Giving Up the Illusion

Guest post by Laura Barry

I have been living an illusion. The curtain gets pulled back from time to time, and I know better, but believing the illusion is often so second nature I fail to comprehend when the curtain has come down between me and reality again. That illusion is my self sufficiency.

I operate on this principle, that I don't need help. That if I just work hard enough or long enough, I don’t need anyone. I don’t need anything. I am often horrified anew at the pride of it but every time I confront it I’m amnesiac - “was that there before?” Jesus is kind to point it out again and again. The difference is he’s not surprised it’s there (as I am) and he actually knows the number of times we’ve been here before (as I have lost count). Even so, he is still patient with me.

The current global pandemic has finally brought the illusion down consistently. It’s impossible to go through the day and maintain any sense of control. That’s all completely broken. Picking it up again results in laughing at myself. It’s so ridiculous. I can’t plan beyond tomorrow - let alone the end of the month or the end of the year.

Has being free of my longstanding lie brought relief? If I am honest the gut answer is no. There has been a lot of grief poured out over the things I know are no longer in my control, and to be truthful, they never were. There is grief over being so deluded for such a long time. There is grief in having no control over when it will be safe to see friends and family again. There is grief in not knowing about anything.

Yet I am struck by the fact that while I may grieve, while I may be on my knees in what feels like defeat, at least I am on my knees. Jesus is in control. He holds everything in his hands. Should I regret the circumstances that have freed me to live in this truth? The answer I am learning to accept is, "no."

While my feelings frequently fail to be thankful, I can still pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help me thank the one who died on the cross to break my chains. With him I can choose not to regret the times and the circumstances in which I live and have no control over. With him I can see what he is still calling me to and has given me strength and the power to accomplish. With him I can run after what Paul promises us in Romans 5:3-4 - endurance and hope. Hope which does not put me to shame. It is Jesus who in his kindness brought me to my knees and it is because of Jesus that I can get up again.

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:3-4

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