That verse has never meant anything to me. I've tried to make it meaningful for years. I tried to pretend I totally understood what it meant to be free and have a savior. And I accepted the bible and God and Jesus and all that goes with it as true a long time ago.
And, when I did.....I meant it. And, so much about me changed. But, mostly because I was trying to follow all the rules and laws that I thought went along with it so I could be 'good' instead of 'bad'. And I tried. And I tried. And I tried.
But there was always that little something. That twinge of something inside me that urged me on.....no matter what bad choices I was making 'post-believing'.....I still got that urge. Even after tons and tons of disappointment and sadness and frustration.
Well.....what the heck does that mean??
'Help me to know you, God. I follow you and I don't even know who you are!! I don't know how to hear you. I don't know what you want from me!!'
2 weeks ago, I finally began to see a little light in my dreary fear, sadness and doubt. And....I know this is going to sound ridiculous.......it really did change everything. I can't totally explain why or how but for the first time in my life, I feel free. I'm able to understand what it means to 'rest in Christ'. I finally understand that it's not up to me. None of it is. God doesn't just help 'those who help themselves.' That's crap. God helps those who accept his help. Nothing more. It's that easy. It's just a choice to get out of God's way.
But opening up and understanding how that works is nothing we can intellectualize. You can't study it into being. You can't follow a checklist and magically understand it. For me, it was an act of mercy. A gift. The result of legitimate and agonized searching and asking God for closeness to Him. Not asking for what He can give me or do for me.....but seeking and asking for HIM. And as He slowly brought me towards Him (slow is good), I received it.
I know.....this sounds like Greek. But being free is the best way I can describe what I'm talking about. Absolute freedom. No more constant rule following. No more absolute and penetrating guilt for screwing up. No more. I'm free.
One of my prayers lately is that God would give me 7 days a month where I didn't feel like I was dying inside. Just 7. I could continue to survive 21 days of sadness if I at least had the hope that 7 days of peace and a quiet mind were coming.
Out of nowhere......I got 31 good days. 31. Not 7. And, I realized how that is such a good reminder of the character of the God I felt I didn't know....but knew me very well. He gave more of the good thing I so badly needed and sought. He gave me MORE than I asked for. For freedom.
Now, I'm no pollyanna Christian. I have yelled at my kids since this happened. I have gotten angry at my husband. I have had to apologize to a friend. So.....my revelation did not make me perfect or faultless. But.....I feel God living through me......finally. Helping me to make decisions that would have paralyzed me before. Being my peace and patience and love. There's a long way to go to get to the place where I stop depending so much upon myself. Old habits die hard. They may never die. There is still lot's of falling ahead. But at least now......I understand what freedom means. And not just for 7 days a month.