Friday, September 13, 2013

Dying to Self

I told you sweet friends awhile back that God dealt with me in themes.  Currently, it is dying to self.

And I don't like it.

Call me selfish, but sometimes I like my agenda better than God's.  Sometimes I want to curl up with a Starbucks and a book instead of offering help with homework and projects.  Sometimes I want to go shopping instead of tithing. Sometimes I want to save photography money for a vacation instead of for Operation Christmas Child.  Sometimes I want to hire a maid and a cook and an errand-runner instead of caring for my family.

I can be selfish.

And God wants it crucified.

A beautiful picture of dying to self is nursing a baby.  Bless all of you if you have even done it just once!  Your whole life becomes dependent on the schedule of a sweet little thing that can't even utter mama.  You fight through the plugged ducts, the engorgement, the sleepless nights, the speeding back home cause little one is screaming, the anxiety of wondering if they are getting adequate nourishment, the hassle of trying to nurse in public, the constant hiding from older siblings, the horrible and ugly non-supportive nursing bras, and the extra weight that won't go away cause your body is terrified to lose its fat reserves for fear of not being able to feed the little one in case of a famine.  Cause your body is so accustomed to famine.  Right.

But, oh the joys. Little bit looking into your eyes, flirting so hard that he can't even eat.  Skin to skin contact.  The amazement and wonder when you see a little fat on their legs and say, "WOW!  I did that!"  The ease of not having to fix a bottle in the early morning.  The bonding time.  The comfort of knowing there is something in the milk that is not just nourishing but healing as well. The pure satisfaction of it all.

Perhaps dying to self really does bring joy after all.

We just started the book of Luke in church.  I read ahead this week.  I can be a sneaky geek like that.  What struck me was Mary.  Mary didn't ask to carry the Son of the Most High.  She was a simple, normal girl.  Her highest aspirations were to marry Joseph and raise a family.  But, for whatever reason, God drowned her in grace and called her to something else.  He granted her kindness..."the absolute freeness of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and free heartedness of the Giver...the antithesis of works." 

Mary was blessed because she believed what the angel told her. But what stuck out to me the most was her willingness to accept it.  I can't imagine for a moment that this would have been an easy calling.  If I put myself in her shoes, I would fear what others would say.  Most would think I had been sleeping around.  I would fear my ability to parent the God-child.  She had zero experience in being a mother and all the sudden, God was expecting her to raise up his own Son. I would fear I would mess up the Messiah...even though that wasn't possible! I would be so scared that I would have no other human being to turn to for help because no one else had ever walked this path!

Her response was humble and simple.  "Behold, I am a servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."

She died to herself in that moment.

All of her dreams came crashing down as she traded them for something much higher.

The joy of carrying and raising the long awaited Messiah.

Lord, I die to myself in this moment.  My stomach is queasy with the possibilities.  I ask you to drown me in your grace.  I am your servant.  Let it be to me according to your word.

"Set your affection on things above.  For you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God."  Colossians 3:2-3

No comments: