know your yesterday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Big Brag, Dr. Seuss

A year ago, my motives were pure and my mission was clear. I simply wanted to proclaim God and prove that He is in our very midst, even in the most mundane of circumstances. Thus, if you open your eyes a little bit wider and if you pause just a little bit longer, you can really see… ordinary becomes extraordinary. But when we bustle through life, as most of us do, the supernatural can be missed. We must be intentional about it. Pause. Look. Reflect. And then see.

…on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still. Psalm 4:4b

This morning I visited my “about” page. See, the blog’s one year anniversary came about last week and I wanted to remember. I wanted to reflect, if you will, as to what prompted me to blog in the first place. And in truth, I’ve been wondering if I should continue. But you know… what I find there brings a smile to my face. Because I find that a quickly typed thought of yesterday has become so precious to me today. In fact, a mere idea of a year ago has become my passion for today: know your yesterday…

February 25, 2013: And here I sit, mind brimming, thoughts churning, and my most pressing thought? What first? Where to begin? I could start with today, but for me, yesterday is so important.

I see that yesterday was important to me then, but even more so today. Perhaps it’s because of my present circumstances. See, I’ve been looking back. And looking back. And my goodness, when I think I’m done, I find I’m looking back once again! I want to go forward, I really do. For I’m anxious to move forward from where I’ve been paused. Because I think this has gone on long enough. I mean, how much looking, reflecting and seeing can one person do? And so, I ask God repeatedly, “Why am I still here? Why am I still looking back?” For every time I think I’m ready to move forward and make a difference in His kingdom, I find I cannot take a step. I’m stalled. And honestly, I’m beginning to feel guilty about all this introspection. As a matter of fact, I feel 100% selfish wearing these inward goggles for so long. And so, writing has been hindered. Because embarrassment has settled on my soul. And I begin to wonder about other people… if someone follows these blogs, will they wonder the same about me? Will people think I’m narcissistic and that this blog would be more aptly named “the truth about me.” And so, confidence shaken, writing stills. I’ve been on pause as I’ve sat here with nothing else to do but look, reflect, and see. And so, a month ago, I finally did.

Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. James 1:23-24

This was a convicting verse to me. Because I have paused and looked and oh, how I have reflected as I’ve pored through 18 journals (yes, that’s right… 18 of them in four years time). And most importantly, I see what’s undone. For despite hearing from God over and over and over again – His words to me, written out by my own hand – I have failed to act on what He’s shown me. Throughout the pages of every journal, it’s there. It refuses to go away. And thus, I get a good look at the real me. Not the one everyone else sees, but the one that God sees. And she ain’t pretty. Because I’ve seen the truth about God and me too many times now… I know I hold tight to the very thing that’s a blemish to my insides. Pride is so deeply ingrained, that for the life of me I cannot seem to shake it. How many more times can He tell me to put it behind me. And so, through the words of a man named James, I really see my pride. And I see me. And for perhaps the first time, I see me as God sees me. A woman who has heard God’s word, and heard it, and heard it… and yet, she fails to act on it. A hearer of His word only, not a doer.

You know, James 1:23-24 tells of a man looking at his reflection in a mirror, but then, he forgets what kind of man he was. The wording in the HCSB version is “he is like a man looking at his own face,” and that word “own” means natural. It means the face of his birth. Essentially, it means where he came from. In a sense, his yesterday. And the man fails to do what he knows he should do. He doesn’t act on what God shows him about himself. In reading this passage of Scripture, I see a picture of me. And I get a glimpse of what this blog has turned out to be. For it’s my mirror. Through it, I’ve been reflecting on my past. At first, I went back a few years. But as the year progressed, I looked back further. For He wanted me to see my natural man. He wanted me to remember the face of my birth. It was as if He were bidding me, “Know your yesterday.”

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It was one month ago when I read this passage of James and the words spoke deeply. But it was the picture beside the verses that nearly took my breath away. For a picture of a bronze mirror assured me God was speaking directly to me through a man named James. See, I had just finished reading about the Old Testament temple… about how God’s presence resided inside that dwelling. However, before a priest dared approach Him, there were steps to be taken, one being the bronze laver. It was where the priest washed before stepping behind the veil into His presence. At the laver, he cleansed himself. And you know the most astounding thing… Exodus 38:8 tells that the bronze laver was made from bronze mirrors. So the bronze laver, where the man of God cleansed himself, must have been reflective. Perhaps in looking through the waters, he caught a glimpse of his natural face peering up. Perhaps in running the waters through his hand, he remembered… the face of his birth and from where God brought him. In fact, he may have reflected on his yesterday and who he once was, and perhaps was still. And perhaps it was then, when he got a really good look at himself, that he was met with humility. Because he saw

Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness,
You who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.” Isaiah 51:1

One year to clarity. One year of pausing. One year of writing and examining my past. One year of reflecting on the old (and the not so new) me. And one year to see. The blog, which I hoped would be an encouragement to everyone else, becomes encouragement to me. For it’s my mirror. And through it, I see the face of my birth reflecting back at me. Oh, it may be true I haven’t changed much in many years. But I have hope. Because the blog is still the truth about God & me, after all. It’s just that for me to see God as He really is, I first have to see me as I really am.

Ironically, the fact that my confidence has been shaken gives me hope that I’m changing. And though some would view shaky confidence in a negative light, I see it as a positive. Because for once, I’m not as sure of myself. And lack of reliance in me leads to more faith in Him. And this alone gives me hope that this time is real… that the inward goggles really worked this time around. Because I think I see something new. I believe, through the murky waters of my words, I see the beginnings of humility. Incredibly, backlit by reflective bronze, a humble countenance is peering back at me. And what astounds this prideful soul, is that the reflection looking back is me.

God’s message is clear. He says… “Pause, look, reflect, and see.” He wants me to remember my yesterday. And if it takes a year, then so be it. Because before moving forward with Him, I have to see.

“Childhood scenes rushed back at me out of the night, strangely close and urgent. Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.” The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=man+in+the+mirror&FORM=VIRE2#view=detail&mid=1A690CC65A6CCAD7BFE41A690CC65A6CCAD7BFE4

A Full Closet

Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, I listened to a Mother’s Day message today in which the speaker addressed some of the very things I have been thinking about recently. Namely… insecurity. (I’ve included the link to Lysa TerKeurst’s message at the end of this blog). And the funny thing is, she mentioned her past (as a little girl), the fickle opinions of others, and the fragile choices our children make. And I found her message to be illuminating in that she helped me identify the problem with my insecurity. And it isn’t what I would have thought. See, my line of thinking was that if you’re insecure, you’re not confident. And so logically, low confidence means that you’re not lofty and high up, right? Because if you’re insecure, you’re staying low, right? Doesn’t insecurity then, in essence, mean that you’re humble and meek? And if so, isn’t God pleased by that?

You know, I have been praying for godly wisdom for a little while now. In order to know how to please God, I need His wisdom… because His is so different from the world’s. And, fortunately, the speaker pointed to Scripture that points directly to godly wisdom. And it’s through Proverbs 11:2 that I see just what my insecurity really is: “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” Illuminating, huh? And so, I find that insecurity is not lowly and humble at all, but in fact, the opposite is quite true. The mere fact that I have been feeling insecure, and shameful, highlights the hidden pride in my life. And if I want God’s wisdom, as I have been so praying… then it’s in my humility that I’ll find it. And so I see, the issue is not at all insecurity… but pride. Because it’s pride that cares what other people think. It’s pride that feels shame in not measuring up to other people’s standards. And it’s pride that produces those feelings of inferiority. It’s the pride of life…

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. 1 John 2:15-16

So in a nutshell… God has answered my prayer. I’ve been seeking godly wisdom, and praying for God’s wisdom, and so James 1:5 has been played out in my life: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally…” Because through a message I watched at random today, God has shown me where to find His wisdom… and it’s not in my insecurity. If I want God’s wisdom, then I must be humble. And so, I have a choice to make. We all do. We must decide where we will find our true identity… and where we will find our true security. Because if we place too much importance on this world via its opinions and its measuring stick, then we will never, ever feel secure. Because the world is passing away, and the lust of it… but he who does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:17). See, our security can only be found in Him.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, God never ceases to amaze me. I am forever awed by how God fits together the pieces of my life… how He strategically plants me in places, and in circumstances, and with people, and how He opens the eyes of my understanding, enlightening me, that I may know what is the hope of His calling for me. See, I’ve been feeling less than. But He is opening my eyes, and I am beginning to see what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance. And I’ve been feeling inadequate, but He is showing me what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward me, who believes. He is showing me that I am complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. I lack nothing… because I am complete. But it’s Him who completes me. I will never, ever measure up to man’s expectations… but with God, because I am covered by the blood of His Son, I am complete. That’s my security.

