Praying God's Word by Beth Moore was one of the books I wanted to read this year (it's only March and I've finished* or at least begun** some of my goals/"resolutions" for the year . . . it's like, I've finally learned to cut myself a break [it's OK to not do it all] and I'm willing to go ahead and do something, even if it's not everything. Which weirdly*** enough is what this post is going to be about).
*finished: headboard, Testimony, playing Harry Potter
**started: painting bedroom furniture, Praying God's Word
*** in that, I planned where the post was going but not the introduction and the intro fits in with where I wanted to go.
To me, Beth makes things accessible. She gives simple steps that lead to the big, overwhelming things that I think the Christian life "has" to be about. I'm about halfway through the book; I read the chapters and pray the prayers. Some of the chapters I go back to daily to pray, and as I go on I see how some are more pertinent now than others. Yesterday I read "Overcoming Food-Related Strongholds" and thought, I'll read this but it's not really where I am right now. But that chapter caught me off guard with the most encouraging and blessing-giving sentences yet.
To quote (p. 151):
I'd like for you to see one more very important truth encased in 1 Thessalonians 5:24. Thank goodness the Word says, "The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it." You and I cannot get our bodies and souls under continued control. Cease trying to "get yourself together" and be disciplined in your own strength. It is useless. We might make it work for a little while, but failure is imminent."
I've been struggling with not being disciplined with my "free" time and "doing the right things" and all that . . . what I have to do vs. what I want to do vs. what I think I should do . . . I get anxiety-ridden about it and don't do anything at all.
Then I blame it on Bob Jones for not teaching us to think and for having rules all the time about everything that provided external structure but not an ounce of inner discipline. I feel like I'm so old to be at such loose ends about what to do . . . everyone else seems to know what to do.
But this book, this chapter . . . it's not up to me. I don't have to get myself together. She used the exact words that I berate myself with.
She continues on p. 152:
"Victorious living is not an instant arrival."
Which is, of course, what I want. Or was taught was attainable (whether it's my perfectionist personality or the message I heard at school and home, or a combination of these): getting everything right at the same time and then things will stay that way with little effort on my part. Like a recipe: put all the right ingredients in and you end up with something perfect that doesn't have to be remade or redone.
"A daily recommitment is not to ensure that we'll never fail, but to help us develop the mentality that every singel day isa new day. A new chance to follow Christ. Obedience to God is not some diet we suddenly blow. It is soemthing to which we recommit every single day."
" Stop feeling guilty becasue you don't ahve any self-discipline on your own."
Those words stopped me. WOW. I know she's specifically talking about self-discipline regarding food, but how those words apply to me and my feelings of guilt. I've been saying in my head, "what is wrong with me that I don't have self-discpline?"
She also talks about how Joshua's challenge of "choose you this day whom you will serve" is not a one and done thing . . . choose this day. "The concept of rededicating our lives to Christ only at infrequent revivals or conferences can prove disappointing and defeating."
For me, this made it possible for me to take a deep breath. This day is committed to the Lord. He will show me the plan for today. I don't have to trudge under fear and guilt, dragged down in failure and inconsistency, unable to live up to what I think I should already have attained. It's not all up to me. I'm learning to be OK with life as a process and journey. God doesn't fault me for being on a journey, for being a work in progress. He's not resentfully, grudgingly helping because I can't seem to get it right and it's taking too long.
He loves me. He invites me to walk with Him, to, as Beth put it earlier in the book, "dialogue" with him about the areas where I'm weak and vulnerable to failure. Everyday I can recommit to to Him, trust His plan (the big, overarching plan for my life and His creation but also just "the plan" for the day. Breakfast. Bus. Cleaning. Quilting. Whatever.)
Victorious living is living, not a finish line. And I'm thankful for that.