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Almost 4 years ago, I wrote this post about being a Christian with ADHD. It made much more of a splash than I could have imagined, and I still receive comments and emails about it almost weekly. I’m still stunned that something I wrote in an attitude of humorous exasperation over my own personal condition has been so helpful to so many people!

That said, I’ve learned a lot in 4 years. I still stand behind everything that I wrote in that initial post, but I want to make some clarifications that I hope everyone, including those who don’t have ADHD/ADD, will find helpful!

1. My condition is not a mistake, but it’s not “how God intended” me either.
I hear people say this a lot, and I know their intent is good, but it irks me. Yes, this is technically “how God made me.” But I am of the firm belief that this is not how he intended me, at least not in the sense of how he intended humanity to be. It’s like looking at a person paralyzed from birth and saying, “That’s ok, it’s how God made you!” Technically, you’re right, but it’s not very nice to say, and it actually communicates a pretty serious falsehood about who God is and what He wants for us.

You see, without going into a full-blown explanation of Genesis, when God created the world, everything was perfect. When Adam and Eve first sinned, everything was thrown into chaos. From then on, the world we live in has been fundamentally broken. My messed-up brain chemistry is just another example of that. Yes, God is sovereign and knew it was going to happen. But He didn’t intentionally create me this way, and He won’t keep me this way. One day, I’ll have a new body, and I’m pretty sure it won’t include a brain with ADHD. Which will be awesome.

2. My condition makes my spiritual life different, but it’s not an excuse for a lack of spiritual discipline or maturity.
So I have a hard time focusing, my ability to sit still is limited, and I struggle with consistency. These things mean that my spiritual life will always look differently from someone with a normal brain, but I truly believe that they don’t give me license not to try. I won’t go into detail about the things that I’ve found helpful for maintaining spiritual disciplines (stay tuned for “Part 3” for that), but I will say that there are things that I’ve found helpful. I am fully capable of studying the Bible daily, praying consistently, and engage in group settings to grow.

3. My condition is NOT an excuse for sin.
I think this point is pretty self-explanatory, but I will elaborate. As tempted as I am to blame my sin on my ADHD, I know that’s not right. While it’s true that my propensity towards being impatient is caused by my ADHD, it doesn’t give me a free pass to selfishly force others to hurry up, not follow proper procedures, or otherwise make rash decisions. Yes, I hate waiting. I hate it more than I hate almost anything else in life. But the scriptures tell us, again and again, “be patient!” It’s one of the fruits of the Spirit. I don’t get to just excuse my lack of it as a “brain chemistry thing” and waltz on by. It just means that I’m going to have to pray more, repent more, try more.
I don’t get a free pass to sin, I get another opportunity to repent and rely on God to help me do what I know I cannot do on my own. 

4. I am fully capable of being a successful, mature, responsible adult who walks by faith and fulfills God’s purpose for my life.
My life will look different. I will probably never stop losing things. I will almost certainly need daily medication life-long. But I can, and I WILL be the person God made me to be. With the proper medication, a good support system, healthy Scriptural teaching, and a daily dependence on God – I can be all of the the above. I can have a life full of the good things that come from trusting God and working hard. I can learn to live life in the ways that God has prescribed. I can learn to let the truth change me for good. I can, as Jesus commanded us, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Not even the most severe ADHD could stop that. And I’m grateful for that.

5. The prescription for how to live the Christian life with ADD/ADHD is GRACE
For YEARS, I wondered how to live the Christian life as a woman with ADHD. And then one day, when I wasn’t even looking for the answer, it hit me – GRACE. Grace, grace, grace, and more grace. The answer of how to live the Christian life as a person with ADHD/ADD is the same answer of how ANYONE is to live the Christian life. We’re not special, and we’re not different. We’re sinners, and we’re desperately in need of grace.

