Thanks, Paul…for the roller coaster

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Unfortunately, this little gem of an illness doesn’t follow any rhyme or reason…any schedule or plan…  Some weeks I have four amazing, consecutive days and three blah, sleepy days.  Some weeks I have five horrible days and two okay.  Again, no….rhyme…..or……reason.

You would think I would be accustomed to this by now and it wouldn’t hit me so hard, but since I’m human and all…it still does.  Day one of a “funk” is usually not too bad but any more than that and I, unfortunately, let it get the best of me.  I doubt myself, I worry about other health conditions, I stress about what I am *not* doing.  I am sad because I am missing out, I’m angry at my own body for fighting itself and then I feel guilty because I know God is in control.  Oh…and that whole, “someone else has it worse” game I play is brutal sometimes, y’all.

So….a few days of this and I REALLY start to feel convicted.  I feel horrible that I am doubting God…that I am worrying (sinning) and forgetting everything I know to be true.  I am forgetting that there is peace in rest.  I am forgetting how amazingly understanding that my family and friends are.  I am forgetting how capable my family is of taking care of things when I can’t.  I am forgetting to give grace to the one person that I so easily forget to give it to 99% of the time – myself.

Many times I wonder if it’s just me. Am I the only person who has this roller coaster of a mind that sins…then recognizes it…then repents…only to do the whole cycle again KNOWING FULL WELL that I am doing it?

Well, as I was reading in Romans this morning I found that my buddy Paul wrote to let me know that I AM NOT ALONE.

Romans 7:14-25 {ESV version below} is a roller coaster.  Not a long steady track with just one twist and a drop, either.  It’s upside-down, looping, twisting, turning and a looooong drop before coming to rest on level, safe ground.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Paul is struggling here.  Paul wants to do right, he knows the right thing to do, but he lacks power internally to resist the impulse of sin.  Through verses 20-23 he is battling himself and by verse 24 he is worn OUT. He has tried ALL THE WAYS to fight this battle on his own and he finally says “who will deliver me”….not “how will I deliver myself”.  Verse 25 was beautiful music to my ears this morning.  Paul finally looks outside of himself to Jesus and immediately has something to thank God for!  He admits his struggle but thanks God for the victory in Jesus!  He isn’t pretending that looking to Jesus immediately wipes away the struggle – Jesus works through us, not instead of us in the war against sin.  He knows there is victory in Jesus.  I once heard it described as, “we fight FROM victory, not FOR victory.”

I needed this reminder that it is NOT about me.  It’s not about MY body.  It’s not about my hopes of how the day will go or how much I get done or who I let down by not being able to show up. Every day, every step, every decision – it is about Jesus!  He guides us, He gives us rest, He forgives us, He gives us grace and He will give my mind peace, too.  But, I have to look to Him for all these things.  I can’t do it alone.  I can’t win.  He already did.

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