I first felt the fear in 2014 – there was a major, major sin I wanted, and I truly didn’t have it in me to walk away.
I remember thinking, Is this it? Is this the time when God isn’t going to hold onto me? Is He going to let me go?
By the grace of God, I did eventually walk away, but I toyed with that sin. I fantasized about it. I caressed it and fed into it. I nourished and protected an affection for it in my heart.
It happened to me again this semester. I longed for sin. Temptation came in the form of lies, selfishness, betrayal, arrogance, envy…
Even as I see those traits within myself, I long to indulge them. I long to have what other people have. I’ve been so good for so long, right? Don’t I deserve a break? Why doesn’t God love me enough to give me the desires of my heart?
Please, Abba. Stop doing this to me. Just hit me with an effing car the next time I go for a run. End this. Please. Your plans for me are too hard. I’m not enough. I don’t want to do this anymore. I hate this place. It would be better to die now. “To live is Christ. To die is gain.”
No, I’m not suicidal. I promise. I know it sounds like I am, but I’m not. I’m not even sad, really.
After about six weeks of caressing and guarding my sin this semester, the other thoughts hit me again: Is this it? Is God about to give up on me? Was this just a temporary grace, dependent on my ability to be a good girl?
In the Bible, there are sort of paradoxical and, dare I say it… conflicting… passages when it comes to the perseverance of the saints. The question is usually posed in the abstract: can a person really, truly be a Christian and eventually lose her salvation?
It isn’t an abstract question to me at all. It is the question that haunts me. Each time I come up against the broken and blackened parts of my heart, I ask that question.
God, is this the time when I’ve gone too far? Am I beyond Your salvation now? Don’t let me walk away.
I am not a Christian because I want to be one. If my faith was dependent upon me to maintain it, I would have walked away long before now. I am sure of it.
There are really beautiful things about Christianity. There are parts of the Bible that are so shockingly delicate. So rich. So mysterious. So flowing and soft.
However, the beautiful is often obstructed by Fox News and the 2nd Amendment. Also, there’s that grotesque problem that Christianity is ultimately about the murder of God.
Partnering alongside the beautiful and the hideous that are both ever-present aspects of my faith, the honest truth about Christianity is that it’s the hardest thing in the world. Christianity requires me to entrust everything about who I am to a God I can never fully understand. It requires more than I have. More than I can ever give. It requires so much more than anyone can articulate or imagine. It requires the death of God. Yes, His resurrection too.
Coming up to the edge of myself is a humbling reminder that I am not a Christian because I have done anything to be one.
I am a Christian because I need Christ.
I am a Christian because I do not have it in me to walk away from sin.
I am a Christian because Christ intervened and intervenes on my behalf.
“Perseverance of the saints” is a nice, sanitized, and intellectual way of trying to figure out what happens when a Christian isn’t enough, within herself, to save herself… and shouldn’t the answer to that question be self-evident within a faith that’s entire canon seeks to answer that question…
School update: it’s Spring Break… my blood pressure is 142/73. My resting heart rate is 52. I’ve got a ton of reading to do. I’ve got papers to write. I have secured a summer job with the Office of Children’s Counsel (represents kids in custody battles). I continue to lose weight and have days in which I can’t make myself eat even close to a normal number of calories. I’ve admitted to myself that I can’t do all of the things I want to do, and will thus need to tell people no. Yet, I haven’t yet told anyone no. I found out I made the dean’s list last semester. I love two or three of my classes this semester. I hate one of my classes this semester. I continue to build amazing friendships with my peers. I love being surrounded by people who think about everything and engage their community with the hope of making it better.