I might sin differently because of my ADHD, but it doesn’t nullify God’s grace. I am to repent and cast myself into His arms, same as anyone else. And I know that He will accept me, because Jesus died for that. He died for my failure to be patient, for my volatile mood swings, for my lack of self control, for my wandering affections. He died for my sin. And He died that one day, I might see Him as He is – beautiful, loving, ever-patient, slow to anger and full of steadfast love and mercy. For now, I see that only in part. But one day, I will see that in full. And in that day, my brain will be healed, along with my body. I will be perfectly patient, perfectly at peace, perfectly controlled, and all my affections will be set in their rightful place – with Him, in a never-ending day of praise to the King of the Universe.

Looking forward to that day, right alongside you. Until then, Brothers and Sisters, take heart in this –
“…I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12

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Ok, I’m sorry. I know I promised to post about my family, my friends, and my boyfriend. And I will. Life just has a funny way of getting overwhelmingly busy. And I want those posts to have the time put into them that they (and the people that they are about,) deserve.


I’m ever learning this one incredible truth.

I cannot run from God.

I can’t. No matter how fast I think I’m going, or how far I flee, or what I tried to hide under. I cannot run from God.

He tracks me down, He finds me out. No matter where I go or what I try, He knows.

And instead of being angry at me for my stupidity, He offers comfort and life. He says, “Come to me, you who are weary and heavy laden, I am gentle and lowly of heart. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matt 11:28

He loves me. He loves me so desperately. When will I stop forgetting that? When will I stop fighting Him at every turn? When will I stop being reluctant to come to Him?

I need to come. Even if most days it feels like I’m dragging a broken, bleeding shell of a soul, I need to come.

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter…
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after…

That voice round me like a bursting sea:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’Halts by me that footfall:Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
‘Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.”

The Hound of Heaven, by  Francis Thompson

I hate to assume that everyone is as messed up as I am, so though I refer only to myself, I have a feeling that I am not the only one that has done this. 

Before I got into a serious relationship, I constructed an elaborate idea of what it would be like in my head. I journaled prolifically, detailing exactly what my partner would be like, and how our relationship would work.

He would be gentle, but strong. Godly, manly. Never passive. Never wavering. Never unsure. Everything he did would be the model of leadership. He would never make me angry, or frustrated, and certainly he would never hurt my feelings. 

And, of course, our relationship would be similar. The epitome of what it looked like to be in a Christ-centered relationship. We’d do devotionals together, and pray regularly. Of course, he would be just like me, so working through differences of opinion in theology, Bible reading habits, and styles of prayer would never be a problem. We’d never struggle with purity, ever. We’d be purer than the Duggars. We’d always treat each other with kindness and consideration, and harmony would reign.

In short, we’d be perfect. 

Then I got into a serious relationship, and it’s been a 2 year struggle to let go of my imaginary boyfriend. To drop the pretend, and realize that I’m a broken human being, dating a broken human being. I had to come to realize that all relationships in a broken world will have issues. I had to come to terms with the fact that my dream world wasn’t real, that in a real relationship there are differences in opinions, there are faults that must be forgiven, and bad habits that aren’t quickly unlearned. 2 years of misunderstandings, arguments, anger, disappointment, sadness, worry, strife, anxiety, and tears.

2 years of a real relationship that have been among the best two years of my life. 

Because even with all of the brokenness, even with all of the ways that it has failed to meet my impossible expectations, it was been incredibly beautiful. 2 years of friendship, laughter, healing, joy, happiness, surprise, delight, kindess, warmth and love.

I’m a broken human being dating a broken human being. A beautiful, kind, sweet, gentle, funny, intelligent, and brave human being. 

If that’s not grace, I don’t know what is. 

Sitting here at a kitchen table, books spread out beside me, trying to study for a midterm on Monday. But I just can’t focus. My mind keeps drifting, wandering. Probing. Aching. 4.57 billion people.

4.57 billion people. Hopeless. 4.57 billion people. Truthless. 4.57 billion people. Not knowing what they were made for. 4.57 billion people. Enslaved. Entrapped. Caught. Captured. 4.57 BILLION PEOPLE who have never heard the name of Jesus, let alone that He has died and risen to pay for their sin and rescue them from the punishment that’s coming.

