Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I am not being too hard on myself when I say that I failed at most of my endeavors today. I made error after error after error in school. I seemed to disappoint one person after the next in my personal life. I said things I should not have said. I did things I should not have done. I thought things I should not have thought. And I was fully convicted at each turn. Oh how I hate to be confronted by the stark reality of my own fallibility. I much prefer being a success.

There is a fine line, isn't there? On the one side, when I am feeling successful, I am self-satisfied and proud. I have a sense of accomplishment. On the other side, when I blow it, I am self-loathing and ashamed. I have a sense of failure. Notice that on either side, the focus is SELF.

Why do I bounce between these two awful prisons when, in reality, I have been set free from both. My purpose in life is not to impress people or to achieve greatness or even to please God. God made me to have relationship with Him. To trust Him. To be loved by Him. To know Him. And to make HIS name great. Nevertheless, I thirst for approval.

I think I have become addicted to human approval. I have an unhealthy need for feedback, affirmation, and adoration. In my American life I got strokes at every turn. I now realize that I designed my life that way. I surrounded myself with people who thought I was great and I found my identity in their kindness to me. I may have even fooled myself into believing that I somehow deserved it. That's a lot like folding dirty laundry; that is to say, I gave something filthy the appearance of being something clean. Yuck!

Well, I guess you could say God is weaning me from my need for approval. Here in France I am desperately lonely, isolated from not only friends and family, but also from myself. Yes, from MYSELF. I am isolated from myself because everything that I was good at and known for in the United States has been stripped away from me here. I used to be speaker. Here I converse at the level of a 4 year old with a bad speech impediment. I used to be a teacher, here I am a student. I used to do things that made me feel important. Here I do things that make me feel stupid. My identity is gone. It is gone because I found my identity in me instead of in Jesus.

I think I am just beginning to learn what it means to say, "I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no linger live...." Crucified. That just does not sound fun.

Fortunately, that verse comes with a BUT. A wonderful, glorious, redemptive BUT. A BUT that defines the very life I have be given by grace.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Galatians 2:20

I am going to be honest with you. I don't really WANT to be "crucified with Christ." On the one hand, it is easy to ask for the sinful parts of me to be crucified. I am happy to let my failures get nailed to the cross. But on the other hand, I try to cling to my "righteous" parts: My speaking ability, my passion for teaching the Bible, my general charm and likability. These are the things to which I cling. Then I remember what God has to say about my so-called righteous parts. Isaiah 64:6 says, "all our righteous acts are like filthy rags." In other words, all that stuff I thought I was good at, all those things that brought me praise and affirmations, the very BEST that I can do it, when compared to God's goodness, is a soiled rag. Why would I want to cling to a soiled rag?

Here is the deal, to be crucified with Christ means that I get to hang today's failures on the cross, but it also means that all the trophies I have collected through the years get hung there, too. That's hard for me, nevertheless, I say with Paul:

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. Phil 3:7-9

Oh Jesus, make it so!


  1. I am thankful more I am relieved more than you know after reading this blog entry. I have been having such a time with my life over here. Much love and blessings to you and may God continue to work through you for His goodness and grace.

  2. Jenn,

    I only just stumbled upon your blog and find myself so identifying with your post "Crucified." Actually, I doubt that "just stumbled" is very accurate - God has been bringing so many voices into my life in the last few weeks, all of which seem to be saying the same things - and quoting from Philippians! It's no surprise at this point that a woman ministering in France should reach me here in CA. Thank you for sharing your reflections and for your honesty.

    Your blog caught my eye because you are in France. I took two years of French recently. I think you are doing very well if you are getting along on a four year old level! I found learning a new language very difficult. I never got to the speaking part. God's sheer grace got me through those classes.

    God Bless you as you live and minister in France, and elsewhere as you write.