“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”Galatians 5:13 ESV
I am grateful that I have met the men and women in the faith that I have. I have been extraordinarily lucky to know the vast number of strong-willed, good-hearted people that I have. Especially those who don’t share my faith. I cannot say what I am about to say without acknowledging that I am a unique case. I am surrounded by people with full hearts and nearly boundless love. So much so, that I wonder what it was that I did so well to have been able to meet such good people. In so many ways I feel like I am a victim of pleasant circumstances which have delivered angels in the flesh to me and still…
I feel troubled.
At times, we feel like impostors to one another. We feel like we have been granted things beyond our ability, or perhaps beyond what we truly deserve. The world spins and we have friends, and money, and positions in which we don’t feel capable to claim. I certainly feel this way about the men and women who have surrounded me. These people whether they realize it or not orchestrate so many of my decisions behind the scenes because I strive to be better. Sometimes for them, but most times, because of them. Yet I so often feel like I don’t deserve the friendship that they’ve granted me. I have felt this about jobs, and relationships, especially my marriage. I’ve felt this about so many things, and to compare my life to yours would yield nothing to me because I feel deep down that I don’t deserve what I’ve been given.
You could take this and stretch it across every aspect of my life and the same sentiment would resound truthfully. I do not deserve what I have, and I do not belong in the place I have found myself. I wonder so often why my wife chose to love me. I wonder too, why I continue to write despite this ever-growing fear that I will never be what I have set myself up to be.
I wondered if I really set goals and worked tirelessly as the whole world tells me I should if I would find myself at the top of bestseller lists and surrounded by enough wealth that I need not worry about paying for groceries again? I wondered if I did all of the things I needed to do that I would be seen as a good and strong Christian man who supports his wife and leads those in his life with the Christ-centric focus that I crave. I wondered, if one day, someone would see through the mountain of falsehoods I know I proclaim by living as I do.
I am driven by accomplishments. The fuel that keeps me going is getting things done, checking things off of my to-do list every day is what prepares and excites me for the following day and in the same way, I struggle when I don’t see a noticeable change in my life when I feel like I’ve been “doing good.” I’ve been editing my most recent novel projects faithfully every day for a while and it feels like the project is further from being completed than it was when I began. Not to mention, the more I work on editing the less I accomplish around the house. My dogs are under-exercised and I am a little over-stressed, so I see a progression in one place and watch it fall back in another because I am unfortunately not powerful enough to do it all at once.
I think that for me, that’s my biggest setback. I strive tirelessly for completion and when I am finally finished with everything in the world that I want to do I will likely finally give up the ghost.
But I fear that when I go out that way, I will go out still not believing that I deserved the things that I was given. I feel, so often, as if I haven’t done enough.
When viewed under the lens of secular infamy this is true. I have not written enough, nor worked enough for the ability to claim myself with the titles I claim myself. To the world, I am hardly more an author than I am a teenager still penning a journal. Yet, when I view the world through the lens of my salvation, all things I claim I can claim through the grace of God.
While to the world I am angry and broken, and lost and shallow…
I am worthy of love.
I am more than that, I am capable and caring, I am reminded of this in the way my wife loves me. I am capable of forgiveness, I am reminded of this in the way my friends forgive me. I am capable of greatness, I am reminded of this in the way my God fights for me.
The chains of this world threaten every moment to pin me to the ground and chain me to my sorrows, and yet, I can walk free. Occasionally I feel that weight the same as I always do. Yet, I know I can shed it and move forward. When the new weight comes, it comes, and I will shed that weight too.