I can’t find ME in Humility!

You’ve emptied me in a new way, Lord. I don’t know what to think of Your activity this time. Am I okay? What are You doing? Can I trust You with a completely new thing?

I know I can, I just know at the same time that I don’t want to! I want You to be more understandable, nicely fitting into what I was already was hoping for. AGGH! This is hard. Waiting on You must become waiting for You. Am I really so far off from that?

I like to believe that I’m okay and You like to show me just how un-okay I am. You’re humbling me in ways I never expected. Most of my inclination is to just plead with You to stop. Somehow You hold onto my spirit, causing it to still blossom in Your presence.

I want a life that is far more happy than this. A humble heart does not seem to be worth all this! I want ease, not accountability. Popularity, not purity. Besides I can’t even see any fruits from this. If You’re going to do such a holiness-motivated work the least You could do would be to impress me with the great measure of reward I will receive from it.

But that would that really be part of humbling me successfully? Isn’t the point here for me to see my emptiness and the unreasonableness of my pride? How can that be accomplished if pride and its demands are yet acknowledged and shown great respect by Your Spirit? How can I expect my spirit and flesh to thrive at once?

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And…You’re Done!

Exactly 5 weeks ago God performed a miracle in my life. God told me He was done teaching me the lessons  He had for me to learn through a trial that lasted for:

Year One: 24+28+31+30+31+30+31+31+30+31+30+31 days

Year Two: 31+28+31+30+31+30+31+31+30+31+30+31 days

Year Three: 31+28+31+30+31+30+31 days

For a total of 2+6 months+23 days = 935 days

Math is not usually very important to me, but when it comes to the dates and times of my most personal and inescapable trial, every day counts and must be counted in my head. Every one represents a major contest that God and I were in; every one tells a story of how much I needed God and yet fought against Him; every one challenges me to continue wrestling with God with all I’ve got so that His win can encompass all of my losses.

It’s funny though, I thought when the trial was done and the lessons were complete, I would truly be done learning difficult lessons! I waited expectantly for my life to move on to pastures greener than I had known before because I was leaving behind the person who had no place for God in her life.

I thought living with God and surrendering to His plan in my life would get easier after I had the physical energy to rise in the morning and take possession of boundless opportunities. At least, I hoped it would.

Maybe it is easier in a way, it is certainly harder in others. I am in new territory now. Who is to say what God will do next? Who knows whether He will alter my life in any big ways at all? Maybe this is it. I am being returned to usual life experiences with (hopefully!) a new appreciation for them; a new eye for God in them; a new capacity to turn each one into worship.

Is that enough for me? I must confess, I believe I need more. What is worse, I don’t want to be taught otherwise. I don’t want to adjust to life as it is; I want life to adjust to me as I am. O Lord, I’m beginning to wonder if I really learned anything at all! I have to know, How have the lessons helped? Have they only been meant to teach me how frail and human and prone to be independent I am?

Somehow the lessons of a years-gauged trial, like any trial, are never enough to declare me eligible for the “sweet life” from here on out. They merely show off my weaknesses to humble me and display God’s grace to glorify Him. In light of that, I should move on, conscious of the next trial, with acceptance and peace. I have need of yet another great imposition. For, I have been moved considerably by the pressure of my last test, but now that I’m here I see that I have even farther to go.

Can I trust You in the stillness of my life?

Boredom seems to eat away at my soul–slowly depleting my hardy reserves of faith and hope and love. What is the matter, Lord? Why aren’t You doing the things You keep insisting You will? Why do You find it necessary to wait–especially when the echoes of this silence stifle my cries for an outbreak of divine commotion?

How could You fail to meet my expectations for a very exciting God in this moment of my life? I see You doing things, but I am left feeling like You are holding out on me. What is going on here? Do my senses lie or am I just not ready for what You’ve got planned next?

I don’t think I can bear much more stillness. My prayer muscles seem thoroughly fatigued: Could this mean the prayer-only stage of this process is coming to an end? I thought I was content with the routine You and I had going, but now You are switching everything up on me. I can’t really put my finger on anything, but my spirit is sensing a lot of “never-been-here-before” and “what-could-be-next…” And let me say that these spiritual syndromes really don’t feel all that fun right now!

