JOURNALS are to write your feelings…where a diary records your happenings – right? I’m convinced that I won’t be able to articulate the “FREE-ING” God’s been doing in my heart lately, but I am convinced, for the possible freeing effect it may have on others, I must try. But, for effectiveness, I’m going to write it in bullet points.
- What others do or don’t do (when I think that they should) – no matter how close they are to me – doesn’t have to paralyze or stunt my growth or ability to move forward. It really doesn’t matter what they do (I have no excuse to take control nor do I have the excuse to wait on taking action as I should till they do). It matters how I respond. ONLY respond. I don’t need to hold back on making my decisions in order to love them and wait on them to figure it out. I’m not advocating bull-dozing others when they need our support and we want to just “do our own thing.” I’m saying that they need us to be us in order for us to be the iron that sharpens them. I need to be fully who God designed and has called me to be or “leaning” on each other will topple one of us. Frequently we assume others to be something they are not due to the fact that we haven’t allowed them the opportunity to react to us in the environment of our fullest potential. It’s not fair to them to be waiting on them to make a decision or to do what we know they are wanting to but haven’t made happen yet. It’s not “standing up for my rights” or playing games at all…it’s being free to be me while letting God teach me to love in ways that He’s designed me to! NOTE: Even in marriage…we are made to be fully who we are…and yet be willing to sacrifice ourselves (“in humility consider others better than yourselves..” – Phil.2:3) in order that we may love the other as a picture of Christ and his beloved church. I’ve never seen a marriage that is healthy when one person in it is more concerned at the others actions or lack thereof to the neglect of their own standard of who they really want to be themselves. IN THAT FREEDOM of both not being held back by the other (true, there are decisions that affect others but they don’t have to affect the way we react…we’re still responsible for that), we find the beautiful bud of friendship that springs up more rooted and beautiful with each passing day…building on the “strength upon strength” of each other sometimes in ways we didn’t even know we had!
- Loving is not holding back from being honest. Honesty doesn’t mean pointing out what untruth, lack of, or irritation we see in each other as an insurgent opening fire on an un-expecting soul. Rarely does anything but bloodshed come from those encounters. We could see what causes us grief in others better in a mirror than by beaming our attention on them – that’s why we’d rather look at them. We’d rather war against than something that needs to be cleansed in us. Honesty that I’m talking about is edifying but difficult because vulnerability is a pre-requisite willingness. Honesty is instead letting the other in on how we really are…what we really would rather…what we’re really hoping, thinking, dreaming, and planning. HOW? In order to communicate the most lovingly, we must pray with intensity and the realization that we’re prone to evil…asking that our heart and motives be made right and that we may be humbled before Him to see ourselves and those whom we know through His eyes. We must make sure that He’s leading us to say something (His timing) before we unload it into someone else’s heart and mind. It’s a huge responsibility we have of WHY DON’T WE? We would rather conjure and assume what their response will be rather than allowing them to have a response…we feel this is safer. In reality it’s us conniving a way through the prison bars of fear instead of walking out the open prison door. We allow ourselves to be in disarray on the inside feeling like there’s nothing we can do about it. We can make a difference in a relationship but must not use the other’s action (taking a stand, as an excuse for or against our action (or our being real with them). We underestimate how much our words will mean to someone (positive or negative effect) and overestimate what their response will be when our honesty is in love. Check our motives, Lord. What is the purpose of our wanting to be “honest” with them? May it not be to change them…but instead that we may be the first to take the step out of the prison door so that others may see that they too can and must be real and make war on fear. Father, fix our thoughts on You who clothed your limitless and inexplicable glory in human dirt-made-flesh…in order that all mankind, slaves, powerless, and locked behind prison doors; may know Truth and walk in freedom.
- Self-care is not a bad or selfish word…it’s just mistrued and mis-represented making those who want to serve Christ and do not underestimate His calling to feel justified in disregarding and even treating it as an enemy. Truly “self” is that which Satan would love for us ignore completely. When we ignore our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs he will have infiltrated the vessel designed for battle, destined for victory, and created for God’s will to work through for the cause of His glory! It’s the sinful worldly self we are to fight against in order to live in light of His cross…not ourselves (body, soul, spirit). We at times confuse the two and consider ourselves more like Jesus in doing so. We neglect ourselves erroneously for Jesus took time for “SELF-care.” I’ve never read where Jesus was frazzled (angry and under hideous pressures… yes!) or bragging about how busy he was. Unlike Switzerland our “SELF” is not neutral, but rather (as a follower of Christ) it is already captive to the god or GOD of choice. We are slaves…and in this we are given only the meager rations of our body to sustain. Although all that we have is given to give away (more blessed to give than to receive), we can’t give anything without the means sustaining us to be able to reach out. “SELF” then is not just that which is opposed to God, but rather it is that which I’ve been given to treasure, feed, allow to rest, and offer as my living sacrifice to Him. “SELF” is, in essence, who we are and all that we have to offer. May we not consider what we do have (the specific needs and wants of our body soul and spirit)to be our enemy…truly, those cravings for food, sleep, fellowship, etc. may be our allies. May this glance from a different angle at what “Self-care” is cause us to fix our eyes and thoughts on our SAVIOR to be rescued from the mindset that is of the world and rescued to live what is of Him – His design for us. We are in still in need of a Savior to save us from sinful self that would tell our “SELF” it has no worth except when it is spent…Inevitably, rendering it incapable of fulfilling it’s calling. Could it be that when I live in accordance with the Holy Spirit that my mind will be set on what the Holy Spirit desires (Rom.8:5)…that I can trust Him to work even through my “SELF?” OH, for freedom, Lord, from our wrong conceptions that so needlessly debilitate us at such a crucial time as this for the cause of your kingdom!
Here are some of the verses that are on my mind as I write…Philippians 2; Romans 7:4-6; Romans 6; Romans 7:14-25; Rom. 8; Romans 12:1-2; Eccl.12:11; Psalm 19:14; Rev.22:18
Posted in: Journal