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This is about to hurt your feelings, BAD. S’okay, this realization hurt mine first. Get over it.
I am not your “eat ice cream by the tub while watching chick-flicks girlfriend,”
although I can recommend someone if that’s what you need. I don’t particularly care to braid your hair, although I know how. I am your late-night, Thelma & Louise-type, Ride-or-Die, lovingly truth-telling like I need you to tell it back to me. Feel free to excuse yourself if you’re not ready. This is intended to leave a mark. We’re about to go deep.
God’s got jokes, at least with me. So deep in the midst of an end-to-end life changing transformation, one that insists upon gaining steam every time I expect it to slow down, He blows up my sense of security in a new way. I have no choice but to suck it up. In so many areas of our lives, we claim to desire change. We think we do, but it is my testimony that change occurs in our lives ONLY when we’re prepared; when remaining where you are is so miserable that the pain and fear of trying something new is less onerous than continuing to do what you have been doing….which by the way clearly ain’t yielding desired results.
But here’s the thing. Be careful about change…because as my wise BFF reminds me, your ask for “patience” will bring forth the thing MOST LIKELY to send you to the edge of your sanity. Your ask for calm shatters everything you know to be rest, challenging you to BE the calm in the midst of the storm, rather than steadfast to wait the storm out. God does not grant petitions the way we think He should, that would be retail therapy…told you I was about to hurt them feelings….God moves according to His Will. Get with the program.
You say you desire change, to honor God with your body. Okay. What body might you be imagining? Is it a size, a shape, a tone, a CAPACITY? What if those prayers doesn’t yield just the answer you imagined? Dying to your self-image and desires is painful and unpleasant but remember, you just said that was what you wanted. So ponder this….what if God never changes the things YOU think He should be working on (like you actually get a vote…) Could you love and serve Him anyway?
The question is....what do you really desire? The question is....what really matters? God is not concerned about your plans (His are better), and our vision and our timing is so far off the Divine radar as to be fully irrelevant. Let’s not skip free will though, you can be happy in your waiting (and praise Him in advance), or stew in your funk…either way, He will move when He moves. He blesses in due time, and “abundantly recompense(s) us for waiting.” Ahem.
Now, before you think there is no encouragement in this message for you, hold on. I’m a tough-love type, but I got you….just hold on…remember, if we faint not….
Before He changes us, we have to yield.
We have to change. We have to move beyond “I want this…” to “I want to be available to serve You, Lord…” in all we say and all we do. When we are faithful with a little bit, we demonstrate obedience, gratitude, and a servant’s heart. He rewards.
This week’s assignment is to write a love letter to the body you have at this very moment. However it speaks most powerfully to you, examine your temple, note its strengths and opportunities, and lift praises and honor to God for it, as it is, just now. Hold on….still a little a pain to come. Declare to Him that if nothing every changes, you will honor Him in all things on all days for just what you’ve got right now….AND MEAN IT. (I know, it might be the hardest thing you ever do, but trust me, it’s worth it.) I remember making my declaration of faith…that’s what it was, I realize that now. I told God that I was grateful for that temple, that it carried me, mostly without complaint whether it was sufficiently well-rested, well-cared for, or not, and in order to be a be a goodly steward, I had to acknowledge that self-care and temple restoration are not vain pursuits, and not practices to be undertaken ONLY upon receipt of the temple we most desire.
Self-care and temple restoration are humble, grateful acts of worship and stewardship, honoring God for His Goodness by celebrating the lives he gave us and living them well, at all times. You would not tend a garden only as it bloomed and produced for harvest….
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden GROW???
This week, I encourage you to prayerfully plot your garden by assessing where you are right now. Thank Him for today’s blessings, and leave the rest to Him. He knows your desires far better than you, and understands both your capacity and the trials it will take to shepherd you from where you are to where He ordained you to be. It is easy, in our impatience, to fret. We toss around problems ALL DAY LONG, until we are able to stop thinking, wishing, and bargaining, and start praising and offering prayer and worship. Suddenly, or maybe not so suddenly but CERTAINLY, more of a blessing will fall upon you than ever you could have asked.
Here and now, I challenge each of you to take up the mantle of King David in restoring our temples. Our sacred obligation, it offers the opportunity to live and demonstrate our faith. Despite how far I have come, I am yet being restored; my walls are being rebuilt. Everything I endured before this time, and for which I now daily thank God, serves me well. You’re going to get there. We’re going to do it together, to the Glory of God. (see, I’m not that tough after all.)