Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

Its now Independence Day, 4:40 AM. Although my body is tired beyond any stretch of the imagination, I'm finding it difficult to find slumber for my soul. The restlessness I'm experiencing at this moment has been ongoing for quite some time. Some of this is due to health complications but, I think the majority of my restlessness comes from the deepest part of me, the core of my being that cant seem to stay focused on whats really important in life.

I find myself questioning what Im supposed to be doing. Am I doing the right thing? Ive lost a connection I once had with my Savior. Ive lost my childlike faith. So, I incessantly worry. This is the one thing I know God does NOT want me to do (see Matthew 6:25-28). I used to trust God with the most difficult circumstances. I remember the process of the divorce I experienced 5 years ago. I had so much peace during the worst time of my life. I trusted God and He took care of me. But, now, I don't even trust Him with the little things. Instead, I dwell on them day and night. I worry about not having an established career at age 38. I worry that I'm not making wise choices. I get depressed because things haven't turned out the way I hoped.

I find myself suffering from unhealed wounds due to spiritual battles I keep trying to fight on my own. I'm trapped in bondage to my own selfishness. I've struggled over the past year or so like I haven't struggled in many.

I find myself in utter despair over the fact that God called me to serve Him through ministry over twenty years ago and still I sit here doing no more than I was after surrendering to that call. In fact, it seems as though I am doing even less. In a previous Myspace post (June 17, 2006), I mentioned being in bondage to the call God has placed on my life. (I'm sure He's thrilled about that.) I know it was never His intention to place me in bondage when He called me to serve. He gave me a gift! What have I done with it? It hasn't always been this way.

When I was in my twenties I taught Sunday school and vacation Bible school. I sang in the choir, on the worship team, and even directed the childrens choir/theatre for a year. It was wonderful! I was blessed to lead several children to Christ. I learned all the ups and downs of serving in these areas. I experienced struggles and joys that were difficult and wonderful growing experiences. During this time, I don't believe I was experiencing the bondage that I am today. I believed it all to be a process of training for the original call to women's ministry. I was getting prepared.

Now, as I approach my forties, I've watched many young Christians (both in age and faith) jump right into service. Young women in their twenties have become great servants in ministry, speaking, writing, music, teaching, mentoring, or whatever the call. Yesterday, even, I read an article by a woman who has a ministry and a published book. She has only been a Christian for six years! Six years! I became so whiney when I read this. I even cried out to God, "Six years, God! What have I done with my faith? How come you can use her in such an incredible way but I just sit here? Why don't I qualify? What is wrong with me?" Me! Me! Me!

Today, when I awoke at oh about 3:30 or so, I was so frustrated because of my discomfort both physically and spiritually. I finally gave up laying there trying to do what wasn't going to happen (sleep) and went to the spare bedroom/laundry room. I began reading "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence. Its a bit of a difficult read due to the language of the day, but it wasn't so difficult that I couldn't get the message. It brought about great conviction.

Here I am a victim of my own selfishness, bound instead of blessed by the receiving a gift from God (a call to ministry), when I should be celebrating the freedom I have in Christ, the giver of that gift. I have been enslaved to the very thing that was intended to bring me freedom. The very thing that should be drawing me into His presence is being used as a tool of separation. As I've said before, its become an idol, an obsession that has taken over my life and is making me miserable. This obsession, over the past year or so has actually stunted my growth. It's affected every area of my life because it's kept my focus on what I feel entitled to instead of Who's I am. I should be obsessed with Christ and having a healthy, thriving relationship with Him, nothing more or less.

I talk a good talk when I get inspired. I know in my heart what's right. I share these things at any given opportunity. But, then there's the in-between times. I can be so self-centered! I feel like I'm going nowhere in life, a misfit who just doesn't belong. I dwell on the lies from the enemy instead of the promises of God and the Truth of His Word! I believe that I have no place in church. I don't qualify for anything. (I even apply this to my personal life in the area of finding employment. I'm either under qualified or over qualified. Over qualified is still unemployed! It still means I'm not qualified.)

I should be dwelling on the fact that I am a princess and His mercies are new every morning! I am beautiful and loved by God right now, right where I am, unemployed or not, single or married, serving in ministry or not, sleeping or NOT (just had to toss that in there). He loves me and thinks I'm beautiful even as I wallow deeply in the muck and mire of self-pity. Why isn't that enough? It should be.

My focus should be on nothing more than loving God. I should be concerned with nothing more than fitting thoughts of Him into every moment of every day. I should be conversing with Christ instead of making a curse of His call. I should see everything in the light of the cross. I should be laying my burdens on the One who died for me. Nothing else should matter. Fitting in shouldn't matter, finding my place shouldn't matter, a career, a house, my appearance, a husband, good health, even involvement in church activities should mean nothing in the light of Christ. That's where I need to be. Thats where I so desperately want to be, in His light. I just want to be at the point when I can lay all of this "stuff" down at the feet of my Savior and say, its all nothing in comparison to You. My first and most important call in life is to LOVE GOD. That is the Truth (Mark 12:30) .

On this early Independence Day morning, I am reminded that true independence comes from complete dependence on Jesus Christ. God help me.

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