Monday, September 6, 2010

A Pharisee Revealed - Chapter 1

For the last several years, God has been answering a prayer of mine, prayed out of desperation: 

Help me know how much You love me. 

He is not answering it the way I thought He might, but as funny as it sounds, I knew He wouldn't.  I knew - when I began asking Him - that the answer to this prayer might shake me to the core.  I kind of worried about what I might have to face up to. 

I thought I'd share a bit of my journey - let's see if I can explain what a project I am.

Chapter 1 - The Rut (and Where it Leads)

I'm a rule-follower.  An affirmation-seeking, performance-oriented, check-things-off-my-list kind of girl.  I grew up without
I love you or I'm proud of who you are.  I don't say that as an excuse or to elicit pity - it's just the way it was. 

In the middle of junior high school, I discovered that the God I'd learned about in Sunday School was a personal God and that He wanted to be more than someone I prayed to on Sunday or if I needed something.  He wanted to take His place at the center of my life - the Master.  And I asked Him to come in.  I started reading my Living Bible and underlining it with different colored Flair markers and I began getting to know God. 

But without realizing it, I was starting off my relationship with Him in the same way I approached the rest of my life:  do these certain things and then you're good.  Look around and be sure you look as good or better than everybody else.  I had a very real desire to love Him and please Him - I was completely misguided in what that really meant.  I was also very busy controlling as many outcomes as I could.

So I got good grades and didn't get in trouble.  I never even toilet-papered anyone's house in high school because I was afraid of being caught.  I crouched on the floor of the back seat if someone parked near a teacher's house to 'decorate' his yard on the way home from Young Life.  One summer between high school and college, I stayed out until 4:00 am without calling home, talking in the car to my future husband.  (I know - it's pretty shocking.) And I think the only reason I didn't get in trouble was that my parents were so surprised that I'd do something so uncharacteristically bad.  

I stayed close to the top of my class in high school and college because I wanted to be one of the best.  While I never heard it, I knew my dad was proud of my 'status.'  

In the process of all of this 'achieving' and 'accomplishing,' there was a simmering rebellion growing on the inside.  And an ugly seed of pride taking deep root in me.  But as is usually the case with that particular condition, I didn't recognize it for what it was.

Click here to read chapter 2 and chapter 3 in this sad story.

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