A Wretch Like Me

I keep sitting down to write this post, and I never quite seem to know how to do it. I guess it’s an uncomfortable subject. I think a lot of us who grew up in church, regardless of denomination, picked up the idea that we had to present a certain image. We talk about things like grace and forgiveness, but desperately try to hide the fact that we are as much in need of them as anyone else. It’s easier to talk about all of the terrible things that have happened to me, and blame my problems on them. It’s much, much harder to admit that there’s just as much ugly stuff in my own heart. Nearly impossible for me to admit that all of that anger and greed lurking below the surface might have more to do with my problems than I’m willing to admit.

It started out when I read the book Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus by Mary DeMuth. It was a book that I was assigned to review. The entire time I was reading it I kept thinking, “Are you trying to tell me something, LORD?” See, I’m a bit of a control freak. I’ve laughed and admitted it on plenty of occasions. The idea of actually letting go and giving everything to God is utterly terrifying. Reading this book got me thinking and asking myself some difficult questions. (I’ll let you know when my review of it goes up on the Home Educating Family review site.)

Then came a free audiobook by Andy Stanley, Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions That Control You. (You can download it for free at the Christian Audio website through the end of April.) Listening to this book was tough. It forced me to take a long look at what was in my own heart. I had no idea what I would unearth. One thing in particular that I took away from this book was that at the heart of greed is fear. Fear that God either can’t or won’t take care of me. It was this book that showed me all my obsessive worrying about money, the sleep lost over expenses that might or might not come up in the future, my constant thinking and planning how we might come up with the money for this or that was just plain greed. I was actually surprised when I discovered just how much anger I’d held on to as well. After realizing all of this, I was thankful for the chapters about how to deal with it.

At last, came another book to review. Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst caught my attention because of the cover art. I’ve wanted to bury my head in a bag and scream more often than I care to admit. I don’t always handle stress or conflict well, and I tend to get a little “unglued”. Sometimes more than a little. This is another great book that I’ll mention again once the review is live.

If my blog has been a bit quiet for the last couple of months, this is why. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and soul searching. So many of my problems, including my health problems, are my own fault. Mom was right when she used to say that I was my own worst enemy! I hold on so tight, not trusting God enough to actually give Him everything. I hide attitudes like anger and greed deep in my heart where they eat away at me. I react to situations in ways that hurt myself and those I love most. A couple of years ago, God showed me that I needed to get beyond things in my past that were still hurting me. Now, He’s showing me that I have things in my own heart and mind that are hurting me.

Truthfully, I’m just as much a wretched sinner as the former slave trader who penned the words, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” A terrible price was paid so that where there is repentance, there is also forgiveness. Grace is forgiveness, but it’s more than that. Grace is God constantly at work in our lives. Shaping us. Refining us. Purifying us. It’s a difficult and often painful process. Yet I’m so thankful that God did not leave me the way that I was, and that He will not leave me the way that I am. “Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home.”

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