4.57 billion people, many dying every day, not ever having even met a Christian, let alone having had a chance to ask what it means to live as one. 4.57 billion people aching, bleeding, crying, dying. And what am I doing? Studying a book that tells me how to better convince people who already have too much to buy what they don’t need.

And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
(Genesis 4:10 ESV)

What have we done? What have you done? What have I done? My brother’s blood is on the ground; guilty, unatoned for, unforgiven, unredeemed. Because I could not get out of bed this morning to pray for them. Because you could not forgo a new outfit to support a missionary. Because we could not lay down our comfortable American lives to go and share the wonderful news that we know.

Praise God that He will accomplish His purpose, without my help. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10 ESV)

But I pray, for our sake, that we would go. That you would go. Will you go? Oh Lord, help these restless feet that ache to go.

This past week, 1 Peter 5:8 has become unnervingly real to me. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 

There have been several incidents recently in which I’ve felt the sneaking pull of temptation, tiny whispers in my ear. “It’s not that big of a deal. No one will know. It will make things so much easier. This could help you do God’s work. You can repent later, there’s grace right?”

It’s only after I leave the situations that I look back, and my blood runs cold. It is scary that there is temptation. It is scary to see how specifically the devil targets my weaknesses. It is scary to know that I am surrounded by opportunities to sin. It’s even scarier that some of my thoughts try to rationalize it by telling myself I’ll be serving God.

But I think what scares me most is that last thought. “There’s grace, right?” Yes. Yes there is grace. But I cannot presume upon that.

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” -Romans 2:4

His grace is never meant as an excuse for sin. I shudder to think that my mind could even go there – to use something as beautiful and wonderful and sweet as grace as an excuse for darkness.

It’s also shockingly easy to blame my temptation on where I live. I’m in a college town, the #3 party school in that nation. But something I learned full well this summer is that it’s not where I live that produces sin – it’s the heart inside of me. I could live in a convent and find ways to sin if my heart is not always falling back upon Jesus. I can’t use that as an excuse either. The only thing that causes me to sin is the sin nature inside of me.

So there you go. The dank and dirty corners of my mind. Even though I’m tempted to abuse it, thank God for grace. I truly am “a poor, gospel-abusing sinner.” I am so grateful that in Jesus, God doesn’t see me that way, but rather as his perfect daughter. Moving forward in THAT grace today.

For sin is no game, no toy, no bauble; Let me never forget that the heinousness of sin lies not so much in the nature of the is committed as in the greatness of the person sinned against.” – Valley of Vision

Teddy had it right when he wrote these words. Lately, my joy has been MIA, and I know that comparison is to blame.

It’s really hard to watch your friends do all of the things you want to do – graduate, go on missions trips, join ministry, get married. All of those things I eagerly want, and yet, when I look at myself, I can’t help but to think, “What do I have? A summer at home and then another year of school.”

 My mind starts to race, and runs away.
“They have so much to look forward to – weddings, honeymoons, new jobs, new homes. And what do I have to look forward to? Classes, tests, papers and projects.”

My heart sinks, and my eyes water, and it’s all I can do to hold myself together. And then, no sooner does the wave of jealousy and envy burn in my stomach than a wave of guilt and disgust at my sinfulness hits my like a train.

“Why can’t you just be grateful for what the Lord has given you? What kind of friend are you if you aren’t happy for them? You know this is wrong, so why do you keep doing this? You’re doing a terrible job at being a Christian.”

So there I am, sitting in my living room, wallowing in envy, jealousy, guilt, and self-disgust.

“Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)

I know there is but one answer – Jesus. For me, there is one cure for my soul. I need him, his grace, his love. I know this.

I wish I could wrap this up by saying that because I know this, I’ve figured it out. That I’ve found peace, that I’m clinging to Jesus and learning patience. But I haven’t. I don’t know what to do. I’m not sure of my next step.

