Jan 272015
 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Today marks a day of change.  Fittingly, it is also the month which beckons it-January.  I had lost my self discipline somewhere along the way these last months.  All my “must have’s”, God driven passions have been put on the shelf.  But not today.

My inner commentary went something like this:

Writing.  Hmmm.  I know God would have me to be writing.  But I can’t seem to fit it in my day now with my new part time job.  And it would be a lot of work to start another book.  And it would mean getting up real early.  And I’m real tired in the mornings.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

Running.  Hmmm.  I know I previously found such life and intimacy with the Lord on my runs.  But I am watching my eating habits now and so I don’t really NEED to run for the weight loss benefits.  And I could sleep longer if I didn’t.  And my race is completed.  And running in the coldness is not a joy.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

Having a regular first fruits quiet, prayer, and God’s Word time.  Hmmm.  Sure I used to give God my firsts by talking to Him and reading His Word before doing anything else.   But with my new Pastoral position, I find myself reading God’s Word and praying with others sporadically during my day, versus having a regular-early- set time.  And I don’t want to “put God in a box” and say waking up with Him is a NECESSITY to do life with Him.  And my God is with me all the time and I shouldn’t HAVE to talk with Him privately at the beginning of EVERY day.  And I could sleep longer if I didn’t.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

So there is my mental list of excuses.  For NOT being obedient to what I believe God would have me to be doing.  To be honest, I was doing good for awhile.  My self discipline ranked real high.  Getting up early was part of my routine, it was never easy, but I had consistency.

I began to wonder where my consistency turned to complacency.  And here is what I think-I believe the game changed when I started listening to and acting upon my selfish, sinful desires rather than Jesus.  The rationalizations and excuses for NOT won out.  I chose flesh desires over Spirit desires.  I am a weak one, my friends.

And the enemy plays to my weakness.  Some themes from above came down to this, it is hard to obey Christ when:

  • I am afraid of the dark.
  • I have to get up early.
  • I don’t have accountability.
  • My life is undergoing change in routine.
  • The comforts of my body have to be put aside.
  • Regular self discipline is required.
  • Selfishness must be sacrificed.

Knowing my weak areas helps me to recognize when I am choosing complacency over consistency in Christ.  Knowing my weak areas is not something to be shameful of, instead, it is the reality of our human nature.  But the reality of my human nature does not mean I must succomb to it.  Because “when I am weak, then I am strong”.  Jesus in me is stronger “then he who is in the world”.  I have the ability to fight and win these spiritual battles when all the above weaknesses arise.  Always knowing, “there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus”, there is grace waiting when we are disobedient to the Spirit’s leading.

It gets me every time when I realize the enemy’s lie/selfishness tactics have worked.  I mean, it’s not like he is using new strategies.  He began with questions, self doubt, lies, playing to the desires, and a way to rationalize disobedience with Adam and Eve’s fruit eating episode.  And he continues to use what worked then, on us now.

The rub is this:  We will constantly battle an enemy who’s plan is to “kill, steal and destroy” us.  But-we serve a God who loves us SO beyond anything we could comprehend.  And, in turn, has fabulous, life giving plans for us here on earth.  It will not be easy to sacrifice our own selfish desires, while embracing God’s voice above other/our own, discomfort, risk, trust in Him, faith without seeing, a lack of control, hard work and self discipline.  But it is WELL.  WORTH.  IT.

Our loving Father says to us:

You need not fear the dark, my child.  Because I am with you in the dark.  When you feel bad-I am here.  When you battle selfishness and flesh desires-I am here.  When self discipline seems unattainable-I am here.  When excuses and rationalizations seem to reign, I am here.  When needs are beyond, I am here.  When rest is needed, I am here.  When waiting, I am here.  When hope seems far off, I am here.  When plans seem destroyed, I am here.  When weakness turns to strength, I am here.  When then enemy cowers in defeat, I am here.  When my Spirit equips you, I am here.  When my Word speaks real truth, I am here.  When mourning turns to dancing, I am here.  

When darkness turns to light, I am here.  

Come.  Walk with Me.  In the light.  My sweet child beloved. 

