I connect with Paul's words in Romans 7: (using the Message so not sure which verses these would be considered)
The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead.
17-20But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
21-23It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
24I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?
Paul goes on to write that the answer is Jesus and what he writes after this, sums up everything I feel right now:
25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. *bolded italics mine*
As soon as I decide to follow Christ, as soon as I decide to die to self - as soon as I try to be obedient to what God lays on my heart - I feel so pulled the other way that I feel like two totally different people in one body.
Because I've been trying to work at least all my scheduled shifts at my parents store, the kids haven't been sleeping, and I am wired when I come home that I'm up until at least 2 am before I can start winding down - I am now consistently exhausted.
And I'm frustrated - there are so many things I want to be doing right now - from working on homemade gifts like frames, scrapbooks, etc for family and friends, to in depth theology study, to activities for the kids, and any volunteer work I can make time for at GP - and yet I cannot do them. My exhaustion is getting the better of me.
Last night, as I watched over the register while Eric went to assist a customer with car troubles, I pulled out my "Shepherding a Child's Heart" book to read - and was frustrated by what I read. The author, Pastor Tedd Tripp reminds parents that this season is short and precious and therefor everything else must be sacrificed during this season - from tv, hobbies, and even volunteer work at your local churches. I was aghast - I can totally work on less tv, even try not to blog as much so that I can either sleep, do chores when the kids are asleep rather than blogging, but to stop volunteering at GP or in general for good things? That crushes me - besides the fact that God instilled within me this need to serve others (yes even when exhausted) - my legalistic heart crushes me with overwhelming guilt. I must serve - and because I'm not always the most decisive, I must serve in like 20 different areas (lucky for me, I'm not serving in many areas right now - but more than 2 is really in all logic too much for me if I want to give min 100% to each one).
So my disobedience grows. My discontentment with myself grows. My frustration grows. And finally, I realize it's been awhile since I've studied my Bible - not just opened up a devotional and read it, or read my 15 minute reading in the One Year Bible - but really studied to investigate God's message for my personal life in His Word.
And of course, there is the guilt. In my head, I know that when people go through times that are uncomfortable, they need to keep their focus on Jesus and they will grow and stretch. Yet, I fail and I get so mad at myself. You know, like when you get that pop quiz back and see that you missed that one question you know the answer to, yet somehow put down the wrong thing? I know that when I hit hard times, to cling to Jesus, focus on Him, immerse myself in His Word and heed His guidance - yet I continue to miss the mark. Then I think to myself and God, "Give me a retest! Let me try again!" and of course because of His goodness and grace, whether it be the next minute, hour, day, or month - He gives me that millionth chance to get it right and still I screw it up.
I can only take comfort from Romans 3:24 (thanks Oswald Chambers for bringing this verse to my attention this morning!) "and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." I hate that I continue to fail my pop quizzes - but I can only have faith, that eventually Christ in me will get it right, and my little bit of self that keeps tripping me up will finally be dead - at least for a little while - maybe I can get a nap in? ;)