Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When we struggle

I have seen a struggle begin to materialize in my life over the last couple days. It started out very slight, and has grown a bit stronger everyday. Now, fortunately, I know that when I sense struggle inside of me, it is a sign that God is at work revealing something He would like to work on. A very wise pastor once told me, "The struggle is a sign of life. When we stop struggling we are no longer alive. Lack of struggle is death." His response to me was out of the question of why I still struggle with sinful patterns, thoughts, and habits. I had this idea when I first began walking with God that if I loved Him enough and walked with Him passionately enough, that I would reach a place on this earth that I would not struggle with sin anymore. I can see now, after over a decade and a half of walking with Him, that the struggle does change and maybe even gets easier, but it will not go away this side of heaven. He continues to change me, give me more freedom and victory, and cause me to be more like him every day, but as long as I live in this sinful flesh, sin is a part of who I am. That struggle discussion really helped me then and continues to help me now.

Knowing that struggle is a sign of life and that when I become aware of a struggle in my heart, God is at work, gives me perspective. I started this blog b/c I wanted to obey God and not break the promise I made to Him that I would do it. I try to write daily or at least not go for very long without posting. I enjoy writing immensely. I have a lot to say. Anyone who knows me very well, knows I can be long winded. I do like to talk. I guess that comes out in my writing. (I am asking God to make me quicker to listen and slower to speak. I hope that I will start making progress in that soon). I also like to write b/c it relieves the immense pressure inside me; I feel like God keeps putting things inside of me to say and then presses on them so I have to let it out or it pains me.

But on to the struggle. So I started this blog. I started it for God and for me. Now I have found that I want to know people are reading. I want followers and comments. I don't want to feel like I am just wasting my time writing. That insecure part of me wants to be validated, to hear feedback from people. I want to know that people are following and enjoying and being impacted. The problem is that is not why I started this blog. I cannot get caught up in what people think. It is so easy to go to people to be validated and to feel like we are doing something important. When we turn to people to find security and to feel important we are turning to something that will always inevitably let us down. For my case, God told me to do this and I must turn to him for validation. I have to know that I am obeying God and that He is at work, even if I can't see it. Encouraging words are great; there is nothing wrong with having people follow my blog in and of itself. Having followers and hearing feedback, however, cannot become the motivation or most important part of this or I will miss out on the whole point. Seeking the approval of people could also lead me to water down or change what I feel like God is saying to me or putting in my heart to write about. I have to be faithful to the call no matter what my eyes see or what my ears hear. I have to write b/c I know God has called me to do it no matter who reads or does not read. I have to believe that God will bring whoever needs to read whatever I write when they need to read it, even if I never see the fruit of it this side of heaven. I have to trust God will take the ripples of the pebbles I drop wherever He would want them to go. That is a hard place to stay, but He will help me find that place and stand in it. Otherwise, he wouldn't have revealed the struggle to me. He showed me b/c He is at work. He is really always at work; many times He is at work behind the scenes where we are totally unaware. It is like our brain in the background causing our heart to beat and our lungs to breath. We are unaware of it most of the time, but it happens non the less. Sometimes we get to look back and see that He was working in a situation, but I think many times we won't see until eternity. I think many people will get to eternity and fall before God in awe of what He was able to do through them. I hope that I find myself speechless before Him in awe of what He used my tiny little life and small number of days to do. I hope that the ripples bring tears to my eyes and take my breath away. Not for my glory, but for His. I want Him to cloth himself in me and do things that have consequences that I am not even aware of on this earth. I think that is why we will throw our crowns before His throne. The Word says we will receive a reward, a crown of glory, but we will continually try to give it back to Him b/c we will know it wasn't us; it was Him in us. "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." He will say, "Well done good and faithful servant," and we will say, "Huh?, I didn't do anything, you did." We cannot even be willing to obey Him without Him giving us the willingness. We are stiff necked, willful, rebellious people, until He teaches us to be obedient. Even the desire to ask Him to makes us willing comes from Him. He does it all, so we must give Him the glory. There is nothing good in us; it all comes from Him. Therefore, when we reach eternity and He shows us how He used us on this earth to do things we were not even aware of, we will fall on our faces in awe, wonder, gratitude and worship, b/c we will know that He did it all and He deserves the glory. We will take our reward and give it back to Him knowing we did not do anything; He did it all. We will be so grateful for the privilege of knowing Him and being allowed to participate in what He did through us.

Back to the struggle. I have to be faithful to the call and not get caught up in being able to see the impact and hear the feedback or be validated by my peers.


"The just shall live by faith." "We walk by faith and not by sight." "Now faith is substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." "Without faith it is impossible to please God, b/c he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." "Therefore, seeing that we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw aside the weights and sins that so easily beset us and let us run with patience the race set before us."

The need for validation and approval is a weight that I must throw aside. That weight will cause me to run slower and less efficiently. I don't want any weights. I want to put on running shoes and leave all the weight behind so I can run further and further and higher and higher. Even if I never get published and no one else ever lets me know they are reading, God's purposes are being fulfilled b/c I choose to obey. I cannot be caught up in what my eyes see; I must be motivated by what my heart knows. I have been called to write for God's purposes and He will do what He chooses to do with it. "He is the potter and I am the clay, mold me and make me each and every day."

You have awakened my dead heart to life
You have given me reason and purpose and destiny
You give me a song to sing every day
You cause my feet to run, my voice to sing,
My heart to hope and my joy to over flow.

In you I find my identity and my significance
In you I have peace, and hope and life
With you all things are possible
And there is nothing to fear
In you I am complete.

No comments:

Post a Comment