Saturday, November 29, 2008

Looking back...

I decided it was time to clear out the prior entries and have a fresh start. I've been looking back at my prayer journals from the past several months and am amazed at the journey the Lord is taking me on. I noted, at the start of my last journal, how imperative it was that despite my fears of doing so, I must disclose what was hidden in my heart and trust that God would redeem all that was going to be said or done. I am thankful, in hindsight, that He kept true to His promises. (The truth will set you free and He will be a comfort.)

Within that same month, the realization FINALLY sunk in that running and possibly dying were not what I was truly after but I did HAVE TO find a better way to live. In parts of my prayers during that time, I was beyond frustrated that I kept being told to "let God in" and I was internally arguing that God had been a part of my life for as long as I could remember and I didn't comprehend what was being expected of me!

In between my sobs, anger, and questioning, God 'told me' His perspective and that "a-ha moment" was life-changing. In the silence, I 'heard'..."You're right, Stacy. You have known of Me since childhood. You have regularly read about Me and talked about Me. You have spent hours sharing your prayers in writing and in voice. Much time has been spent on reporting the details of your life and the lives of those around you. You have acknowledged My presence. You have heard My words. You have shared My words with others. BUT you have never allowed Me to guide you. You have rarely allowed me to comfort you. You've held up your goals, your hopes, your dreams, your struggles, etc. for Me to see, yet you never trusted Me to take them from you. You held tight to what you perceived as control, sometimes out of desperation, sometimes out of fear, and often, out of simple, sinful pride."

At that precise moment, I realized that I am capable of nothing, outside of God. The illusion of control that almost took my very life was doing nothing but destroying me and hindering the plans of God. I realized that even the best of my abilities, and the largest of my accomplishments could never compare to what God is capable of and willing to do. I had falsely believed that I was close to God but I now realize that holding myself accountable to Him is not the same as allowing Him to hold me close. I, also, realized that I can't pick and choose which parts/words of the Bible to believe. If I accept one concept as truth, than all else, within His Word, is equally true. To think that God's Word can be treated selectively is arrogant, self-serving, insulting, and sinful.

Since that time, I have been learning how to "let go", how to pray and how to live in such a way that allows God into the depths of my heart---not simply reporting to Him the details of my life and the details of the lives around me. Daily, I am growing in gratefulness because of being given the privilege to be a warrior in prayer for those in need, including myself, while also having the privileged opportunity to come before the Lord with praise, adoration, and thanksgiving.

I no longer feel called to honor, serve, worship, and follow God out of a sense of duty and obligation but out of a sense of sincere appreciation. I remain in awe of how this new-found truth has changed my thinking, my attitudes, my desires, and hopefully, with each passing moment, my abilities to love the Lord more deeply and to love others more selflessly and sincerely.

The last entry in that prayer journal included the following: "My efforts warrant nothing. ONLY because of Christ IN me is there any "good". I am lost without Him. I am a slave to sin without Him. I am destined for eternal death without Him. BUT because of Him, I am no longer lost because He is my Guide. Because of Him, I am no longer a slave to any sin because He is my Master. He has the power, and willingness to break any stronghold of sin in my life. Because of Him, I am no longer destined for damnation because He has given me not only eternal life but an abundant life, through Him, that is available to me now. He is my Savior. He is my Strength. He is my Power. Why would I want to do anything but bring glory and honor to Him through my every action, word or thought? I am a sinner. I won't always bring Him glory but He knows this and has already taken the eternal consequences of those sins away. How or why could/would I serve or honor any other than Him?"

Those moments of new awareness have thoroughly enriched my life. Yet, at the same time of enrichment comes an intense daily battle to set more appropriate boundaries in my relationships and to more carefully guard what I allow in my mind and heart. I am, also, learning that even though Christ said that the truth will set you free did not mean that the truth would not sometimes hurt like h***. Thankfully, God has graciously allowed others to walk with me down this path of "truth" and I hold on to the promise that NOTHING can separate from His love.

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