Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Misery to obtain obedience?

It's a parental tactic. When the boys are finding their happiness in pestering each other, or telling me they are bored - there are things I can do to make them unhappy and want to stop the behavior that is not helping anyone. I can make them walk around serving that brother they pestered and made scream all morning. Or I can get them busy doing things they hate doing - like cleaning sinks and toilets. Putting them in a state of misery causes them to rethink their actions. It's a good thing. And what is really great is, when they know you are good as your word, they will remember that they would much rather find something more useful with their time than complaining or pestering. And it works great - when I do it.

How do I know this?

My heavenly Father does it to me. And it works like a charm....eventually.

Think of the people of Israel. They delayed God's true vision for them by 40 years while he allowed them to suffer in the wilderness. (see Deut. 1). He got mad at them. Fed up with their whining and lack of trust. Seems so familiar.

Thankfully my time in the wilderness has been a wee bit shorter than that. But I see what he is trying to do.

Well over a year ago, I had a vision for my writing, for my artwork and crafts, for my singing, for helping others. I stepped out and gave it a shot...it was half hearted and I got the wheels rolling. But I got lazy. It was easier to look to others to provide employment for me. I did not have to be proactive. I could just do what they told me.

So - I floundered when I took on a job that seemed to be an answer to prayer. I didn't even really apply for it. I called the manager and she put me to work within a couple of days. It turned out to be one of those things I wish I had never done. While I was in that job, I was made miserable. I longed for the days when I was teaching the children, taking care of my own children and serving my husband. My goals were hard to see, my mission to serve totally left at the wayside. All I could put my hand to was what I had to do to keep the job and the bare minimum of taking care of my family. There was no joy in that. I was drained. I was anxious. I was in misery. Depression and listlessness became my constant companions.

This is NOT what God wanted for me. And yet - I am quite sure he allowed me to go there so I could learn.

And he has given me a prophet in my pastor. He will speak truth to me from the pulpit and my heart will quicken when it feels he is talking directly to me. We do not step out to do great things for GOD. We doubt his ability to see our efforts are multiplied to point to him and give him glory. I think it is all up to me. I am so obtuse.

So today - free from the burden of that job - I step out once again. I am committing myself to prayer and seeking. Asking God to give me direction and to make the path clear to me. My goals are: To serve my master, to provide for my family while seeing to their needs. To find my peace and joy in the gifts and talents God has given me. To glorify him in all I say and do.

I will not belittle myself. I will not scoff at things that seem too high to obtain. I will be diligent and not grow weary, but keep God's word as my encouragement and nourishment to grow more like my heavenly Father - so that I can do and complete the work he has set before me. I can be whatever the body of Christ needs for me to be to complete the work in JOY that he would have me do.

Ephesians 4


So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.