Let’s kick this week’s FSSP off with a little honesty… I completely forgot to read Galatians 2 last week.* So this morning I read both Galatians 2 and 3 to get caught up and kick things off right.
And man was I glad that I did. Because Galatians 2 is a pretty awesome little chapter. Such an awesome chapter, in fact, that I’m not even going to get to the topic of peace or Galatians 3 until tomorrow’s blog post. Galatians 2 has more than enough to cover today.
What struck me the most while reading it was this verse:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Galatians 2:20-21 (ESV)
This verse hit me particularly hard. And I know that it’s going to be difficult for me to sufficiently explain why, so try to follow me here. Many of you (at least those of you who know me in real life) have probably heard me describe this whole epilepsy thing as having to achieve 100% of your normal results (in work, life, relationships, etc.) with 80% of your normal resources (energy, memory, independent transportation, etc).
My default reaction has been to try harder. Think harder. Attack the problem from a new angle. Somehow use my mental and physical muscle to reach my normal 100%.
And I’ve failed at it. Different things slip depending on the day, but pretty much across the board I’m finding that I’m falling short of my normal standards.
I’ve been wrestling with that this week. I’ve found myself picking my way carefully along paths that I normally run down. My decisions have been less automatic. Everything seems to require more thought.
I have control issues in general** but this week the background theme to my life has been one of learning to loosen my grip a little. Slow down. Be flexible. Let things fall through the cracks if they have to.
The result has been that for the first time that I can remember (not that that’s a valid standard to go by these days), I can feel a little breathing room in between my self worth and the concept of 100% achievement. Apparently they are not, in fact, the same thing.
This lesson crystalized in my mind when I read Galatians 2:20-21 this morning. I love that phrase: I do not nullify the grace of God. To me this phrase translates as: Who I am is secure in Christ. Separate from the world. Separate even from my actions, in many ways. Certainly separate from my ability to achieve 100% perfection.
By remembering that these are separate I acknowledge a whole host of awesome things: what Christ did for me when he died, how uniquely and intentionally God made me who I am, how closely by my side God walks, how carefully he plans and direct my steps.
Only a fool would trade an identity rooted in these eternal, immutable things for one rooted in achievement. Especially (ironically?) if you can’t achieve things.
I know we’re supposed to be starting on peace today (and I will… later), but I find myself lingering on joy. This phrase—I do not nullify the grace of God—is on a loop running through my mind. It’s a rhythm pounding in my chest. And I am filled with gratitude and joy for what God has shown me this week about myself… about who He made me to be and where my value comes from.
*Side note #1: The phrase “completely forgot to…” is becoming a much too regular part of my vocabulary. See future post on the unexpected consequences of having zero memory.
**Side note #2: See future post on control issues and seizures. Possibly entitled “Seizures: Not Quite As Extreme As Smiting, But Kind of Similar.”