Friday, October 09, 2009

Hard questions: Beginning with God 8 response

Do you define yourself as a sinner or a saint? Do you define yourself "in Christ" or "in Adam"? Which is the true narrative? Why is the false narrative so alluring?

Finding the balance between sainthood and sinner status is the key to an appropriate self-concept. The Old Testament is full of admonishments from God: "Remember where you were before I rescued you," or "Remember what it was like to be a slave in Egypt."

I remember what it was like to be a slave to sin. I know the struggle against desires for this world. I have friends who are recovering alcoholics and everyday they must remember what the downside of alcohol brought to them. Every day they must choose to remain sober.

It may not seem like as big of a deal, but I have been been addicted to food for as long as I can remember. As a young girl, I planned refrigerator raids when I knew my parents would not be at home. What I ate at meal time came under tough scrutiny, so I ate away from home as much as possible. I've had times in my life when I dealt with this well and food didn't attract me. If you've seen me in the last few years, you know full well that food became my drug of choice again a few years ago.

I hate it. I hate that I think of food when I'm stressed out or when I'm tired. I hate that I can't get a grasp on this. I hate that I can't just walk away and say, "I will never eat again." Ha. I'm not saying that food issues are harder than alcoholism or drug addiction, but I am saying that they're just as tough, both spiritually and emotionally.

See, what I want to be is a person who turns to God when I'm stressed. I want to be a person who craves spiritual food -- not physical food -- when I'm overwhelmed by life. It's not about weight for me. If I were motivated by what I weigh, I would've done this a LONG time ago.

So . . . yeah . . .I know all too well what it's like to see myself as a struggling sinner.

But God (don't you love those words?) doesn't see me this way, and I know that. Sometime in my mid-twenties, I really GOT IT. I GOT that my salvation doesn't depend on what I do; it depends on what Jesus did over 2000 years ago. I don't have to do all the things or understand theology or have every Bible story tucked away in my memory banks. I can forget the occasional book, chapter, and verse and God will still see me as his child and will still love me.

And he'll forgive me. I need that forgiveness so very much. See, it's not just that I eat too much. I lose my temper. I hold grudges. Sometimes I'm snappy and impatient with my children and I complain about my job. None of that is OK, but all of it is forgiven.

All. Of. It.

What can we do to help us live our "sainthood" instead of our "sinner-hood"?

I don't know the answer to this. I gained such incredible peace of mind when I realized that God really and truly had forgiven me --and would continue to forgive me. I'm sure that's why I'm sane, but I'd like to move beyond sanity. I'd like to move forward into a place where I truly do see myself as God sees me. A beloved bride, unstained by the world. A beautiful child. A saint, and not a sinner. How do we go about doing this when we are surrounded by the world each day?

Any ideas?

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