I fell again last night. And today. "Fell" serving as a euphemism for doing that sin I so hate but apparently don't hate enough.
Familiar thoughts invade. Why do I always do this. I hate myself so much. Why am I such a terrible human being. I can't pray. Anxiety makes the vicious cycle worse, but sin hurts no matter who you are. My streak of overcoming is broken. So much for following Jesus!
I dare not even lift my eyes to heaven. I can only beat my breast and cry, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner."
My thoughts go like this --
Jesus, I have nothing to offer you except my sin-stained heart. What do You want from me? I have nothing to give You. All I have is offensive to who You are. Please don't ask for it. My resolutions mean nothing, my promises mean nothing, my desires, apparently, mean nothing! Why do You bother finding me, your constantly lost sheep? Why do Your eyes peer down the road, when You know I'm wasting the talents You gave me? Why do You sweep the dirt floor looking for one coin, knowing that You have others? Why do You want me so much? I am a sinner! Depart from me, O Lord, I am a sinner!
Apologies feel meaningless.
But gradually...even through my weeping, I remember:
The fact that I am convicted shows that You have not given up on me. The prompt of repentance comes from Your throne. The still-throbbing desire to overcome can only stem from Your Spirit. A pastor friend once told me that all of our struggles are just Satan trying to convince us to give up Jesus, to relinquish Him. I refuse. I have betrayed Him, but I will not stay down. He has refused to relinquish me. I refuse to give up the Lord Jesus. I do not deserve His grace, but He gives it anyways. I do not deserve His love, but He lavishes it anyways. I do not deserve another chance, but He hands it to me anyways.
I am reminded of the closing lines of my favorite poem-
The righteous are not described as those who feel forgiven, feel righteous, or are perfect.
The righteous are not described as those who have never fallen.
Rather, "the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked fall into calamity." Proverbs 24:16. The difference between the righteous and the wicked: the righteous get back up. Again. The devil only wins if you stay down.
Rise, rise, rise again! Your desire for better is evidence of His presence. He has not forgotten you, and He calls you His still. Get up, brave one. Your Loving Father calls you. You are His. Though your emotions tell you otherwise, you are His. Still. Now.