Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I’m feelin’ saucy today. Are you with me?
This morning, I compiled an abbreviated list of my crappy characteristics. I know there are many more, but you will get the picture.
I am an….
Unpleasant, grouchy, impatient,
Snippy, defensive, offensive,
Self-righteous, proud, lazy,
Judgmental, unkind, inconsiderate,
Thoughtless, mean, short-tempered,
Hard-hearted, unloving, human being.
And that was just off the top of my head.
BUT……. There have been moments, days, even weeks, and dare I say (?) months, when for the most part, I wasn’t those things. I was the opposite of those things. It was truly like I was another person. And being the opposite of all those things was easy. Like breathing.
In those moments, days, weeks, times, God gave me a taste of what it is like to live with the heart of God. Just a taste. Just a peek.
But Oh Lord, why oh why must that end???? I have been struggling lately. Just with being “me.” These glorious times that I think, “Yeah, this is it.” Being kind and giving and loving is just so easy. Self-sacrifice feels like a gift rather than a sacrifice. I love those times. Effortless. All God.
Then, I wake up one day and all of a sudden, I’m a schmuck again. Everything sets me off. I have no patience. Everything is a chore. Like the magic has worn off or something.
But that’s not what it is, is it? We all know better. We all know that God has a plan that is intricate and perfect. We all know that nothing happens by chance. I know it. So then, what’s the deal?
Here’s what I am thinking….
If I look at how God does other things, I can make sense of the ebb and flow of it. A good example is pregnancy and child birth. For nine months, a baby dwells in the darkness of the womb. Safe, but still in darkness, unable to see anything, unable to hear other than muffled sounds. When it is time to be born, the mother’s body takes over and begins contractions. Each contraction does its work, its essential work. These contractions start off kind of small. You’re all like, “Hey, what was that?” And “Oh, I think it’s time.” You grab the suitcase, and head to the hospital.
Eventually, the contractions, in their perfect work, hurt like nobody’s business. They are doing a work, not within our control, they are happening so that a new life can come out into the light. But between those painful contractions, are times of calm. Like a wave coming up onto the shore, it eventually recedes. There is a peace between the waves of pain.
God is doing a great work in each of us. Nothing compares with it. He forms us in the womb of the world, and pain comes because pain is doing a work. A perfect work. We struggle, we thrash, we yell and scream, but it’s happening. Whether we like it or not, the work is being finished. He is faithful to finish the work that He started.
Maybe the peaceful times between the pain are those tastes, those peeks into what it is like to have the heart of God beating in our chests. The calm between the waves is a great blessing, but the struggles, ……..the suffering tells us the work is being done.
But fear not, there is a way to get through the suffering! (I tell myself as well as you all.) When I was preparing to have my first child, I went to Lamaze classes. They taught you to focus on a specific point and relax your entire body during each contraction. Just completely relax and breathe. Strangely, this worked. You still felt it, but when you stopped fighting it, gave up all the tension, relaxed and focused, it was easier to get through.
I think that is my remedy. When I am struggling with my self and life, I need to focus on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith, and relax…..rest, as I go through it, knowing that the contractions are doing an essential work, and remember the joyful birthing that is coming. Christ in us, the Hope of Glory. So much more than worth it.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
I love you all.