Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What I'm learning about life in Christ

Recently, I desired a reading additive to my daily routine, something quick to read but powerful on impact.  I thought I knew exactly what I was looking for and judging from it's title, a current devotional favorite sounded like the answer.  I ordered the book online and when I received it, it did nothing for me.  I didn't find it interesting, let alone challenging.  Everyday was short and sweet, kinda mamby-pamby and feel good.  Maybe it just wasn't the right time, but it certainly wasn't what I had in mind, I returned it.
I decided to pick up an old faithful devotional that I hadn't used in years.  The very first day God used it's message to open my eyes.  Reading something that truly speaks to your heart is something you have to re-read over and over to fully grasp all that is being said.  I have gone back and re-read that first day at least 5 times.  I thought I'd share, this is where I am.  My food for thought, that I've desperately needed over the past week.
November 22
Shallow and Profound
"Whether  therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do,
do all to the glory of God."
Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow concerns of life are not ordained of God; they are as much of God as the profound. It is not your devotion to God that makes you refuse to be shallow, but your wish to impress other people with the fact that you are not shallow, which is a sure sign that you are a spiritual prig. Be careful of the production of contempt in yourself, it always comes along this line, and causes you to go about as a walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow than you are. Beware of posing as a profound person; God became a Baby.
To be shallow is not a sign of being wicked, nor is shallowness a sign that there are no deeps: the ocean has a shore. The shallow amenities of life, eating and drinking, walking and talking, are all ordained by God. These are the things in which Our Lord lived. He lived in them as the Son of God, and He said that "the disciple is not above his Master."
Our safeguard is in the shallow things. We have to live the surface common-sense life in a common-sense way; when the deeper things come, God gives them to us apart from the shallow concerns. Never show the deeps to anyone but God. We are so abominably serious, so desperately interested in our own characters, that we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow concerns of life.
Determinedly take no one seriously but God, and the first person you find you have to leave severely alone as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself. 
 ~My Utmost for His Highest
 I don't know about you but isn't it encouraging to know that God cares about the shallow, is in the shallow?  And it is also convicting to know that I often try to live beyond the shallow to impress others by being profound.  I am a fraud.
My life is full of shallow living, the cooking, the laundry, the dishes, the dirty diapers, the repetitive chores and responsibilities, the children fighting, their need to be disciplined, to be redirected, to be educated, to be loved and cleaned and clothed and fed.  Shallow life is meant to be refining but is also can be frustrating and all for naught if I'm not focused on God.  If only I will open up my eyes to see it, my heart to accept it and my pride to acknowledge that I am not perfect, I am a failure.
I give myself too much credit.  No, I really don't think I'm perfect, and I know I'm not Wonder-Woman, but I really do try my best and when that is not enough I get angry. 
Over the weekend it was brought to my attention that I had been a grouch.  I refused to believe that I had been and was convinced that I had been wrongly perceived.  I immediately resorted to justifying how terrible I had felt physically and if this person only knew how much I had persevered, they wouldn't even question my attitude or take it personal.
As I've thought about and reflected a couple days, I finally admit that God wants more of me and I really shouldn't resent Him when I feel I have done everything I possible can, and it isn't good enough.  I am constantly in need for more of Him and His strength and that is the lesson I so often fail to see.  He wants me to live in the shallow, dependent on Him, eyes wide to see the lessons and heart humble to acknowledge that without Him I am nothing and have nothing to give.  Doing my best will never be enough, how prideful of me to not strive for His best and trust that His strength is enough to get me through trying days of pregnancy and mothering and being a wife.  It is not acceptable to simply say, "I tried my hardest.", if my hardest didn't include consulting God for help and acknowledging that without Him I am a failure.
The truth hurts and I came face to face with the fact that my bad attitude is a sin and is inexcusable.  Period.  End of story, it's not okay to be grouchy because I don't feel well or I'm overwhelmed by my to-do list or because I'm exhausted with my 4 children and 1 growing inside me. 
Truthfully, I don't know how to overcome this completely and that is the point, I never will without God.  I must become humble and acknowledge when I mess up and when I fail, confess my sin and ask forgiveness.  Forgiveness from God, my kids and my husband.  These are big words for me, scary even.  For some reason it is easier to deny my sin than acknowledge it, because I know I will fail again. The lie of Satan is, don't ask for forgiveness until you can truly mean that you'll never do it again.  Life with Christ isn't about being all you can be for Him, it's about Christ being all He can be in you.  Sometimes I really do think it's about me being all I can be for God and that, my friends, is full of pride and self-promotion, it has everything to do with how others see me and nothing with how they see God.

We started decorating for Christmas.  I asked Joseph to pick all of the Little People Nativity pieces off the floor that Brady had slobbered and scattered everywhere.  I later found them all sitting on the piano bench, situated in a way I would have never put them.
  They were each huddled, circling close and facing Baby Jesus, they backs to everything else.  Usually I put them all on display, turned slightly toward Jesus but definitely lined up, facing outward.  I immediately saw myself, I usually think of myself as on display for all to see me standing next to Jesus.  Instead, I should be looking at no one other than Jesus and turned completely toward Him.


Crystal Costello said...

Loved this, Miranda!

Thank you for sharing your reflections on this devotion! I "My Utmost for His Highest" as a daily reflection and you took it even deeper!

Bonnie said...

Wow how powerful Joesph's small hands have touched me today. The words you shared I can also relate too. I get grouchy because I keep failing and I know it. Thank you so much for these words.