Fear. It is a powerful animal. It keeps us from a great many things both personally, professionally and interpersonally. It keeps me quiet and my family doesn't know what is going on under my skin...that they just played main character in but I want them secretly to read my mind. But I can't read others, so I have this double standard. I need to open my mouth and ask for what I need. But fear of speaking keeps it in. Fear of appearing weak and needy, fear of failure, of appearing to "clingy", fear of rejection, just fear. The mind is a great and dreadful place all at once.
We can fail and strike out before we even venture out of our own mind!
We can indeed be our own worst enemy. Especially when it comes to God's gifts in our lives. Yes, every last one of us has graciously and indubitably been granted a great many gifts and talents. Abilities we know we carry, and maybe some we do not even see as gifts. Such as the gift of positivity, many don't know they have it but it is a special gift. These people keep a light in their eyes when things are desperate, they can't stand negativity in too great of form, it saps their unique ability to have and bring sunshine to others. I need these positive people around me.
The opposite of this gift of life and joy is fear. If we are afraid or wounded we self-protect our scars. We don't want to be hurt again, we are living in a state of fear and panic. This is not the love and sound mind that Christ wants for us. Our gifts cannot be used for others or benefit ourselves (of course not the primary reason for gifts to make us feel good, but an additional benefit for us is this joy we gain to be used by God and help others). So from the place of learning as God teaches us something new, freeing our mind, unleashing a new truth, let us not set down these "boxes" before we "move back into real life". Sometimes after we attend an event, hear a teaching or are just encouraged and we are all pumped up initially, seeming ready to conquer the world but we get back to the threshold of "normal life" and low and behold it is so easy to set down those "boxes of learning" to get back inside where we came from. We have to set down some things to fit back into our old style of life. In doing that we really set down a great task, a great harvest we have in store by faith to see, the honor to act on God's revelation taken from the secret place to action in real life. From the place of the supernatural to this natural world. The God-confidence and trust to carry the weight into life requires a little uncomfortable feeling on our part at first, after all- we are doing what is impossible (only by God's mighty hand).
For those that have mastered this learning and carrying of boxes it can appear to others of us like a well used chalkboard. The teachings of life leave a dust, an essence, kind of like the Rabi's trail in the dusty desert. His followers followed so closely to Him they had the dust from His feet on their own feet. The chalkboards tell the tail of what they received through good teaching.
I sometimes see that board as dirty, it desperately needs to be cleaned off and have a fresh start. Oh, but can't I have a new perspective, that is the dust of success, of teaching and use, true instruction. Not to be swiped clean- but to be used. My life doesn't need to be a clean slate that fits in the perfect picture window with flowers arranged in an order that I see fit, it has to be Christ's for His glory....with all the gifts busting out of that window box. It won't be neat as I plan....it will be messy grace. It is not the kind I cannot let go and trust in. It is beyond my mind and greater than my greatest imagination.
God is a gentleman and won't ask me to be untrue to my own unique personality....He just makes us better and more free, if we will only carry some boxes for Him. He asks us to overcome through Him in victory while we are yet in this life. Sometimes that is wild. As a little girl I would swing, I would imagine letting go and flying over the trees....free. The same with the gifts of Christ in our lives, they are given to set us free...they do not limit us or make us more self conscience. They are beautiful treasures when we allow ourselves to carry these boxes of teaching into our daily lives and touch others through them.
I will start by simply asking my family for what I need and stop role playing a number of different theories in my mind, that is the gift of communication and patience at work. So go ahead and open up those boxes you've been "storing" somewhere else away from "real life" and see what God does.
Monday, September 1, 2014
One would think as we walk along a shore the path is clear. Not so. But why not? The way is clear, the sand it limits our path, our feet need a solid place on which to fall. After all, the water interferes with any venture we would take too far out. That may not be the case, just like what we perceive to be our path for sure in this life. My 14 year old just told me today "mom, it's my life". Oh boy did that send chills down my spine. Yes, it is his life but he is only 14, there is so much he does not know yet. So much mom wants to save him from. One thing I have learned, the path is usually NOT clear to us. I like to stay on the safe and certain path, sand is easy to follow along the shore, no diverting for me. Some people love adventure and danger, they are drawn to it, like my teenage son. YOLO "You Only Live Once" is his motto. Yuck, that makes me nauseous. But I respect it- I need to have fun too. But the safe path I would want to stay on and even plan for my very children, is not what the creator of life has in store for me. How can I be so sure? Every time I set my compass, something happens, everytime I call the shots, I realize by a quick change in life- I so do not have control of anything, really. It is amazing how we hang on really by a thread, we really do.....this life is but a breath and we do not sustain our lives. Sure we can take care of ourselves, eat right, do it all...raise our kids with the best of everything but we will still fall in some area. So what is the path, what can we plan....plan to give up control and not color in our lines. Ask, seek and pray to get to know ourselves and our strengths so that we can be the best we can be....but give up control to the author, the creator. He designed our life and when we give up control...that is when life get's fun and interesting. He has colored my life as amazing as it gets, and it still keeps getting better. The ashes they have turned to beauty, daily, before my eyes. The impossible has broken into life before my eyes. What I thought was dead, he redeemed. All by trusting Him with it all and holding onto nothing. He taught me the path is not the sure way along the waters....no, sometimes I cringe when He says the way is through the deepest of waters, over the jagged rocks and watch out for garbage in the path, but I will guide you. You see the path is rough and jagged and a little trying at times, but that is growth and progress because if I could do it myself that isn't living it would merely be surviving. If I know I depend on a greater good to guide me and lead me and enable me, it is then that I know I am safe, He has my best interest in mind. His glory is more sure and certain than anything I could plan or create. He offers a great deal, to use us to display His glory through us! That seems like a map I can follow, one I shouldn't deny ever. Oh, but the mind and will get in the way, common sense and logic. He will show us the way we need to know about if we can only be a bit interested in His ideas and hear Him out, He will answer. Begin today, ask Him what the path looks like and trust Him to enable you to do what He tells you. The ride will be 10X more exciting than your plans, 20X more fruitful and you can bet you can stand on the other side of whatever it is He did through you and say, no way would I have ever have imagined that I could do that! The creator can do all things through a willing vessel.
New Living Translation
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8
The clear path is effortless and it makes us believe we are our own master, what a scary thought that we are in control of it all. The way made through not seeing more than we need to in advance, in sometimes having to go backwards in order to go forward, in getting healed by forgiving another, learning a hard lesson where it is inside of us that needs the work, cleaning up our lives in general, scrubbing off something we know shouldn't be there...these things are not fun, glorious or easy-however, this is where we find the meaning and matter of life. This is where we have the power to change and impact something-through obedience.