Saturday, November 22, 2008

Grateful Ingrate

So, I've been reading this book Girl Meets God, in which the author, a former Jew, relates her walk with God through her early Christian years after her conversion. One sentence struck me as I was reading the other day: "I know what gratitude is, and I know how to talk about it convincingly, but I have only felt gratitude twice."

This, I thought, is something I can relate to. Real, soul-soaking gratitude for whatever God has done is hard to come by sometimes. It can be so ridiculously difficult for humans to fully grasp exactly what Christ did, is doing, and will do for us.

As I was lying in bed last Wednesday night after youth group, kept awake by the persistence of caffeine, gratitude came knocking.

Here was my thought process:

Who would I be, and where would I be going, if God hadn't interceded at the perfect time? I know what road I was going down when He shook me- I was already struggling with pill popping, over-dieting, lust, self hatred, the desire to drink myself to "happiness," and other habits I would rather not even think about. It's a possibility that I might be dead right now- not necessarily from a suicide attempt, but maybe from an accumulation of self-destructive habits. And if not dead, I could be an alcoholic bulimic who used painkillers and sleeping aides to get through the day, or a wanna-be hooker who completely gave herself away to the first guy who asked just to feel worthy of something. Only God knows where I would be, but I have an idea of who I would have been.
Hmm- God has really reached His hands into every single aspect of my life, right down to my makeup. I've never noticed that before. Not only have I handed over the bad habits I had, but I've even done things like changed my makeup to keep it minimal so as not to overpaint "the perfect masterpiece," the face God made for me. The pictures on my walls, the people in them- would they be the same if God hadn't shown me to my amazing, wonderful, loving Christian friends? Would I listen to the same music? Would I be able to save myself for my future husband? Would I be able to appreciate nature and the beauty of life? Would I be able to love and respect my family like I do now? Would I have this incredible joy and peace 24 hours a day, even in the worst times? Would I be so blessed?
Ah- probably not.

That's when the gratitude enveloped me like a spring tide and I shivered with its impact. I would not have this beautiful promise of one day meeting my ultimate Soulmate and being wedded to Him forever. I would be completely lost, always feeling the sting of losing my other half and not even knowing it. It's such a fine line between the old life and the new- I can still see my old life clear as day. But thanks to the ultimate freedom, I don't have to look back on it. I can look ahead and know that no matter what happens in my life that I will, one way or another, end up in Christ's arms.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."
-Romans 8:1-2

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