Friday, March 28, 2014

In which dying to self sucks.

And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."--Luke 9:23

There's something romantic in the idea of dying for someone else.  We think of war movies, of a soldier risking his life for a friend.  A secret service agent jumping in front of the bullet for the President.  Airplane passengers rising up against hijacking terrorists.

{This is a lovely image...makes me rethink how I just shove crackers and sippy cups
at my sick charges, then shout, "Need anything else?" before I head for the hills...}

"Dying to self" sounds romantic, too...though maybe not to the same extent.  Putting someone else's needs first sounds noble and good.

But doing it?  Oh my goodness, it's awful sometimes.

This past week, the girls were sick.  Then Professor was sicker.  We made the hard choice to cancel a much-looked-forward-to trip to Minnesota.

So here we are.  Still in our tiny apartment with beer-pong playing neighbors and a drug dealer who sells out of a laundry basket and trash in our "yard" and little people who need attention and baths and three meals a day and a husband who could hardly get to the bathroom himself.

And I didn't. want. to. deal.

I thought selfish thoughts.  I dreamed of monastic life, just me, my books, and some contraband junk food in my cell.  I retreated into a book or a screen whenever I could, trying to escape the monotony of my life for just five minutes.

Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and follow Him.  And I suck at that.

There's nothing romantic about changing bed sheets because somebody puked; it's just gross.

There's nothing romantic about a sick husband who text messages you updates about his queasiness levels.

There's nothing romantic about doing dishes--and, as an aside, for anyone who quips about buying "yummy-smelling dish soap" or "pretty sponges," I say, shove it.  Dish washing will never-ever-ever be romantic or fun, AMEN.


You're probably waiting for the epiphany moment in this post, the little nugget that pulled me through, got me over the hump, the quick fix to set me back on the straight and narrow...but I don't have one.

The only thing I've learned is that in order to follow Jesus' words, I need His help.  I suck by myself, but when I cry out for help, He helps, and I suck a little less.

Hopefully, I suck less than I did at eighteen, and even a little less than I did last year.

And if I am better than before?  I know it's not because of any force I applied to my own bootstraps.

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