Scandalous Love and the Pain of Letting Go

by

I was going to post a blog about my chronic back pain and, in particular, my current training strategy to help me out of the pain cycle, but what struck me even harder was my inner pain cycle that seems to becoming more and more noticeable as i deepen my Faith.  I will still post the other one, but this one came out of my brain this morning and these are the spontaneous writings that i miss so much!

 

Nobody told me that becoming a Christian is actually pretty painful. You start to notice things about yourself and you begin the painful process of *letting go* of all your walls and all your judgements, all your self-righteousness and all the ways you previously made sense of the world – and even all the ways you thought you understood what Christianity was about.

 

It’s actually pretty outrageous and scandalous because many things are nearly complete opposites to how i thought, felt and behaved before i really started to get to know *who* Jesus is.  If i had only done this in the first place instead of spending years listening to what other people thought Christianity was about – i.e.: a religious belief in earning love or adding rules to make you behave.  This is exactly WHY Jesus came – to rescue us from that!

 

There’s this thing called GRACE and it is actually one of the most powerful things about Christ and … it’s a gift.  I didn’t earn it, nor can i cause Him to take it back. Even though i often feel i am desperately trying to pay him back for it or even trying to judge whether i deserve it.  It’s never been about deserving or earning – it is about accepting that nothing i do or don’t do will ever make Him take it back.

 

Isn’t it just crazy to think that one man, who was blameless, chose to take all the blame for an entire race on himself so that we can live freely. Even if i screw up. Even when i am unforgiving or bad-tempered or i speak out of turn. Even when i act arrogantly or get insecure or tempted into something i know is wrong.  By becoming a Christian, i was accepting the gift of grace and the only road to be in the presence of God (because He cannot be in the same room as sin and no other worldview could offer me that).  However, the pain i feel inside is the clashing between my old way of thinking and the new.  The new way says: “Grace is enough to cover you so you are seen as blameless before God” The old way says: “This is a trick. There has to be a catch somewhere. When i fail, God gets mad and he wants to punish me…so i must have to make it up to him”. But this is the way of the world – this is stuff that people often expect.

It’s not that being good is hard (okay, sometimes it is). What is hard is not totalling up the good-points and feeling proud of myself for having evidence for my salvation.  What is hard is condemning myself beyond belief when i inevitably fall short.  This is why Jesus came to fulfil the Old Testament Law. Nobody could keep it and everyone needed the ultimate sacrifice to be made before God could be with His people again.  Jesus was that sacrifice.

So why is it so hard to walk in freedom? Why is it so hard to accept that IT IS DONE? Why do i still feel the need to add my own offering to the cross?  It is simply because the world continues to tell me to TRY, to EARN, what i DESERVE, where i have FAILED. I am still seeing myself from the eyes of humanity, rather than the eyes of a loving God who hates the sin i commit, but loves me <– this is tough to really understand! God hates? He hates sin, not me. He needed a way to abolish sin so He could be with me.

 

The Bible is a rescue story, a love story, and beautiful story of reconciliation between God and man.  Many people get turned-off by this kind of talk. Even i used to think: “who does God think He is to want to control us”.  My pride wants to be in control. I want to be at the top of the world so i never have to bow down to anyone.  And i think that is why it took me so long to turn to God.  I didnt feel i needed it.  BUT I DO!

And another 😀

I may not understand why it seems to be taking such a long time to complete this story, or why we have pain and suffering, but one thing i do know – God uses everything that happens (He doesn’t send pain or suffering) to defeat evil.  Actually, this defeat has already occurred, but we continue to wait in this place with time – which is why we feel the effects of waiting and probably why it seems like God is distant.

My inner struggle with accepting grace as a pure gift is a one that requires me to stop holding up my old understanding or my own deeds to fight it. What if i just rested and let go of all those things i carry.  It’s like I have my own survival kit “just in case”. Any time something bad happens, i rummage through it to find the tool i need: googling my problem, feeling bad about myself, making excuses, trying to plan ahead or desperately trying to make amends so people don’t think badly of me. All so i don’t lose face and seem in control. I do everything i think first and then i turn to God.  Maybe i was missing the point of a saviour? LOL

What if i started dropping these things instead and began to trust that these things won’t do me any good if they are distracting me from the the person sent to rescue me.  What if i put my trust in that person and left that kit behind?  How light and energised i would feel 🙂  This is exactly what is happening in my life – i am so attached to all my kit that i don’t let it go without a fight.  I am constantly trying to justify why i might need it instead of just giving it over to God.

Will i ever learn this? I hope so. But even if i don’t, it still doesn’t change how God feels about me and it still doesn’t change the rescue. It just might make me less peaceful while i walk through this life.  It’s not ideal, as i would like to feel lighter, but it doesn’t change what Jesus has done for me.

If i can remember that, then i can lessen my grip on trying to make everything perfect.

Does anyone else struggle with this?

 

Related Posts with Thumbnails
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
Tags: , , , , ,

Work out
with Marianne

Online Coaching

11 Responses

  1. Kelly says:

    Hi Marianne,

    I came across your videos when looking for kettlebell workouts because I go to the gym 3-4 times a week and needed some more ideas for working out.. When I came across this blog note, I was compelled to give you a mini bio as a born again Christian who has also struggled with the law vs. grace and my misunderstanding of what Jesus expected of me. For many years as a young believer (I was saved when I was 12, and then rededicated my life to the Lord Jesus at 16 (I am now 46)), when I read the Scriptures, I thought that every thing I read was what I had to do. How hard I tried to fit into this mold I thought my Lord had for me and what I thought I was doing out of love, but on the contrary, was a mold of perfectionism I had for myself. After years of struggle, the Lord Jesus began to show me my error by His Word, and began to soften my heart, which then began to melt because of the gratitude I had for Him. As I looked back at my life and saw “my” daily reading of His Word along with “my” obedience, He began to show me that it was Him drawing me the whole time and Him doing the work in my life. As you can imagine, weeping and repentance came, because I felt terrible that I tried to take credit where I deserved none. Now every time I read His Word, where I saw the law of something I had to perform, I see the Lord Jesus’ grace and His work that He does in my life. I am constantly in awe of how much He loves me.

