I am the best of me. I am the worst of me. I am not me.

Posted on March 26, 2013

1



I am the best of me. I am the worst of me. I am not me.

Some days, everything falls into place and I cannot be stopped. I am creative, brimming with potential, full of good cheer. I am original. I control myself to meet my goals. No sooner do I dream than I accomplish. I feel good about myself and my place in the world. I am patient and kind.

Then there are days when I am a hodgepodge of sugar-induced sleeplessness, caffeine, and laziness. I cannot get going. I am a distracted poser, a sham, a has-been, wanna-be. I yell at my kids and feel guilty the minute I do. All I want to do is be left alone to watch television and eat potato chips.

Which of these people am I?

I am neither.

After a recent post, my maternal grandmother sent me a copy of a Christianity Today article titled, “The Key to a Purposeful Life” written by Sarah Lebhar Hall. The article reminded me that it is not my achievements or the comparison to other people that defines me, rather it is my union with Christ.

The possibility is staggering: that I, a creature, might have my life linked – actually, organically, eternally linked – to the Son of God himself. Like a freight car coupled with an engine, where Jesus goes, I go. What happens to him, happens to me. I follow him and share his life, his character, his suffering, his future, his inheritance, even his reign with the Father.

While this reality, known as the doctrine of “union with Christ,” has received a lot of attention throughout Christian history, it is often ignored in the modern church. But it is incredibly good news for those of us who wrestle with the uncertainty and disappointment of life on earth. Because we are “in Christ,” because his life is ours, our fundamental life story has already been written.

Lebhar Hall goes on to write about several conclusions rising from the fact that we are united with Christ, including: our lives should focus on staying connected with Jesus rather than the details like jobs, children, homes, and money; our lives will not only follow the direction of Jesus’ but adopt its quality as well; our suffering and fears find a place and purpose within the Trinity. But the aspect that caught my attention the most was:

If I am united with Christ, I get to enjoy his victory. Now. I think of Sarah Hughes, figure skating her way to an unexpected gold medal in the 2002 Olympics. As a 16-year-old, coming into the final event in fourth place, she didn’t have much to lose. While the top three contenders competed, we held our breath for each jump, each landing, each combination. Every movement had the power to guarantee either victory or defeat. But Hughes was fun to watch, because she was clearly having fun. “I didn’t really go out and skate for a gold medal,” she told an interviewer that evening, “I went out and had a great time.” She skated as though it were a prize to simply be at the Olympics. She skated with an exuberant, reckless abandon. That freedom enabled her to give the best performance of her life.

Our life as disciples, united with Christ, should be a lot like that. Jesus has already won the medal for us. The prize is ours. We get to enjoy the event, to marvel at the privilege of being included in the games. As A. J. Gordon writes in his classic book In Christ, “He who is in Christ fights from victory in his very attempt to fight for victory.

I evaluate myself too quickly and based on small things: sleep, weather, money, my body shape, my abilities, my relation to those more (or less) successful, the amount of time I have available to pursue my own goals.

But the reality is that my life, the life of any Christian, is the release from the evaluative loop. The gift of Christ is a gift, not of a heightened reality, but of a new reality altogether.

This is the good news. In Christ, I am not more successful, productive, fit, a better cook, parent, or spouse – I am a new creation!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

This means that I don’t need to waste time looking for meaning in my days. I already know it. It means I am free to live and love with “reckless, exuberant abandon.” 

Thanks for the reminder Grandma.

 

 

Photo: exquisetur

Advertisements
Tagged: , ,