It has been ages since I've written anything and to be honest, I've missed it. But I've struggled and I've been totally uninspired and I've been busy and I've been distracted and ...
Excuses! Sure, there's been a lot going on. But it has been more than that. My daughter, Melissa, and I were talking the other day and she said something that struck a chord with me. She mentioned the lies that Satan can get us to believe and that one of those lies is that we are losers. Convinced that we are unworthy of love or respect, we (translation "I") then begin to live with the attitude that we are constant failures and that we continually disappoint God.
My struggles this year have covered almost every aspect of my life: financial, relational, kids, grandkids, aging, the health of loved ones, lack of discipline, and many others. While I have enjoyed many blessed times with family and friends and have also seen God's hand in so many situations, I realize that I have chosen to focus more on whatever current burden or problem is at the forefront of my mind. O.K. Maybe that's not so bad. But...How do I respond? I stupidly push God away. It's subtle but true. I stop talking to Him. I stop sharing with Him. I hang on to my worries and I stubbornly plod through my days filled with fatigue and discouragement.
I've had periods of time like this before but this time, it has gone on much longer. Satan's whispers have been unrelenting! I find that I have lost the grasp of grace. In I Corinthians 15:10, Paul says, "But by the grace of God I am what I am..." This statement follows his confession about persecuting "the church of God." I can list all my sins and shortcomings and it won't matter because "BUT by the grace of God, I am what I am."
Eternally loved by God, I was chosen by Him before time began. There really is nothing permanent in our lives except for the love of our Savior. I know this in my head yet I keep my eyes downcast, looking only at the trivial daily occurrences of my life and stressing about whatever instead of enjoying the fact that I AM LOVED! I really have difficulty accepting this. I am a list maker, a "get the job done" kind of person, a committed daughter, mother, grandmother, and employee. I step up, I keep up, and I lift up. And then one day, I gave up.
I have been a Christian for a very long time and yet the secret of God's grace so often eludes me. I would understand it better if I had a daily list of what God expected from me. It might look like this:
Pray twice daily for at least 10 minutes
Read the Bible
Watch only 1 hour of T.V. per day
Work hard and be productive
Help out at least 1 person each day
You get the idea. Then I would have a measuring stick. I could just check things off my list each day and that's how I could judge how "acceptable" I was. But anybody can do something like that and they don't have to put any heart into it at all. So why is it so hard to imagine God being pleased with me, just because of who I am, and more importantly, because of who He is? And if I want a list all I need to do is get busy and study the Bible more. His word will tell me very clearly how to measure up.
Rambling thoughts today but that's just a bit of what has been rattling around in my head. I am tired of moping around like I have been. Do I have stuff to be stressed about? Absolutely. My circumstances haven't changed. But God tells me not to worry. He's in charge. I think that Satan uses the worry to convince me that I am failing. The heaviness that I carry around is not mine to carry. I say that I hate that feeling but if I hate it so much, why do I hang onto it so obsessively?
I'd like to say that I'm going to turn over a new leaf but I don't have that sort of confidence today. However, recognizing that my approach has been utterly sinful and also writing down how I have been behaving will hopefully start me down a better path. It's frustrating because I know better but I still am weak. Maybe that's what most sin is about - doing things we know not to do and doing them for no good reason! I am praying that God will help me regain my footing and enable me to walk knowing that His hand of grace is tightly holding on to me.