Being holy seems like such a big deal. Such a big, impossible deal.
Holy. The word itself has this strange weight to it. Like an all-encompassing, great, big, whole thing that we are aspiring to be. Perfect and holy.
But if anyone else feels like admitting it, let’s just say it together: I feel anything but holy sometimes.
I don’t know where to even begin with trying to be perfect. I’m so messed up sometimes, so unstable in my emotions and so selfish with my time and so irrational in my thoughts.
On a Tuesday night, I may feel full of love and peace and self-control, and by Wednesday morning I am scrubbing bacon grease off a pan and feeling depressed and swearing under my breath about the nail I just broke.
If I am wholly anything, I am wholly a mess.
And sometimes I just come to God like this. Sometimes I just spew up all my failings and insecurities because that whole “juggling performance of improvement efforts” has finally started to feel as ridiculous as it was in the first place. In those times, my mouth speaks confession but my frustrated spirit grumbles under its breath, “what do you want from me?”
It’s never what I expect.
God is hardly ever what I expect, and I’m starting to really love that about him. Just when I think I’ve got this whole Christianity thing ironed out, I realize I’m just getting started in so many ways.
He’s good like that, isn’t He? He keeps the path ahead of us barely lit so we don’t get too intimidated and exhausted by the journey. It’s only when we start trying to fix ourselves into perfection and focus on “how far we have to go” that it seems like too much.
And when I come to Him like this, when I let go of my pride and fears and insecurities and everything else that makes me want to get perfect now, I finally begin a quiet conversation about what it is He wants from me.
Usually, the first thing is “settle down.” Which feels good.
He reminds me that Holy is not something I’m trying to be, it’s something I am. I’m holy because He’s holy. I’m good enough because He says so, and what He says goes.
And the second thing is almost always a simplifier. A word. A focus. A small task for us to work on — together.
It’s like when my four-year old daughter wants to dress herself in the morning and she’s got one skinny leg in a pair of jeans and both her arms tangled up in a sweater at the same time and she’s mad about it. I fight giggling, straighten her out and whisper, “One thing at a time, Darlin’.”
I feel like God the Father looks at me in my tangled, tired mess and just smiles:
One thing at a time, Darlin’.
Because I’m His child. His girl. And we’re His people. His kids!
Isaiah 35 talks about a Highway of Holiness that God’s people get to walk and it’s a safe place — a stable road, cutting through the wilderness, where ravenous beasts cannot devour us and where burning sands turn into pools of water. It shall belong to those who walk on it and we will not go astray – even in our foolishness!
As God’s people, the way of holiness belongs to us.
The Highway of Holiness is our privilege to walk and when He whispers into our hearts about that Way, about the things He wants us to be and do and change, we are blessed.
Maybe it’s thankfulness, maybe it’s joy. Maybe it’s contentment or quiet or humility. Whatever it is, it’s like a road sign on that Highway, pointing the way. Keeping us safe.
We don’t have to be scared of how hard it is to be holy because we are holy. We are already on that Highway and we can call it ours.
We are His people and He is taking us to Zion, one day at a time.
And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.