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  • Writer's pictureJacke Karashae

all that i’m not

happy 2016!

i kinda lowkey like the fact that i can bookend a year with blog posts. last post, i wrote a whole bunch of aspirations. this post, i get to talk about what i learned.

this turns out to be the truest thing on that last post:

in the end, i know that pretty much all of these things won’t matter to me on december 31, 2016.  they won’t be the way that the year mattered.

because yeah, although i appreciate those goals, the big lesson that the year has been building up to teach me is that i need God’s help constant guidance and transformation to actually be a Christian. why? because i’ve learned more about who i am, to the core, and it’s shattered all of my notions of being largely-okay.

this year, i’ve discovered i rely on a trifecta of impatience, worry, and perfectionism to help keep me moving forward…which works at the cost of making it incredibly hard for me to forgive anyone when i have legitimately been hurt or inconvenienced.  i easily and often let unforgiveness and angst roil behind a mask of duplicitous politeness and friendliness.  it’s usually at that point that i will question myself and turn to God, asking why i am struggling with all of these feelings and thoughts, as if they are coming from absolutely nowhere.

i’ve been pushed into my limits many times and in many ways this year, and i’ve lost the “buffer” of comfort that has allowed me to pretend that these problems aren’t actually problems, but just…”quirks” i run afoul of every so often. they’ve seriously and legitimately hurt me and others, and they aren’t surface problems for me – they’re the corrupted underbelly of my personality and identity.  they’re a side effect of how i tick.

something that i loved in a sermon* i heard recently is that there are two “levels” of flaws/sins we face in ourselves.  some of them are clearly things to avoid, but are “surface level” — with enough gumption and positive thinking, we can train ourselves to just not live like that.  when dealing with this level, God is functionally optional. no matter how we say it, it is possible for us to just rely upon ourselves for the strength to overcome. basically, we’re just changing bad habits and replacing them with better ones, or establishing good habits that prevent us from getting to a bad place.

in contrast, the second “level” we face is tied to aspects of our personality that aren’t even bad in and of themselves — they’re just the corruption of it.  attention to detail becomes perfectionism.  drive becomes impatience.  accountability becomes unforgiveness.  these things, because they’re so tied to who we are, are things that i can maybe get better at hiding and minimizing, but aren’t things i can just change about myself like i can change a habit.  it’s these things that do the most damage to me and to others, and it’s these things that i know i shouldn’t do but do anyways, no matter how much i may want to be better.

want to measure myself year-over-year with the first level issues, because they’re things that:

  • take legitimate work, but

  • i feel like i can succeed in

for the second level, i’d rather just change my circumstances to avoid butting up against them, because, icebergs to my steamliner, they’re going to win a battle of will eventually if i place myself directly in their line of fire. (bad news: my life in the last year has not let me do that. and your life probably isn’t letting you do that too much either.) when you can’t change the circumstances, running up against these fatal flaws is depressing, especially the more you know and understand your patterns. we are just fundamentally broken, even when we know better.

here is the good news that i’ve been picking up in the last few weeks: my second-level sins drive me back to the actual Gospel, and not to the deist moralism i’m so tempted to live out when i feel in control.  Jesus loves me and died for me to be made whole and be with Him, and i needed that. my first burden of proving my goodness is gone, totally and laughably.  i am loved and forgiven because of who loved and forgave me, not because i’m some asset that will eventually accrue value, if i try hard enough and succeed.

not. only. that. but God also wants to guide us in transformation. if God comes to live inside of us when we surrender control and life to him…that’s gonna have side effects. and, being fully aware of my need and also fully aware of being forgiven, i’m eager to get behind that, whatever it takes.

if you’re there’s hope for 2017. i am not, nor will ever be the ideal, but i am learning to trust someone who is.  👍 praise God from whom all blessings flow, for the broken, for the corrupted, for the weary, for the hopeless!

* bridgetown church in portland, oregon. they’ve got a sweet url, too:

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