Last night, I was desperately longing for a rescue from my own self. Maybe you’re living there too. For me, it was two and I was waiting for bedtime. I was up with my girl who couldn’t sleep. I wanted sleep, and more than that I wanted time with my husband who’s been so busy trying to keep the bills paid. And I was having ugly, griping thoughts that I would rather you not hear. Ugly filled my mind. Then I thought about my thoughts and I felt yuck. Pitiful and messy. Hopeless wreck, that’s me. With eyes closed and to the tune of my girl’s cries that went on, I said the only thing my sleepy mind could think of that felt like a rescue from the ugly wife and mother that I saw inside this head: God is on the throne.
The ugly is there and I hate feeling ugly. Ugly is often what my mind looks like and I know it well.
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)
But this is the beginning of another reason to press deeper into what Jesus did for me. Because though I have broken God’s law yet again, this is the truth for me: “You also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” (Romans 7:4) When I gave myself to Jesus, I let myself die so that I wouldn’t have to belong to the ugly person I saw inside me. I died so I could belong to Another.
The ugly I see inside me is an ugly person I carry with me, but that person has already died with Jesus. And since that person is dead, she has no ownership of me. “Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” (Romans 7:20) I hate the ugly me and I want to avoid her, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t live a day without seeing her.
That is why Jesus died. He is my rescue. He died so that this ugly person inside me could die. That ugly me will exist inside this body for all my time on earth, but the Romans killed her with Jesus on the cross. She lives inside me, but you know, she’s dead, and she has no say over me.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25)
It’s a truth I’ve been given to enjoy this week, a gift God sneaked to me through a shot at the dentist. That shot that numbed my face on Wednesday, made my mouth look a bit crooked, with one cheek bigger than the other. I really think it looks better in the pictures than it did in real life. And while it felt a little funny seeing the looks I got from people that day, it was also something that was fun to take pictures of because I knew I would only look that way for a little while. Because I knew that while that was in fact, my face, it wasn’t really my face. If I just remembered what I really looked like, or more importantly, who I really was, then my two-sided face didn’t really feel embarrassing.
And God used that to press me further into the freeing truth of who I really am. This is what He did for me. Despite any ugliness I see in my life on this earth, holy is who I am because that is what He is. He is the one who owns me and that is the most beautiful rescue from that ugly, old, dead, sinful me.
Maybe you need to be rescued from yourself today too. I get it. The sinful you is downright ugly just like the sinful me and that’s the truth. May we live in faith to hold tight to our lifeline today, “having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit.” (Romans 7:6)
Rest into Jesus and rejoice in who you are. Because in Him, you are downright beautiful.