  

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 152014
 

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

I missed out.  On running the 22 miler.  I should have gone this last weekend.  But didn’t.  And I am now 2 weeks prior to the race, which means going on shorter runs.  I chalk it up to a lack of motivation on an activity full weekend.  Tiredness.  Laziness.  Knowing the soreness that would be up ahead.  And a lack of diligence to call a friend to run with.  All of these excuses contributed.  But bottom line.  The opportunity came.  And went.  And I am sitting in the aftermath of the “wish I would have” regrets.

My husband had some friends over to play cards this weekend.  Usually on these nights I partake in some much needed “Netflix” time.  And this was exactly my plan.  First-get into some “comfies” on.  This consists of my 10 year old American Eagle sweatpants (what I would love to wear 24/7 if it would be acceptable), and an oversized t shirt (which isn’t quite to the holes in the pits stage in which my husband draws the line).  Check.  Second-put the girls to bed.  (Not as easy as the first order of business, but after answering the 20 questions, reading the additional story, singing one more round of “Oh How I Love Jesus”, and walking away saying, “No more talking now, it’s time for bed.” all seemed good to go.)  Check.  Third, get the Kix cereal late night snack and I Pad to take up to my private bedroom getaway.  Check.

As I was pouring my cereal a particular friend was on the brain.  I thought I could visit her tonight.

But the excuses started in, “She probably has plans already.”  “Well, I am sure my husband wouldn’t want me to leave the girls in case they got up and needed tending to.”  “It is getting too late and we wouldn’t get to talk much.”  “I really need some alone time.”  “I don’t feel like going.”  “It wasn’t what I had planned on doing.”  “My energy and motivation to have a long conversation is gone.”

In spite of the rationalizations of why not to call her, my friend’s name would not leave the forefront of my thoughts.  (I have typically found this to be the Holy Spirit’s way of prompting me to action.)  I asked my husband if I could go and he said, “Yes”.  So that was that.  There was nothing stopping me from making the call to see if my friend was up for a spontaneous visit.  Other than my own selfishness.  Lack of motivation.  Tiredness.  Laziness.  Knowing the upcoming talk would be an energy output.

And so I chose “Netflix Night” over obedience to the Spirit.  I didn’t go visit my friend.  I missed out.  Because the opportunity came.  And went.  And I get to sit in the aftermath of the “wish I would have” regrets.

Two missed opportunities.  In one weekend.  (No gold stars for me.)  Two times when my own stuff got in the way of “going the distance”.  For my race training.  For God’s Kingdom.

Somehow the excuses won out.  Obedience, discipline, commitment, the Spirit’s prompting took a back seat.  And the result was a lack of action.  Now I find myself swimming in a pool of  “could have, should have, would have’s”.  And I am finding it difficult to stop.

I ran into my “go to marathon guru friend” at the local Mexican takeout restaurant the next day.  I told her I missed the 22 miler.  She said most training plans only go up to 18 miles.  (Which I had done the weekend prior.)  I was extatic.  I wasn’t a total failure.  I would still be able to compete and complete the upcoming marathon race.

I felt a wave of grace.  A wave of unconditional love from my heavenly Father.

Later the same day someone shared with me that the friend I had felt compelled to go over and visit was in fact going through a rough patch.  Experiencing some serious health issues which I was unaware of.  My heart sank.  No wonder I had felt the Spirit’s prompting to head over for a visit.

Failure and condemnation were heavy.  I texted my friend to let her know I had thought about stopping by and that we needed to catch up soon.  But the moment was gone.  It wasn’t the same.

I confessed I was wrong for not acting on the Spirit’s leading and asked forgiveness from God.

I felt a wave of grace.  A wave of unconditional love from my heavenly Father.

I must find a lesson to be learned from my two mess up’s.  I must redeem what seems to be lost.

1.  I am thankful we serve a God who continues to want to use us in spite of our past failures, disobedience, and selfishness.  2.  I am thankful missed out opportunities are not a reason to quit.  3.  Continuing to swim in the pool of “could have, should have, would have’s” is not helpful or healthy for anyone.  We must learn to let go and let God take them.  4.  I am thankful we are not defined by our failures, but by the God who made us.  Our identity is in Christ!  5.  I am thankful His mercies are new every morning.  And we must accept grace for ourselves and be ready to extend it to others as well.  6.  We should be even more motivated to say “yes” to the Spirit.  No matter the circumstance or mood we are in.  And “go the distance” when the next mile marker Kingdom opportunity comes our way.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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