I still feel broken, but if You’ll take it as my token…

Pain sears my heart, but still…
You’re here.
You aren’t stopping the bad news from coming
my way
but with every cut it makes in my
heart’s armour
there is an incision You use to feed
my soul.
Light pours into me that I could not
live in
this darkness without.
The unsettledness…
all feels too crippling to ever let go its hold
on me.
But in all the insecurity of facing what I
can’t change,
You’re setting my focus on the
binding cords
Your love has wrapped
me in.
You are true in all my trials,
and sometimes
I need uncomfortable pressure like this
to move
me into deeper places than I would go
without it.

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Will you stop thinking of yourself!!

I’m having a hard time not obsessing over myself right now. I did something wrong and I want to make amends for it. I want to somehow cancel it out. I really want, more than anything, to forget it happened. I talked to God about it before I went to bed. He knew my heart–how I was sorry and wanted Him to change my heart that I might not sin in this way again. But He also knew the fears that I had regarding the future of my relationship with the person I sinned against. He knew I needed peace–to be reminded of the gospel–before I could ever move on and experience renewed growth.

He told me All is right with you, meaning that He has already forgiven my sins at the cross and there claimed the power to give me the victory over them. He was instructing me to let go of the guilt I was vainly using to scourge myself. The truth that I most needed right then–and He provided–is that Christ is the only one who can reconcile my defiled deeds. I, the defiled and defiling one, can never truly make amends for my offenses to Him or other people. He had to make amends on my behalf.

I think, as liberating as that is, it’s a hard truth to accept. How can it really not be more about me? I wonder. I’m grateful that God’s intervention would offer me hope, but in some ways I’m unwilling to fully receive it. If I do, I’m saying that my actions–even my misdemeanors–are not final; they are not complete. God’s actions can still trump them. My pride finds that irreconcilable with my Elaine-centered theology. The real problem is that I don’t want my theology to be changed so that I can better agree with the truth of God’s Word. I want the two of them to sort of coexist. I don’t want to let go of my truth to accept God’s truth.

What I’m really saying here is that I will live with the discomfort that my theology occasionally gives me when it is challenged by God’s theology. I will stick with it to the end because it gives me a sense of power that I cannot deny. In fact, I know that God’s theology does not offer me the same power. Yes, it calls me a person of dignity and free will, but it does not apply to my fleshly longings for me-centric power. Rather, the power it recognizes in me ultimately affirms God and His sovereign power over me. What power I do have comes from Him. While there is some glory in what God has given me, I don’t like not being left on top. I want to be revered as the sole hinge on which the universe swings.

I’ve been realizing, as I think this through, that from God’s end, my chief sin is not the actions I committed against that person yesterday, but the inclination of my spirit towards Him that He is exposing today. My resistance of His dominant glory is the real part of me that needs to be changed. This is the area that He draws my attention to because this is the area of my heart that I least want to acknowledge. More than a wrong action, it convicts me of sin in a way that identifies my whole person in the wrong. I may want Him to change my behavior, but I really don’t want Him to have anything to do with this part of me. Therefore, I want Him to be lenient–that is, agreeably tolerant of the sin He would address in my heart. I want Him to make allowance for the fact that this is just the way I am.

I guess this is a prime example of how sin is not neutral and we cannot be neutral about it either. If I am to agree with God that my sin needs to go, I must agree with Him all the way. I cannot just say with my lips a confession that amounts to Oh I’m such a sinner. Yes, isn’t it terrible? If bemoaning my sin is only as far as I get in the adjustment process, then I must make every effort to cease bemoaning what I’ve seen of my sin, in order to act rightly about it. I must acknowledge it and confess it. I must thank God for the forgiveness He granted at the cross and ask for the grace to live worthy of such a gift. I must see in myself the root of selfishness that wants all attention focused on me, even if it is negative. I must not let this turn spirituality into a mockery of the Savior who bought the pardon for my sin. Then I must use my will to set my thoughts on Christ and exalt Him and His glories instead of setting my thoughts on myself and exalting in the glories I have relative to self.

Only by thinking of Christ first will I be able to turn from thinking of myself. It is when He becomes the constant object of my thoughts that I do not sin in the way I focus. When I am directionally righteous, the actions I take follow. Therefore, God, have all of me while I endeavor to have all of You. I don’t want to stop at passively being pulled in to thinking of my errors or my victories again and again. Humility does not have its completion in studying the damages report of my latest sin; rather, it is summed up when I confess my sin and then turn from it to You, the only One I trust to deliver me from it. Then I exalt You because I know Your power has always been greater than both my sin and my righteousness. That is when my thoughts are in the right place.

 

What do I want with a recycled gift?

