Most who have read my blog for any length of time know that I am pretty honest about the struggles and mishaps in my life. Today's blog may be too honest, but I felt led to write so here goes. I am hearing God speak to my heart in some uncomfortable ways lately. Now, I realize the uncomfortable is something that a Christian should get used to because, to paraphrase the words of Gen. Jeff Hammond, God isn't interested in my comfort as much as He is in my character. Evidently my character is undergoing a major overhaul lately.
All this shouldn't really surprise me. While I am not a fitness professional by any means, I have learned a few things about how muscles get stronger. In weight training, I am prompted to push myself to the point when I feel I cannot possibly do one more rep. My muscles burn and I think I cannot move those weights even one more time. To be honest, I am tearing those muscles down....then comes the rest. It is in the day of rest that the muscles build back up, but they can only do that after being pushed to exhaustion. This is why a good trainer will never let you work the same muscle group two days in a row.
Anyway, back to the blog.
It started with hearing God tell me to trust Him...then the prompting that I still wasn't trusting enough...then a prompting to make some changes in my life....then in a prompting to give...
Now, the first two weren't all that scary - okay, so maybe they were - but compared to the next two they were a breeze!
Prompting me to make changes - how could it be possible that God is leading me into an area that means I'll have to deal with something I truly hate? Still, I keep hearing Him say "Trust me." I know I can trust Him so much more than my feelings. For example, the last thing I EVER wanted to be was a teacher...yet He led me into teaching and there I have found the greatest joy and growth! While there are times I want to pull the covers over my head, most days I look forward to reaching, teaching and laughing with my students as we grow together. Oh, sure I sometimes mentally "quit" my job at 3:30p.m. - but by 7:00 a..m. the next day I'm ready to start again. So, it shouldn't surprise me when God leads me into an area of my "discomfort" and says to me "TRUST ME."
Then came the prompting to give. It seems like everywhere I turn, I am hearing devotions and messages on giving. This is NOT the message I want to hear. Money is tight right now! That isn't quite accurate....it's almost non-existent! The cost of food and gas just keeps climbing and my paycheck just stays the same - or thanks to things like insurance, it even goes down! God, haven't you noticed what's going on down here? That's usually about the time I hear something that reminds me compared to the rest of the world I am filthy rich.
Okay, so I'd give if I had something to give....I'll start next month. Then I heard God remind me of the money I'd deposited in savings this month. I was so proud of myself for finally doing that, surely God didn't want that small amount. But yes, it did seem that He wanted me to give that. So I immediately wrote out a check and placed it in the offering plate as it went past. Well, to be honest, I argued with myself for a few minutes first; but I knew I'd have no peace unless I took this step of obedience and trusted Him.
Now comes the part of the story where I tell you that I came home and there was a check in the mail...only that's not what happened. Instead, I had to take BOTH kids to the doctor this week. I did get something in the mail but it wasn't money; it was another bill. I still see one more week staring me in the face until the relief of payday eases the stare. This is NOT what I expected to happen.
Yet still I hear God say, "Trust Me."
Then I hear yet another report of the economy getting worse and there is no relief in sight for at least the next year - and this was from a Christian perspective! Yet still I hear God say, "Trust Me." Really God? Have you been paying attention?
Oh, He's paying attention all right. His unfailing love nevers ceases. He sees every penny that passes through my fingers...and every one that I hold in my clenched fist. And He loves me.
God is not interested in my comfort - He is constantly pushing me out of my comfort zone. I finally get it. At 52, when many are thinking of retirement (or the lack thereof), God is prompting me toward doing more. Now that I finally get myself at least somewhat in shape physically, I discover I am diabetic and find that I have yet another level of fitness to consider. I am learning new disciplines so that I can keep moving and serving until the day God says it's time to come home. I think I understand now - life isn't supposed to be easy or fair.
So now what? What do I do with all this stretching? I guess I grow....for I do trust that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. Muscles never grow unless they are first worked to the point of exhaustion. The good news is that in between the exhaustion, God will make sure I have times of rest - because that's how muscles grow.
Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him
Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
The Message (MSG)
Discipline in a Long-Distance Race1-3Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
The Message (MSG)
28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."