Thursday, March 7, 2013

Notes from the Trenches

What I'm sharing today is not a polished essay.  It's very much the ramblings and musings of someone who is learning and growing and very much in the messiness of process.  I have not arrived.  I am currently and actively struggling towards freedom, but I pray that some of these insights and revelations will be useful and encouraging to you in your journey.

Yesterday I was at BSF.  With the story of Jacob and Esau at the forefront of my thoughts, I entered the sanctuary for lecture.  I don't know why, but God frequently speaks to me there.  Often, my hand won't stop writing for the entire sixty minutes, but the words I write are the record of a dialogue that is happening between God and me.  Sometimes I hear very little of what Beth says because the voice of God is simply speaking louder and more insistently, stirring my soul in ways I can't ignore.  Somehow, I think Beth Johnson wouldn't mind one bit!  ;)

Here are my scribbled thoughts (what should have been my lecture notes):
"Live for today."
I saw that slogan on a shirt yesterday.  Actually, it was worn by the little five year old girl that I care for three days a week.  With the life lesson of Esau fresh in my mind, my reaction to that T-shirt was strong and adverse!  Do you see where living for today ends?  It ends in selling your birthright for a bowl of stew.

Oh, that I would NOT live for today alone, but with a divine awareness of the impact of each and every choice!  My choices reverberate throughout all the days of my life and even into succeeding generations.  See Exodus 20:  the sins of the fathers are visited on the children for three or four generations, but God extends His loving kindness to a thousand generations of those who fear Him and remember to keep His covenant and obey His precepts!  The destiny of a thousand generations may be hinging on how I handle the test that God has put in front of me.  Passages of Scripture come to mind: Deuteronomy 30, the offer of life or death, and Joshua 24:15, the call to decision.

But that decision is not a once-for-all thing.  It is a daily thing, a moment by moment thing.  Ultimately, our CHOICE (singular) is composed of a million trillion billion tiny CHOICES (plural) that come our way throughout the fabric of our everyday buried in the minutiae....the small details of our daily lives.  That cashier gives me $15 change when I'm only owed $5.  The next cashier rings up one puzzle instead of two.  If I fail that test, what does it reveal about my heart?  What is the fundamental sin that is lurking there?

This is the test that comes my way over and over and over again.  Why?  I think I'm passing the tests, but God still presents the same test over and over so there must be something He wants me to learn that I haven't yet.  Here's the thing:  even though I end up doing the right thing, I still struggle internally first.  Does God want me to get to the point where it (my obedience) is instant and automatic and requires no thought or internal struggle?

I grew up in a home that was ruled by anxiety, and financial anxiety was a HUGE part of our family dynamics:  always feeling like you're living on the edge of disaster, one blow away from all the dominoes falling, one after another.  Obviously, I was marked by those eighteen years I spent in that home.  That feeling of insecurity manifested itself in grabbing and grasping and hoarding, living tight-fisted instead of open-handed.  Generosity is hard for me because at my core, my fear is that there WILL NOT BE ENOUGH.  That LACK will overtake me, consume me, and devour my life.  Theft has been like a recessive "sin gene" woven into my DNA.

And now I'm God's child, and I desire Him and His Holiness.  I desire to be used by Him.  I long to be a vessel that has been cleaned not only on the outside, but on the inside too!  I want to be refined for my Master's use.  So I do not intentionally walk in this sin.  I do not make plans to acquire things dishonestly. BUT, God sees not just my actions, but my heart.  Is there any area in my mind where I am still trading the TRUTH of God for a LIE?  At some fundamental, core, foundational level, am I believing an UNtruth?  And how would I even know this if it wasn't revealed in my actions and brought to light by my God?  Thank You, God, for revealing truth to me!

Lord, I know You are not into behavior modification.  You are into heart transformation!  Remake me into a new creature in the very basic building blocks of who I am!  I want YOUR way to be my default setting, not the place I have to fight to get to, but truly my new, redeemed nature.  Can you take me there, God?  Is that an unrealistic goal?  Can you really remake me so thoroughly, so completely, so totally, so absolutely?

With that, lecture ended, and I packed up my things, my heart and mind so full of questions.  In my next post, I will reveal how God has begun to answer some of those lingering questions.

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