Some days I am just SO TIRED & discouraged...not physically tired...just everything-else-tired! Today is one of those days.
Father - I'm so tired of this world. I'm so tired of all that is wrong with ME and all that is wrong with EVERYTHING & EVERYBODY.
Why am I such a weakling? Why do I battle like I do!? I can't carry this cross. I am so tired of the uphill battle of living against the culture, against the flow of my flesh, against the masses. It is so hard to learn to LOSE. It is so HARD for me to keep my eyes on YOU, Lord & value what YOU value, not value what the world around me values. It's so hard to find my value in you alone, Lord!
I was the epitome of having a focus & desire to WIN WIN WIN and compete for the first 2 1/2 decades of my life. I never came close to winning much of anything or being the best at anything.... but I certainly was one of the best at lusting after it. The Lord has changed me!!! I didn't even realize how much until my children entered 'the world'. As my children get older, we have more and more experiences where we are surrounded by a focus on winning. The lesson and focus is never about the heart...it's always LESS about trying your own best and instead it's mostly about just being BETTER than everybody else. Win win win! Is this even about the children!? or is mostly about the parents wanting to re-live their childhood??? I know the Lord has changed me... because everything discourages (disgusts!?) me so much and it makes me so sad. But obviously, I need help on being faith-ful and keeping my eyes on Him and not being discouraged.
On a good day, I can pull my children aside at a certain point and speak truth into them and let them know that GOD sees them when they are not valued. I can remind them what is really important and what OUR focus is. But on a bad day, everything just makes me spitting angry. On a really bad day, I have major urges to either withdraw completely from society...or stand on a table and shout out to every parent and coach and leader - everything they are doing wrong and why don't they get with the program and if I "have to" live like this and value the right things....... then you all should have to change, too....it's too annoying to be around you all that have different values!!!.... (yes that's a really bad day. that's not me being salt or light).
But REALLY - Omgoodness the way children are recognized & praised for beating others and the focus on win win win. What are we teaching our children!?!?! Are we not training every single child to think their value is in their ability to "win" or do????
This message and lust seems to be showing itself in little ways in my family's lives. every.single.day...... sometimes it directly outwardly shouts and screams.... but often it's just a daily, 'small' message and focus.
I have a great focus on the heart in my children. This is a gift from the Lord. I make sure they know when they are competing, that I am simply enjoying watching them play and try their best. That I LOVE watching them have fun. My first words will never be, "you won you won you won".... instead, they will always be, "wow, that was so fun! I had so much fun watching you"..... but what if every.other.single.leader in their life doesn't support that message? God, please help them hear MY words to their hearts! Help them value what YOU value - which is not beating other players in the cubscout regatta or soccer match.
My flesh fits in easily in this world. My perfectionism has a home here. I know how to grasp, strain and strive to win.....I know how to get the edge over others, try better, have more discipline, more structure...how to appear to be a winner to others, fit in the winners club, set goals and reach them.
But my spirit is not at home here. And this is not what my heart values any longer. My heart & spirit fight my flesh. So there's this battle raging.....
I know that the reason I am tired is because I am wrestling with the Lord. I am discouraged because I'm distracted by the world. When I am NOT wrestling with Him, I literally feel at rest. I feel HIM as my rest. I feel my burdens lightened because I have allowed Him to shoulder them for me. I feel His grace & love & approval.
HOW do I do better at resting & not wrestling!??!
More often than not...instead of accepting His will & plan, including allowing Him to carry my burdens for me, I wrestle Him.
Why am I so fiercely independent & stubborn? Why do I look for value in the world & what others think of me/us? Why do we think that we are only as good as we are "excelling" and better than others?
Why do I think that the way to glorify Him is by being better than everybody and having people look up to me/us? Where is that scripture that says that? There's not one!
SURE, we ought to always try our best. Sure, one can glorify God through the success He gives us through the hard work He helps us put in and the way He has gifted us.... But the truth is, God resists the proud. I am proud. He is resisting me (through circumstance and showing me through His Spirit) right back as I wrestle.... I feel it...because He IS the perfect Father.
He has changed me so much from my competitive spirit, yes.... but there's still so much more to go.
