Over the last couple of weeks it has come to my attention that there are certain things, certain patterns, in my life that I do not possess the power to break.
Of course I am aware that without the Lord I am unable to do many things. But what I’m talking about here is habitual, patterns of sin and my frustration in not being able to overcome them.
These patterns of sin have a way of wearing us down. We battle them in our own power for so long, trying to move the mountain of self will run riot, and then give up. We decide to just “live with it”.
When I came to Christ I walked away from many things that I knew were not glorifying to Him and who I wanted to be in Him.
Other things, these habits, were not so easy to leave behind.
In fact I discussed one of these things in my last blog post. It happens to be something that many of us struggle with. Especially the moms out there.
As usual God was right on time with an answer.
No sooner had I published the blog post, than I received a solution. Sitting in my Theology and Practice of Ministry class, I listened carefully to the wise words of my teacher (a woman with twenty plus years of ministry under her belt, the type of woman we need more of in the church).
Her words, though convicting, fell like a soft embrace around my open wounds of doubt. “I know the Lord is capable, but I am incapable. Why can I not change my behavior?” I bemoaned.
“They are patterns. You must pray “God, cause me ________.”
As wonderful as this sounded and comforting as it was (because any option was better than nothing and I had exhausted them all), my hope was seasoned with reservation.
Thank the Lord only a mustard-seed-sized faith is enough!
Since that day (exactly six days ago) I have begun every morning with that prayer.
“Father, cause me. Cause me to be more kind with my words and tone toward my children. Cause me to walk in Your Will and not my own.”
Make me do it!
Order my steps in Your Word!
There was a time I hurled similar words at my earthy parents, but they were meant to be challenging rather than submissive.
I now bring that same zeal, that same stubbornness, to the Lord in my request.
I have always been rough around the edges. Unrefined, raw, and wild. I thought for a long time that God wanted me to calm down. To be pleasant, sweet and light like some of my Christian sisters. Not so. As I wrote recently in a private worship moment:
“I was wild and running from You
Never wanting to be tamed
Come to find all You desire
Is that I’m wild for Your name”
It was quite a relief to realize that I was not in sin because of who I am; I am not fundamentally flawed in some way. God has made me exactly as I am supposed to be and redeems me from sin I impose upon His perfect creation.
I was simply misusing my zeal!
He made me to be passionate, wild, and even aggressive at times. This is a reflection of Him and His kingdom!
Does this look tame to you? Because it’s the image God chose to use to describe Himself and His people are in His image…
The problem is that I kept taking the ‘easy’ way out (in hindsight it was SO not easier!) But, it was less work upfrontto throw my will and weight around than to go toe-to-toe with an Almighty God and beg Him to “make me do it” His way.
Now, I ask. And He answers!
Each day becomes easier as I press into His will and choose surrender. His yoke is truly light in contrast to the weight I was lugging around!
And the best part? I get to be me! Thereal me who is found in Him! I don’t have to sacrifice my zeal, I just have to re-purpose it. To rightly purpose it in a way that honors His will instead of my own.
Why on earth would I do that?
Because He loves me and He made me!
He alone knows the plans for my life and He has designed me specifically for each task.
You are no different.
I pray that this simple prayer is a blessing to those of you who still struggle like I have. I’m sure I will continue, as is our life in this flesh, but I pray all of us find increasing freedom with each new day.
Be who you truly are in Him. Submit that self to His will daily, beg for His intervention, and watch the miracles form from the inside out.
This, my friends, is how we change the world! One person at a time; starting with the self (which only God can change).
Until next time, may you be encouraged and conscious of the God who is always lovingly conscious of you.