Lately every time I sit down to pray, the only words that have been flooding my heart are these: Jesus, take me out of it.
I sit down for dinner with my husband and he asks, “Babe, would you like to pray?” Well, of course I would. So I start to give thanks for the food before us and suddenly realize there are 874 other things I’d like to pray about. I find myself tearing up and saying “I just need less of me, I’m sick of me.” Poor Matt did not sign up for this. He just wants to eat his hamburger and sweet potato fries. Meanwhile I’m holding revival at our dinner table. Bless him.
My point: this idol is sneaking up on me every single day. It creeps in to my work, my worship, my marriage, my friendships, and my prayers. It is the most difficult idol I have ever faced. It’s me.
I find it when my friend is trying to talk about something she is struggling with and my only response is to talk about what I would do if it were me.
Or maybe when I see someone doing something I realllllly want to do – something I have worked hard for – and just cannot be happy for them. That is supposed to be me up there.
Or maybe, in it’s most sobering expression, I find it in failure. I could have been better. This is all my fault.
I opened up my bible this afternoon and landed in Isaiah. I found this verse in chapter 40:
All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
Surely the people are grass. Surely we will wither and fade, and leave nothing of ourselves behind when we’re gone. Not a thing I do of the flesh will outlast eternity. Say it louder for the people in the back.
I underlined that verse from Isaiah. I wrote in the margin, “What am I doing to make sure people see you God, and not me?” I’m not sure how to answer that yet, but it’s a start.
The pressure I place on myself is unwavering and self-serving. I begin seeking a Me-centered gospel rather than a Christ-centered gospel. What can grace do for me? And how can I use what it does for me to show others I am qualified to talk about grace? I cannot withstand a simple prayer over dinner so, for the love, I can’t work through this life on my own. Surrender is sweetest when you’ve reached the end of yourself.
I wanted to share this because 1) transparency is a really good way to encourage personal growth, and 2) I have a feeling I’m not alone here. I think a lot of us, women especially, get caught up in making sure we are worth it rather than resting in the worth we’ve already received. Thank goodness for a God who continually pursues and refines us, sanctifying us in time.
Will you pray with me?
Jesus, be close to me. Fill my thoughts and heart with your word, not my own agenda. Erase the idea of a self-serving gospel from my mind. Remind me, daily, of my dependence on you and your grace. Forgive me for neglecting my friends, family, husband, and church family by seeking my own interests and not savoring their successes. Thank you for your abundance, your overflowing gifts of mercy and love. Help me to use the lessons I’ve learned to help others. A m e n.