So if you’re disappointed with your summer, discouraged by your future, disgusted with your sin, I’m right there with you.  And I don’t know what to tell you to do. But I do know one thing – there is grace for this, too.There is grace for my envy, my jealousy, my self-pity and self-disgust. There is grace for my lack of gratitude and my inability to do what I should. There is even grace to cover when I don’t believe that grace will cover my sin.

So no, I don’t know the way out. And yes, I’m still stuck here. But there is grace, and I’m going to cling to that.

“Grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that is greater than all our sin.”

There’s always at least one point in my day when something happens and I realize, “Shoot. I’m a sinner.”

In that moment, I have have two options at how I can choose to respond. Option number one is to humbly confess that I am a sinner saved by grace, and in need of grace every minute of every day. Option number two is to harden my heart, become stubborn, continue in my sin, and persist in walking in jealousy, anger, fear, selfishness and apathy.

I have to admit, more often that not, I chose the latter over the former. I choose to turn away from grace, and wallow in sin, shame and misery. I cry to God in a perfunctory fashion, bemoaning my condition but not accepting his provision for my change. In the moment, I turn my back to the cross and declare that the work completed when Jesus cried out, “it is finished,” is not enough for what I am experiencing.

But this where grace comes through. Grace, which has both saved me from the penalty of my sin and cleansed me from it’s effects, does even more. It will not leave me there. In that moment, the Lord doesn’t respond to me in anger. All of His wrath poured out on Jesus, He can turn to me in kindness. In gentleness. In love and mercy.  He beckons me until my hardened heart melts and I cannot resist.

Again and again and again, He calls me back to Him. He pulls me back into his arms and reaffirms what I have already learned. I am forgiven. I am his daughter. I have a kingdom that will never fade and an inheritance that will never perish. In His eyes, I am perfectly righteous and completely holy. Nothing that I can ever do will change that.

“Shoot. I’m a sinner.”
“I know,” he says. “And I love you.”

“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Eph 2:8,9

The past few days, it seems that the world has focused all it’s evil and brokenness on me and the ones I love. Tragedy and trial have become the theme of my life in recent days. It’s been really, really hard – but through it all the Savior has been sweet to me, and I’ve found comfort in His promises, and in the assurance of His Sovereign will. In light of that, I thought I’d share a few things that have been encouraging to me in the past few weeks.

“Reader, if God has given you His only begotten Son, beware of doubting His kindness and love, in any painful providence of your daily life! Never allow yourself to think hard thoughts of God. Never suppose that He can give you anything which is not really for your good. Remember the words of Paul: ‘He who spared not His own Son—but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things’ (Romans 8:32)

See in every sorrow and trouble of your earthly pilgrimage the hand of Him who gave Christ to die for your sins! That hand can never smite you except in love! He who gave His only begotten Son for you, will never withhold anything from you which is really for your good. Lean back on this thought and be content. Say to yourself in the darkest hour of trial, ‘This also is ordered by Him who gave Christ to die for my sins. It cannot be wrong. It is done in love. It must be well.’” – JC Ryle

I have also been encouraged by the following passage, excerpted from a Elisabeth Elliot’s book, “Secure in the Everlasting Arms”.

“We must learn how to be faithful people in this new assignment, on we certainly never would have asked for, but one which can still serve us, bless us, our Creator, and others.
Yes, there is fear; there is sadness, there is a whole new vocabulary we are coming to know, one we never would have wanted to know anything about.  There are lots of tears. But there have been extraordinary blessings amid the darkness.
We don’t believe this is an accident, and we don’t believe this is not “of God.” We live in a fallen world, where all of us – and creation in general – fall short, because of sin, of what God intended for us and illness and crime and cruelty are just reminders of that “fallenness.” We trust in God’s sovereignty over the world and for our lives…”

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
(Romans 8:18 ESV)

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…”
(2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV)

I’ve been debating this post for some time now, unable to decide whether it would be appropriate and beneficial to publish it.  Of course, I mean all that I say within it, and it’s all true.  However, as a sister in Christ, I do care about my brothers – and I think too often, we resort to bashing them as they learn how to be men, instead of encouraging them.  I pray that this post will not be of that sort. I pray that this post is written in humility, love, and sincerity, and that it is read in a similar manner.