I want to ask, “Couldn’t You give me more clues, Lord?” Since You know everything, isn’t it about time that You decided I could know the same? I’m impatient and weary. I would think everything should be all wrong because of these musings of mine, but yet all seems right on track–I just haven’t figured out which track that is yet.

Could You help; could You give me whatever it is You know I need right now? I don’t know how to ask any more. I have exhausted all that I know in the form of requests and suggestions. I need only grace and another glimpse of Your glory.

Brilliance is no component of the weak-hearted sinner

Brilliance is no component of the sinner; genius cannot be liberated except the heart be unleashed before it.

But, how can the heart be unleashed? Is it by freeing yourself from all your physical bindings and personal accountability? Is it something we can achieve by ourselves? Is it the work of self-exploration or religious commitment?

For most of us the first way (self-exploration) sounds far more fun and exciting than the latter (religious commitment). But, I don’t know why we would think that — unless we have an extremely stilted view of what religion (or living out one’s spiritual persuasion) includes.

Everything that we do is an element of religion — it is either man-made or God-made. The first is something to do that also makes us feel good about ourselves in a surfacey way, and the second is that process of releasing our souls from what prevents us from experiencing and sharing brilliance, even having genius.

We can do any part of nothing that we want to without God, but no part of everything.

 

I love how family works, even when it doesn’t seem like it does

When a family goes through struggles–even when it seems to be centered on the shortcomings or burdens of only one person in it–the unit is compressed and made more efficient and effective in its mission. Pressure on every one must present the possibility for every one to become a better member of that family, a better contributor to society and a better-engineered person.

The lessons taught in the context of familial adversity are never forgotten and have no end of application in our later lives. They mold us into who we become and raise examples in each of us for the others.

Here we learn to love like we would never need to if brought up in any lesser institution. Working together is also important not just for virtue but practical provision and advancement of the whole family.

I don’t know about you, but I have not always loved my family this way, or seen the advantages of living together in so tight a binding. I wanted to avoid the whole thing because there was pain here. I was unwilling to face it, so I tried to get away from all of it–the pain and the pleasure.

I thought I could find peace in other places–places where I had to work with less people, different people. I wanted new experiences that I could choose between and be in charge of myself. I thought I had better ways for how I should live than I had already seen. What God had for me felt like a vineyard that would always be ripe with the fruits of self-pity.

Family only works when family works together to make family work. It is not waiting for everyone else to come together, but investing our efforts in everyone we would normally insist invest in us first. That is why it is so good for me. It crushes my grapes–which I would normally turn into implements of wrath–and lets the juice nourish and serve my house-mates.

COMMe on you, this is about UNITY!

Community among believers must be one of the greatest aspects of our inheritance in Christ! Yet, it is not one of the things that I find it easy to embrace; instead, I resist its integration in my life with all my might.

Being closer with the Body of Christ and letting fellowship create an intersection between other parts of the Body and my part is something I really struggle with. I wish I could be really close with Christ and not have to also care about that intimacy translating over to other people who have Christ within them.

I would like to be alone, set apart from the world and people in such a way that I don’t have to do relationships. It bothers me so much that this isn’t God’s way.

After all, I always thought it was safer and more fruitful to have a life limited to just “me and Jesus”. I didn’t know (as a conviction in my heart) that I wasn’t getting the whole Jesus-package, and He wasn’t getting the whole me-package, if we weren’t being connected through His other followers.

I don’t like integrating with His other followers. For one thing, they’re not enough like Him to make me feel comfortable. For another thing, they will discover that I’m not enough like Him to make them always feel delighted to be in my presence! That, forgive me, is scary business!

So what motivation can I have to move forward with something that assaults my natural instincts for survival and success? Well, certainly none of it can come from me! God, do You think You could help here, I pray, I’ve got nothing. Worse still, I’m not even sure I want to have motivation for this. I would much rather pretend it’s no big deal. But because You are persistently making it a big deal, I really can’t ignore it. So, do what You want to do with me here. I know that I will praise You in the end when I discover in new and incredible ways that Your desires are best for me. You will make me see that You alone are what is True and Beautiful and Eternal.