This beautiful song by Lindsay McCaul begins with these lyrics:
Some days the sun shines bright
And I’m up on top of the world
Next day those clouds roll in
And in the rain pours down on this girl
I don’t know if I have ever heard something that could describe me better. Some days, I wake up and spend time with the Lord. I work really hard to honor God, to love others well, and tell people about him. I go to bed with the joy of the Lord in my heart and ready to give every second to him again tomorrow. However, I felt God pushing me to be completely transparent this week and tell you something that becomes more evident each day: I am an absolute mess! A lot of the time, I roll out of bed a little too late and selfishly skip out on the time with the Lord that I so desperately need. I try to do good things and claim they are “for God’s glory” when they are really just for my own pride. I fall into bed not thinking much about God because throughout the course of the day, my relationship with him has been fractured due to of all of my sin.
I have always tried to be “good.” I am always willing to be kind towards others and share a smile, but I must honestly ask myself where my motivations lie. A lot of the time, I am trying to make myself look better, become popular, or advance my own agenda in one way or another. I found this C.S. Lewis quote once and it rings so, so very true in my life:
“No man knows how bad he is until he has tried very hard to be good.”
Amen to that! This has become even more evident these first few weeks of my time in France. I tend to fall into the trap of thinking “Look at me! I am awesome! I can do so much on my own (without the Lord’s help).” It is at that moment that I am reminded of how utterly imperfect I am. I think I am doing so well at speaking French, and then I say several sentences that make absolutely no sense. I try to encourage someone with my own personal strength, and I fall flat on my face and don’t help them at all. I try to make my family dinner, and I make a big mess and almost break a few plates. The moment I think I am looking cute walking down the beach, a seagull poops in my hair. There are countless examples I could give you, but I would like to start sharing the good news right now.
C.S. Lewis also says, “It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of his presence.”
Because of my pride, I tend to hate these moments that remind me of how imperfect I am. However, I am so very thankful for them. The Holy Spirit is highlighting this “dirt” in my life and reminding me what a horrible person I am, but that is not where the conversation stops. God reminds me that when I am imperfect, he is perfect. When I am wishy-washy, he is constant. When I am completely covered in sin, he washes me clean. He welcomes me with open arms, forgives me, and loves me. He will take my willing heart and make me more like his son each and every day. This simple verse has been at the forefront of my mind:
He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30
You see, there is nothing special about my sinful self. I am only special because God has forgiven me through faith in his son Jesus. Through grace, God has made me who I was meant to be: his child. But, praise the Lord that it doesn’t stop there. Not only does he forgive me, He desires to USE me for his honor and glory. Just as he used Paul, who killed numerous Christians, to spread the Good News of Jesus. He can use anyone of us once we let him become greater and greater in every area of our lives and we become much, much less. I can assure you that the genuine kindness and joy that comes out of me is not in fact from me because I am sinful and self-centered. That is Jesus, only Jesus shining through.
I would like to share another C.S. Lewis quote with you. If you can’t tell, I like him a lot! 🙂
“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”
So this “less of me” idea is not supposed to create sadness like it did when I was younger. It is not becoming less of Madeline, it is becoming the original Madeline I was intended to be!
Thank you, Lord, that…
…Your hands are holdin’ me
When I’m falling apart
Your peace keeps calming all the crazy in my heart
Breaking down or bustin’ up
You always help me see that
Your love won’t leave
Even a mess like me…
…just like the song says. Thank you for the daily reminders that I am completely imperfect and in desperate need of you. Please become greater in my life each and every day. I pray I may become less and less each day. Thank you for not only forgiving me, but using me for your purpose. You give me so much more than I deserve. Amen!!