I started this blog back in March and I am learning that God often chooses to use the “ugly” when it comes to my writing. The struggles I have in this flesh, issues I would rather hide away in a closet, are the topics he nudges me to put into words on a screen. It is hard to be vulnerable and to feel exposed of my unbecoming ways. I mean who on earth wants to reveal to those around you, your negative qualities. We spend so much energy trying to cover that part up, slap on a smile and make sure we portray to those around us that it’s all good . If I sat here and told you that I never struggle with comparison, jealously, and selfishness, it would be a miry pit of untruths. Throw in my lack of trust and my wavering faith at times, and well it doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of myself. I mean Christians are suppose to be better than that, right? As long as we are bound by this flesh, we will have inner struggles and tribulations. It’s a day to day conflict, one where I must choose Jesus over self. This flesh is corrupt and when left to lead itself, it will most definitely direct me to a path of pain, bad choices and destruction. Usually the desires our flesh are drawn to, is the quite opposite of what Christ wants for us. It truly is an ongoing internal battle for each of us, but don’t lose hope because there is victory found in Jesus. He paid our debt on that cross at Calvary, and not only does he offer us eternal life, but freedom from the sins that try to keep us in bondage.
I have come to realize that often we will be confronted with trials and situations that will force us to deal with our weaknesses. We can no longer sweep them under the rug, but we are faced to deal with our shortcomings, front and center. Over the past few months, there have been situations my family has encountered that pointed out some “ugly” traits in myself. I would have never admitted aloud on some of the truths I have had my eyes opened to about myself. It has been hard to become painfully aware of issues that I had tucked deep down for no one to see and even justified to myself that they weren’t my struggles. My heart has taken some blows, but as difficult as it has been, there has been growth and discernment. It is not that these issues were all that bad, but none the less, they were keeping me from being more Christlike. They were inhibiting my walk with God. I am learning that sometimes we go through challenging times, not to knock us down and keep us there, but as a period of refinement. A season of molding and shaping as only the Creator can do. He knows our future and he is preparing us for it.
Yet Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we all are the work of Your hands. Isaiah 64:8
Because of the growing awareness of my deep need for Jesus, I can lean into Him, digging deeper in his word each day if I choose. Notice, it’s a choice. God does not force himself on you, even once you have become a believer. He loves us and grants us free will to grow and nurture our relationship with him. It takes action on our part. It takes choosing him daily. Seeking him out in all things. Praying continuously.
I have many issues I need to work on personally, but lately I have been ashamed at how my faith has been so easily shaken by certain outcomes to situations in my life. At the first sign of things not going as planned, I feel defeated. I lose hope. I lose faith. I get mad. Sigh…. Then feelings of guilt wash over me and I just want to crawl in a hole to hide, but there is no place to go where God will not see me. With a sorrowful heart, my head hung low, I repent and ask God to forgive me once more. The amazing thing is he always offers me forgiveness when I come with a earnest spirit. Sometimes I imagine him shaking his head, knowing that it won’t be the last time he hears me utter those words, but yet his arms are still open wide, ready to embrace me once more and help shepherd me back on the right path. What grace and mercy he bestows upon me! I would hate to think of the condition I would be in without his love and guidance in my life. No matter how many times I mess up, He is there. Let him use the ugly and the messy parts of your life. It isn’t easy, but by allowing him to mold and shape you, polishing and buffing out the rough edges and imperfections, you will become one step closer to who he created you to be. Nothing is wasted when you surrender it into God’s hands.
Keep moving forward,