You know, everyone wants to fit in. Everyone wants to be liked (well, most people do – I have run across those who actually take delight in offending other people). But the truth is, Christians will never, ever fit in with the world. Because the world and God see things in stark contrast to each other. God’s kingdom is flip-flopped from the worldly kingdom. God’s wisdom does not mesh with the world’s. And if we hold too tightly to the world, and the things of the world, then pride creeps in and wisdom walks out. And shame always follows.

Shame has always been with me… it’s always been part of my make-up. It first took root when I was a small girl. When young, because of things I did not have and my not-so-full closet. When older, because of things I did and a much fuller closet… only the closet happened to be filled with skeletons. And older still, disgrace follows because of the things I do, or don’t do, that may or may not measure up to mere man’s expectation of me. And so, shame cloaks me. But the cloak of shame comes directly out of the closet of pride. And that garment of insecurity was not selected for me by God. And so, I have a choice to make. I can gain the whole world today, packing my closet full with robes of shame in trying to keep up with the Jones, or… I can choose Him. And with Him, my closet need not be so full. Because with Him, I will be clothed in robes of righteousness. And with Him, I will be clothed in glory. And in order to be so clothed, there is only one item needed… Him.

And so, the choice… a full closet, or an empty one? Here or there? Or, this world or that one? The choice is mine to make. And it shouldn’t be that hard of a decision.

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what advantage is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:24-26

http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/cut-the-but?autoplay=sermon

History repeats itself… or so I’ve heard.

History repeats itself, right? A popular saying that originated from I don’t know where, but I’ve heard it from more than one person. So it must be true, right? Yes, history repeats. The newest saying I’ve heard more than one time is insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but hoping for a different result. Well… if that’s true, then quite clearly, I’m insane. Because after reviewing my journal from 2010, and comparing it to where I am today, I am doing the same thing again and again. And no surprise, the end result is always the same. The most damning piece of evidence was laid bare yesterday morning. The truth is, I hurt my son. It wasn’t a big hurt, but when it comes down to it, a hurt is a hurt – big or small. It happened during the mad dash of getting ready for school. Time just got away from me, and I cut it so close that I had to dress my son. Because bless his little soul, he only moves at one speed called “taking his time.” As I hastily pulled up his jeans, I felt resistance but tugged anyway. Well, his little foot was caught and it hurt him. And so, because I neglected to manage my time, I caused my son pain in the ensuing madness. And honestly, I think his feelings were hurt more than anything. Obviously, I felt like the worst mother in the whole world. And do you want to hear the most awful part? It was a couple of hours later as I perused through my old journal notes of September 15, 2010 that I realized this wasn’t the first time I had done this.  I read my own confession: “rushed and hurt my son.” It’s a fact that I had the same encounter with my son two and a half years later. Thus, it is a proven truth… history does repeat itself. I felt like a terrible mother then, and I feel like one now. And because I am doing the same thing over and over again (rushing in the morning, but hoping for a different outcome), some would classify me as insane. And I would have to agree with them.

If I’ve learned anything in my journey with God, it’s that there are no coincidences.  And when He wants you to see something about yourself, He’ll bring it right to you. He’ll show you a picture of yourself that you cannot deny. My reflected image came by way of a piece of pottery of all things. It’s the bowl I described in “A Bowl Girl.” I realize that I am the bowl. Just not as it is in its present condition. In no way do I resemble that bowl as it rests on my countertop reflecting rays of light. No, I resemble the bowl as it looked some months ago… when it was high and lifted up on the top of my fridge, collecting so much dust that even if the light had reached its surface, it wouldn’t have glimmered at all. Yes, I am just like that bowl when it was on display… just like a Pharisee. And so, I cannot say I was too surprised when I found notes in my old journal that could have been written by my own hand today. Everything that’s happening in my life today is mimicking what took place then. Again, it is proven… history repeats itself. Because I am struggling with the same thing over and over again. As always, same outcome. This is insanity.

