Before embarking on my farewell tour I had a few weeks of unemployment in which I spent hours pouring over Hebrews, praying, listening to sermons, and begging the Lord for the strength to overcome what he’d revealed to me. I was begging God for this to be a turning point. With every thought I had about where to go from that point I prayed Psalm 139. I’d met with a woman from church and we talked about something completely unrelated, but she counseled me to pray Psalm 139:23-24 and to trust that God would lead me as I sought him in that prayer.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
And God revealed to me that not only did I lack perseverance, but I also had a problem with covering up one poor choice with another poor choice. Masterfully (or not so masterfully since people always figured it out when I stayed long enough) crafting stories to hide things that were really going on beneath the surface. I’m not alone in that struggle nor is it anything new. Hiding has been our problem from the beginning.
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked,
and I hid myself.”
In Genesis when God talks to Adam he asks a question. God is God; he knows the answer and yet he asks. I love that from the beginning God asks. He always provides an opportunity for confession and repentance. An opportunity for us to own how broken we are without Him and how unable we are to change without Him. And that He sent his son so that we can be redeemed and reconciled to Him is humbling.
I had two more women who’d known me about a year confirm what my friend had already called out. One of them in a very matter of fact way after listening to me detail my work history said, “Sounds like you’ve got a habit of running away. Whatever job you take next, I want you to stay. Press into the challenges and stay.” And the other one had been trying to figure out how to tell me I run away, and that I needed to deal with my own junk before I tried to help other people. So when told her (confessed) that I have a habit of running away, she challenged me to stay in Chicago and to commit to doing so for at least a year. I’m so grateful I am part of a community of believers who aren’t afraid to say the hard things. And I’m so grateful the Lord had been developing my teachability. So grateful that when we surrender to his lordship he is faithful to carry us to maturity.
I had a friend share an illustration about teachability being a muscle that has to be exercised. And when developing muscle it can be painful, but after it’s been developed it can bear the weight differently and is easier to submit to the lifting required.
I’m so glad I serve a God who endlessly woos and pursues us despite our stubbornness. A God who gives us the capacity to change. A God who through Christ’s atoning sacrifice shows us we can stop struggling and striving under the law and surrender to grace through faith knowing He alone is able to give growth and abundant life.