Recently, the Lord’s been doing a lot for me. Well, he’s been doing a lot for me for a long time… my whole life, it’s just that now I really actually appreciate it. This is one half. The other is truth. Obedience & truth.
In the past couple of months, my mind has met its match, rather, my flesh has. My pride and flesh have been broken, beaten, crushed, publicly humiliated, cut down… and I can feel it like I’ve never felt it before. After a couple months or so of actually choosing to give my life to the Lord and being willing to do whatever it takes so that he is head over my life, my flesh is still putting up a fight. It’s like when I made this decision, I was jumping off of the bridge at Khazad-dûm and the battle inside of me was (& is) as epic as Gandalf and the Balrog fighting & falling for days. (Sorry, nerd points, but totally relatable… I hope.)
“16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” Galatians 5:16-18
So, that’s how I feel. Since I am Elli, I must share with you my feelings. Actually, I think it’s really important and applicable. Anyway, I’m sitting there with direction. The Lord has made it clear to me who I should love. He answered my prayers right away & gave me someone really hard. Then, he gave me someone else. Then another, then another, then 6 or more in Beta. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like my heart was sinking to my butt anymore. I have things to do & I knew why I was doing them. In fact, I was learning that there was the constant factor & I was the variable… to say that it didn’t matter if I was there or not. God was constant & his will will be done no matter who he uses. I felt joy from this, at first. People told me they were seeing a change in me (take heed this was like 2 weeks ago.) I was starting to feel so confident in the Lord’s truth that I was willing to do anything for anyone, Lord just tell me!
Alas, the flesh is strong. And I am weak. I started feeling it. The minute I stopped loving someone, my heart dropped. I could physically feel the hope inside of me sinking. That pushed me to go out to love more. Whenever I could get the focus off of myself, I’d take that opportunity. But lying in my bed at night, I couldn’t sleep. Thoughts surrounded me, I felt like I was drowning. All I could see was my failure. Why bother trying if you’re going to fail? That was the first night. I tried to combat it: it doesn’t matter what I do, the Lord has his plan and it will come through no matter what. I proceeded to pray for the people the Lord put in my life. The second night was too much, my pride was so ugly: So you’re not getting ANY credit, NO recognition for the work you’ve been doing? The time you’ve been wasting? The gas you’ve been burning? And that’s when I knew this ugliness is me.
People told me they could see a change, but all I could see was how horrible of a person I was… am. I’d combat it trying to love people. Even on the Lord’s power! Oh man, does that feel good! But for all the lost time I spent thinking about other people rather than myself, I made up for it in sleepless nights. Full of worry, guilt, failure… full of me.
That’s a sick place to be, wrapped up in yourself. I think I knew it before, but it hasn’t hit me until now. People weren’t meant to seek after themselves. This is my conclusion. Everyone I know that’s sought after their own desires has ended up miserable. Then they turn to relationships that end up about what can I get out of the other person. And everyone is sad and life sucks and no one knows why. It’s because it’s not about you. I would have made a blog about other people, but I don’t think that would have been the best thing. But it’s what I’ve been learning recently: it’s not about you. I want what I want & I see how it sucks. I ask the Lord to make his will my own so that I can be more effective in loving others.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10
I can see who I really am (not all of my depravity, but a taste) like never before and it sucks. I think in the past, I would have just curled up in a little ball & cried about it. But I think this has made it easier to go out and love others. I don’t think it’s ever going to be easy, especially for someone as selfish as I, but I do think that as my image that I have painted in my head about me melts, I can see through it to others who need love and meaning. Which the Lord has graciously given me. There must be a reason the one perfect thing in my life has chosen to share his perfect love with someone who doesn’t deserve a glance of it.
“I know I am rotten through & through so far as my sinful nature is concerned. No matter which was I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. But if I am doing what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it.” Romans 7:18-20
“ However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is [a]alive because of righteousness.11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [b]through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:9-11
To add on, I was really convicted about Mark’s testimony during CT. I thought I was a pretty open person, but not about my thoughts. And I realized that I don’t share my thoughts because I think people just wouldn’t understand, like he said. So I’ve been serving for weeks and loving and trying to pour every hope the Lord has given me to others and these evil thoughts were building up behind it. I tried to push them aside and not give in or give them too much thought, but when I stopped sleeping… I knew I did something wrong. Finally, they bubbled over and I had to share them with my sisters. It was humiliating & I felt ashamed just mouthing the words. I knew they would rebuke me or call me stupid for ever thinking such things, but they didn’t. They accepted them with love & with truth. With the word of God and with hope. Saying the thoughts may have been just the first step, but what can I say, I slept like a baby.
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their passions & desires of their sinful nature to his cross & crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:24
“As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross,[a] my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” Galatians 6:14
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2
“Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior & my God!” Psalm 42:11
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
“You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deut 30:20