Relearning: Faith, Reality, and My Actual Pants Size
The other day I had this great epiphany moment where I realized I should buy some new pants, since these are too small for me, and stop wearing the ones that make my stomach hurt. What a concept! Then I wondered if guys ever wear pants that are too small for them because they are too cheap/prideful/in denial to go buy a new pair. Seriously like 2 minutes later I saw a woman walk by wearing pants that were too small. I quickly made a note not to judge because maybe it isn’t that she thinks tight jeans are the new black dress. Maybe she just hasn’t had time to get to the store.
Then I remembered I’ve had all these epiphanies before.
Some days I stumble upon some great ideas – life changing revelations – that can potentially make a big difference for me. If I could only stick to the new routine, or even remember what the plan was. Am I the only one who has to re-learn reality over and over?
Encouragement recently came via a podcast by Tullian Tchividjian …. – Week 1 on Romans. So good. And he starts-in on this thing about how Christians often think that after they have learned the Gospel, then they can go on to the next chapter. That after they have digested and rolled around with the Good News for a while, they get comfortable in it. And they start looking for the next step. But whatever they think the next step is, becomes bigger and more important than the Good News. And they (we) start to forget things like “This news is for everyone,” (Romans 1:16) or “I am chief of sinners” (ITimothy 1:15). Pretty soon we are in need of some Good News and we have to relearn the Truths. Maybe this time it comes at us from a different angle and we see a side we just didn’t understand before. Or we are standing in a ditch this time around instead of the level ground we had the first time.
I’m not saying we have to “get saved” over and over. God takes care of that. And when the Word and the Holy Spirit are working in us, He who began a good work in us will see it to completion (Philippians 1:6). But if you have found moments where you feel like you are “figuring it out”again.. you are not alone. We all are on this journey to gather up the bits of Truth we can fit into our basket and it’s because of God’s mercy and power that they make sense to us and can be used to fulfill His big plan.
After hearing Tullian explain that I am not the only one who doesn’t perfectly retain everything I learn, I felt a little better. If scholars and church leaders have days where they need a refresher course, then I’m in good company. Here are some other things I tend to have to relearn weekly, if not daily.
1. I cannot, and should not, always be in charge of what is happening around me. (Let that one sink-in for a minute, fellow control-freaks. It’s true!)
2. I say stupid things. (Hmmmm. I really should be more forgiving of people who say stupid things.)
3. God loves me deeper and wider and longer and … It’s mind-boggling. Apparently He intended it that way.
4. I need to confess my sins more often. And ask for forgiveness. And ACCEPT forgiveness!
5. The world does not revolve around me.
I’m aware of how astonishing all this is. I know you are as surprised as I was to be reminded that the world does not revolve around me. But we are in this together, friends! Together we can lick our wounds (wait, that sounds weird) and pick ourselves up from the hardship of people not always thinking we are right, and reluctantly learn these things over and over.
The good news is God isn’t holding it against us. Jesus paid for our forgetfulness and lack of discipline so we can continue to fill our baskets with little bits of Truth as we stumble along.