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Sell Everything

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. John 3:20

Starting back to writing, or exercising, or any disciplined habit can feel like being asked to sprint while wrapped in a weighted blanket and wearing one of those parachute resistance running trainers. But in this case, the resistance is more powerful because its internal and much more difficult to just take off. There is the basic "this is hard and awkward and distressing" and then on top of that there is the shame of having dropped the habit for so long. The impulse is then to make up for all the absence of the praiseworthy practice with a Pulitzer/Olympic-winning performance, which is just not realistically going to be achieved. So then one faces the defeat and discouragement of how far short this attempted shame covering costume of "good works fig leaves" really falls. The reality that I cannot achieve writing-righteousness or fitness-righteousness or calm, attuned, body settling parenting righteousness, or any other performative, fresh start, clean slate righteousness frequently makes me not want to engage in that thing at all.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:21-23

Wherever my wealth is found, I am going to find strength and confidence there. Wherever I am able to be self-reliant with satisfactory success, I am going to be self-reliant rather than attuned to my need for the grace, mercy, and power of God. This is the insidious nature of my Gospel amnesia. This is why I can sing with great integrity "prone to wander, Lord I fear it, prone to leave the God I love!" I cannot live in the Kingdom of Me and the Kingdom of God at the same moment.

You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:3-5

What if I actually believed I am "clean already"? What if as a branch of the perfect Vine I am "good" and "righteous" and "praiseworthy" before I lace up my running shoes, get down to do that first plank or push up, open my laptop to write, enter the room to move relationally toward my argumentative child and THEREFORE didn't have to wear the resistance parachute of striving to earn my righteousness nor the weighted blanket of shame, guilt, and fear? What if I really believed that Jesus was producing the fruit He gives me to bear and all I have to do is trust Him when He says, "This is my way, walk in it" or "Get up, take your mat, and walk!" What if the habit He is inviting to grow in is trading my resistance and weighted burden for his light and easier rest? How might my demeanor, ability to love others, and enjoyment of my work improve if I "sell everything," like my weighted blanket and resistance parachute, for more hours enjoying God's Kingdom?


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