It’s interesting to sit here doing the same sort of thing I know I did a year ago: sit, sip some coffee, listen to Jess Ray’s Sentimental Creatures, and string words together. I mean, the fact that that’s what I’m doing isn’t the mesmerizing part. The mesmerizing part is how different everything is even while I do what would otherwise seem like more of the same.
I wish I could tell you, dear reader, about the inner landscape of this last year – you know, the way it looked and felt in my soul. I could tell you loads and loads about the outside, but the inner journey is the thing. I know you know what I’m talking about. Why? Because you’re you, a living, breathing soul just like me.
So the creative itch is there to try and tell you about that interior landscape but that might be impossible in the space of these few sentences. I would tell you what I’ve learned, but even that would fall something short because I wouldn’t want you to take it as some kind of “rule” for your own life. If you’ve been anything like me, I used to read hungrily the words of bloggers and book-writers and friends, thirsty for some bit of information that might show me “how I ought to live my life.” It was because I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing – this “life” thing. I always felt insufficient and assumed that the folks around me knew something that I didn’t.
No, I don’t want to share a read-it-and-eat-it rule or lesson with you in that sense, but I have to tell you about the breathtaking view that has come with this next bend in my road. I think its keyword is “faith.”
For the past number of years, I’ve mishandled that word or passed it by because it seemed like a box I’d already checked. What I’ve come to find is that the word is much more substantial, much more palpable than many other words I’ve learned. Where I thought that it was more of a force to be harnessed solely for the accomplishment of great feats, I’ve come to find instead that faith is what nestles down into the already-accomplished-great-feat of One Man. Not only that, but it isn’t a one-time, check-the-box kind of thing to obtain but that it’s rather more like breathing. It’s light and rhythmic and easy and necessary.
I walked up to faith with a pout not too long ago and folded my arms. I saw how it rejected ideas and thoughts and feelings that I for a long time have considered a part of myself. Therefore, faith seemed to challenge my very identity. Faith took away my permission to live listless and irritated and discontented. It required my yielding of a hundred excuses for moodiness – and I didn’t like that. I liked the excuses. I guess I was in the habit of liking how a busy or tricky day could be reason for crabbiness. Isn’t that strange?
Of course, I didn’t really recognize that that was what I was doing. But when understanding came, it brought me to tears. Faith in the Son of God and the power of His indestructible life meant I was throwing all of myself onto the Cross with Him, everything that I used to identify with, all that was Fallen. Faith meant that I was there with Him until I finally rose up from the grave with Him. And when I rose up, I was someone different than I ever was before. This time I was hiding inside of Him, identifying only with Him: His thoughts, His opinions, His character, His motivation for all the things He does.
In other words, faith told me that I needed to die. Faith told me that all of my quick triggers to offense and all of the times I filled up empty silence with fearful thoughts – these were all evidences of an old person that ought to be crucified, traces of something I had been identifying with that was Fallen. Not weaknesses I just needed to grow through. Not fragments on the journey of sanctification. No, they were dead works from a dead man and it was time for that dead man to really be just that: dead. It was time to stop identifying myself by them and calling them “part of my personality.”
Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:11)
And so in a way, faith killed me. Faith separated me from the thing I thought that I was – “cranky Samantha,” “selfish Samantha.” No, that girl died on that Cross.
But you know what? Faith also brought me up from the dirt with Him so that those old things I thought I was were gone, but He never left me there suspended and wondering who I was. He took one name badge off of me and put the new on one that said: “alive!” Really alive. Full-on, flushed-cheeks, beating-heart, running-wild kind of alive. Alive to God! Alive in that One Man, Jesus.
It sounds like poetry, maybe only because we’ve heard it said so many times and so seldom have watched it lived, but this is real thing. It’s plastered across the inner landscape of my life even if the outside of everything looks so much the same. I’m still cleaning houses for a living, still here in KC stewarding house and car and friends and heart, but inside of me, it’s like the sky just opened up.
Because now that I’m alive, I get to be just like Him.