But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, 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 on the basis of faith. (Phil 3:7-9, NIV)
I think I might be knowing true liberation. I think (but might be heretically wrong in thinking that) some Christians get it ‘roughly right’ the first time around – they submit from the outset and lead suitably holy lives, invariably with blips that to my mind would be nothing more than rounding errors. Their submission is abstract (- I stopped short of saying theoretical, which might be unfair -) and considered. And I suppose if Heaven kept score they would be duly rewarded – they chose to submit, in a sense, volitionally.
My lot seems to be different. I am submitting now, but arguably only because God has twisted me into compliance, like a crooked pipe. But this submission, because to a large extent compelled, is unmeasured and full-bodied. And so it happened that yesterday on the day of an important interview, my mind was occluded by guilt and accusation and my body weak with despair. And thence came a thought that hadn’t been familiar to me in far too long – God, this interview is something that the best of people will attend, in the best of conditions and with the best of preparations, and even they will be guarded about their chances of success. Yet all I can do is to drag my body to the venue – you have to do the rest.
The last time I felt this rending incapacity had been on the floor of my room at Exeter – the day after two exams I thought I had consecutively bungled. Having drained my eyes of tears I had prayed and wrung my soul of residual hubris, and felt comfortingly vacant. Yesterday I felt able to do that again. There remains a lot to be done with me – but at least I’m not standing in the way so much anymore