I have continued to pray to Him since He allowed me to become aware of this pitfall....to keep me away from this temptation all together (of being prideful when He uses me --- or being discouraged when He doesn't use me like *I* planned for Him to) until I was mature enough to give Him and Him alone the credit and continually deflect praise on Him. I am so glad He showed me this sin when He did.... and didn't wait until I was in too deep with no way out but a big crash...
Since I became aware of this area of temptation....He has used me in very discreet ways so that I haven't been praised by others at all. He has brought to my attention time time and time again even in the smallest of scenarios how ugly pride is and how I truly am a failure in this area of comparison and trying to find value in this world. He has shown me how this pride/discouragement battle is a by-product of my sin and focusing on the world and not Him. I will always be in that cycle until I focus on Him alone.
I recognize how unworthy of anything good I am because of my sin.... yet at the same time of showing me this sin and my unworthiness, He loves on me and shown me my value. Doesn't really make sense does it? Showing me my shortcomings & my ugliness and my value to Him all at the same time.
He has continued to bring to light that ugly attitude I get in the pit of my stomach when I hear others taking credit for ideas I know *I* planted in them. Or others 'preaching' the lesson that I had been talking about to all my close friends & family! As if *I* was the one planting those seeds. or if they were *my* lessons. please. I am just the vessel. My ugliness disgusts me. He has continued to bring to light another sign of this sin: how much I care to know when and how exactly I'm being used. I do whatever I can to avoid praise now for fear it will go to my head.... but *I* still like to know when my words or actions were used and how they were used.
but the truth is: I shouldn't care to know when and how I'm being used - but have my focus be on Him & Him alone. He keeps track of how much I allowed Him to use me. I don't have to. I shouldn't care who gets credit for anything as long as The Message is getting heard and the work is getting done. He is the one doing the work.
I am continually humbled by Him and I thank Him so much for loving me enough to let me feel the pain of this sin but at the same time being there to comfort me and lift me up when I'm discouraged with myself. I feel like He's been pouring into me soo much.... so much that I am bursting. I have never felt closer to Him. Yet the more He pours into me ---- the less I feel I know. The deeper these lessons go --- the smaller and more naive I feel.
and then I catch myself doing the same old thing. and let me be so vulnerable hear to show you what the spiritual battle is that I face:
He puts somebody in my path that tells me what they've been learning and it's the exact same thing I've been learning but then they say yeah I did ______ with that knowledge..... and then here comes the devil. The devil tells me:
see Randi everybody already knows all these lessons. You have so much further to go. You really won't make a difference because you will never apply these lessons. You will not be used because you just write about what God teaches you and talk about those lessons to others all the time. You will always just KNOW them, not use them. See, this is a perfect example.... you haven't applied this ___ lesson yet. You are pathetic that you just know all these lessons & words and don't even apply them like ____ does
and after getting beat up and allowing those seeds in I have to focus on my Savior and the power He gave me and say:
HUSH! God is at work. I am not discouraged because I'm looking at Him not at me and the world. God is going to help me break this cycle of pride/discouragement. I am living by faith and not by sight and I know He is doing a wonderful thing in me and I know this is preparation stage! I will stop focusing so much on comparison, on others, and on God using me. I will focus on Him. I will not worry that I will be left behind in some way. He has a beautiful and perfect plan for me (Jer 29:11) and I don't have to have all the answers. Faith is NOT about having all the answers --- not about knowing where He's taking me exactly - but just taking one step at a time. Right now I will continue to live out the Word in my home!! That's the first place to put this knowledge into action. I will continue to live out these lessons as a mom and wife!! I refuse to let the devil beat me up every time I fail. I know that I am forgiven and free and that Jesus came to rescue me so I don't have to be burdened and trapped by this sin anymore. He is going to lead me where I'm supposed to go. He is going to use me like He always planned to. He is going to develop me into what He designed me for. I DO have unique & special gifts. I am me and me alone. There is nobody else like me. Yes I am just a baby in so many ways.... but God loves my childlike faith & how much I am continually in awe at Him. He loves my passion and how much I love Him and His people.
I know this is a long term process. I really do understand that. It's a long term, life goal. YES it feels like you are doing SO much and pouring so much into me and that you could literally change the world with the passion I'm feeling --- but just changing my little corner of the world and my home is enough right now. Your word planted into me God never will return void. I am so afraid to fail you --- but I know I don't have to be. These lessons WILL be put to use! I know fear is not from you and I know that your timing is perfect and my job right now is just to abide in you.
God I'm listening and for right now I know that's enough. Keep the devil away. Keep me focused on you. Don't let me get discouraged. Keep me humble. Keep me passionate. Keep growing these baby seeds!!
God help me encourage people and not let the devil use me as a vessel of discouragement in any way. Help me focus on the good in people and find ways to encourage their talents and skills! Please don't let me condemn myself or the church any longer for what we haven't done. I think we have heard enough our failings - please just help me find ways to encourage the changes we all want. Help me BE the change I want to see. Help me help others realize that Jesus CAN and IS changing all of our churches and there is hope! There is good in all of our churches because He's in there. No matter how much we have detoured --- He's still here! He can get us back on track! We are not lost causes! Please help me find ways God to show people they are valued and incredible and worthy of love and that they are being used right where they are exactly as they are!
Shouldn't we have faith and trust we are being used even when it doesn't seem it? Shouldn't we have faith that we are exactly where we're supposed to be, doing what we're supposed to be doing right now? As long as we are growing in Him, with Him.... and letting Him lead - then we are where we are supposed to be. There is hope for our churches, for our communities and our countries. He doesn't let His sheep stray too far right? We just have to turn our focus back on Him and He will put us back on track! Let's encourage each other exactly where we are right now, start bringing out the best in each other by focusing on the good. Let's stop condemning our failures and just starting being the change we want to see.