The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas

The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas
We are all like sea shells tossed about in rough waters and being re-shaped in wondrous ways. But have you ever contemplated the notion that sea shells have to complete their journey through the rough waters before they get to rest on the shore? Yeah, we are ALL like sea shells and Heaven is The Great Shore.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'm Sporting a Spiritual Black Eye

Greetings Everybody,

It's been a while since I posted right?  
Have I missed posting?...YES!
Then, why haven't I been writing?
I wish I could give you a brief & concise answer, but I can't.

It took me a while to realize what was happening, but I NOW know that I have been engaged in a Spiritual Battle...against a foe that has a mask that looks just like ME.

Basically THIS is why I haven't been writing: I have been fighting against myself and was too busy getting pummeled to sit here and write to you guys.

Also, because I am so transparent in this blog, I didn't necessarily want the whole blogging world to have a ring side seat while I was getting a Spiritual Black Eye.

Clip Art Cartoon Credit:

Yeah I know, the clip art is of a man, and I am a woman, but you get the point.

And now, Perhaps you would like to meet the contestants in this battle?

On this side we have the one and only ME.
And on the other side, we have the one and only ME.

How wily the evil one is.
He pitted me against myself.

He didn't come at me with the big neon sins that I would see coming a mile away.
No Drugs, Alcohol, or Adultery problems here.

He didn't come at me with Lying, Cheating, Stealing, or Tax Evasion.

Nope he came at me with Idolatry.

And the face on that pretty little idol was my very own.

HOW did he do this?
He came in the side window of my spiritual home...and whispered to my mirrored reflection that I was BETTER, SMARTER, and CAPABLE OF DOING MORE than just being a Classroom Teacher.

He cloaked this idolatry in ways that seemed so true.
He whispered things like, "More money will secure your eventual retirement days."
He said, "You are too smart to still be sitting in a classroom"  and  "Your talents are being wasted."

He filled me with a yearning for bigger jobs, and bigger salaries, and bigger accolades.

He put a hunger in my belly for a title that was "More suited to my REAL Qualifications".

And so I have been applying for jobs.

Many many jobs.

And I have been on interviews.

Many interviews.

I have mentally prepared to leave my classroom over and over and over.

And I have suffered a small death with each rejection letter.

My response to all of this rejection?
I have borne it with grace, whimpered just a tiny bit, and kept on thinking that if I just put the PERFECT Resume together, that things would be different next time.

I kept trying to please others, and I did so believing that my present day situatino & my future WAS WORTH all of this effort .

I did so while fervently hoping that SOMEBODY would see how Incredibly Spiffy I am and give me a New Bright and Shiney Job.

I simply kept looking for my next golden opportunity to leave The Classroom.

HOWEVER...It is important that every single time I always prayed: 
"Father, please open the doors that you want me to go through and shut the ones you don't want me to go through. 

And God, if this is not your will for me, then please close the door so tightly that I can NOT open it or slip through it into something that is not your will for me to do."

And guess what?


He has shut a ton of doors.
Sometimes He shut them right in my face and while EVERY indication was that I had been granted access to walk through them.

This has a been Study In Faith and Submission for Me.

Along the way, He has lead me to start praying for 
Contentment Without Complacency.

This morning I was reading from the book of John and came across 
John 3:30 "He must become greater; I must become less."

And there it impetus to share this Spiritual Battle Story with you guys.

The words of John 3:30 were spoken by John the Baptist about Jesus, but they should be words and thoughts that I focus on every day. 

Jesus is greater and I am smaller.

Funny how this kind of thinking rather flies in the face of 
good ole American Autonomy.  

We all tend to think of ourselves as very important. 
And we, as a nation, tend to suffer from a whole host of Pride Issues.

Clearly I was not immune this malady either.

I mean, who wants to become LESS, right?

Well, I think its safe to say that according to scripture we ALL should.


Because the minute we begin to think that we are masters of our own destiny, 
we begin to engage in Idolatry.  

And the ultimate conclusion of this form of idolatry is that we make ourselves to be our own god and we become charter members in the "Church of ME-ism"

Ya know, It would have been easier to see that I was engaged in idolatry if the idol's face didn't look so much like my own. 

But it happened.

And the truth is that I need to cast myself aside.  

And that doesn't mean that I can't look for other jobs, but it does mean that I need to get my heart and mind right.

It means that I don't let my sense of self hinge on whether or not I am found "worthy" in the eyes of men, but that I remember that I was bought with the blood of Christ and that I am both a child and servant of Almighty God.

