Burn Your Stretchy Pants: A Story of Grace

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
— Proverbs 3:5-6

I'm standing in my kitchen, mentally exhausted, with children beckoning for my attention.

In this moment, I could acknowledge God, run to Him for help, and find rest in who He is OR I could eat this Oreo and this dark chocolate salted caramel and this cookie I made the other day.

It’s kind of like a smoke break but with sugar and it seems so much easier than asking God for help.

 Photo by  Joshua Earle

Photo by Joshua Earle

Rivers is contentedly playing and Quinlynn is preoccupied by some newly developed skill, so I have a moment of respite. I should probably do something productive, but first, I need to scroll through my newsfeed one more time. You know, to find out if my front yard is on fire. Just, so in this moment, I don’t have to deal with the feeling of emptiness that sometimes tries to attach itself to my seemingly mundane life.

Instead of acknowledging God, I try my best to distract myself.

A few nights ago I was at a breaking point. I got out of bed and sat down on the couch with my Bible and with tears streaming down my face I repented and read Romans 8.

That’s the chapter I read when I have a “Come to Jesus meeting” with Jesus. 

I’ve been trying to do this on my own and I’m exhausted.

 

I had to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t want to acknowledge God because I knew that when I did, I would be forced in one of two directions:

I'm either saying, “I see you, God. But I’m doing this my way.” Essentially acknowledging Him but wanting Him to keep the directing to Himself.

Or

I see my need to do it His way, and His way doesn’t always feel very good to my flesh and my stretchy pants even though deep down I know that's what I need.

 

Lately, I’ve known something needed to change so I’d try to help get the ball rolling by mentally berating myself, but still not really wanting to acknowledge God in the whole thing.  And it would go something like this:

Inner Bully Casey says,

“Casey, your thought life is out of control. You are being owned by fear and it is paralyzing you. When you get overwhelmed you turn on the TV or you stare at your phone. Get your act together. Gah…”

and

“Casey, you want to eat better but you still scarf sugar when you get stressed out. Why are you depending on something that just makes you feel better for a moment only to make you feel guilty seconds later? Gah…”

And then stretchy pants Casey says,

“You know what, inner bully Casey? I do know better. I can do better. “

And then I think about trying so hard to do “better”.  

Yes, you read that right. I think about it… a lot. So, not actually trying. Let’s just call it strategizing.

“When I do this, I’m gonna do it so right. It’s gonna be so awesome and so stinkin’ legit. I’m gonna kick this thing’s butt when I actually do it. Just you wait. It’s gonna be amaaazzziiinnnggg. Yeah. I just have to get started, but first let me check Facebook.”

This is not what my life is supposed to look like. And this is not all my life is. But the enemy would love nothing more than for me to believe it.  He wants me to believe that I am a lazy, good for nothing, selfish woman and I need to fix it.

And I just realized I can’t.

I’ve been “strategizing” so hard and things are still the same. At the end of the day I know that if I try to change on my own, I will fail. So my solution is to just put off starting a little longer, then I can put off failure a little longer.

And sitting there on my couch I realized that I was in need of a beautiful thing called “grace.”

Why do I feel the need to fix myself? If I couldn’t save myself what makes me think I can fix myself?

For some reason, I think since I’ve been a Christian all these years, I have somehow graduated beyond my need for God’s help. I start to think I can handle it on my own…because if I change on my terms, then it won’t be as uncomfortable to my flesh.

When in actuality, the more I grow in Him the more dependent I should become on Him.

Have you ever done this? Please tell me I’m not the only one.  

Have you ever given yourself pep talks but never actually gotten started? Or maybe you pride yourself on taking action when you see an area that needs to change. Those are both sides of the same coin. And both of these things belittle our need to depend on God.

The work that God initiates is the work He will complete.  (Tweet this)

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 1:6

There are two important things that you and I need to remember here:

1. I cannot begin the work and expect God to complete it. I can’t just get it started on my own terms and then ask God to help me wrap it all up.

2. I cannot finish the work He began. There is never a moment where I can say, “I’ve got this, God. Your work here is done.”

 

There is no point, at the beginning, end or middle, for that matter, that I can take credit or do it myself. If He started it, He has to finish it.

I will mess up and so will you.

I won’t get it right and I will fall on my face. But there is something about being a part of what God initiates that makes me want to fight. When I finally get that He loves me; that He is working in me because He wants what’s best for me, I can’t help but be in awe.

The God of the universe has seen fit to change our lives and it floors me.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
— Philippians 2:12-13

This is grace.

God initiating change for our good and His glory. 

(Tweet this)

 

So let’s burn all the stretchy pants in a bon fire Castaway style. Kay?

Just kidding.

 

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