Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Where I am, again, as July ends

Patience continues to be a major struggle for me. Trusting God requires me to be patient. I was somewhat trusting and patient for a couple of days, but I'm back to wanting clarity, NOW!!

Several of my daily readings have happened to address right where I am, including Wednesday's from My Utmost for His Highest, drawing from James 1:4 -- "Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

Among the commentary from Oswald Chambers: "Not only must our relationship to God be right, but the outward expression of that relationship must also be right. Ultimately, God will allow nothing to escape; every detail of our lives is under His scrutiny. God will bring us back in countless ways to the same point over and over again. And He never tires of bringing us back to that one point until we learn the lesson, because His purpose is to produce the finished product. It may be a problem arising from our impulsive nature, but again and again, with the most persistent patience, God has brought us back to that one particular point. Or the problem may be our idle and wandering thinking, or our independent nature and self-interest. Through this process, God is trying to impress upon us the one thing that is not entirely right in our lives."

For me, it's pretty clearly more than one thing. Among them: Impatience, lack of faith, selfishness, all undergirded by fear.

Saturday, I had somewhat of a breakthrough, at least for a moment. In a moment of indecisiveness, I sat down and prayed for guidance about which of two meetings to go to. The clear answer seemed to be to go to the first meeting (at 10:30 in Norman), then I could go on to the second meeting at noon in Oklahoma City. And that's what I set off to do.

But on the way, I realized two important things. First was that I really didn't need two meetings on the same day. I need two in a week, but going on the same day probably wouldn't be that beneficial. The second thing was recognition that I was trying to hold on to the familir -- the meeting I'd been attending at noon in Oklahoma City -- instead of transitioning to the 10:30 meeting in Norman that better fits my present circumstances. And that's exactly what I was still trying to do at work, at the end of the fourth week of the new schedule, as I continued to seek ways to be involved with my former shift.

I renewed my commitment to let go and move on, and for the rest of Saturday and Sunday, it seemed to help. Saturday, I petted the kitties at the shelter, bought some new clothes, bought gas, cooked supper and even went to a friend's piano recital. Sunday wasn't as busy, but it was peaceful. Monday and Tuesday, I did better than usual at staying patient, trusting God and not trying to figure out how to get things to work out certain ways.

But by Wednesday, I was really feeling the stress and anxiety again. I find myself wanting to make suggestions and plans to try to shape the future. But God's call on my heart keeps telling me to be patient. Slow down. Trust. Be patient ....

This, also from My Utmost, on Monday, also spoke strongly to me, under the title "God’s Purpose or Mine?" The Scripture reference was Mark 6:45 -- "He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side ..."

These words convicted me: "We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. ... We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. ... What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself."

And this guides me: "What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God."

The process. Letting go of my pride. Depending on God's power. Patiently. Prayerfully.

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