Well, hello friends,
There is something beautiful about the beginning of a new year, even though it is cold and the sun hides behind clouds. There is a deep anticipation for the new. People everywhere are discussing new vision, new years resolutions, new years goals, becoming a new you, and its a new day! For me, tomorrow is the last day of a 21 days fast. This fast has been a way for me to reset for the new year by drawing near to the Lord, reflecting, dusting off the garbage from the year before, confession, and repentance. It is cathartic and often times revealing of where my heart has been living and helps me to refocus on where I want to go.
At the end of last year, I was a bit numb and just over the year. Then we entered into the 21 day fast. In seeking the Lord as to what to fast. He said something I wasn’t expecting, but I was hoping that I would listen faster than last year. ( God knows what we need and how I tried to get out of it.) This year, I heard Him say, “Stop complaining & un-self focus.” It took me a minute to figure out why He said that to me. See, at the end of last year, I found this overly frustrated ice queen living in my heart. Last year was hard. I am not sure I thrived very well. I think God is good and by His grace and the people He has placed around me gave me just enough space to to survive. It is important to note that God is able to use and develop you even in the not so great. Growth doesn’t always come through pristine conditions and beautiful surroundings. We often grow through harsh winds and an uphill battle. I didn’t realize how harsh and uphill until I went on a retreat with my church leadership. When I heard my pastor speak up for how hard we work and how tough its been. Suddenly, I was overcome by emotion and a memory roll of pictures in my head of the things we had survived and didn’t die from on the battle field. Every thing from heavy loads, accusation, backstabbing, and our own hearts instability. And now its time to reset.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.Philippians 2:14-16
After a year like that, it now makes sense to me why the Lord would say to me: Stop complaining. It took me a while to drill down into my numb and hardened over heart. How many of you know what it is like to be hurt and you just crust over to stay safe? Well my crust looks like an ice queen. She is guarded. She is frosty. She is boiling under the surface. I don’t like her! As I began to seek the Lord and ask His forgiveness, to cleanse my heart, and to show me truth. I found my mouth complaining in the beginning a lot and by the grace that God had given I shut my mouth a lot. Did you know that when the Lord asks you to do something He will provide the power and the grace to do what He said? Slowly He began to show me that if I will find the good and look for solutions, that this is a much better way to live than to complain about things. Complaining slings mud at our souls and causes blurriness. We have to learn to drag our cranky hearts to the throne room of God and confess the ungratefulness that resides there. Why? Because complain rots us from the inside. It drains the life out of us and it drags the life out of others. Our complaining never only affects just us. Thankfulness is the bridge to finding joy again after you have found a complaining tyrant living in your soul. I heard it put like this once, “Complaint is the dog whistle of the destroyer.” It is his language and he comes to make conversation. Father give us words of thanks to combat the enemy of joy! Amen.
The second thing He said, “un-self focus.” If you have ever found a spirit of complaint living in your heart you know how self focused you have become. Complaining is a way to blame circumstances and people for not doing, being, living, or going your way! Well guess what? We are not the standard. Jesus is! When our eyes are focused on ourselves. That is all we can see. ME! Jesus came for a different reason. He came to make us WE!
Here is what I know:
The Lord knows how to set us up for our best life and living. HE IS LIFE! and…I don’t know how to give that to myself. He knows how to apply pressure so that what is in our hearts and souls rises to the surface like dross that can be scraped away. If we will allow ourselves to cooperate with what He is doing He will purge and rid us of what is ailing our souls. We become real versions of ourselves, not the fake versions we want people to see. We live more honest and become more trusting of our good, good, Father. Like Jesus.
Thanks for Listening,