What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Big Lesson of 2013 and my Big Goal of 2014


 

Yesterday I wrote about the things I hope to accomplish in 2014.  They were the somewhat attainable, somewhat trackable sort.

Write five letters.  check.  Exercise three times a week.  check.  Plant a tree.  check.

One of the biggest goals I have for the  new year was not on that list.  This is because, it isn't a check-off-and-be-done sort of goal.  It is a life pursuit.   What is it?  Well, to tell you, I have to go back a step or two.

 Last year I began to struggle with a particularly unlovely sin.  Jealousy.  I happen to be blessed to have a very dear, very beautiful, very talented, very funny, very wise, very good, very loving, very admirable friend.  But because of the ugly, gnarled-down-deep sin of jealousy, I began to see all her beautiful, talented, wise and good traits as being something to despise her for and not (rightly) as something to rejoice with her over.  It was a secret struggle, but a painful one.   My jealousy turned to rage which turned to self-deprecation and loathing.  If she was this, I was the opposite.  I was untalented, unkind, foolish and unlovely.  (And, looking back now, unlovely was what I really was.)  I hated myself for being such a failure in life and as a woman and I hated myself for being jealous in the first place.  I knew I was acting ridiculous and thinking ridiculous things.  I knew that this jealousy was a poison to my soul, to my joy and to my friendship.  I knew it was wretched and I was wretched in the struggling.  I also knew I must stop this foolishness, but I didn't know how.  I wanted to fix it- but every time she (untryingly) was witty or clever or creative or loving, up that green monster popped and left me loathing myself all the more. 

Finally, at wit's end, I did something I don't often do.  I prayed that the Lord would help me get OVER this sin.  (I know what you are thinking...duh, Rebecca.  That's what you do!  But bear with me here...)  I begged Him, knowing that I would fail miserably (as I had every time before) if I tried on my own.  I prayed and I prayed.  For days.  For weeks.  I prayed before I saw her.  I prayed after I saw her.  I prayed for her, thanking God for the gifts He so abundantly blessed her with and thanking God for the gifts He has so abundantly blessed me with.  But most importantly and most fervently, I prayed that God would pull me out of the mire of my sin when I had seen that doing it on my own was certain failure.  I asked Him to fix me

Now, I have always been a pray-er.  A person of prayer.  A prayerful person.  When I say "I'll pray for you" I actually MEAN it.  I pray frequently and with hope.  I thank God for his blessings and gifts in my life more than daily.  I pray prayers of repentance even more-so.  I pray and pray and pray on behalf of my friends, family and strangers...praising God for the triumphs, petitioning God for the pain.   I pray for grace, I pray for patience, I pray that Matt will live to be 90 and I live to be 85 and we die on the same night, holding hands.  (I do. I'll admit it.)  I pray that God will keep me from my own sinfulness and make me wise.

But somewhere along the line, I forgot that God is there in the trenches, when I am filthy and tired and exhausted from wrestling on my own.  That God WANTS me to depend upon Him when I can't depend upon myself.   That He WANTS me to seek Him for help and to cry out in my distress.  Somewhere along the line, I had forgotten that not only is God glad to hear my remorse when I sin, but He wants to hear my supplication and my cry, to hear me say "Take this from me.  Take it now."

How could I miss this?   When exactly had I stopped depending on Him to help me through the muck and mire of my particular sins?  When exactly had I just decided to try to trudge through and try to be better on my own, just to fail miserably...over and over again?

 He used the grace and gifts of a friend to draw me back to relying fully and completely upon Him.  And not only that, but to remind me that I am not in this thing alone.  In fact, I am not even a huge part of the equation. 

The end of the story is this- God heard.  He drew me up out of the quagmire of my own sin and in doing so, reminded me, yet again, of His love for me.  He is my Big Goal this year and for all the year's I have.  That I remember to ASK, SEEK, KNOCK.  Not just for others- but for myself, too.

God isn't just a God of the future...of the heavenly places.  He is a God of right here and right now.

 Not only can God give us what we want, He can free us from what we don't want.  He can bless us by heaping and He can bless us by taking away. 

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

16 comments:

Rebecca said...

