Skip to content

When “I deserve chocolate and sleep”is a harmful attitude

June 30, 2016

sandra boynton chocolate sleep

The end of a long morning, and the little humans are finally down for a nap.
Creamy, sweet, enticing dark chocolate sitting in a basket on the counter.
I deserve it.
Gluttony.

//////////

 The breaking of dawn, with sleep broken at least once by a precious tiny bundle.
The precious tiny bundle wakes up again just as I am falling back to sleep.
I want sleep.  I need sleep.
I deserve it.
Shove my husband and complain that it is HIS TURN.

//////////

My heart hurt by confusing relationships.
Thirsting for vengeance.
Passive aggressive.
I deserve to feel this way.
Tense, teary, and fed up.

//////////

Another long, draining day spent caring for small humans.
Bored with my life.
I deserve more excitement than this.
Discontent.

*****

Jesus, holy and sinless, before the Jewish Sanhedrin, being accused of blasphemy and conspiracy.
Condemned to die, nailed to planks of wood, struggling to breathe, flesh torn in shreds, muscles exposed by Roman metal-tipped whips.
The night before, sweating drops of blood due to severe psychological stress (hematidrosis).

I deserve better than this.
Unleashes the wrath of God on all people present, ascends to heaven, where he ceases to care about the rebellious wretches that have broken his heart.

//////////

Oh, wait, the story doesn’t go like that, does it?

“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you.  Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:57, [Matt. 26:39, Luke 22:42])

And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh [to numb pain], but he did not take it. (Mark 15:23)

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?” (Mark 16:11, [Matt. 27: 46])

Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” (Luke 23:47)

 *****

Long days, short nights, little sleep.
Caring for tiny humans.
Tired of being an adult.
I need to get up and serve my children some breakfast.
I deserve to sleep.
The Spirit says: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34b)

Feet hit the floor.
Onward to the mundane adulting.
Same responsibilities as the day before, but without the stress.
Love.
Joy.
Indescribable Peace.

*****

This blog post was inspired by a conversation about honor-shame culture with my husband a few months ago. In such a culture, people are either honored or shamed, there is little or no in between.  I believe the best alternative is grace-humility culture.

In honor/shame culture, the goal of an individual is to accrue honor and avoid shame for themselves. Other people are either honored high on a pedestal beyond what is appropriate, or shamed mercilessly.  When individuals succeed, the honor becomes their identity, and their top priority is to preserve it. And when individuals fail and are unable to forgive themselves because honor is so important, the shame becomes their identity.

What I described above is my instinctive struggle to honor myself (“I deserve this good thing”) and how it sucks the life out of me.

What Jesus exemplified, and what the church should exemplify with the help of the Holy Spirit, is humility-grace culture. Jesus exemplified humility in giving up all the good things he truly deserves. He came to earth and allowed himself to be killed unjustly, to pay the price for our self-centeredness (See Philippians 2).  And God shows us grace by accepting us as we are, rekindling a relationship with us, and gradually transforming us by the power of his Spirit to be holy like him (See Hebrews 4:16).

How do we see ourselves and others in humility-grace culture? In humbling ourselves, we allow God to transform us. We let go of the “I deserve honor” complex and adopt the servant heart of Christ. In serving God and others, we find joy and peace. We do not idolize our fellow humans, because that would be giving them honor they cannot maintain.  And we also accept God’s grace for our shame.  We release our shame because Jesus paid for it. And Christ’s holiness becomes our identity even though we continue to struggle with our fallen nature before heaven. Because of the grace we have experienced, we forgive, love, and befriend others unconditionally. We invite others into that same grace of Christ.

The last scene I described above was when God’s example of humility touched my heart and gave me the ability to serve in a difficult situation and experience joy. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy chocolate anymore or ask for help with my children so that I can get some sleep.  It means I seek to trust God and act in humility. I have known Mark 8:34 at least half of my life, and yet I needed the Holy Spirit to touch my heart with it in a new way. I am thankful he is not finished working on me (Philippians 1:6).

*****

My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky- when my knees hit the ground

-Hillsong United

Picture credit: http://dragonfire1.50megs.com/Boynton/images/linens/bpl007.jpg

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: