Check out Laura Dupper's personal blog here.
Her latest entry will knock your sweater off. Read it here (or below).
Why we all need new sweaters this winter.
The familiarity of sin patterns is haunting. It’s haunting and it’s taunting, for lack of a better rhyme.
One of the trickiest things that it does to me is put me in a place of defeat. It makes me monitor, measure, and judge my spiritual growth. It makes me wary of the reality of God’s presence that exceeds my earthly understanding of approval. When I believe in defeat in my life, it means I am forgetting the truth of who I am. And there is this nostalgia in the way we believe lies. A remembrance in our hearts that rebuttals, no, mercies are not new every day. You have not grown. You know what– count yourself back at square one because your spirituality should only grow upwards and it should only grow linearly– perhaps even exponentially. This recounting boots us back to the home space with no cards and no money.
I’ve lived my day back stuck in the square one that I’ve placed myself in, equipped with a full-blown list of why I’m there, what I have done wrong today, what lies I have believed. First, I refused to move, claiming I had lost my turn and I would try tomorrow. Then I decided, no, God is able. Today is His. I proclaimed it with my lips, but I chose to be haunted by the unbelievably aggravating repetition of the lies I was believing. When I refuse to believe in my heart that God is able, I default to having to be able enough for myself. So it turns into a dizzying attempt at carrying my own weight. It turns into the sobering realization that when I am not allowing myself to be wrapped in grace, I’m standing alone in the cold wearing a badly knit sweater, 4 times too small. I’m exposed, and the effects are blistering. And my persistent thoughts demean me from their unnecessary standard of perfection. My thoughts patronize my true self, and they leave me colder than my Father would ever allow me to be.
No, my good, good father has never thought badly of me. He has never sent me back to square one. He has never claimed defeat over my life. He doesn’t monitor my spiritual growth. He doesn’t categorize my days. He doesn’t compare me with my brothers and sisters. He doesn’t rank me according to my performance. No that’s me. That’s our world. It’s never Him. There is absolutely nothing I could do, absolutely nothing that anyone, anywhere could do, that would change His immense love for me. (Romans 8:38-39)
When I forfeit my trust in this truth, I give way to my deficiencies and try to pin my hope to them. I try to pin the weight of my hope to an insufficient source– to a badly made sweater I should have given up years ago. I don’t want to get used to the cold. I don’t want to grit my teeth and bare it. I want to be covered, fully and completely.
My ratty, old scrap I try to pass as covering was created by my hurt, my distrust, my sin, and yet I choose to cling to it because it is nostalgic, it gives the illusion of comfort. But it’s my clinging on to this scrap that is keeping me from the warmth of His all-consuming, all-covering, all-comforting love. And I don’t want my shivering, my pride, and my apathy to keep me from the truth of who He is and who He has died to be to me.
So may we be people who recognize the inadequacy of our badly made hope, of our faulty defaults that keep us from the warmth of His love. It’s sweater season, folks, and I’m ready to let go and wrap up.