Very good and I'm grateful you shared. Sometimes I look at you and wonder "why can't I do all the things Rebecca does?", not jealousy maybe envy? That's what I need to pray about. Thanks for all you do, helps those of us to keep going!

...they call me mommy... said...

Isn't the Lord GOOD!!!???


(((HUGS)))

Julian said...

Thankyou for sharing your heart. I know where you're coming from. Mercy !you are so talented and inspiring! Im so glad God made us just the way we are for a special purpose that no one else can fufill. You have a special job to do!;)
You are wonderful and loved by God! Christina

Jill Foley said...

What a great testimony...thank you for sharing.

lydia.purple said...

that is a beautiful testimony. thanks for sharing it. and i so can relate...i do this too, to try to battle a particular sin on my own even though i know i can't win it myself.and this is actually one of my goals for 2014, not to tolerate any sin, but to deal with it RIGHT AWAY. not to let it linger, not to downplay, not to let my mind twist it on me. i want to tune in to the still small voice of the spirit, snd repent the second after something happens and to make it right to the person i wronged. i am sick of lingering joy stealers!

Ulli said...

My Dear Friend,
Thank you for sharing your heart. I'm glad you have found some resolution and understanding--it shows growth. Don't be so hard on yourself. Just the simple fact that you recognize this flaw and are asking the Lord for help not only shows great courage, but also where your heart really is. We are all on our own journey and we all struggle with things hidden from family and friends. But God knows, he is there all the time and will come to us if we only ask for his help. I often pray that God helps me to become the woman he planned me to be, and that I am a good representative of Him and His kingdom. I'll keep you in my prayers, Rebecca, as you go down this journey becoming the woman God has called you to be.
Many blessings to you and yours... Ulli

Leslie Ferguson said...

It's funny how we try so hard to hide our human side. Thank you for sharing such a personal struggle, but more importantly thank you for sharing your beautiful life.

Miranda Hupp said...

Wow, Rebecca. Isn't it funny how we allow such ugly thoughts to take over us. I would have never in a million years thought that you would be jealous of a soul. You are the one that women are jealous of. You are beautiful. Have such zeal for life. Blessed beyond measure. A husband that adores you. You, my dear, are awesome.

Thank you for sharing your heart. I know that is not easy. Transparency never is. You are awesome. Just awesome.

Anonymous said...

I had this happen to me. We have those friends that everything good seems to land on their lap. They have a gorgeous home that they worked very hard on. One night when we left their house i ranted and cried because i was so jealous of their house. My husband waited until i was finished and said "you know, saying those words are hurtful to me because it makes me feel like i'm not a good provider".....yikes! That put me in my place because he is a hard worker and a wonderful provider. Then one week our pastor told us that if we did not feel blessed then we should pray for every single thing in our house. I only made it through our silverware drawer before i realized how blessed i really was. :-) I'm glad you turned to God and leaned on him during your difficult days. ~Kara

Julian said...

I wanted to recommend an author to you. Stacy Eldridge( becoming myself and captivating). Also her husbands book the sacred romance. These authors have helped
me tremendously. Blessings, christina

Bonnie said...

Thank-you for being brave enough to put into words what we ALL have felt at one time or another- and praise the Lord for His mercy and help!


Blessed be the name of the Lord indeed!

Terri Cheney said...

YES

Full of Grace said...

I am glad God answered your prayers and has put you into a better place this year..A place of fervent prayer and trust- A place I try to be in as well over circumstances of my own life.

Leah T. said...

Thank you, Rebecca. I can find myself feeling the same way sometimes. I need to be reminded that it's *all* about Him. And oh, how desperately I need Him.

Anna Yager said...

You are such an awesomely wonderful transparent child of God, and it is a great privilege to know you, even remotely.

Anonymous said...

from celina in Virginia...


way to go.....
and what you should keep in mind..as you envied her..some envy you....you live in beauty and surround yourself with it...and are able to show it to us in a great way. You are living your dream (even if cold..lol) and some envy your room to sprawl outside, you ability to "let go" and have your kids PLAY like they were meant to....

so as you feel you fail , remember God's grace, that some will seem better and some will see you as better...and we are all so flawed...we are just trudging along...but please keep sharing with us...as you do some of us so much good...and that by sharing the beauty and the struggles...you help soe of us be better as well.