Back to the Root

The past few months had been nothing short of tumultuous. For everyone. I wanted to blame it on “last-semester-of-college” stress. But I think we all knew it stemmed from the swiftly unraveling seams of my quilt sewn from lies, deceit, and pride.

I had spent so much time – my whole life, actually – on that quilt. It had bright colors and patterns designed to distract from the rotting batting and stuffing within. It was beautiful, pristine, perfectly executed, like a white-washed tomb.

As the months ticked by, the smell of the rotten innards seeped into my nostrils, and the nostrils of those around me. In a panic, I attempted to cover the stench with the false, temporary perfumes of random, empty legalism, until suddenly the quilted blocks of fabric began to tear apart, one by one, quicker and quicker.

I was terrified. I was losing control. The persona I had struggled to uphold my whole life, the quilt I had toiled over, it was slipping through my fingers. And I was angry. I was bitter. I was defensive. My soul was flailing like Gollum exposed to the light. People were going to see it… were going to see me… for who I really was.

And I hated everyone for it.

For loving me and being so ridiculously kind to me. For actually wanting to read the Bible and making me look like a schmuck for not wanting to read the Bible. For seeing right through me. For looking so, so sad and broken as my quilt split and ripped, showing off all of the black mold in my heart.

I hated God for snatching away my control over my facade and making me feel vulnerable. How could He? How dare He!

By the end of October, all the hatred had hit a crescendo. I shunned the people who loved me the dearest (despite my hisses of hatred). I was unhappy, but I was resolute in my pride. The tumult of the previous months had morphed into a sullen, sulky disposition. I felt short-lived contentedness.

I thought ridding myself of “the problem”, the upstart boyfriend, persistent friends, and suffering parents making me question my goodness and my eternal security, would fix everything, would help me regain control. But, instead, the Spirit bombarded me with proof after proof that I wasn’t who I claimed to be.

If I truly was a Christian, wouldn’t my life look different?

In this way the Spirit wore me down.

He whittled away at my walls of self-righteousness.

He knocked over my pillars of self-assurance.

He placed a mirror before me every which way, confronting me with the groping, clawing, despicable being I really was, instead of the upright, godly person I imagined I was.

He bent my desires and directed them at Christ and all that He is, away from myself and everything I can be in the world.

He crafted the ultimate plot twist, bringing this the proudest of hearts, the most stubborn of wills, the bitterest of tempers, the least godly of humans to the bedroom carpet. Sobbing late some November night, crumpled under my book bag, broken with shame, drawn to repentance.

Lord, I can’t do it. I can’t. I want You to do it. Take it all away, take it all from me, please… please!

And when I, the broken sinner, lifted my head, I knew, without a doubt, that He had saved me. His peace, that passes all understanding, flooded my heart, and I wept again – not from shame, but from the sheer joy His true salvation brings.

I was finally a true Christian, and my life – my life is oh, so different.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest;

Lay down, thou weary one, lay down thy head upon My breast.”

I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;

I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.

Horatius Bonar


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