Yesterday morning, I wondered about my being a Pharisee and a hypocrite. Because I had confronted that particular issue last year. And through reviewing my very old journal, it appears it was my struggle two and a half years ago, too. And until this past week, I didn’t really think I was a Pharisee… again. And as I ponder my past, it becomes clear how I arrived to today… to insanity. See, I am a legal assistant and work for a lawyer. The law is important. I’ve always been a rule-follower at heart. Even as a teen and young adult (when I got into things I shouldn’t), deep down I had fear because I knew there was a right and wrong. My fear was that I would get into trouble for breaking rules. And so years later, after I became His and when I finally came to a point in which I was desperate to know God, I sought knowledge. Basically, I wanted to know what His rules were. Because rules I could follow. And although seeking God’s law is not a bad thing, it can be dangerous for someone like me… a rule follower. Because acquired knowledge can cause someone like me to become arrogant and a know-it-all. It can cause someone like me to be prideful. From experience, I know one can begin adhering to one’s own set of scales of justice. And woe to anyone who falls short, because judgment will follow. I know, because this is exactly what happened to me then, it’s what happened to me a year ago, and apparently, it’s happened to me recently. I cannot deny my own handwriting. And so there’s no denying that I am a modern day Pharisee, repeating the history of Pharisees (religious leaders) from long ago. My attitude no different than theirs, and this is insanity!

Pharisees knew the law better than anyone else, and they followed it to the letter… but, their heart’s were unmoved. Pharisees lacked mercy, and when they came face to face with Jesus, they didn’t know Him and His righteousness. Because they had their own self-righteousness. And this is what Jesus had to say to or about them: they trusted in themselves that they were righteous, they despised others, they exalted themselves and thus were abased, they were those who justified themselves before men (but God knew their hearts), they were lovers of money and turned their noses up at Jesus, and they held to what was highly esteemed before men (but was, and is, an abomination before God). A Pharisee knew God’s greatest commandment was to love God above EVERYTHING, and to love his neighbor as himself… but he wanted to clarify and dispute and test Jesus and justify himself. The Pharisee said, “And who is my neighbor?” It’s evidenced that he knew the correct answer when Jesus asked “who was neighbor to him who fell?” The Pharisee said, “He who showed mercy on him.” But head knowledge does not always reach the heart.

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14

You know, in Jesus’ day, the Pharisee lacked conviction. Because in his eyes, he did no wrong. And it was two and a half years ago when I asked the question within my journal, “Am I a hypocrite… a Pharisee?” One of the most condemning phrases I found to confirm my suspicion was “lack of conviction.” At that time, I knew I judged people. And yet, rather than feel bad about it, I felt justified in my thinking. Because I thought they didn’t measure up. Remember… the Pharisee adhered to his own set of scales.

Like a Pharisee, I know God’s commands and can follow all the outward rules. I can appear very devout, but what about my insides… what about my heart? Like a Pharisee, I am often unmoved, unloving and unmerciful. I’m just like that bowl I kept way up high on the fridge. It was there for display only… cold and hard to the touch. The bowl didn’t know it was useless up high. The Pharisees didn’t know they were useless to God either. And until now, I thought I was. But, history repeats… it’s insanity.

When I was a young girl, my grandfather, Eddie, used to call out to me, “Whoa, Pam!” Sounds similar to what Jesus called out to the Pharisees, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Maybe Eddie wasn’t simply calling to me after all… perhaps God gave him insight as to what my future held, and just maybe he was calling out warning instead, “Woe, Pam!” The good news is, whether then or now, I’ve been warned. Because today is the day I see. And the truth is, it’s not at all about history repeating itself… or being insane. Quite frankly, it’s called lack of repentance. It’s called choosing to live in sin. Because to him who knows to do good, and doesn’t… it is sin. In His mercy, God showed me then, and again today. I can no longer deny the truth of what I am… a hypocrite and a Pharisee. This was true two and a half years ago, it was true a year ago… and it’s true again today. I’ve been doing the same thing again and again, hoping for another outcome. They say that’s insanity but today I know better. And the good news is, history does not have to repeat itself. He gives us the choice. And so, I know what I must do… it’s time to stop the insanity… it’s time to REPENT.

A Bowl Girl

“Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear my words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand…” Jeremiah 18:2-4 and 6

About seven or eight years ago, my husband and I visited a town called Seagrove, which is known for its pottery. We spent several hours there visiting shop after shop and admiring all the different vessels. Before visiting Seagrove, I never gave much thought to pottery… I just thought bowls. But in Seagrove, I saw a treasure of urns, jugs, pitchers, soap dispensers, plates, platters, and cups, among other earthenware. Each shop housed a myriad of vessels, each one a different shape and size, each one varying slightly in color or texture. No two were exactly alike. And that’s what makes pottery special. Each piece is unique and not to be duplicated. Kind of like us… God’s own earthenware.

