when all I’ve got is guilt to give

The thing that’s had me on my knees this holiday season, worship-weeping, is that little baby in a manger. God-Incarnate. The thought that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies would fold himself into soft t0-dust baby-smell vulnerability and enter the most refuse-filled place of our world. The very highest, very mightiest, very most glorious I AM entering the lowest, dirtiest level of our land as the tiniest, weakest babe.

It’s the sort of thing that causes moans of worship only the Holy Spirit can understand.

Here we sit, on the dawn of a new year, this leaf turned over, this fresh chapter started. And very often, as is the case on many new years, I am thinking of all the ways I want 2013 to be so different from 2012.

2012 was a wonderful year, full of joy and new life and promise. But it was also a very hard year, full of so many…failures.

Failures to be as faithful as I should, failures to be as kind, as loving, as gentle…failures to be a great steward of our money, failures as a housewife, failures as a wife…failures to lose extra weight, to eat as healthy as I wanted, to exercise as much as I should. Failures of forgetting to pray as often, failures to be immersed in the Word. Failures to be selfless, failures to be humble, failures to be a witness…and the list continues…

And all this failure rolls into more failure with its debilitating guilt. After all, I give the greatest guilt-trip of them all. There’s no one who can give a better beating over, a better putting down, a better you-should-be-so-much-better-than-this than I can. I can weigh my heart with the weight of should-have-beens so very fast.

This new marriage of mine brings such a keen awareness of my sin. And it is so good to be aware of sin.

But the question, I am learning, is where does this awareness of sin lead me?

If it leads to the Great Guilt Trip of 2012, it is for nothing. Well, correction…it is all for me. It is for my own ego, my own glory, my own salvation. Because guilt leads to this one resolve: I must act so that I can erase guilt.

I must act so that I can bring my salvation.

I must work to be saved.

And here I am at last, the very core of all guilt and all shame: a constant urge to self-rectify, self-purify, self-sanctify. Jenni Cannariato, the savior.

Have I forgotten the baby so quickly?

Have I forgotten my joy-weeping over Christmas? That great, glorious God came into the dirt and filth and vulnerability. He came to us. He came to me. With one purpose: to save. The great one who is willing to get so small and so dirty as to clean my guilt right away.

So here is my vision, my one resolution for 2013. Here is what I name this year: Guiltless.

I resolve to stop trying to be my own savior in 2013. I am vowing not to act, not to improve, not to aspire, not to work, but to step aside and let the Lord of Heaven’s Armies enter my dirty heart and save me. To keep my eyes wholly fixed, to keep my heart wholly opened, to keep ego and pride wholly subdued to let the one who gave everything bring me the freedom and joy of the manger-resurrection life. Glory from a stable, from flesh, from dust, from broken hearts.

 

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