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes I think it is optional for me to trust God. Mind you, I never consider it an optional thing for God to give me information and understanding about the mysteries in my life. But I don’t see this as a contradiction.

My expectations for God are lengthy and precise. I want to know He’s listening and I want to get His answers. I want to be satisfied with those answers, and I don’t want to be disappointed. I want everything to go perfectly (understandable) because He’s in charge and I don’t want any long, unexplained periods of waiting.

And yet, today I find myself in one. It is not that this is a new discovery–I’ve been in this place for a while now–it is just not something that I expected to experience in my walk with God. At least not at this point.

I’ve waited before, but it was different then. In those former times, the shelter I found in God was something I easily equated with the beautiful promise/explanation He gave me. When I became discouraged He would remind me of His word to me and I would be strengthened. And because He consistently brought it back to me, I was enabled to walk through things that my own vision declared to be very disadvantageous for me.

But, while I am thankful for that gift being given to me at that time, it is not something that God is offering to me at this time. Instead, He is giving me the opportunity to grow beyond living according to the bluntness of my own knowledge and understanding. He is teaching me to acknowledge and trust His knowledge and understanding, even when I do not have the opportunity to see into them as deeply as I could wish.

I am learning that I can be okay even in the midst of this. I’m finding joy in trusting that God has not forgotten me just because He’s not telling me everything He is doing with me. I want to know that; I groan for those answers, but I wait. They are not what I need most right now.

Many times I do not even know what that need is, but I come asking and gratefully receiving what He gives. It may not be what I identified in my heart as the biggest obstacle to my happiness, but it is what He has identified in His heart as the biggest generator of the happiness He wants to fill me with.

Can you and I just hold onto that? Can we just let go of the gifts that fortified us in other seasons and receive the more solid things God is giving us for hope-formation today?

Wikipedia: Sufijo que entra en la formación de palabras con el significado de: I Acción y efecto: cese, corte, tueste.

I hate how much I still believe the Liar!

Have you ever had a problem in which you  were trying to make spiritual ends meet and it just wasn’t working for you? I know I have. The reason I’m writing this so early is that I am struggling with that right now.

I am dealing with a strong temptation to let go of God so I can hold onto something else. So often I’ve been so blindsided by anxiety, so caught up in the emotional values of the fearful thoughts communicated to me by my enemy that I have not recognized the ultimate trajectory of the heart-attack.

You see, my enemy (Satan) doesn’t care whether I get disgusted in a huff of discontent, lose my peace in a wave of doubt or surrender my hope to a barrage of fear. All he wants is for my heart to be at some level disconnected from God. He doesn’t care about the rest.

I want to grow in realizing that every temptation that Satan bombards me with is a call to be consumed. A strong suggestion for me to call into question God’s right to fully dwell in my heart. He asks, What is He really doing for you? As if I should just throw out the very idea of Him because I have reason to believe He’s just not “doing it” for me.

I hate that lie! And I need to grow to hate it more. Oh, that the love of God would have such sway in my heart that the outward call to abandon Him would be the bitterest trial I could face!

I should have more than this, you know!

For a long time I thought that I deserved a happy life. In some respects mine could be considered okay, but in too many others it was more trying than I wanted to learn how to handle. So I looked around at people who were comfortably well-off in departments of ease and comfort and harmony and sent God another withering reproof: “I should have more than this, you know!”

I searched in vain to discover what was so horrible about me that God should not have compassion on me and deliver me from burdens I seemed born to carry. I wanted to find that one thing that He expected me to fix before He would love me according to my needs. Instead, I became more in tune to all my shortcomings and determined that I had no hope of God ever feeling close or comforting. If I wanted anything from Him, work would be the only course that I had hope of exploiting.

Needless to say I went from questioning God to being bitter against Him. I no longer needed to hear His answers — they would only hurt me more. Besides, I had been in this tattered web of a life for long enough to know that most likely God did not intend to just break the whole thing down and start again.

Back then I didn’t know God in a positive way, in a trusting way — a way that I could be certain of everything He said in His Word was true for me too. If I had, I could have been certain that God only allowed my pain because He could be sovereign even over the sins of others in my life.

Even as He began to show me this, I didn’t care; I wanted God to look loving without pain. I wanted Him to become dear because He had somehow changed from the defeating deity that I saw when the words on sacred pages drew pictures of His ways. I didn’t want to believe that there had never been anything wrong with God; that I was the reason there existed a rift between us. I wanted to hear, “Elaine, I know I messed up; I’ll fix it.” Instead I got, “Elaine, I cannot make mistakes; I will make you understand what I am doing and then you will love me — I am taking the blinders off now, just let go.”

With no where else to go, I wrestled with God over everything He said and did to me — but He has never stopped pressing me to move beyond what I know to what He knows, and this is how I know that He is the only reason that I can see Him as I do now.