Sometimes being a Christian can be utterly frustrating.
If you are anything like me, then you measure success by one standard: perfection. If I am not perfect, than I obviously have a ways to go to be successful. Its an easy standard to have, a hard one to live up to. “I’ve got news for you, you will never be perfect.” I’ve heard those words many times in the last week or so. “Maybe we should work on redefining success in your life.” That seems to keep coming up as well.
I grew up in the church, and am well versed in the dos-and-don’ts of Christian morality. I am also educated in the countless number of ways I personally have failed to live up to that morality. That is the beauty of the Gospel. Jesus knew we couldn’t live up to the law, so He died and resurrected so we wouldn’t have to. That doesn’t give us license to live however we want, but it does give us freedom to fail. Ew…theres that word again. Failure. Something I have been experiencing a lot, at least when it comes to my own standards.
Then you come to the place where you figure out being a Christian isn’t about living a good life, a perfect life, after all, but its about knowing the God of the Universe, His love, and sharing that with others. And in that, your hearts desires change and you find that there is a better way to live, that gives you freedom to do all those things, and enjoy life to its fullest. I think people like myself just want to skip to the end, where we have figured out the best way to live, and stay true to that, without all that heart change stuff. Apparently thats not how it works.
No, apparently my measure of success should not be how perfectly I am living my life, or how well I am adhering to the moral code I have set up. No, success is just posturing, putting myself in a place to know God and make him known. Thats it…and thats frustrating sometimes!
I heard a great analogy about marriage, that I think is applicable to life for everyone.
Often we treat life like a paddle boat. We get in, start peddling out into the great ocean, with optimism and energy. Then things start to get rough. Paddling forever isn’t easy, especially when you can only see so far, and the land behind grows fainter, and there is nothing ahead but wide open sea. Eventually directions become hard to tell, and it feels like you are not moving at all. This is no way to travel the ocean. It just doesn’t work.
No, life is more like traveling on a sailboat. Sure, there is still loads of work to be done. You have to set the sail, move ropes and utilize pulleys and duck for the boom. But all sailing really requires is that you position the sail to catch the wind. The power comes from something outside the boat. The work is in trying to position the boat to take advantage of that power.
So am I paddling into the unknown or am I setting my sail for the great wind to carry me where it pleases?