Here’s the thing about sin: when we don’t see it, it’s easy to think that it’s not even there. That’s why living in the “comfort zone” is such a cushy place. Not only do we feel safe and comfortable, but we get to avoid all the sinful, selfish, ugly things that come out when we feel insecure or afraid.
In the “comfort zone,” we get to control oh so many things, but the best part of all is that we get to control what people think about us. I just love doing that. That’s one thing I miss about my life in America. I had so much more control, and not just because I had a car or knew the language, but because my life had more…personal space. I had my work life, my church life, my social life. Sometimes they mixed, sometimes they didn’t. They were neat and containable. In Bangkok, my neighbors are my co-workers, and my co-workers are sometimes fellow church members, and my fellow church members are my friends, and my friends are my support, and so everything is all connected and there’s just no getting away.
Then there’s the fact that I’ve moved…a lot. Sure, there are so many hard things about that, but the nice thing about moving is — if you time it just right — you can leave with a sparkling reputation and with all these friends who wish they had time to know you more. It can make a person feel pretty good. Before any real conflicts arise, before people bud into your “comfort zone,” you are outta there. Whew.
So I’ve had to deal with this. Many times in recent months, God has gently and clearly pointed out to me all these ways that I need to grow. And wow, it is so hard for my ego. I want to hide these weaknesses, or make excuses for them, or try to control them myself…but all of those roads are driven by pride and eventually lead to disappointment and failure.
And so I have to just accept the truth. I have to accept that while Jesus gives us victory over sin, each one of us will be fighting the battle until eternity — no exceptions. I have to accept that I can’t even change myself when I want to, but God — in His timing and way — will transform me more and more into His likeness as I seek Him. I have to accept that He loves me anyway…that it was never about me, that it was never something I deserved, that He loves me the same, even when the ugly things find their way out. And that kind of love, ironically, is what my heart was looking for all along.