I need to take all of these skills and talents that that God gave me, and instead of whining about not being given a TITLE that lets me show them off, I simply need to USE them well and faithfully.

This morning I found myself pondering the parable in 
Matthew 25:14-21...the story about how 3 different men used their blessings.

Spoiler Alert: Two of them bonked, but one of them did it right!

Matthew 25: 21 "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" 

Dude...I THAT is the accolade I really want.  

I need to be mindful of the blessings I already have and use those blessings wisely.
After all, I HAVE a job I love and that I know God called me to do.

BaZillions of people DON'T have a job, yet my pride issues "pseudo-justified" me getting my knickers in a twist about not having a job that  truly "show-cases" me? lame is that!

I am embarrassed to have been caught with my priorities out of whack, not to mention that I am mortified to have been actively engaging in battle in which I have been perpetually giving MYSELF a black-eye.

If I was REALLY so smart would this have happened? lol
God has a wonderful way of showing us our foibles if we just pay attention.

I keep asking myself how things got tangled up like this???

And the answer is: It doesn't matter.

All that matters now is that I remember that My GOD will provide all that I need.

1 Peter 5:8 says,  "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

But I believe we go through things for a purpose.
And I believe that today I was called to share this story with you guys, so that perhaps it will help someone else along the way.  

So for the record,  How did a Strong, Faithful Christian Woman get sideways on this issue of Idolatry?

I Started Out Right, But If You Keep Reading You Will See Where I Went Wrong...


-I get up at 4:30 in the morning and spend an hour in prayer EVERY DAY.

-I specifically pray for a Discerning Spirit that Seeks God's Will in my life.

-And all through my day I send up little prayers of  Thank You's  &  Please Help Me's.

-I have a tendency to See God's Work Clouds and Oceans and Flowers and Kid's Lives.

-And because I SEE God's Work in so many different places, I sometimes assume that the job opportunities I read about are sent straight from Him to Me.
-It often feels like God has shined His Spotlight right where He wants me to go.

-Therefore, to date, I have gone through round...after round...after round of the "next round" of the Application Process.

-And fyi, in Texas Independent School Districts, each of these Next Rounds in the Application Process, ends up things taking a couple of months.

-And THIS has been the spiritual boxing match I was referring to earlier:  The gut punch of  waiting for phone calls, or emails, or letters.

-It has been going on for the past several years.

Right about here is where I later discovered that the evil one gained access to me.

                I was tired of being rejected.
                I was tired of not being recognized.
                I was tired of being overlooked.

                But that was PRIDE talking. 
                Pssst....take a look at 
Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."

By the Grace of God, I recognized that this was a Self Promoting Pride Issue, planted by the evil one, BEFORE there was a major calamity.

AND I truly believe that God lead me to the book of John this morning, and then on to 
Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

So where does this leave me in regards to applying for the next Wonderful Job?

I will continue to ask God to show me HIS Will for my life".

And I guess that I will continue to apply to other jobs, knowing that IF God wants me to move on to another job, then HE will open the door and push me through.  

And if not, then HIS Grace is sufficient for me.

I will remember that He has already given me Mission Work to do in my classroom, and that HE will supply the strength I need to DO that Mission Work...until HE deems that my time there is complete.

And I will cling to this:
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him."
-1 John 5: 14-15

I will ask God to please give me the Strength to Walk in Faith and Not Grow Weary.

"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  
                                  -Isaiah 40: 30-31

And I will ask Him to help me reduce my sense of self-importance and increase my awareness of how Great and Wonderful HE IS.

And I will also cling to this:

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
                                      -Ephesians 3: 16-19

And I will ask God to please remind me that I am not big enough to fight this American "Sense of Self"  Demon without HIM, because that demon knows how I walk, talk, think, eat, sleep and breathe.

And THIS TIME, I will ask God to please help me to put on my Spiritual Armor before I step back into that Boxing Ring with the Devil.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people."
                                     -Ephesians 6:12 

In Him,


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

I've struggled with this, too, concerning writing. Thanks for being so transparent.

Harriet said...

Thank you for sharing this post. I thought you were possibly
Struggling with something. I want you to know God uses you in so many more ways than you can see. Lean on him. Of course I know you do and will. I also believe he gave you a talent for writing. Just write for him. In him.

Grace said...

Hi Harriet,
Thank You.

I find that I am getting hungry to speak God's Word again.

Not quite hungry enough yet to want to host a Womens Event as big as we used to, but nevertheless, really wanting to write and speak and sing and share again.

Yet...I find myself far too tired to really devote that kind of time and energy AND work full time.

...waiting for God will lead me...
...knowing i just need to be patient...

In Him,