March 30, 2004

My room-mate (John, also known as Ixi) and I were talking yesterday and he said something I found shocking Ė ďIím happy with who I amĒ. Fellow dorm-mate Jehan quite enjoys it when Ixi and I argue and tried to egg us on, of course, but really I was quite amazed.

Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead Yesterday is a promise that youíve broken Donít close your eyes donít close your eyes This is your life, and today is all youíve got now, and -- And today is all youíll ever have. Donít close your eyes: donít close your eyes!

This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose?

Yesterday is a kid in the corner
Yesterday is dead and over

This is your life, are you who you want to beÖ

--Switchfoot, The Beautiful Letdown, ďThis Is Your LifeĒ

Yísee, I donít think I can say Iím happy with who I am. This doesnít mean I have low self-esteem or think Iím the worst person in the world, though I do think the latter occasionally simply because I am privy to my own darkest thoughts in a way that I am not to those of others, if that makes sense.

The magnificent words of the Book of Common Prayer come to mind:

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
And of course, what is I think at once the most frustratingly true and the most relieving passage in all of Scripture, taken from Eugene Petersonís meditation-slash-paraphrase The Message for the benefit of those of us to whom the words are distant with familiarity:
Yes. Iím full of myselfóafter all, Iíve spent a long time in sinís prison. What I donít understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I canít be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that Godís command is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still canít keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I donít have what it takes. I can will it, but I canít do it. I decide to do good, but I donít really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, donít result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that itís predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in Godís commands, but itís pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

Iíve tried everything and nothing helps. Iím at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isnít that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

And Iím off to bed, hoping I can sleep after a[n unintentionally long] three-hour nap (from 6:30 to 10:00, which is, incidentally, why I wasnít in Mr. Straussí class this eveningÖ). Ah, persistent low-level stress, you make me continually tired.

My favo(u)rite part of the traditional CRC worship service, next to Godís Greeting and the benediction, is the absolution. In Christ you are forgiven. I suppose to a tradition-minded (note: tradition-minded is likely not the same thing as traditionally-minded!) one such as myself, the constant repetition of these phrases speak powerfully. I am amazed at the way that I am able to receive grace from them. So, then, I will leave you with a benediction, and then Iíll really go to bed:

Grace, mercy and shalom be with you from God our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit, amen.

Posted by Tim at March 30, 2004 03:37 AM | TrackBack
Comments

No. No n'n'no no no! Drink three cups of coffee if you have to and get to class.

And anyone who, at your age (been there, done that), says "I'm happy with who I am" most definately isn't. Give him all the guidance you can in the best-friendliest way you can. He'll either want it or he wont.


Posted by: Tuning Spork at March 30, 2004 11:29 PM

Hey Timmy. I really loved the words of that Switchfoot song... this blog really rang true to me becuase I like, have no work left this semester so i just sit around not being the person I want to be. Regardless of what you think of yourself, I think you've been much of the person Christ wants you to be through your honesty and your dedication to Redeemer. I'm really glad you're coming back next year.
Have a great night
In Christ,
Stevie-D

Posted by: Steve Dykstra at March 31, 2004 07:18 PM
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