Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Laying it down

Continuing the thought behind A Me shaped You, and a You shaped me . . . . .

Becoming more like Christ means becoming a lot less like me.

Oh how I wish that I was a blank canvas and the image of Christ and his qualities could appear with each brushstroke forming this amazing reflection of all that He is. But instead of blank, my canvas is filled with pictures and expressions that are wholly me, a painting overflowing with so many things. And so for the image to change I find myself having to take away that which is me to replace it with Him.

I sometimes find myself struggling to not let my own personal relationship with Christ be characterized by catchy sayings. This isn’t to say that these phrases don’t have value in their message but I know I can easily lose sight of the message for the ease of the sound bit. “Leave it at the cross” is one of those phrases that can quickly become a catch-phrase response that has no intrinsic value. However, when you take a long look at what those five words are asking of you, speaking them can come with hesitation. And the cross is where I find myself as I lay aside who I am to become more like Him.

It’s a tough place to find yourself; at the foot of the cross. For it’s here that we find life but it’s also here that we lose our life. Christ wasn’t speaking lightly when he said,
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?
Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16: 24-26

In my own life, I’ve found myself at the foot of the cross too many times. I come to lay down that which I hold tightly, that which I let direct my path and determine my days. I come with who I am and leave pieces of me behind. Some things are easy to let go, I’m actually relieved to lay them down, but then there are those significant ones that I just can’t seem to part with. Each time I come to the cross, a voice inside my heart asks for them.

“There’s more for you to give, there’s more for you to lay down.”

Desperately I try to ignore the prodding, the continual reminder of what I want to ignore. These are the things that I hold most dear: hopes, wishes, desires, and longings. They aren’t wrong in themselves to be wanted, to be held onto, but that isn’t the basis of Christ’s challenge. Denying self, loosing one’s life, these aren’t judged on a sliding scale of the worth of each individual part. It’s an all or nothing commitment. A realization that no matter how we view the things of ourselves they are nothing in comparison to the fullness of Him.

When God asks me to lay everything down before Him it isn’t with a promise that any of it will ever be returned to me. I can hope that if I give Him my all He will return to me in kind, but that’s not the deal. And that truth is what makes it so hard for me to lay down the things of my heart. How many times have I come to the cross and stood there willing myself to just let go of something I hold fast to? How many times have I let them go only to take them back up again and turn and walk away? Too many times.

And I realize it’s my perception that holds me back. For I know the call I have to lay it all down but there is fear that I won’t get back what I want. I perceive that what I desire, what I hold on to is the best there is, and that God won’t give me that. I find myself believing that I know better how to judge the value of what is given. But in truth, no matter if what I lay day at the cross is never given back to me, God promises to give me better.

His better.


That’s where I realize part of what it takes to be a You shaped me. To lay down my notions of what is best, my notions of what I should receive, but to accept fully His offering, to accept Him. For nothing I can conceive, nothing I can yearn for will ever be better than His.

To become like Him means to lay aside any and all of me, even my expectations, my hopes, knowing that when I give them to Him, He gives me His, His will for me, His heart for me, His plan and path for me, all that He has for me. And it’s not better because it’s better, but it’s better because it’s His. I give mine to receive His. That’s why I come to the cross, that’s why I lay it down.


Blogger Ben said...

What a humbling post. Placing such thoughts on "paper" is difficult... but I am glad you do it because you have the thoughts... you might as well write them. Anytime there is self reflection... it is hard to write the truth.

I struggle with leaving things at the Cross too. My values pale in comparison to His and although what I am clinging to has value to me... He wants to give me so much more if only I will let stuff go. His worst is imaginably greater than our best... and yet we cling.

I like this post.

1/04/2007 11:21 AM  
Blogger Lorie said...

I like this post, too. And I'm so thankful for your gift with words...

1/04/2007 12:33 PM  
Blogger jes said...

Gosh, KT. Well said, again. Have you ever considered a writing gig with a Christian magazine of some sort? You should look into that.

1/04/2007 2:20 PM  
Blogger Chandra said...

I have gone back and read your other posts relating to this. It is really great writing. Its great because its the truth. I want to be more Christ like everday. Somedays it's hard some it's not. Giving up my desires to that I will do his will is tough but well worth it. I am so glad I came across your site. I will be back.

1/04/2007 8:19 PM  
Blogger Bobby said...

“There’s more for you to give, there’s more for you to lay down.”

Man, that;s a scary thing to hear, isn't it. But so necessary.

1/05/2007 1:13 PM  
Blogger Jayleigh said...

"For nothing I can conceive, nothing I can yearn for will ever be better than His."

This has been in my heart for some time now, that I need to stop putting constraints on God and on other people... because when I open myself up to Him, amazing and miraculous things happen. As you said, His is better because it's HIS.

Thank you for another amazing view of your heart, sweet Katie. *hug* and thanks for your kind and encouraging words to me lately.

1/06/2007 11:23 AM  

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