Although I was faced with many beautiful pieces that day in Seagrove, I selected a bowl. See, I’m a bowl girl and I simply adore them… all shapes, all sizes. When we were first married, I received several sets, but I didn’t part with any of them. Because to me, there’s something satisfying about the way a bowl looks. I have so many today, but my favorites are the old and scarred ones. I have several pieces of Fire King that remind me of my grandmother. I also have a couple of white bowls that belonged to her, and those are my favorites. Although the white ones are the most simple, and have not a spark of color, they are dearest to me because I remember how my grandmother filled them with sausage gravy. Just like pottery, her sausage gravy cannot be duplicated… hers was unique.

There were a lot of flashy, bright bowls in Seagrove, but I chose a more subdued one… kind of deep brown overlaid with olive green, and almost unrecognizable is turquoise peeking through. And what I really love about this bowl is how it shimmers and gleams in the sunlight. At first glance, the bowl looks drab, but upon closer inspection you see the glimmer. However, it has to be in the light to shine. And you know what I did? At first, it was displayed on my sofa table. I thought it was pretty and wanted to showcase it. And where it was, it did catch some light. But basically, it just sat there… lifeless. A few years later, it was packed away into a box and kept in storage for close to a year. When it was unearthed, I again put it on display. With each move, I used that bowl as a decoration… a piece of knick-knack. And so, over time, it lost its appeal. It became part of the lay of the land around my house. I didn’t really admire it anymore. Finally, it was relegated to the top of my fridge. Still on display, high and lofty… but in the shadows of the room. There, it caught no light.

Just a few months ago, I decided to get that bowl down from its high place. See, to me it had lost its sparkle and shine. It wasn’t as special anymore, and so I decided to use that bowl for what it made for. I actually put it on my counter where it humbly housed fruit… it became serviceable. And so I was surprised when my cousin admired it in its lowly state. She even had to pick it up and peer closely at how the flecks of light sparkled in the sun. And it caused me to take a second glance. Because I had forgotten the shine. It was a dust catcher for so long, I forgot how beautiful the bowl really is. And what strikes me today is that unless I brought that bowl down off that high place where it used to be, it never would have caught the light. It would have been high, but in the dark. It would have stayed dull and unappealing. But that bowl, when low, really shone.

You know, that bowl went through a lot to look like it did. There was a process it endured not only to make it shine, but also to make it serviceable.  First came a drying period. A kiln used low temperatures to dry out the ceramic, and remove all of the water before the final firing. When the vessel was ready, the kiln used higher temperatures and a process called burnout. The kiln was heated to such a temperature that all the impurities were burned away. The next process was sintering, which means the particles of ceramic bonded to each other… the bowl became structurally stronger. That process actually changed the particles of the ceramic from clay into finished ceramic. The final stages of making the ceramic bowl involved glazing. It’s when the piece became sealed and acquired a finished look. This process involved such high temperatures that the oxidation of the exposed ceramic increased so high that the quartz crystal structured with the ceramic actually melted and flowed together. Not a comfortable process, but it’s what makes pottery so beautiful. And it sounds downright painful in light of the fact that this is exactly what God does with us. But it’s this process that gives His vessels their shine.

“Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’? Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’ Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?'” Isaiah 45:9-10

God is making each one of us into a vessel for His glory. And we can either let God have his way with us, or we can fight the process. And how much we struggle will probably determine the length of our stay in the kiln. It would probably be helpful if we could begin to understand what kind of vessel it is that He’s forming. Are we urns, filled with God’s living water ready to splash it onto whoever thirsts for eternal life? Are we soap dispensers, spurting out the truth that makes sinners clean? Are we platters, holding mounds of God’s word that nourishes the soul? Or are we bowls, teeming over with the fruit of the Spirit? In essence… how has He gifted us? Is He making us an evangelist, a teacher, a missionary… or something else?

Or perhaps what’s more important to understand is where we are in the process. Are we dry as we wander through the desert on a pilgrimage to Him? Or we in that burnout process, where our impurities are being purged? Are we becoming structurally stronger as we bond to Him? Have we been transformed yet, from clay to ceramic? Are we sealed by Him? Have we been brought through such high temperatures that our selfishness has melted away, leaving only godly desires flowing alongside His own? Have we made it to that final process where we are being glazed by His fire? If so, take heart… because we’re getting ready to shine.

The fact is we are all His vessels, created by Him for His purposes. He is the potter, and we are the clay. And once we know what we are, we can be used by Him. And He wants us to know. See, I’m a bowl girl. Or I hope to be. I hope that I can step down from my high place, and cease striving with Him. I pray that I will humbly let Him make me into whatever it is that He wants me to be. If I can do that, then He will place me on His countertop… for His service. And perhaps I’ll teem over with fruit… His fruit. And just maybe, parts of me will be lit up… just like that bowl that sits on my own countertop.

Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you… the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60:1-2

Half-Baked

Aha! I’ve identified my foe, and I know her well. Her name is Desire and she’s crafty and sly. She booked a room at Heartbreak Hotel, but she hasn’t left me yet. She overstays her welcome, but I can’t force her to leave. She dwells here, within my heart, spreading her belongings all around. She spreads her junk in every nook and cranny, displacing the One who also takes up residency in my heart. But Desire is rude and she doesn’t care who she crowds out. She’s pushy, and makes her demands. She rings her bell at all hours of the night, expecting my immediate service. She wants, and she says so. And when she doesn’t get what she wants, she makes noise. She’s so loud, I can’t hear my other Lodger. He speaks, but she’s louder. Desire shouts but He whispers.

Desire is my enemy. I want and I crave and I yearn. I want something so bad, it causes me to suffer. Basically, I cause me to suffer. Because I cannot quell those feelings that take up all my heart and mind. How in the world can I love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind (the first and greatest commandment), when there’s no room left in my heart and mind? I can’t… not the way I’m supposed to. Thus, my battle. What happened to my ammunition… the wisdom I thought I acquired, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Well, my ammo level is running low and I can’t quite strike Desire. Her foxholes are too deep, and my pitiful attempts to crush her are easily avoided.

I want. I want to be a writer… for God. But not just that. I have a deep desire to be a published writer… for God. It’s something that grabs hold of me every now and then, and I fixate on it. And that’s the problem… I fixate on it, my desire, not Him. And so, this becomes my struggle. I fight with myself. I had a beautiful start about a year and a half ago. I wanted to write about God, and His glory and His light, and how He moved in my life. And so I did. But then, I saw opportunity. I saw another glory… for me. Something a lot of folks don’t know about me is that I grew up shy. And throughout my school years, I was always the less than girl. My friends were more than me. Prettier, bolder, more popular… just more. After graduation, I joined the military and there I saw my chance to excel. There I thought I could be more than I was. What a pitiful fall into a pit of muck that turned out to be. Oh, I was more all right… just more of everything I shouldn’t have been. And then, I met my husband. It was through him, I met Jesus. And after a long period of silence with God (because of me), I finally sought Him. I was desperate. About a year and a half into my diligent search for God, I began to catch glimpses of Him. And when I came close to His glory, the desire to write was birthed. It was not of me… He is the One who placed that desire to write inside me. However, after writing out my testimony, I faced my past. All those less than years were brought to the forefront of my mind, and I thought this could be it. Finally, I could be a somebody. Finally, I could be more than I was. And so, the desire to write for God and His glory morphed into the desire to write for me and my glory.

Alas, as time went on, the burning desire to write intensified. I churned out page upon page, but after three writing contests… nothing. And then came defeat. Then came the bitter. Then came depression. The defeated feelings continue to fluctuate as time goes on, but the desire to write remains. Thus the blog. I have to get it all out. And my desire to be more than I am is the battle I fight. I read a Proverbs 31 devotional recently. It was titled Escaping the Rut of Want, and it provided a great picture of myself. The writer mentioned how her daughters baked a cake, but pulled it out of the oven too soon. It looked done from the outside, but the inside was not. As the cake sat there, it imploded. And this, I see, is me. I’m half-baked. Oh, God is making me… but I’m not done yet. There are some air bubbles inside that need to rise to the surface… there’s some raw batter that needs to sit in the oven just a bit longer. The desire I hold to (the one for my glory) has to be burned out. Only God will know when I’m done. Because until I want to be more than just for Him, nothing’s going to happen. Until I can accept my situation, and remain less than so that He can become more than, I will sit in this oven. Until I want to write for Him, and only Him, I remain half-baked.

Desire is a hard thing to rise above. She can only be conquered when I submit to God, and accept who I am today. I am who I am, right? And for today, I am a child of God, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and legal assistant. This is my station in life… this is where God has placed me. Until I can wholeheartedly embrace what He’s given me (and He’s already blessed me with so very much), there is no way He can entrust me with more. When I submit to what I am, Desire will fall away. She will retreat only when I surrender… to Him.

I am a writer… for God. Words burst forth from my heart. I dream about them and recite my composition over and over in my brain till I can get it out. Yes, I am a writer. Psalm 45:1 says, “My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” This is me, most of the time. If I can just lose myself and that desire to be more than. If only my sole desire is to write about Him and for Him. If only…

A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul. Proverbs 13:19