Thursday, August 15, 2019

Who are you comparing yourself to?

I often say, "I am what I am, by the grace of God, I am."

This sounds like I'm content with myself, doesn't it? Like I've arrived at a peaceful resting place, where there's no self-contempt or judgement...just abiding in His grace.

Truthfully, I think I use it more for an excuse and consolation...for the times I fall short or fail...another way of saying, "Well, gosh darn, I still haven't got it right but it's okay...slowly I go, step by step, inch by inch."

I wish I believed it more...that I'm enough, just as I am...a hodge podge of sin and grace, light and darkness, beauty and scars...custom made by the Master Builder with a purpose in His mind, though often I admit I have no idea what that is!

For the next 2 weeks I'm preparing for a Life in the Spirit seminar at the church we are attending. I participated in one over 30 years ago when I first came to Christ, and though I remember little of it, I know it helped form me at a stage when I desperately needed to know Him...hear from more like Him.

And 30 years later, I still have the same needs!

I'm hoping this will be a in a painting when the first strokes are wide and expansive, the last refined and delicate. But maybe not. Heaven knows any work of the Spirit will be welcomed eagerly!

One of the readings for today was from Romans, verses 1 and 2, though I got hung up on it and read the whole chapter...

"Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, NOT by what we are and what we do for Him.

In this way we are like the various parts of the human body...since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't."

And this my friends, is an example of the Spirit speaking.

This is really the crux of the matter...

That it's all about Him...Who He is and what He does. It's NOT about me, which is contrary to what our culture screams at us, "Never enough! Never Enough! Never Enough!"

I shared this on Facebook today. It's Jesus truth. And it sounds so right. And I want to believe it and apply it to my life, thinking it could be the key to freedom from comparison...self-criticism...the yearning to be more than what I am...

Maybe it's my focus that's off. I mean, I notice all the prettier people...all the smarter people...the younger, healthier, skinnier people. And then I go and do what the Bible says NOT to do, "Compare yourselves amongst yourselves which is not wise."

But how often do I fix my attention on God, Who will change me from the inside out, Who will bring out the best in me? (Romans 1-2)

There's a tension here...between acknowledging my amazingness and awesomeness because of Who He is and how He made me and the value He places on me...which should lead to more humility and love and adoration and trust in Him...

And the willingness to embrace the tender truth that Yes, I DO fall short, not in comparison to others, but with Him as my example. Praise God, He does not judge me or condemn me for where I am, but rather calls me to hope in Him to finish and perfect that which concerns me. And I find great freedom and peace in this. God said it, I believe it, that settles it.

My prayer is that I will become more aware and alert to my wrong wandering guilt-induced when I hear a new bird trilling an unknown song outside my window, and I eagerly drop what I am doing to go find it. As I just did.

And that I will be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His quiet whisper to come up higher and closer to Him, looking through His eyes and listening with His heart.

Maybe I don't have to wait til the weekend of the Seminar for change...because after rereading all I have written, I recognize that He's here at work...right now.

And He's there with you...whatever you are facing, whatever circumstances you find yourself in.

May we both find great delight in this.

Shine on, dear one. You are fearfully and wonderfully made!


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