Learning How to Die

Learning How To Die Blog ImageLately people have been asking how we are doing with the new baby. My usual response is some quirky, humorous quip about being sleepy and that it’s a good thing babies are so cute. The whole truth is that there are good days when I feel like we are getting somewhere with new routines, decent sleep, and sometimes even getting a decent dinner put together. But then there are days like today when I just want to curl up in a ball and cry right alongside of my baby.

It’s a tension, and it’s sometimes an excruciating one that points to my self-centered nature.

It’s easier to cover up my selfishness, pride, and senseless irritability when I’ve had enough sleep, routines are fairly predictable and stable, and things are overall going well. But the seismic shift of adding a newborn to the dynamic strips away my defenses and shows me what really lies beneath.

I am selfish. I want my coffee first. I want what I need first.

Recently my husband and I took a day trip to Indiana to celebrate a friend’s new marriage. My oldest stayed with grandparents, and we took the baby on his first road trip. My husband stopped to treat us to Starbucks. He ran inside to order while I stayed in the car with our (screaming) baby. I sent him a text message with a last minute change up from my “usual” beverage.

When he came back, there was a mix up in my drink. It tasted awful to me. And you would have thought that I had suffered the most severe wound. I was angry. About a cup of coffee. A $5 cup of coffee that my husband graciously wanted to treat me to.

And I pouted like a child.

I’m spoiled. And that moment was ugly, and probably wouldn’t have happened if my normal layers of control, predictability, and quality sleep were in place. But they weren’t. And aren’t. And I’m all too aware of the truth: I need my Savior to rescue me and change my heart. I can’t do it myself.

I want to do good, but I can’t. When I am at my weakest, I can’t keep up the charade. I need Jesus for all that He is. I am capable of hurting someone that I love over a silly cup of coffee. And so I, like Paul in Romans, declare, “Oh wretched man that I am! Who will save me from this body of death?”

It’s romantic to talk about “dying to self” and “laying down our lives for our friends,” but what we don’t talk about is how hard that really is. It is a painful thing to choose what someone else needs over what we personally want or need. It’s painful to choose selflessness one time; it’s excruciating as a lifestyle. Being crucified with Christ hurts.

But we must first learn to die before we can experience resurrection.

And so, in the middle of my mess of a self, in the middle of my broken nature capable of worse things than I can imagine, I’m learning how to die. I’m learning how to trust Jesus to do what only He can do: give me a new heart. Give me the courage to choose someone else over myself. Give me the strength to be faithful with what He has placed in my hands. And trust that my saving grace is found in Him alone.

Lord, Save Me From Myself.

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