Washing the dishes several evenings ago, I was (once again) berating myself for all the things I didn’t do that day that I ought to have done, and all of the things that I did do that I shouldn’t have done. Rather depressing and disheartening on the whole.
You see, there’s this gap. It is scary. It’s the gap between where I am now (Carissalike) and where I need to be. (Christlike)
“Um, excuse me, but could we please hurry up sanctification a little? Can you just jump me to… oh, about 81? That is, while leaving my age and energy at 21?”
Why is it taking so long?? Why is it so hard?? Why do I keep falling down and scraping my knees?? Why do I keep knocking other people down with me?? Whine whine, complain complain. I’m horrible. I’m not getting anywhe…
Wait a minute, I thought.
This isn’t true. God has brought me very far. (The very is not because I’m “very” ahead of others, but rather because it’s “very” from what He had to start with. :P) He is constantly showing me more of Himself, developing one aspect or another of my character, teaching me some new lesson…
It is not humility to primarily focus on everything that is wrong with me and all the work yet to be done. It is ungratefulness. It is self-centeredness.
Humility is focusing on GOD. Selfishness is focusing on me—even if it’s what [I think] is wrong with me.
You see… in my self-focus, I had forgotten a few things. Very Important Things, like:
6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6
13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:11
18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
12Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Hebrews 13:12
I realized something dreadful: fretting about my own shortcomings and worrying that I might not be able to do what God has called me to do is actually doubting the power of God in me to change me and to give me the strength needed to do what He calls me to do.
Yes, it is necessary and right to examine ourselves. But there is also a time to thank God for what He has done, and to recognize the progress that has been made. There is also a need to rest in God and trust that He is faithful to complete the work He has begun.
We are called to fight and climb and run, certainly. We cannot simply drift along and expect God to magically float us up the mountain.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
But are we going to make much progress if we are forever focusing on ALL the ground yet to be gained, on ALL the falls and slips, on ALL the times we got lost–and never taking note of how far He has brought us, and (especially) never focusing on our Guide? Not likely.
2Looking 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.
3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:1-3
Far, far too often, my focus is on ME. What I’ve done wrong. Or what I’ve done right.
And therein lies The Problem.
My focus must shift–firstly, to Christ and eternity (Though… as we read John 17:3, knowing Him and eternity are… the same thing, in a sense.) and secondly, to others.
1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3
3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3
12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13
How? Good question: that’s exactly what my dad challenged me with when we were discussing things of this nature…
Well, to be quite honest– I’m still not entirely sure. But (as usual) I have ideas. 😉
1. Pray, lots. (I bet that suggestion shocked you, didn’t it. (Yes, that is supposed to be sarcastic))
2. Do things for others. As I talked about in my post on gardening, activity is very helpful in getting the mind right.
3. Read–and study and memorize the Bible
Any other ideas?
I read an article by John Piper while thinking about all of this… it was completely “random” (aka Providential) that I should have found it (I don’t normally read his blog… I found the link through another post that I “just happened” to read that day). This part especially stood out to me:
But God is good. He has his plan and it is not to make this metamorphosis easy. Just certain. There are a thousand lessons to be learned in the process. Nothing is wasted. Life is not on hold waiting for the great coming-out. That’s what larvae do in the cocoon. But frogs are public all the way though the foolishness of change. John Piper
So yes… for now, I am just an awkward tadpole. But my God is transforming me, and someday I will be a hopping frog.
Ahem, that doesn’t sound right. Someday I will be… the woman He designed me to be.
And until then, I will climb, and struggle, and pray: and He will hold my hand– Comforting, pulling and guiding me until I am home.
P.S. The whole tadpole thing will make more sense if you read the article… hint hint. (Please note that I do not entirely agree with his theology [in fact, I don’t always agree with my own… 😛 God is incomprehensible and thus we are all wrong to some degree about Him], but, regardless, there is much to be learned from him, and this article.)