… and then I experienced a roller coaster of emotions as I read each line.
“Oh…ok…so there was a long string on the mat…understandable, it was an accident.”
“Oh..nope. Ok…so the string was just the gateway to being a barber. She knew she was doing it. ”
How much did she cut??? Were Abigail’s parents seething in anger?
I pictured Abigail with a new set of bangs…cut by the HANDS of my child…not cut by HER mind you…because she told her hands not to do it…but they just HAD to.
She can not be blamed.
“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.” Romans 7:15-20
The age old tug of war…the back and forth that we can all identify with.
The very thing I don’t want to do, I do. The thing I want to do more than anything, that thing is the thing that I can’t seem to do.
Frustration. Guilt. Shame. They are all present when we miss the mark and end up doing that very thing yet again.
In Romans 7 you hear the agonizing spot that Paul is in… and haven’t we all been there?
It is so important that we get to the true point of Romans 7, how did Paul arrive at the desperate crossroads that he found himself: he became honest about his sin. He couldn’t bear the tugging anymore. He was so awake to sins existence in His life. An awareness of the fight, the back and forth, no longer turning a blind eye to it, but calling it out, acknowledging that we’re not enough, THIS is ESSENTIAL.
It’s easy for us to cover our sin, make excuses for it. It’s much simpler to go right on doing those very things we know we shouldn’t, to justify our reasons for allowing sin to move in and take up residence in our lives.
But it’s time to point a finger at the things in our life that don’t belong and to say “Why are you here? I don’t want you here but you keep coming back. Why?”
We are limited in our abilities because of sin. We can set our mind on all of the things that we desire to do, and to be, but on our own we will constantly and consistently find ourselves in the same spot… “I said no but my hands just had to do it.”
So, what’s the answer?
All at once Sunday School class….. JESUS!
As simple as this sounds, Jesus is the answer to our tug of war. He is who settles the score of our sin and allows us victory over the back and forth.
We were created to need Him, to depend on Him. He is our something more…the one who carries us across the finish line of all of our hopes and dreams of living the way God has designed us to.
God gives us a destiny and a purpose and gives us His Son to make that destiny possible in our lives.
So today, stop striving to figure out how to do the things you should and not do the things you shouldn’t. Stop strategizing and creating all of the safety nets and boundaries to keep you from sinning, to keep you from straying…they aren’t going to work.
No amount of planning will work without Jesus. He is the power over our sin.
Lay down the desire to be the one who has all of this figured out. You aren’t supposed to. You are going to drive yourself mad trying to keep up that facade.
Jesus doesn’t desire hearts that have it all figured out. He wants honest hearts, aware of our sin but MORE aware of our need for Him.
Take all of your desires, all of your sins, the good and the gross, to Jesus today.
Give them to Him and ask Him what He thinks of them.
Ask Him to expose your motives.
Ask Him to give you the ability to have victory over the desire to do that darn thing you don’t want to do.
Take a deep breath… the pressure is off.
Quit fighting your sin and instead allow Jesus to fight on your behalf.
It’s the only way to victory.
Lean into Him. Let yourself need Him.
Let go of control and live in the wide open freedom only He can provide.
I’m doing the same today friend. I’m tired of saying one thing and doing another.
I am leaning into Jesus and allowing Him to win this fight.
You in with me?