    You ask if you will ever learn this, the answer is that it is a day-to-day, moment-by-moment learning. I encourage you, Marianne, to ask the Lord Jesus to show Himself to you and read His Word a lot. Each day trust Him for the the specks in your life, because He really does care about them.

    1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
    2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~Hebrews 12:1-2

    • Marianne says:

      Beautiful!! Since writing this blog post I have come so far to realise the same things as you mentioned. This past year has been the most challenging yet with a marriage, moving countries, and dealing with immense physical pain and stress. The reading and quiet time I have spent with God during this year has brought me so much closer to Him and allowed me to rely on His Grace and His work in me so that I might be transformed. Nothing I do in my own strength will ever get me there; it really is all Him.

      None of us come to know God without God.

      • Queen Onwuka says:

        Hi Marianne, first of all a big congratulations are in order for the step in your life ( your marriage). I love the new lay out of your website.

        I Can say that I do fall under temptations and it’s very hard sometimes to try and please God. But as the bible said it is done, that is the simplicity of his grace. But sometimes the simplest of things are the hardest to do or obey. Being a Christian is not easy and we are the easiest of targets for the devil to attack (it’s like holding a red cape in front of a bull and hoping not to be the target or get heart). These are the thing we sign up for when we say yes to Christ, Luke 14v27.. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple”…

        We have chosen this life, this path and his teaching in knowing that one day we will be in glory with him. Think about the many followers of Christ in countries were they have to fellowship in secrete but we have the opportunity to fellowship out load, use your story and journey to inspire follow believers and non-believers. Your a woman of God and of strength, your heading in the right direction, it will not be easy but remember to hold onto out lord and never let go. Ps you’ve inspired me to start strength training again, also love your vids xx. Queen x

  2. Jacob says:

    Awesome!

  3. Shelley says:

    Marianne your post reminds me of Matthew 11:28-30 when Jesus tells us to take his yoke upon us and that it is easy and his burden is light. I lived for many years with a heavy burden of Christian legalism, never really experiencing the freedom and joy that comes with understanding God’s grace. When I started to really understand God’s grace it was such a relief and so freeing. So glad to see that you are taking on his “yoke” and leaving your own tool kit behind. But I agree, sometimes it’s hard to let go of our old ways.

  4. Peter says:

    First I want to say that I love your web site on Kettle Bell training. I just started to get in to it after years
    of doing mostly free weights, and becomming a fairly accomplished body builder. Kettle Bell training
    is so systemic, and radical in it’s approach compared to other forms of excercise I could not belive
    how it could have such an amazing effect on my body,and mind. That being said I grew up as a typical
    Catholic in New England, and just assumed God was real. Now I still belive that, but I think God want’s
    us to really believe he is real, and not just say that because we were raised that way. He gives his grace
    freely, and creates many opportunities that are right in front of us. I often think about the life that Jesus,
    may have led as a person like you and me. I don’t think things always went well for him,or that he didn’t
    have the same weakness we all have, but he knew he was the son of God, and was willing to do what was
    required to fulfill his father’s will for all mankind. This required suffering that we cannot even imagine. You have to put yourself in his place, and think how hard that was since he was human, and had the power of choice as well as anyone else, and even more so because he was God made flesh. When I think of this it really makes me realize how much God loves us, and why we should love him, and why we need to stop questioning why everything happens, good,or bad. Jesus is my hero. Is he yours also?

  5. Charly Bennett says:

    Your posts are so honest, this one, insightful….beautiful even. Thank you! I have been following your blog on and off for a while and although I am yet to get off my rusty dusty and start doing something, have always been drawn to the thoughts you share. I happen to rejoin when you started speaking about your faith and have been truly blessed. (Even went back to catch up on what I’d missed!)Getting fit both physically and spiritually takes discipline and this is an area I could definitely do better in; but I know I can do all things through HIM who strengthens me. All relationships take work don’t they? It’s the adjusting that makes it such a challenge/stuggle but we WILL learn to make turning to God our default position. We’ll just have to keep working and working at it….. “Battlefield of the mind” excellent book….. I’m off, got a kettle bell to go try lift.
    Many congratulations on your marriage, may HE bless you both.x

  6. Amanda says:

    THANK YOU for posting this! I struggle sometimes. Not with what I believe, but actually with making the time/spending the time reading, learning, and taking time with God. As a lover of fitness, that’s a little strange, because I take time for me and my body almost every day, and I trust myself and believe that I can do things. I need to take that same approach with my relationship with God. Thanks for writing!

  7. Heidi says:

    I struggle with not having enough trust or enough faith. I think most of us struggle with this. I think there is a lack of hope involved as well. Sure, we have faith that everything will turn out ok – we know this in our head. But we don’t have hope that it will turn out the way we want it. If God cares about the sparrows, he will care about our future and we should have faith AND hope.

    • Marianne says:

      Yes, i had a terrible time with feelings of hopelessness and really having faith. I still do, on and off, but i think you make a good point; He gives us what we need 🙂

Leave a Reply

Advertisements