"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Same theme different dream

Cars speeding past me, honking and headlights flashing. Noise. Confusion. A near miss as I sit unsheltered and facing the wrong way on the road.

I awoke with a heavy heart. Again I found myself in the same, but different, dream. This theme! A theme that is following me into my sleep. In this version, on this night, I was trying to drive somewhere and kept getting lost. I couldn't find my way. I knew I was getting close and then I would make a wrong turn. I kept finding myself driving even on the wrong side of the road with traffic horns screaming at me as oncoming cars avoid my wayward vehicle.

Am I "off" somewhere, Lord? Am I wayward? As I sat before the Lord and brought Him this dream and the heaviness that accompanied it, I felt a tenderness in His Presence that was unmistakable. I sensed Him speaking again to me through the passage in Mark 8. But, this time the emphasis of the passage was not the "bread" or the earthy distractions. He was reminding me in a whisper of His Word, what He wanted to tell the disciples that day, "Be careful. Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees" (v. 15) Be careful, Stephanie. The yeast of the Pharisees is strong.

In my attempt, my strong desire, my passion for perfection and holiness I, too, can so often and so easily become a Pharisee. I can measure, like the best of them. And, keep track. And, make rules. And, punish and self-punish... just like the Pharisees. I can hide darkness on the inside with a whitewash on the out. I can give a burden to a friend instead of lifting the load. I can judge and calculate. I can "figure" and plan, like the best Pharisee.

In my struggle against sin, my personal sin. ...a wandering heart, a harsh word, a rude thought, an indulgent dive into food, a judgmental thought... In my struggle against personal sin, I can tend to punish myself and then start to "make rules".

I begin to write my very own "Talmud" and concoct my own interpretations and law...

I think the motivation is love. I think my motivation is a desire to be closer to the Father and "more like Christ"; and yet, in reality I find myself slightly lost, wayward and missing the mark... much like the misplaced car. Trying so hard to get to holiness and purity, I have lost my way. The law does not save. Simple as that. And, certainly, my own personal "laws" don't save either.

I must surrender. I must depend. I must release and fall. I must be raised only by Christ and cling to His cross. I must run to the gospel for strength and transformation. This is where I will find true freedom, I know. I must nail my laws, my plans, my "Talmud" to this cross. And, then I must stand in and on grace alone.

Grace alone. His righteousness alone. If I am to boast about anything, let it be in Christ alone. This is the road. This is the way.
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