In the Battle-What I've learned so far.
I know, for a fact, that this battle isn't anywhere near over. I expectantly wait for that post that reads "We passed the test!" Will there ever be a post like that? Who knows. However, I do know that it's not always about the end of something but about the actual journey and I try hard to look beyond the fact that most days this journey sucks (excuse my french). Those valuable moments when I have seen beyond my own gripes and my own wants, I realize that I am gaining a lot of personal knowledge about myself in relation to God and to others. Some of these insights are good, some are bad and, yep, some are even ugly. This is how I see it, I would rather spot the big ol' booger (for those classier people: mucus) hanging out of my nose before I leave the house opposed to having someone point it out, or worse yet, spending the whole day in front of people and finding the disgusting thing hanging from my nose after the fact. Sorry for the gross example, but this truly describes some of the ugliness revealed by tests.
Many of us don't want to face reality, we would rather not look into God's spiritual mirror because it just may reveal anything but pretty. Sure we can ignore and pretend everything is fine, but those around us know we are not fine and God surely knows we are not fine, and until we look into the mirror and see what's there, the mess will never get cleaned up and we will never be our best God intends for us to be. I hate looking at myself first thing in the morning, it's just plain scary. When I do look at myself, this is when I say "ok, I need a shower, I need to fix my hair, pluck something (only middle aged women understand this, hahaha), put some concealer on...ummmm, everything, etc." After I have done all of that, wow! what a transformation and now I can confidently leave the house and face the public and be the best I can be. Well, spiritually I believe it's the same thing, we look in the spiritual mirror, see stuff we didn't know was there and we don't walk away with our heads down, we do what we need to to fix it. It may be to confess a sin or a negative attitude, maybe we need a reminder of how much God loves us, maybe we need to call someone and say sorry; whatever it is, God shows us because He wants to help us fix the problem so we can enter into His plan and purpose for our lives and His word says he provides the resources and grace to make those changes.
So all of that said, what are some lessons learned so far, in the midst of the battle:
1) I am not as strong as I thought I was. Since childhood I have had to hold my own, be strong when it seemed like every one and every thing was falling apart around me. This could be partly due to being raised by a single mom and being the eldest out of three girls in the house. If mom was down, I picked up the slack. This could also be a result of having a type A leadership personality. I didn't and don't mind being in charge and taking care of business. This was not all negative, I became a mentor and role model at a very young age to other young kids and even some adults. Although without proper guidance and balance this turned into a stubborn, self-reliant, I-don't-need-anybody attitude.
Lovingly and gracefully God, through His word and through His servants, has been showing me how out of balance these attitudes and ways of thinking are. It has been a process that has taken years. God works on us little by little covering us in mercy and showering us with His unconditional love. This battle we are in now; I can honestly say, has been the end of me. It is crushing me, crushing MY strength, destroying the ME I thought I was. I know this sounds terrible but it isn't. I want to be God's vessel used for His purpose. If, as a vessel, I am not fit to be used by God, then "God, by all means break me and remake me!"
There are more lessons to be shared, but I am really tired and going to bed now. Good Night!