Hey there folks. It's a beautiful October Monday; a new day. The weather has gotten colder and yet the sun is bright and full. It's a paradox of sorts. But isn't much of life? It's been a while since I've had the chance to write about the parts of my soul that breathe new life into my dry bones. I hit a wall of frustration a few weeks back. Frustration from a keen awareness of my wrong motives, frustration from chains that were still holding me captive, frustration by feeling like I couldn't fit the broken pieces together once again. I have been on a journey since to seek after that for which my spirit so longs. A journey to let go of things that might be a hindrance and to pursue that which I desperately crave above all else: Jesus. And yet, alas, I have discovered a renegade soul within this rebellious heart of mine. My spirit pushes me forward inch by inch, step by step, mile by mile towards my King and yet my flesh tries with all of its might and loud, interfering noise to push me away toward something, anything, but this.
Prone to Wander
Do you ever wonder how you could be so complex? I know without question that God has created within my spirit this deep desire to know and to be known by Him. Most times I don't understand this desire He has given me for Him. It's like no matter how weary the road gets, how intense the temptation becomes, how "easy" the other path appears, or how angry I am at Him (at times), something still propels me onward. Sometimes this relationship with God is rich and full, other times its challenging and frustrating. One minute I am ready to lay everything down and love Jesus completely and totally with reckless abandon; the other my flesh is keenly aware of this gradual process of dying to self and wages war. Isn't this the epitome of the human struggle? Our fickle hearts and wayward emotions would place us anywhere but at the mercy seat of Grace and Love. Yet this Love is the strongest force in all of Heaven and Earth. Once you are His, truly His, this force becomes all consuming until all we can say is, "I Give in. You win." As the lyrics from Lecrae's "Give In" so accurately convey:
"Cause you're pullin me in like a tornado wind
and I can't pretend
I tried leavin'
But your love's so strong
And it won't let go
You're holdin' on to me."
The road less traveled
The Christian road is not an easy and road block free one and I think this is why many abandon their faith along the way. I will be the first to admit that sometimes this seems appealing. At times it appears that it would be much easier to continue to give in to myself, pursue selfish desires, and forget about the "least of these". I think, "God, I am weary. Sacrifice is hard. I am weak." But our God is a god of change. He isn't content with merely saving our souls (which is amazing in and of itself). No, he also desires to redeem, restore, and redefine the broken places in His children. Where we can get tripped up is by holding on tightly to our chains. We feed them over and over until they become like a boa constrictor around our lives. God says, "I have a better way. Follow me." The lie(s) say, "This way is comfortable and familiar. This way has worked for you. Why would you change it now? You don't know what lies ahead that other way." God changes us because he loves us and doesn't want to leave us in our brokenness. As Lecrae says in "Boasting":
"I volunteer for your sanctifying surgery.
I know the Spirit's purging me of everything that's hurting me."
I want to be a surrendered heart before God but I know that each new stage of giving myself more deeply to Him will be met with increased temptation. A pastor once said, "Chances are, if the enemy isn't after you, then you are walking alongside him." So we should be encouraged when we find ourselves weary on our quest for doing good for we know that our reward is great. 9 "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (Galatians 6:9 NKJV). I am convinced by now that I gain the most in this life when I lose myself and the things I so tightly cling to.
The Sweet Honeycomb of Grace
I was deeply encouraged last week and yesterday by the reminders of a friend and my husband. My friend Nicki reminded me last week that I am most own worst critic and the only one that is putting unrealistic demands on myself. This simple yet profound wisdom reminded me once again that I am never the one doing the heavy lifting. I am not the one sanctifying; that's all God. I just need to be faithful and realize that He has me exactly where He wants me and doesn't expect me to get it all overnight. He was faithful in the past, He will be again. Further, it was through tears yesterday for feeling like a failure in my faith because I still wrestle with my flesh that my sweet husband Don reminded me, "Your spirit is stronger than you think it is. I see it shining through and winning out." Ahh those words were like a sweet dripping honeycomb of grace. Isn't it funny how so often we sees ourselves much differently than others see us? I think if more people understood, I mean truly understood, the love that God has for them, and the way He views our lives, this world would be a different place. God is for us, not against us. A growing revelation of this characteristic has been both awe inspiring and healing to me. Only through a very real understanding of God's love, not His judgement, can a person be truly willing to have a surrendered heart before Him. And only through the knowledge of His great Grace can we propelled to love ourselves and others well. So I am reminded once again, that it is always God pursuing me, fixing me, refining me, loving me, and forgiving me and none of this is of myself. He loves my renegade soul and the ways He's using that soul for my ultimate good and His glory.
May you be encouraged on your journey. You are not alone. None of us have arrived. None of us are perfect. Thank God for grace.