I'll be honest, it has been a challenging week. I have realized how much I need Jesus and how much I've been avoiding that need.
This week in New York has contained a welcome dose of fun and new, and an unwelcome double serving of self discovery.
I'll start with the fun and the new! My mom was here for part of the week and we had a great time exploring the city together! I even convinced her to climb our roof's ladder to see the sunset over the Manhattan skyline.
A dear friend was also here for part of the week and weekend. We went all over- vintage shopping in Bushwick, tea and scones in Greenwich Village, plenty of coffee and taking pictures together. It was so refreshing to have someone to talk to about important things and silly things. It is always a good thing to see a friend who challenges you.
Now, onto the double serving of self discovery.
Self discovery doesn't sound so bad, not really. But when you're a prideful person like me, it can be devastating. Self discovery is God's way of showing us where we are and how far we have left to go.
My self discovery has consisted mostly of apologizes, wincing at past sin, laying awake in doubt and fear, and attempts to mask it all.
I wanted to come to New York and grow in wisdom and stature and make great strides in my spiritual life. I wanted to feel good about myself and return home in complete confidence of walking in the right direction.
I think I've missed the point (again).
There is a passage in John when Jesus is praying for those He loves before He willingly walks to His death. He asks God to protect them and keep them. He says, "for their sake I consecrate myself that they also may be sanctified in truth" (John 17:19). This is a BIG thing. Jesus is offering himself up to God in my place. He is stepping in and saying that He wants to die for my pride, my doubt, my shame- all so that God could sanctify me in truth and be glorified.
How do I keep forgetting this?
When I forget the cross, I forget myself. I forget who I am and whose I am. I forget that I was bought to be freed from sin and shame.
God has shown me (even today) that I am never going to be so far ahead in my spiritual journey that I can forget to see the cross first and last.
Jesus loves all of us, so much. Enough to die, enough to surrender His identity so that we could wear it.
Being in New York has shown me my sinful heart, my tendency to dance with doubt- but God has also used it to show me the most beautiful story again.
The story of Jesus.
The story His love for me and God's promise to work in my heart through the Spirit.
That is big love and a big promise. God is faithful in telling me this story of truth over and over because I belong to Him and He will always come for me.
"...that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch, but that in Christ I am reconciled, made alive and satisfied; that I am feeble and unable to do any good, but that in Him I can do all things..." (The Valley of Vision)