Originally published Tuesday, 17 February 2015.
What do you do when you do "that thing" that you promised yourself you would
absolutely - under no circumstances - do?
What do you do when you feel crushed inside that you did it?
Much like Paul, I know what I need to do, but then I do the opposite. I do the exact thing I didn't want to do - and then I feel like pulling my hair out because I did it.
So, my question to God is, "How do you change when your heart says yes but your actions seem to say no?"
Because just the other day I promised myself I WOULD NOT give my husband advice - only to stand outside and instruct him on precisely the right way to remove a buried car from the snow.
In the end, the only thing left buried was - me, myself and I. Under the weight, my actions and my emotions weighed over me, making me feel like I could never escape. They made me uncertain about where to go from here and how to dig myself out from the shame, guilt and regret piled above.
I prayed for a new behavior and looked to the Savior.
I sought a new way, but old tricks seemed here to stay.
I wanted to be Christ-like, but ended up as one to dislike.
I desired to be holy, but was left feeling wholly inadequate.
As I looked at that car, still buried in the snow, despite my best efforts, I felt like a fraud. I felt like a woman who says she wants more of Jesus, but then, can't act accordingly. I felt like a hypocritical scumbag loaded up with a bag of empty promises to God.
Because I knew what I didn't want to do - and then I did it.
But God, the God who is so amazing - he comes to my rescue. He shows up on my doorstep eager to set me free. He stands, ready with a huge shovel in hand, hoping that I will allow him to uncover me from the mess I have found myself under.
And I let him.
Step-by-step, scoop-by-scoop he unburies me.
He removes my load.
1st Scoop: God knows you. I know what you did and I see beyond your actions to your heart, he says to us.
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Sam 16:7)
2nd Scoop: God is working. I am doing something. I hear your call. I know your desire to change. I am doing something new in you. You can't see it, but trust it. Trust my hand upon you. My work takes time.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Is. 43:19)
3rd Scoop: Don't dwell on the past. The past is the past. I am worried about the present. I am more concerned with what I am doing today. We have somewhere to go and if you are always looking in the rear view mirror, you won't be able to drive anywhere with me.
"Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past." (Is. 43:18)
4th Scoop: It will take time. You don't see what I am doing. You can't see from the beginning to the end, like I can. I am making everything beautiful. Don't get discouraged. Don't get dismayed. It will be beautiful - in my proper timing.
"GOD has made everything beautiful for its own time. HE has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of GOD’S work from beginning to end." (Ec. 3:11)
5th Scoop: Everything is being renewed. Every moment I am working a new thing. All the time, I am at work. Nothing is ever left unchanged with me. You mess up and I start working something new again. You desire change and I offer new thing after new thing after new thing. One day, we will celebrate - because a day will come where all my work is unveiled.
"Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Is. 42:9)
6th Scoop: We're in this together. Re-new means to make new over and over again. All the time I am making new your mind. This is a process. We are working together, so you don't have to get down. You will fall and I will help you back up to transform your mind- bit by bit - again and again.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Ro. 12:2)
7th Scoop: Don't lose heart. You are growing, changing and transforming. My change is so delicate that you almost can't feel it. It is so loving that it is tender. It is so gentle that it's like a the gentle first washing of a newborn.
"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." (2 Cor. 4:16)
Scoop-by-scoop the Lord's truth unburies me so that I can stand in front of him not as a cold frozen girl who is shamed by her inabilities, but as a girl who is loved, encouraged and empowered to trust God in his process of sanctification.
God is at work in us and through us, even if we can't see it.
Let's trust his process. Let's rest in his ways.
We can, therefore, step out and uncover our hearts to true life change. We don't have to fear the process or the master worker, because his ways are gentle. He will bring us to completion.
He will do this - despite how buried we are in the process.
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Phil 1:6)