Read: “Courtney’s been lazy about her blog”. That’s only the partial truth, the self-deprecating side that often makes people laugh and puts them at ease; the other side of it is that I’ve been assessing my motivation in writing a blog at all. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how narcissistic I can be, how we all can be, and it made me wonder if keeping a blog was just feeding this self-focus. With things like Facebook, where we can present to the world a cleaned up picture of ourselves, it’s so easy to post something and think “dang, I’m awesome, why aren’t more people ‘liking’ and commenting on my posts?” Add to that Pintrest with its motivational posters that tell you how awesome you are and how crappy most everyone else is (men, “stupid” people, anyone who disagrees with you) and it feels as if we are setting up monuments to ourselves, begging others to validate and worship us, and bemoaning what we perceive to be a villainous lack of “deserved” attention.
I know this is true because I do it myself. Looking at my Facebook I’m actually bummed if it appears that no one has paid attention to what I consider to be my brilliant posts and the very thought of conflict has my stomach churning. Moreover, when I analyze the motivation to most of my actions, whether commendable or despicable, I realize that all are muddied by some desire to bring glory to myself, to make myself comfortable, to honor me. In this painful moment of clarity I crumble, knowing I’ll never be able to do anything with a truly pure heart, without that old man, my old sinful self, telling me about how much “x” will benefit me. I’m reminded of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, always debating with himself about what decision will get him what he wants, never making a decision because it is right, but because it will get him closer to the ring. He has a moment of the dim light of hope only to fall back into slavery to the precious. What’s the point then? I can’t even do good without dragging sin along with me!
“For the good that I want, I do not do…Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”
The beautiful thing is, when I find myself in this depth of despair, feeling utterly useless and contaminated, God doesn’t leave me there. He reminds me that this is the very reason I am in need of Him, that alone I wouldn’t even notice this tainted motivation, that I would stumble on like a zombie, dead flesh animated. But he reaches into my life and replaces my still heart with a beating one, beginning the change that will, one day in glory, make me holy. I like to think of it this way, to imagine someone placing a live heart into the body of the walking dead because I imagine the effects of the change might be slow. The zombie might look the same for a while, but the new heart would start to pump blood through its veins and day by day humanity would reveal itself. Old habits would be difficult to kick, beauty difficult to see at first, but the zombie would no longer be what it was before; a dead man walking.
So I’m still a healing zombie with tainted motives and a bad case of narcissism. I won’t be able to write or post on Facebook or do anything without the effects of sin, but God still calls me to do good, still calls me to use the talents He’s given me, and promises to sanctify me while I walk here on earth. I’m praying that I will begin to see a change in the attitude of my heart, that I will be humbled by God’s work, and that He will use what little I have to offer to bring His kingdom here on earth, but it’s only by His power that I can do so.
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
*Romans 7:19, 24, & 25