Soliloquy on ceding the self

An hour of faith and fractured prayer as the grooves in the floor ground into my knees through the velveteen of my pajamas. I knelt before the familiar curve of the cranberry couch, the tattered green cover of my 5-year-Bible for Katrina rough against my outstretched hand. My ear glowing like a hot coal against the arm in which my face was buried, wet with tears.

What brought me to such prostration? Nothing out of the ordinary. Living with cancer at a young age carries with it the consequent awareness that time may be of the essence. Whatever areas of my life are closed off to God, wherever I am retaining that old, desperate grip on self...they show painfully, like a tattered square of aged fabric on a new scrap quilt. Whatever notes I keep in the margins of a Bible, whatever struggles are transparent in my writing here, there is always another level God is trying to nudge me towards.

My life is a long string of chapters with one central theme: resistance. Various personality tests and peer reviews through the years have marked me with words like "rebel", "visionary", "leader", "counter-cultural". They herald strength of character inexorably mixed with the deep veins of ore that God is currently mining and carting out of my mountain - stubborn, immobile, conviction, opinion, anger. What begins as a trait of character is substantiated in a thousand tiny sins with which I, the clay pot whirling on the wheel, laugh up at my Potter, "Trust me, I've got it under control. It's not a problem for me. I'm o.k. with this. You don't need to supervise."

That evening bowed in front of my couch in prayer was weeks ago. For the first time, from the pit of my soul, I cried out for help in a few key areas I've been holding back from God for years. What I couldn't do by willpower alone I prayed fell under that almost unbelievable umbrella of God's power...with Him all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26) I asked God to "root it out of me", an expression I heard first from my mother, who learned it from her mother, Fern. If Fern could give up a 2 pack cigarette habit in the 1970s, before the patches and pills, and psychotherapy and support groups, what are my little sin areas to God now?

I've been walking around in a haze ever since. You know how it feels when you wake up from a deep, vivid dream, and it takes full minutes to absorb the reality of the mysterious mounds and shapes that surround you in your dark bedroom? I feel that way...for days. Afraid I might wake up and God will have abandoned me to my own devices, and I will fail. Of course I expect to fail...perhaps almost too much so! It has been difficult to believe that I could just be done with these areas I've tried so hard to ignore, forget, or destroy in myself. Almost like it is a figment of my imagination. Almost like maybe I could have done it myself if I would have just tried harder.

(Ah, there's the old familiar rub...)

And then I ran smack into the face of Satan this morning, jolting me out of my daze. I felt like a warrior in an unknown land, the familiar heft of the Sword of the Spirit in my right hand (Heb. 4:12); white fog surrounds me, and I am awash in oblivion, walking forward in faith. For just a moment, the fog lifts as I walk up a particularly steep and challenging hill, and I see the face of the Enemy suddenly before me. When I walk back into that peaceful, silent fog, it is with new awareness, yet requires the same confident steps of faith.

So on I fight in my fog. Praying for special protection today as I face renewed temptations. Let me not be lulled to sleep by the age-old tune, "It Doesn't Really Matter". Because it does, deeply, awesomely matter. To God, to me, to my legacy. Let me be faithful today in small things.