I have a bit of a confession to make. I’ve really been struggling through my posts for the past two months. As much as I’ve wanted to write and keep on my schedule, I think I have let my quality slide in my attempt. I’ve been writing through the fog of my fibro medicines which usually doesn’t go very well. The fog means that the words don’t come like they usually do.
It is frustrating, but I think I’ve been wrestling through it since I want to fight my way through this miserable flare up post car accident. I can’t run like I usually do to help control the disease so I’ve been feeling really bottled up which, I think, is why I’m holding to what I can to keep things feeling as normal as possible. I’ve been feeling conflicted in this though since I start to wonder if I’m holding to this because I’m being disciplined or if I’m simply being stubborn.
Sometimes the two things, while very different, can look very similar. And I’m not quite sure which one it is yet. Maybe both.
It is a thought-provoking question about our motivations. Much of the time there are no easy answers.
Maybe it feels a little like splitting hairs, this picking apart of our lives, especially in respect to our motivations. Behavior is so much easier to quantify, it is so concrete. Our hearts a much harder to take stock of.
It has always reminded me of a phrase one of my college professors used when talking about the apostle Paul. Dr. Berding said, “Paul wasn’t bothered by his sin because he was such a sinner. He was so bothered by his sin because he was such a saint.”
Paul spends a lot of time in the epistles (the books of the Bible that were letters to the early church), writing about the conflict of the spirit versus the flesh and how it is hard to do what we want to and we often do what we don’t want to.
I’m not comparing myself to Paul in how good I am; I’m no where near close and it is a mistake to say that we must be saints, that we must be really good because we are bothered by our own sin. That is nothing short of laughable, this taking pride in our own humility.
This is what I mean when I say grace changes us. As the work of grace impacts our lives, we begin to see ourselves as God sees us. It is freeing and frightening all at the same time. We know there is no way we could ever earn such a gift and yet we have it all the same. God’s grace continues to refine us and make us ask these hard questions of ourselves.
Which is why I wanted to share about My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. It is one of the books God has used to shape my life; Chamber’s wisdom is broken down into little chunks that make me think deeper about God and right now, these smaller sized devotionals are all my brain really wants to handle anyway after my concussion!
In one of the sections, Chambers reminds me to be patient. I’ve been complaining far too much lately that I have so much to do and don’t have time to waste with being sick and hurt. I’ve been wondering why all of this when I have a book to finish writing (ironically about suffering!) and some important advocacy for foster care to do, not to mention all of the things I want to do with Brian and the kids. And instead, I just need to sleep. A lot. All so I can heal.
Chambers writes in one devotional that God gives us a vision, but takes us into the valley before we can complete it and we oftentimes become so obsessed about doing things to achieve it, we miss out on the refinement that He is offering that is crucial for Him to make us into who He wants us to be. It isn’t for us to force ourselves into what we want ourselves to be.
We’d never find contentment like that anyway even though we’d like to think we would.
Profound and so what I needed to hear right now. Chambers has a lot that we’d all benefit from hearing right now.
Though I’m not in the business of selling things, there is a reason this book is a classic. If you already own it, maybe you know of someone on your Christmas list who could use it. We probably could all use it; I’m going to start rereading it again.
Thank you for reading through my medicated and concussion-fueled ramblings! I’m going to attempt to continue to post on my normal schedule, but I may also need to give my brain a rest and if the words won’t come, well, I’d rather not post something pointless. I’d love it if you subscribed on the right hand side of your screen to follow through email just so you won’t miss anything, should I need to take a short break. Just knowing that people have subscribed makes me feel so supported and I want to thank you for this!
Again, if you don’t have a copy or would like one of My Utmost For His Highest to give as a gift, you can pick one up here through Amazon. Please know these are affiliate links which means you won’t be charged more, but anything you purchase using it will net me a small commission which goes towards running this site. I really appreciate your support in this as well!
If Oswald Chambers is already dear to your heart, I’d love for you to share in the comments which passages have spoken the most to you! It’s a great way we can encourage each other and focus on what is truly important. Thanks again for reading!