(Okay last super personal post I promise, unless you guys don’t mind reading them? I do invite you to join me on this journey… I’m trying to improve, and would love for you to keep me accountable. If anything, I thank you for caring enough to read my story.)
Oh man. These past few weeks have been tough. Not that anything bad has happened to me, but I have noticed issues with my own attitude non-stop.
I’d get mad at things I never got mad at before and my anger would not easily subside. I’d curse, and it’s typically unlike me to ever swear. I would slander people as if I were somehow more righteous than them. I found myself becoming a jealous, selfish, unloving person.
Or perhaps, that’s been a part of me all along that is typically supressed. It’s scary to think that this type of person is hiding in me, but I think there exists an ugly side of every human – hence our sinful human nature.
My prayer for this year – righteousness and holiness – was a dangerous one indeed, and I think in principle it would be a brilliant prayer… if we weren’t living this side of the cross.
As with last year, He responded to my prayer right away. This time, I was put in situations to constantly test my righteousness and holiness, to see if I could somehow control or subdue my sinful nature alone.
It’s only been a few weeks and I have already had my answer loud and clear: I can’t.
But that’s the point.
Today, I went to get a permaplate put on my new car (basically means they clean my car, make it super pretty and put on a protective coating to make sure my coffee spills won’t stain the car) and I noticed visible scratches on the back that weren’t there before. I will go back to fix that.
But just now, I was suddenly struck with the thought that after getting my car back earlier, I remember putting some stuff back into a small compartment that originally had a few dollar bills in it, but after I got my car back from permaplating, that I didn’t remember the money still being there. That the Honda service guys had maybe mistakenly thought it was tip for them and taken it. And I got so mad.
I thought that they’d scratched my car then decided to take tip money for themselves. I thought, “Who even tips car service people anyway?? I paid loads of money for that permaplate to be applied because I’m a clutz so why would I pay them even more?”
I thought, “How dare they scratch my car and still have the audacity to take my money. If they took it as a honest mistake then fine. But they have to give it back, even if it’s only a few dollars – it’s the principle of the thing. Otherwise it’d be theft.”
I even went as far as thinking that if I reported it, the police wouldn’t do anything about it but I would definitely leave them angry reviews on Yelp and never do business with them again. I had even begun to draft the angry review in my head.
And I had to pray to calm myself down. I was well aware that my thoughts were absolutely wrong and unrighteous and begged the Lord for help. But it wasn’t working. So, half out of curiousity and but probably out of a burning desire to know for sure, I put on my dressing gown, grabbed my keys, slipped on some shoes and ran to my car to check.
A man walking his dog looked at me like I’d gone a bit bonkers and clearly wasn’t impressed with my choice of red PJ bottoms, cream fabric flats and zebra-striped dressing gown.
I went into my car, checked in the compartment and…
The money was still there.
And I got back home to immediately write this post.
This was probably my breaking point. I questioned my choice of prayer before, but now I realise it is not what God desires after all. Not that He doesn’t want us to be holy or righteous – in fact, that’s His greatest desire, which is exactly why He had to come down Himself as Jesus.
And I recognise now, that in praying for growth in holiness and righteousness this year was not a sign that God would finally grant me a boyfriend and test me in the ways of sexual purity, but rather it was a metaphorical slap to His face, and I had become a Pharisee.
If I could really achieve higher levels of holiness and righteousness by myself, then Jesus would not have needed to die for me.
So I would like to change my prayer. I’m not sure what it should be yet, but my initial thoughts are to simply grow in love. And wisdom. Love and wisdom would be really nice. Love for Christ, love for others, love for myself, and wisdom in the Word. Wisdom like Solomon. Wisdom as in Proverbs.
Please could you pray for me if you feel led?
I thought it was important to share this post given my last post had been about my prayer theme for this year, because I was wrong. The post was late, but I think the first time I prayed the righteousness and holiness prayer was 3-4 weeks ago.
It wasn’t a good idea. I’m glad it’s been cut short. I have learned my mistake. Instead, if I just aspire to think upon the cross, I will realise I have already been justified and atoned for. Through Christ, I can already be counted holy and righteous before God.
And if I aspire to think upon the cross, I will naturally be led to be more Christ-like, which will naturally be more holy and righteous. But my prayer for becoming more holy and righteous through changing myself was wrong. Thank God, I know that now.
Thanks for listening :)
P.S. I just realised it’s perfect timing given that we JUST entered into the Chinese New Year. I hope I can start this year right. Happy CNY!