Wednesday, January 14, 2009


So I have been reading Ecclesiastes the past couple of days ... it's hard to read. Depressing and frustrating. I like to read James and Philippians and Proverbs ... books that tell me what to do. Ecclesiastes, though, it's tough. The futility of all earthly pursuits ... wisdom, wealth, pleasure, the list goes on. To be honest, I don't like to think that my pursuits are worldly ... much less worthless. But, "Then I observed that most people are motivated to success by envy of their neighbors. But, this, too, is meaningless, like chasing the wind" (4:4). Geez ... that stung a bit! Caused me to seriously evaluate what motivates me ... and while I would love to be able to say, "I am motivated by a desire to know God intimately and show His love to a dark and dying world" ... the reality is, I'm usually not. My motivation is far more likely to be competition or a desire to "prove" myself ... sometimes it may be to get attention or to detract from someone else ... but it's always rooted in selfishness.

This morning I was listening to "Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)" and was so overcome with the reality that my chains are NOT gone! I'm still chained to my flesh ... to my anger, to my jealousy, to my regret, to my unforgiveness ... I'm chained to myself. But why? What keeps me from experiencing the freedom Christ offers? I mean, I certainly know how to share it with others. I know what to say to someone else and how to encourage them to "let go and let God" ... but when it comes to myself, it just isn't so easy. And so I remain chained to my futile pursuits ... and then wonder why contentment doesn't come easy for me. I feel like a fool ... heck, I am a fool. But I just don't know HOW to let go of the "junk in my trunk" ... so I keep lugging it around as a dear friend helped me see earlier this week. I think I'm afraid that without my "issues" I won't be anyone ... my fears and my pain have defined me for so long that I just am not sure that there is anything else to me.

So I keep putting on the mask. I keep saying and doing the things I think I ought ... and I keep hoping that one day it's no longer an act ... that one day I really will be this person. But I don't want to keep doing it. Especially now that I KNOW exactly what I'm doing ... it's not the desire that is lacking ... it's courage! What if I fail? What if I'm a bigger mess? What if ? What if?

But the biggest "What if" is ... What if I don't?

"Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)"
Chris Tomlin (2004)
Amazing grace How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine

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