Tuesday, May 19, 2009

and yet...

So, last week I wrote a post about some great advice my mentor gave me. I've spent the last week trying it out to see if it was truly the answer to my struggles.

Guess what? I have been absolutely miserable. No kidding.

Was the advice bad? Absolutely not. I completely agree that I am not a morning person. Well, my flesh is not. :-)

My spirit, however, longs to be all that God created me to be. My spirit longs to fully embrace everything He has for me.

And so I've spent the past couple of days trying to figure out what the solution to all of this could possibly be. I think I actually knew it last Monday night when we were talking about my struggles.

My flesh wants to do what it wants. Stay up late, sleep in late, skip the exercise and eat whatever looks good. My flesh has been getting whatever it wants and now both my flesh and my spirit are miserable. Crazy, huh?

One would think that if the flesh got what it wanted it would be happy. Ha ha. Unfortunately, that's not how God made us.

So, this morning I realized that God is the One that I always need to go to for His guidance, advice and clarity.

Today I found myself in the book of Mark. I was reading in my Everyday Life Amplified Bible about taking up our cross. Here's what the intro to Mark says:

"I do not believe the "cross" we are to carry is a burden of disaster, disease, and misery, but is a sacrificial life of allowing God to work through us to bless others. This kind of cross is the only way to truly experience the joy that Jesus gives."

Ding, ding, ding! Rings a bell, doesn't it? I know that God has been teaching many of us what He desires for our lives to be like (Crazy Love.)

The world tells us to live a life that feeds our flesh. God calls us to live of life feeding on Him and His Word. He desires for us to feed our spirits with His goodness and love. When we do, we automatically find that we are then pouring ourselves (and His love) lavishly upon others.

That's the life I long to live. It's no wonder this past week has stunk. :-)

So, if I'm not a morning person, does the profound lesson I wrote about last week become invalid? I don't think so. I think that what God was trying to teach me through my mentor was that I was struggling so much because I was holding myself up to a ridiculous standard. A standard He never gave me.

My value and worth as a person is not based up what time I wake up or how I closely I follow my dream schedule. I am valued simply because I am a child of God. The answer is always simpler than I expect it to be.

When I try to live by the world's standards of "good" and "perfect," I fail every single time.

When I press into my Creator and follow His ways, my life is full of joy, peace and grace. That's where I long to be. That's where my life clicks and God is glorified.

I found the key I was missing in Mark 8:34-37 (I like the Amplified version because it wraps more meat around it):

"And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me].

For whoever wants to save his higher, spiritual, eternal] life, will lose it [the lower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth]; and whoever gives up his life [which is lived only on earth] for My sake and the Gospel's will save it [his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God].

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life in the eternal kingdom of God]?

For what can a man give as an exchange (a compensation, a ransom, in return) for his [blessed] life [in the eternal kingdom of God]?"

It's really all about denying myself (my flesh) and allowing God to grow within me His fruit of self-discipline. Ah. Still so much more learn...and I am so very excited about that!

Some lessons take longer than others to get. It is because my God is so very patient and gracious that I am still LIVING A BLESSED LIFE on the days when I don't quite get it right. :-)

Thankful for His mercies,


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Oatsvall Team said...

preach it sister ... i read Crazy Love a couple of months ago and will be getting it back out to read again ... Dying to self each day is a struggle, but so neccessary to receive all the blessings that the Lord has for us in the day !!!

Wendy said...

I needed this today! I love when you quote Crazy Love!

~ Wendy

Becky Ryder said...

You're like my online mentor! I'm going to read crazy love when my grandmother is finished. I don't have good days when God is not the center of my thoughts. I'm learning to think differently!!