Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Did I Mean What I Said?

About four months ago I was in the throws of withdrawal from oxycodone. I wrote the following in a post at that time:

I may regret saying this, but I welcome this chance to confront this nonesense about who I am. I am God's creation. I am also a sinner who does not deserve forgiveness. The very sins that I am guilty of are those which have created the chaos and misery in this world that also has so much beauty and pleasure. I am saved by grace, not by my own efforts. All that I own. All that I treasure. All good that I am able to do. All are by the grace of God. I am not defined by those things, they are gifts and blessings from God. Now for a season I am able to do less. That is a trial. What I am will be revealed more by trials than by the blessings God has bestowed on me.

I don't regret confronting the nonsense about "who I am" that was triggered by my surgery, subsequent drug dependence, and the change from HP lifer to "retired" . I am, however, surprised to see how difficult it is to get the nonsense to back down. The surgery and drug dependence feel like very old news at this point. However, I continue to struggle with feeling that I have lost meaning and purpose in my life, now that I am now longer working for a wage. I was aware that leaving my corporate job would impact me. I am surprised that the impact is as powerful as it has been at times. It seems so strange to feel locked in a struggle when all the outward aspects of my life are so good: family, friends, health, money, etc.

If it happens that you have read this far and that you are thinking about your own struggles, please be encouraged. It seems that the struggle is part of growing. You are growing. May God enable us all to grow to be more like him.

So I am still confronting a lot of nonsense about what it is that gives my life meaning. I am dedicated to using my life to serve God. I know that he has called me to encourage and serve others. I look for opportunities to do that, and I have been blessed with some great ones. Yet I am constantly fighting the feeling that the ways in which I serve are trivial. I think the foundational problem is that I became far too accustomed to judging my success in "worldly" terms: how strong, how handsome, how rich, how influential in world affairs, how smart, how adventurous, how experienced, and a multitude more.

I think God measures us by very different measures: how repentant, how humble, how patient, how kind, how faithful, how obedient, how loving. These sorts of things are the fruits of the spirit of God. If I seek to obey God and be reassured that I am succeeding, my success can only be measured by God's metrics, not by the world's.

So yes, I still welcome the chance to confront nonsense about "who I am". It is painful. But it is vastly preferable to the alternative, which would be to continue to measure myself by worldly standards. All the things of this world: looks, wealth, physical strength, fame,
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