That being said, I’m going to attempt to move on to say what is burdening my heart, however clumsily I express it. And it is this – it never gets any less painful to see women that I love broken and defeated by men. It never pains me any less to hear stories of women bruised and hurting from mistreatment. And I will never cease to get tears in my eyes to see a woman of God in tears over a man in her life who isn’t treating her like the daughter of the King that she is.

All of this might be a tad bit easier if the men involved were not believers. If this were so, what they did would still be wrong, but at least understandable.  How can you expect a man who is blind and lame to lead a woman without damaging her?  But these men are Christians, or at least claim to be.

And lest I misconstrue anything, I want to say that I realize that I am absolutely blessed to be surrounded by the men that I know.  You are godly, and growing, and encouraging, and I appreciate you. That being said, much of the damage being done to these women that I love is unintentional.  Hurt caused by men who had no intent of doing so.  Pain inflicted by men who, in all honesty, were probably desperately trying to discern God’s will in their lives.

I get that. I really do. We’re all young. We’re all growing. We need patience and grace.  But here is what I think many men fail to understand –

Women. Are. Fragile.

I’ll say it again. We’re fragile. Delicate. Fine. Fragile.

Sure, sometimes we have backs of steel (or at least we pretend we do). But we have limbs of porcelain and hearts of much finer material.

Understand this, please. We are much, much more breakable than you, or your guy friends. Don’t break us any more than this world already has, enmeshed in sin as it is.

Don’t flirt with us if you aren’t going to pursue us. Don’t even start. If you want to pursue a relationship, pursue it. Don’t leave us hanging.

Don’t begin to pursue us, and then back out. Be serious. Good intentions aren’t enough.  Many Christian men with good intentions still hurt their sisters because they rush into pursuing her before they really think about it, and then have to back out and leave a crushed woman in their wake.

Don’t date us if you aren’t ready. And by all means, don’t marry us if you aren’t ready to love us like Christ loves the Church!

Please, in all your dealings with women, remember – we are far more fragile and easily hurt than you can even imagine.

“live… in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. ”
(1 Peter 3:7 ESV)

The concept of forgiveness is a tricky one.

Certainly, it is one mandated by the Bible and a step in experiencing the joy of God’s forgiveness for us more fully.   But, like I’m realizing with a lot of Biblical concepts, the tough part is figuring out how to apply it to daily life.

Right now, I’m wrestling with forgiveness.  Forgiving people who have hurt me in the past used to be a struggle I could barely overcome.  It was too painful, too stinging.  I was hardened by 17 years without Christ.  I’d like to think that I’m making pretty good progress in that avenue, through prayer and some good old fashioned surrender.

The question for me now, though, is this – what does forgiveness look like when the person you have to forgive continues to hurt you, again and again?  When you’ve done all you can – loving confrontation, changes in your own behavior, prayer, and forgiveness for the past – and the hurt continues to come, what do you do?

Of course, I agree that you need to prayerfully and thoughtfully extend forgiveness with each new transgression.  But what about that person’s rejection?

Do you continue extending invitations for interaction and relation, even when 9 times out of 10, it is going to be met with a rejection that will sting?

Or do you withdraw, and avoid contact unless that person initiates?

Part of me keeps telling me to withdraw, to run.  And the other part keeps reminding me that Jesus continually extended invitations for interaction and relation, even as I not only rejected Him, but acted in rebellion against Him.

What would you do? I really am at a loss here.

Forgiveness is hard.

Photo used from http://www.saintdunstanschurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/reaching-hands.jpg

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Past Musings