My flesh doesn't like to lose. My flesh resists anybody in my family that makes me "lose" and I will force, control, nag until they do what I want so we can "win". (All the while, I AM truly losing what is most important in those times... love, trust, grace, bond, relationship). My flesh wants to glorify God ONLY by winning. *I* want to choose how *I* glorify God... now is THAT glorifying Him!??!
My flesh wants to glorify the Lord by being victorious & perfect in everything. I want my kids to excel, win everything, do everything right AND be valued for it. I want the world to see everything He has done in me and through me and praise it. I want others to look at us and say gosh - the Lord is really with them - they have been so blessed in every area......don't we see that in the OT. But wait... how did I get on this wrong gospel again!??! The health & wealth & winning & prosperity gospel is not THE gospel. The *blessings* God talks about in the NT is not about tangible things as much as it is spiritual!!! How did I get here again?
I used to be a perfectionist in worldly things...but now I see my perfectionism has carried over to spiritual things. I do believe I often have right motives much of the time --- I desire to glorify Him ---- but I am going about it in MYSELF which is the WRONG way and exactly opposite of what I need to do.
There is no place for perfectionism in this journey.... unless we are talking about our Perfect Lord and Savior. This journey starts with being POOR in spirit, not rich in self confidence. This journey starts with meekness not amazing self discipline.
Self confidence & self reliance & a focus on self discipline above all will always lead to SELF righteousness and THAT is not the gospel message. The gospel is the gospel of grace through Jesus. The gospel that preaches that the righteousness I wear is not my own. The righteousness He gives me is His and He gifted it to me. I can not earn it. He sanctifies me and that righteousness reveals itself more and more!!....but it comes out, not because of an obsession with my personal holiness & righteousness....but through Him having more and more space in my life.
It is SO HARD to be so imperfect.
But the HARD is what makes this good. The HARD is what makes this way narrow. The hard is the cross I am to carry, until I lay it down at the Lord's feet.
Even as I type this... it sounds so silly to even say THIS is hard. I am a weakling. I know what others have endured....and THIS is such a small cross to carry, such a small price to pay. I am so weak.
I need some truth about glorifying God. What glorifies you, Lord???
We glorify you in our surrender. Through our dependence on you, starting with our poverty of spirit.
We glorify you by showing others that we are being changed by YOU....because you are transforming us by renewing our minds. We are changed when we focus on you and see ourselves in your loving, merciful eyes, as you look at us through your Son. We become what we believe about ourselves.
We glorify you by how we LOVE you and enJOY you.
The clay, ME.... ought never to be proud of how the Potter shaped it. Or how the Potter picked it up and used it, in the Potter's plan and Potter's power. The clay gives the most glory to the Potter in the surrender. In the complete dependence and rest in His hands.
I know that this tree of life, this tree of Christ I have eaten from and chosen is all about life for the long term...not life as I want it, right now. It's about full, true, abundant, lasting life... in Christ. I am also understanding that the way to get to that life is through death. So few will choose this tree because it looks like death. It doesn't appear desirable good or pleasant to our flesh like the other option (Gen 3:6). This death of self and the surrender to Him and His will & His timing & His plan is not easy. We choose this tree through faith not because of the ease it will give us now. It is with eyes of faith that we choose.... it's for the life set before us that we choose...it's for the joy set before us that we can choose this dying. Just like our Savior. I understand now how I can be one with Christ in His sufferings. I trust that this death I experience.... it IS true life.
I've chosen the right fruit. So I press on. I am not without hope --- because I know that I can trust that God is stronger than I am and He will wait patiently and work with me forever. He will shape this clay!!! Yes, I do believe I make Him work harder with all my wrestling & wiggling.... but He is gonna shape this clay! Like the way He wrestled Jacob...Jacob wrestled so hard the Lord had to break Him to the point of giving Him a limp forever...a constant declaration of the Lord's mercy and grace to do whatever it takes to do what is GOOD for us.... He will keep working me until I have completely exhausted my strength and know in my desperation that I need to stop the wrestle, once again.
He WILL help me grow in complete dependence on Him.... and THAT is true, abundant life - and THAT is what glorifies the Lord!!!