I grew up with a perfectionist Dad who ruled by fear. If you didn't sweep out the carport correctly then you had to do it again. If you didn't get the paint line straight along the base board, you had to wipe it off and do it again. While I don't like to blame things on my past, God has really shown me through this book how my childhood really did shape my image of God.
The book has helped me to see that I am an Elder Sister who does, does, does, tries to pull myself up by the bootstrap (doing my moral duty) all to gain God's approval and acceptance. Tim Keller helped me to see that I have really been saying, God, thanks for my salvation, now I've got it under control but will you please sit up there in the bleachers to help me when I need you. (A dear friend of mine pointed out so clearly how that is health and wealth prosperity gospel!) I've always considered myself a prayer warrior. But I have been so convicted that my prayers are often "vending machine" prayers. And if I am so busy doing, seeking my own righteousness, how can I love God or others??
"God is committed to enthrall me with what is most deeply and durably satisfying, Himself." "The gift is God Himself above all His other gifts." John Piper in God is the Gospel
God has deeply convicted me that I have missed the relationship with God (and others) because I have been so busy doing, doing, doing. I have lived my life seeing how close can I get to my surrender without loosing all control. I have not believed that God Himself is all I need. (Somewhere in the Middle by Casting Crowns). So last Friday, I jumped off the cliff in total abandonment to God. Only by God's grace, I really am beginning to see that God is ALL I need.
I (by God's grace) can so live in the day BUT am often fearful that when I get down the road (i.e. Mexico) the day is going to overwhelm me and knock me down. But as long as God is with me, being knocked down isn't the worst thing that can happen to me. I often feel overwhelmed with Mexico, a new culture, a new language, new ministry and in the past would have spent an enormous time praying for God to help me (which of course I need to do some of this) but recently I have the most incredible peace and have even been able to say to God, "I only need you to go with me and be with me." What peace, freedom and joy there is in this abandonment to God. However, I must confess that I don't feel like I have my arms around all of this but I am thankful that only by God's grace, I have begun a relationship with my Savior, not based on my needs but on loving and enjoying Him forever.
I can sure make this Christianity thing much harder than it is supposed to be!! Thank you God for your grace and mercy to this sinner, for not giving up on me and for loving me just as I am in spite of myself!