In 2005, I was in Little Rock on an overnight business trip. An occassional overnight business trip is what I consider my "mental health" time. The drive up and back is peaceful. The hotel room is quiet. When I eat there is no arguing or children's meat to cut up. I actually get to eat a hot meal, taste it and digest it. What is there not to relish about this experience on occasion? It's also time I get to spend alone with God. My coworkers and colleagues wanted me to go out to eat, but I wasn't interested this trip. I donned my comfy but pretty pjs, took off my make-up, put on a cleansing mask, took off my slippers and plopped onto the king-sized bed. I had the clicker in my hand looking forward to watching a little TV -- something other than Disney or a children's show. But before I could push the button, the Holy Spirit led me a different direction. I put the remote down and I sat in the dimly lit room and bowed my head. I never said a word, but the Holy Spirit wrote things on my heart that broke my heart and I wept.
For too long I have put my identity in my job. I love telling people I investigate fraud for a living. I love the reaction I get. I love telling war stories. I really love my job. But I have put my value and my identity in it. The Spirit revealed to me that my job could be gone in a heartbeat, and what would my value be? He stripped me down to bare metal in order to rebuild me, to show me my value is found only in Christ. This trip was just another step in God preparing me for my future job, my future leadership. He also provided a mentor -- a lady in my church that I didn't even know very well at all, but her name was the name the Spirit put on my heart over and over, so I followed. She agreed and she shared her testimony with me. She was real about what she had done in her life and she had been down a very similar path as myself. She would also serve as a mentor and support for me when my mom fought Stage 3 breast cancer last year because she was the same age as I was when her mother fought for her life. I don't know why I'm so surprised by the things God does, but I am...and I am so grateful too.
The Spirit also convicted me that night of my dislike of my spiritual gift. Talk about humbling. I was basically taken to the woodshed like my Mammaw says. I had been so vain as to ask God to take the gift away from me at one time, and it went dormant. I refused it because it made me feel uncomfortable, made me feel burdened, and to be quite frank it exhausted me. How egocentrical was I? He has given me a gift to use for His glory and I didn't want it because of what I felt. PLEASE! The truth was He was growing me. Truth is not fun and not easy and not always pleasant. Truth has a way of maturing a person. He has restored His gift to me but now I see it in a different light.
And like Lisa, I have this mom who I strived to be like, but there's just no way. My mother always looks so classy and put together and is so calm. I feel like a strung out version of that pink rabbit with the battery... some may say I strung a bit tight at times. I have opinions and a mouth (that I'm constantly trying to bridle). I am creative and resourceful. I am not my mother. When God made my mom, He broke the mold just like when He made me and when He made you.
Before my daughter was born, I had chosen a life verse for her and it is one that Lisa quote about being fearfully and wonderfully made and about God knitting me in my mother's womb. Do you realized that knitting requires not only time He's spending but requires His hands? I've seen people paint with their mouths, play a guitar with feet, but I've never heard or seen anyone knit with anything other than their hands. God's hands formed you. You are wonderfully made because God made you that way. I'm constantly telling my daughter Erin that she is wonderfully made. Her build, her form, her coloring -- these are no accidents. God doesn't want us all to be bean poles. He didn't want us all to be vanilla -- how dull the world would be! And how creative is God that no two of us are exactly alike! I could really go off on a tangent here, but I'll try to refrain.
Do we have choices about how we live with what we were given? You bet. Just like when I asked God to take away my spiritual gift. We have choices, and I don't always make the right one. But thankfully, my God is a generous, merciful and forgiving God waiting on me to return. There are so many choices we can make in this day regarding our bodies, our lives, our beliefs, our actions, our attitudes and our behaviors...it's inevitable, we're going to screw up. So, I've joined Lisa in being a self-proclaiming "mess up" (pg 178), and like Lisa I whole-heartedly embrace His forgiveness.
On page 182 "We need to praise God for the downsides to our personalities and gloriously embrace them because it is not really a self-esteem issue but a spiritual one. For were He to have made us without downsides and weak areas of our personalities, we would have no need for Him in our lives!" Amen, preach on. We definitely need His truth, His love, His acceptance and His forgiveness.
Thank you, Jesus!