Sunday, April 10, 2016

Why do I do these things?!

For I do not understand my own actions. 
For I do not do what I want, but do the very thing I hate.
Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.
So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.
For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
For I do not do the good I want,
but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Now, if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells within me.
Romans 7:15-20 (ESV)

Don't you just love this passage of Scripture? I feel like it's the most vulnerable we see Paul. He seems to be saying, "Why do I keep jacking things up?! I HATE SIN!"

Often, I think we try to control our behavior without really analyzing the root causes. We just try to strong-arm ourselves into acting "properly." What's the real crux of the issue, though? Without addressing the sinful motivations behind our behavior, even if we change ourselves outwardly, it's just acting.

We have to change from the inside out. I don't know if you know this, but that's HARD and messy.

Yesterday, I wrote about our Ministry Preview visit with FamilyLife®. As part of the "wait" process, we've been asked to continue working on learning how to fulfill our God-given roles as husband and wife. Kind of a life-long task, right?

For me, this means, learning to reign in my natural inclination to charge forward and let Josiah lead. The fact that I need to work on this isn't exactly news. I've been trying for some time. However, the trip to Arkansas really made me look at WHY I'm having problems doing it.

I REALLY want to let Josiah lead. It's something I've always wanted. Why, then, do I find it so difficult in some situations? Why do I jump in front of him?

Paul's message above is pretty clear: we do things we know we shouldn't because of sin. Duh.

But sin is a pretty broad term. What sin, in particular, is causing me to take the proverbial wheel in many situations, even though I really want Josiah to drive?

I would love to say that I found the answer through deep thought, but with me, God has apparently found that's not what does the trick. I, apparently, learn best when I've made an ass of myself. That's when I do my best self-analysis.

I've found 2 main culprits in this "why do I keep doing this?" dance: what people think of me and anxiety. Actually, when I feel anxiety, it's often because of what I feel people are thinking of me...sooooooo, maybe it's just one root thing:


To address this, I've just finished kind of a self-guided study through what it really means to have a gentle and quiet spirit. As a basis, I've been using Characteristics of a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Kimberly Wagner (which she actually adapted from writing by Matthew Henry).

At first glance, I looked at that list contrasting the meek spirit vs. the fretful, I thought it was sort of self-explanatory. Plus, I have a tendency to think of myself as pretty low on the fretful scale....


The more I looked, the more I realized that, while I might not be outwardly anxious, I often try to control or manipulate people or circumstances, depending on my own "wisdom" or personality traits, and thereby, refusing to trust God to do His job. 

Each day, I've looked at one of the contrasts, written the scriptures out, and written out what I feel God is saying to me about it. 

The study has shown me SO MUCH sin in my life, Now, I'm actually going back through it again to analyze some of the Greek and Hebrew words in the Scripture, and I'm going through it with the girls.

At first, I thought I would share it with them just so they could learn to have gentle spirits. However, it's revealed so much of my own junk, now I've found I want to share it with them simply so they can know why I fail so often in my parenting journey, and what struggling spiritually really looks like.

I would love for you to come along with me on this journey. Sometimes, it's nice to come alongside friends, even if it is a journey through the land of exposing spiritual junk!

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