Friday, March 20, 2009

Struggles and sleeplessness

Last night was a long night... I couldn't bring myself to shut my eyes to sleep... It wasn't insomnia, restlessness, worry (unusual), or the usual why-you-can't-sleep reasons, but it was the immense struggle within me about myself.

I'd been reading a book called "Loving God" by Charles Colson. It's a compelling book & I encourage you to read it if you want a wake-up call for your christian walk. It's basic, yet so profound and probing. I was in Taiwan last week and I was at the book while waiting for a client. That reading gripped me (further). It exposed the evil-ness and ugliness of me, that innate desire to self-glorify, that inevitable nature of sinfulness, the natural instinct to do things my way, treat people for self-gain or self-interest. It brought about a re-awakening of my faith and brought me back to long-ago when I was an infant Christian. I felt like I was a reset. I was rather down and upset about my evil-ness, selfishness, self-interest. The only thing that encouraged me and prevented me from sliding down the way of self-condemnation and guilt-destruction was His Word, Romans 7:21-8:2 (The Message)
17-20But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
21-23It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
24I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?
25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Romans 8
The Solution Is Life on God's Terms
1-2With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

The NIV version of Romans 8:1-2 says it more in-your-face:
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Anyway, it has been a struggle in my heart over the past week and I am still very conscious of it, which is good so that I hope I can become a better person, pleasing to God and loving others.

Back to last night... Gerald & I had a quarrel last night over something small. This is not the 1st since a few weeks back, we've been having squabbles, quarrels, disagreements over many things - small & big, trivial & important. But last night was quite a crescendo. I had prayed about this 2 nights ago and had asked God to help me be a better person and a better wife: less quarrelsome, less anal about trivia matters, less particular about things around the house, less critical or impatient. And I read another book briefly that in a marriage, you need to have the spirit of reconciliation, not retaliation. Only with the heart of reconciliation will things be mended and hurts and bitterness not grow and take deeper roots. Anyway, it dawned upon me last night how our marriage had deteriorated, how I had become totally myself and allowed myself to just "let go". I guess it is inevitable that in marriage, you see the real self of each other, but I guess good marriages are made up of sinful and "real" people who exercise self-control and grow in the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, self-control). I am tempted at this juncture to make a disclaimer (that I am not as horrible as what I wrote), haha, but what an irony to all the above that I mentioned. See, the self-glorification part is looming...
Anyway, I couldn't bring myself to sleep last night cos to a certain extent, I wanted to "punish" myself not to sleep but to remember how awful I have been. (Maybe something like punishing kids to stand isolated in their naughty corner) I really felt horrible about myself, and for a moment, even thought that was the point of no return. But I thank God for my loving husband who allowed me to ruminate all the thoughts and emotions in myself and telling me that God forgives us and loves us. I guess that IS the Truth which I found hard to accept. I think till' a point I decided to let go of myself and allow God to take over, to forgive me, to dispense His Grace and Mercy, then I was able to rest. Of course, all stories have an end. Gerald & I made up, sought forgiveness from each other, prayed together, watched a lil' TV and then went to bed in peace and love.

And they slept happily ever after....

Haha, till' the next time, God loves me no matter how I fail and how evil and ugly I am, because I acknowledge that I am sinful and receive Him as my Lord & Saviour!

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