I made a mistake last week. I didn’t practice what I preach.
I planned out my month, set the budget, and got lazy. I didn’t make adjustments and sooner, rather than later, money vanished. Fortunately there were no bank runs, there were no stock crashes. Just a card declined and a sense of awkwardness that would ensue. I did not have the power to print off money and sadly Ben Bernanke did not come to my rescue. Instead, it was the realization of screwing up and the necessity of pulling from an emergency fund.
The moments of despair rolled into anger. Anger at myself. I screwed up.
It wouldn’t be too big if I didn’t feel like a hypocrite. See, I talk to people about getting control of their finances. I talk to people about getting on the Dave Ramsey plan and grabbing hold of their financial life. But here I was, flat on my face.
Who else can relate?
In case you don’t know, I’m messed up. Seriously. I am flawed, so very flawed. When I think that I have it all together, I learn (usually the hard way) that I’m not even close. I write and speak about my faith, yet I am still all too aware that I am a work in progress.
The life of a Christ follower is a lot like a long distance runner. You have moments of feeling great, and then those moments are replaced with feelings of, well, less than great. You go faster, and then slower. You get the second wind going down a hill, and then suddenly pains show up. Your emotions goes up and down for miles.
St. Paul would capture this along similar lines. He would state how he does what he ought not to do and he doesn’t do things he ought to do! Paul then cried out desperately in Romans 7 “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
Paul the apostle, a wretch, then follows with a glorious exclamation: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” It is in Jesus that we can place our trust. It is in Jesus that we can rely on the fact that when I fall and fail, I know that I am redeemed because of what He has done. It is not because what I do or what I have done. It is his gracious act of redemption.
So when I screw up, I know that the Lord is still there. He will save the wretch that I am. So I will shout along with Paul, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” For it is when I fall, Jesus is there to help me back up.