Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Me first

When you ask God to change you, he does.

This post doesn't flatter me at all.
In fact, it shows the bad side of my heart.  The side that is in constant struggle with who He has called me to be, who I really want to be.

So he's changing me..
There are the small ways. The ways that are subtle. I don't end up noticing until long after the change has occured. That's the easy way, I think.

This isn't the type of change I'm talking about though.
 Lately, I have noticed that when I talk to him about something needing to change in a certain situation and asking for that change to occur, he usually ends up working on me first, not the situation.
I have not been a fan of that so much.
To be honest, it's annoying.
It's uncomfortable.
And usually I am standing with a gaping mouth at the the "injustice" that is going on. Why isn't he changing this situation? What is wrong with some people?  Why all of the injustice? 
(When I refer to injustice here, I wish I was refering to social injustice, hunger, poverty etc. I'm not. I'm talking about the issues in my own little world and in the world of those around me.)
So I stand with my mouth wide open (usually in confusion), hands shaking at God, completely annoyed at the situation wondering what is really going on, not really realizing or valuing what he is wanting to do in me first. He could very well be wondering what the heck is up with me and be very annoyed with me and my actions.  Thank you God, for new mercies EVERY morning.
I sure have been needing them lately.

I'm not super spiritual, if you haven't gathered that already by the above paragraphs. But I do know that in my heart, as the Holy Spirit speaks to me, this is not the right way to be thinking.
Oh, I can say the right things like "Let's just pray about it and hope God does a great change" but then I walk away from said prayer and allow myself to think "This is so stupid. I just wish things were  different". I get very frustrated with how others choose to use the resources and blessings they have but in doing this I hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, which is usually stifled and softened by my loud thoughts of complaining and of a busy mind, saying " Relax!  Stop it! You have your own issues. When you wish things away, you misuse your blessings. Let me worry about them. I love that person. I love you. Rest in me and just learn to love them like I have loved you." 
This is the hard part.
He's not a genie, He's God.
Sovereignty takes time.

*tremendous sigh*

"You asked for change", you say.
Well, I didn't mean like this. 
But since our God is gracious and rich in mercy, He ministers to me first before just handing out answers to my prayers for change so that I can be a better wife, friend, leader, mother and I resist so strongly sometimes. Why is this? Why do I tend to be so aware of other's situations but I ashamedly neglect my own state of affairs? 

Then I am gently reminded:
"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. 
Matthew 7:1

Well, then!
Certainly none of us (I) am not this bad!?  Really, who is?  I mean, I'm not "picking" on them. I just talk about how I want them to be different all of the time. 
Oh wait..
When I choose to criticize others whether in my mind or with my mouth I am playing a part, not living out my faith. That hurts not only me to hear it but I am sure it hurts my God to see it.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philppians 4:8

I need to be thinking about these things and not thinking about what needs to be different by my standards.
I must be aware of my thoughts!
I must be aware of the state of my own heart!
I must be aware of what God's word says about loving others well!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

I must be aware of my words!
I must be aware of God's will in my moment to moment!
I. must. be. aware.
And I must do it.
I must be aware and willing for change to occur in my heart first.
I am incapable of loving, truly loving, without His help.
That is a harsh reality I am facing.

I am a pretty self- aware person but it is coming to my attention that when it comes to matters in my heart that need attention and purging, I am not so introspective. I like to overlook those parts that will require discomfort or humbling.
 To be so introspective would hurt!
 It does.
To be real with my faults might reveal my weaknesses.  
It will.
When I am really honest I am vulnerable and that could be scary.
 It is.

If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it— how shortsighted to refuse correction! 
Proverbs 12:1

I'm not a big fan of correction, I'll be honest.
So to love the discipline part,well, that takes some supernatural power from my God.
So I asked for change. And now, I am experiencing the growing pains of learning to "love the discipline that goes with it".

This is something he is constantly working on in me.
It's been one of the harder lessons so far.
I would like to pass this with flying colors. Most days I feel like I am failing.
I would still like for some others to change without me having to do the hard part too.
But I understand that:

God disciplines those he loves, 
as a father the son he delights in.
Proverbs 3:12

Sometimes, that means he deals with me first.