Cowardice and Conviction

Have I mentioned that I’m a coward? I choose to be honest about my life, beliefs, and failures and choose to do so through an anonymous blog, and yet even here I find myself beginning to worry about what kind of reputation I’m starting to build.

Will people who read this blog think well of me? Will they judge me for my flaws? Will they respect me for my positions? Do I come across as intelligent and learned? Is it clear that I think deeply about important things? Even though I’m completely anonymous here, I still worry about these questions and a thousand others. Even anonymously I have to convince myself to be honest! What if I accidentally offend someone? What if something I write is taken the wrong way?

Still, I started this blog so that I could journal about my thoughts, desires, fears, and… well, I had a fourth when I began this sentence. I wanted to be honest with myself, and that is often the most difficult person to be honest with. I have this view of myself as an intelligent, scholarly, kind, caring, selfless person (and I can say for sure that the last adjective at least is completely false) who seeks after Christ and always puts other before himself. I want to see myself as good and lovable (I think we all do really), or I want to see myself as a worthless, miserable bastard who’s completely selfish and doesn’t give a wit what anyone thinks of me.

Of course, neither of these images is true. I am fairly intelligent (though probably not as smart as I like to think), and I do try to be kind, caring, and selfless. I’m a pretty good sport, and I’m fairly hard to offend, but I’m also a selfish, needy, know-it-all. And, as I mentioned at the beginning, I’m a coward. I’m too much of a coward to generally even admit to myself that I’m a coward.

I fail to focus on Christ every single day. Sometimes I start off well, but inevitably my focus falls away from Christ. I get obsessed very easily, and it tends to be pretty hard for me to get my focus back where it belongs. Ultimately, truth is, I fail repeatedly in every possible way and I am desperately in need of God’s work in my life to make me… even someone worth knowing.

The thing is, I think that all of us (if we’re really honest) will say this about ourselves. Much as we like to convince ourselves that we’re good people, ultimately we’re not. We’re wicked people who are lucky to have anyone in our lives. We’re wicked people who are lucky to have a God who loves us enough to put up with us, and ultimately it’s that love that we’re trying to live up to!

This is what I was trying to say yesterday, I think. My focus should be on God because it is God who is the source of my every good and my every joy. Whenever my focus trends away from him, I find myself listless and unsatisfied, endlessly rushing headlong after whatever job or woman or thing I think will make me worth something. But there is no job (not even teaching at Harvard or Oxford), and there is no woman (not even this lady I like) that can make me worth something. Why? Because they have exactly the same problems that I do! They fail… repeatedly!

Remember the story of Peter when Christ came traipsing across the sea of Galilee. As long as Peter kept his focus on Christ, kept his trust in Christ, he waltzed across the waves. However, as soon as Peter let his focus drift away, and tried to make his own way, the waves overwhelmed him and he dropped headlong (… well, probably footlong if we’re going to be literal) into the water.

There are always going to be plenty of problems waiting to drag us down into the deep. Whether they be bills or promotions or demotions or rejections… it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is to keep your eyes on Christ, and let him bring you everything that he knows you need.