Wednesday, 2 October 2013
Letting Jesus Have The Last Word
My head is full of words. All the time.
I go to bed still trying to make sense of my day, sorting through the unfinished projects, unanswered emails, unread books, unending conversations. It’s no wonder my dreams make me tired. It’s hard to make my mind stop.
Last Monday was typical. I had my usual Monday chores–prepare for Bible study, prepare for my Pilates classes, put up some blog posts, catch up on emails. But suddenly a new project came into my life. It hijacked my day, demanding hours of planning, research, and study. I was determined to get everything else done too, so I pushed harder. But the harder I pushed, the behinder I got. And the more anxious I became.
Now I not only had words buzzing around in my head, they have become super-charged with the caffeine of anxiety. How could I possibly finish all that I had started? How could I silence the words in my head, now demanding, now accusing?
It’s not just the words, it’s what fuels them.
So often my simple projects turn into massive efforts at self-justification. I start my day with a simple to do list, but as the day progresses it turns into my reason for living, my identity, my justification for breathing the air on this planet for one more day. That’s a heavy burden. Too heavy for someone made of dust.
Self-justification doesn’t just apply to my salvation, it applies to my identity. Justifying my existence by producing more, doing more, saying more is an attempt at self-creation, and that, my friends, is a gospel problem. And thank Goodness the gospel of Jesus Christ speaks to it.
Christ didn’t just redeem me, he remade me. I am not charged with the task of inventing or reinventing myself. I’m not required to produce myself. That’s his great work. It’s called new creation. I am just a new creature in the new creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works (not great works) that he has prepared in advance for me to walk in.
Right Sizing My Works and Words
I picture it like a kindergarten teacher preparing a craft for her students. She wants to give them the fun of doing a project, but she knows that some parts of it are beyond their capacity. So she cuts out the stars, and measures the right amount of glitter into plastic bowls. She comes early to put out the glue and markers, making sure all of the tools are working properly.
Then she steps back. It’s time for the kids to have the joy of creating, problem solving, choosing, and finishing. At the end she helps each child write his or her name on the project. They’re beaming, and so is she. Their work rests on her work, just as it should.
Because she has right sized their task, it is finished. Because they were content to do their part, not hers, it is finished.
It Is Finished Is His Word, Not Mine
One reason I’m so weary with words and tasks is that I think my work is foundational, but it’s not. All of my good works, all of my good words, rest on his great work and perfect word. I often have trouble resting because I know my work isn’t finished. But my work is not my justification, his is, so my word must not be the last word.
“It is finished” is his word, not mine. I can rest because his work is finished.
That’s the last word I need to hear at the end of my day.