Making New Year's resolutions were always too much pressure for me. This year I made several but only one I'm going hard after. I'm keeping my appointments with God. Sometimes I fail, especially when the bed seems warm and I get an unexpected call from Him to get up and pray for someone.
I usually tell Him how sorry I am l and double up my efforts in praying for whoever that person was. This year I decided just to keep another blanket beside my bed on the floor, so that if he decides He wants to hear from me, when I'd rather be sleeping, I could just slip under my blanket- on the floor and talk to him and leave the excuse of I'm too tired or I'm too warm behind in the bed.
I decided to commit to reading my One Year Bible out loud this year. When I calculated up the time that I spend on my computer, reading books, and playing with my phone, I realized that it far outweighed the time that it would take to read the passages for that day.
So this year, I am reading. I'm reading without thinking about how I didn't keep up with it last year or the year before that. I'm reading and just focusing on what it says for the day that I'm in. I decided to keep my appointments with God's Word.
I committed this year not to exchange one mask for another. For those that don't know, I have been walking through a major crisis for quite some time and for the most part haven't had the time, or desire to blog. When "stuff" happens it's easier to front like things are all together, when they are not. It's easier to hide behind a mask to for protection and so that people don't know how much it hurts.
I thought that I had cleaned out my armoire of masks. But this year, I found that I still had some still hidden to choose from. Something within compels us to preserve our "public selves" when in crisis'. Of cousre we are not going to tell everyone our business and cry on every shoulder in public but, what if we are presented with help, a listening ear, or tools that could move us to one area of productivity to another, do we still choose to hide out of fear or shame? Do we not take hold of a life preserve because we are embarassed? Is it really safer to hide than seek out help? Do we hold on to the "belief" that if we ask for help that we are admitting to weakness?
Do we continue to claim that we are authentic people and stuff our inadequacies behind the mask of volunteering, in an effort to feel needed and then continue to over commit ourselves in that area? Do we hide our hurts behind the mask of over eating or under eating? Do we hide behind the mask of rescuing in an attempt to help others and escape when we are clearly drowning and neglect to see that we are worth being saved and rescued? Do we hide behind the mask of sexual immorality--in all its forms in an effort to feel wanted and loved?
This year I am exchanging all of my masks that I find so comfortable and safe for the grace, patience, and resources that are made available to me with every expectation that God is committed to seeing me smile, committed to seeing me healthy, safe, and in love...with Him. He is committed to me, his daughter. The truth is that there is no growth in hiding behind masks. We have to choose to hide in Him.
I have been told by a dear friend that God doesn't waste pain. I often wondered if He doesn't waste it, how then does He uses it? Pain is ugly, feels like punishment, its messy, has layers and is like a tangled web. Pain is painful. Yet, He uses it to draw us closer to him in ways that we could never experience when things are going well. He stretches us and causes us to depend on Him deeper. He gives us many opportunities to release all of the things that tear us up inside and the secret parts of our hearts that no one knows about to Him, all in hopes that we would give Him a chance to show us how deeply He cares for us. Will I continue to deny Him of that?
When my oldest two were younger, we watched so many hours of Winnie the Poo. On one occasion Poo gave Eeyore a useful pot for his birthday. It was all he had to give. I remember thinking, "A useful pot? Wouldn't he get more use out of a box? At least with a box, he could fit more things in it and place it nicely on a shelf or under his bed. At least a box is symmetrical and unlike a clay useful pot, boxes aren't easily broken".
I use to believe that we are useless if we are broken.. a far cry from Winnie the Poo's useful pot or my imaginary useful box. I assumed God needed time to put us back together again and then set us on a course to save the world before we could be used by Him. God clearly does not think the way I do. We are all useful to Him. With all of our imperfections and flaws, He considers us a useful box..to be filled with more of himself. He delights in us with all of our rough edges, chips, faults, bumps, scratches, scars, pain, trauma and our emptinness. Not because these things are pleasurable to Him but, because He can identify with our aching hearts and has a mysterious way of weaving our imperfections into His great plan and purspose for our lives for His Glory.
He doesn't wait till we are perfect celestial beings to use us. He uses us while He is still working on us, while we are still imperfect. He knows that its easier for imperfect people to relate to imperfect people. Although it would seem logical that He would only use us when everything in our world seems perfect, He always has a better plan.
His ideas are unlike ours. He is behind the scenes doing things we can not see and when we least expect it, he gives us opportunities to be used by Him. Even when we feel useless, or alone, He will use us in the middle of our storm.
My prayer for 2013 is that the only expectation that we have is that God will show up and that we know and believe that God is who He says He is.