“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.” ~ 1 Chronicles 28
I have some updates for you all. First, I posted in Stepping Out in Faith about a project God was calling me to. He wanted me to make little cards with Bible verses on them, and distribute them with food/drinks to homeless people. Or really to anyone on the street I passed who may have needed His word that day. To help me in this, He put a name in my head, of a girl I don’t know well. In obedience, I texted her anyway. I am very excited to say that I’ve since heard back from her! She didn’t think it was creepy at all that I texted her out of the blue, and is going to do her best to help me if she can. Yay!! Thank you Jesus for knowing the exact way things need to be done, and for putting it on my heart. Next steps involve finalizing the cards themselves, but mostly they involve prayer, prayer, and more prayer. God is orchestrating this, and I don’t want to get in His way!
Second, like I posted in The Heart Of The Matter, I fasted yesterday in an effort to start shedding some worldly qualities I have in my heart. Basically, I have a hard time seeing with God’s eyes and His heart, and my words, actions, and choices reflect that. Instead of being His vessel all the time, I’m His vessel sometimes, and the rest of the time I’m getting in His way. In turn, He has slowly but surely been shedding light on these areas in my heart. His Word is a perfect mirror, and through it you see a true reflection of yourself. Having brought it to my awareness, however, He made it very clear that the next choice was mine. God is light, and can cast out all darkness. Darkness can’t exist where He is. So those “dark” areas I had in my heart are there by my own choice. Would I continue choosing to block Him out in these moments, or would I choose to submit them to Him so He can fill my heart with light?
I chose God, and it started with a fast. The Bible tells us that some things can only be cast out with prayer and fasting, and yesterday I turned that principle on myself. The thing about fasting, for me at least, is that the second I take those steps to sacrifice for my Father and to grow in Him, He rewards me exponentially. I feel His presence so much more strongly on those days, and I can feel myself rejoicing to be so close to Him, and Him rejoicing to be so close to me! Never do I feel so purely and tangibly loved as I do when I make this small weak effort to seek wisdom from my Father, and feel His total joy in return. He wanted my heart. Yesterday I gave it to Him and He was happy about it! I didn’t even do anything special – it was just for 24 hours. Nonetheless, I – who am nothing and nobody without Him – made Him rejoice in my presence the way I do in His. That’s how much He loves us, and it’s a beautiful thing.
Anyway, I started out just praying to Him. Every hunger pang I felt was a call to prayer, and I even danced around the house singing to Him! It wasn’t even an actual song, just a refrain I made up (“Take me to the rock, that is higher than I; Father give me grace, to finally lay down my pride…”), but it served my purpose. Throughout the course of the day, I relived conversations and events where my actions were less than stellar, and I repented them. I prayed for a change of perspective and a shift in my priorities.
That night, my roommate came home after a rough day – he’s nearing his busiest work time of the year, he has been sick, and he’s even sicker from the medication he’s been on. And he said something completely innocuous, but inadvertently said it in a harsh tone. Normally, I’d be hurt or offended by this (pathetic, I know, but this is exactly why I fasted). This time around, it did occur to me to be hurt, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. But this time, I brought God into the picture and said “God take my thoughts and heart right now and guard them. This isn’t important; this conversation and words mean nothing. There’s nothing bad here, nothing to be upset about, so take it away and help me to see that. In this moment, keep me focused on what’s important.”
See, I didn’t ask for perfection. I asked for change. Change in my heart and in my perspective cannot come when my choices and actions remain the same. For change to come, I need to give god the chance to work it. God, for His part, answered my prayer immediately. I got my change in perspective. I saw right away when something wasn’t important. What’s slower to change are my actions and emotions. There may be a day when I don’t have to ask for God’s help with these little insignificant things. There may be a day when I don’t even notice such comments, or don’t react to them at all. I sincerely hope so. For now, my change in perspective is a great start, and I’m in a place of submission for the rest.
Thank you Jesus that you are constant and faithful to us. I thank You that You are merciful with Your mirror, and bring awareness without condemnation. You will not forsake me in spite of my flaws; You created me and gave me life and worth, and You think I’m worth fixing and refining rather than forsaking. I thank you that you are beautiful and give me things to work on daily. I pray for continued guidance as I follow You and as You complete this work in my heart. Show me how to love You and let You fully use me as I wish to be used by You. Help to stand strong in the work required to get there. And Jesus? I love You.
If any of you have been seeing yourselves through God’s mirror lately, you are seeing that you are less than perfect. Take heart and know that it’s ok. God doesn’t do things idly; He’s not giving you these moments of pain/shame/embarrassment just to hurt you. He is drawing your awareness to shortcomings because He thinks you – yes, YOU – are greater than your flaws. He knows you better than you know yourself, and knows that you are worth refining and fixing. He knows you’re too great to forsake. We all are. So He won’t. All He wants is us to come before and spend the time to let Him work in us. He wants to rejoice in our presence the way we rejoice in His. His love for you is that strong; so embrace it! And if you need some extra prayer to get you through, or even just want to share how God is moving in your life, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t know how to make that a link, so I’m sorry about that, but I’d still love to hear from you!