I'll be honest with you...sometimes I get writer's block. It's a real thing. Ideas are swirling all around in my head, but nothing comes together cohesively. Here in my neck of the woods, we've been snowed in for the third day. I'm not sure if that's contributing to the blank canvas of my mind or what, but for today's post I decided to re-visit a former post I wrote on my old blog. The sentiments on the post were written four years ago, but have been a constant theme in my life--and perhaps in yours. Until I began to understand about Jesus' finished work on the Cross (and more on that in a few weeks), I kept thinking I had to do more and more and more in order to please God. I think many women, perhaps, fall into that same error. Reading today's post will set the stage for some future posts on living in the righteousness of Christ (instead of our self-righteousness). I hope you'll be blessed--and challenged to further holiness through Christ. Love, Wendy
…for without Me you can do nothing. John 15: 5
My scheduled day to drive my son’s school carpool collided with a mild snowstorm. I do not enjoy driving in bad weather so I took things very cautiously that morning. The ride ended up being smooth, albeit snow-covered and slow. Then, as I was turning off of the highway and onto the city street, my car swerved and slid. My tires were spinning, but not getting me where I wanted to go. Fortunately, it was a minor snafu, but the feeling of spinning my wheels in the middle of the intersection stuck with me.
Perhaps you know the feeling–you’ve been pressing forward in your spiritual walk but nothing is really happening. In my case, I’ve been wanting to be hospitable, have a clean house, submit to my husband’s leading and raise godly kids. But somewhere in these noble ventures I must have taken the reins and started doing these things apart from Christ because the wheels are turning, but 'we ain’t gettin’ nowhere'.
It’s a fine line–one that’s easy to miss in the busyness of life–but there is a line that we often cross where, instead of resting in complete dependency upon our All in All, we say “Thanks, God, I’ve got it from here”.
I stopped living out of the overflowing thankfulness from God’s grace and started living instead out of the need to 'do this and do that' in order to be a godly woman. This is the pit I always seem to stumble in to. Rather than having my heart be changed and having that lead to outward changes, I was trying to make all the outward changes be the catalyst for inward change.
Spinning my wheels.
My reaction was fairly subdued when I had the little spin-out on the way to school. But, I’ve had worse scenarios on snowy roads before and I remember those reactions–intense fear, feeling completely out of control.
Strangely, those have been some of the same reactions I’ve been having as I’ve been ‘trying to live a godly life’!
The lastest life spin-out has gotten my attention. As a result, each day I’ve had to wake up and purposefully empty myself so I can be completely dependent upon God for all things. If I get frustrated teaching and re-teaching fractions to my child, I have to empty myself of my ‘old man’ (anger, frustration, criticism) and allow God to do His work in my heart. Submitting to this work has reaped kindness, patience and peace.
Pursuing holiness is our goal, but when we put the cart before the horse then we end up making a beautiful and grace-filled work into an ugly legalistic mess. If you tend to 'drive' like me and find yourself spinning the wheels, examine your heart in prayer. Have your goals become like an idol? Has the need for a clean home surpassed your need for utter dependency on God, for instance? Has my need for kids to behave and act right surpassed having a loving relationship with them that faithfully leads them to the Cross when they sin? If there is fruit of the natural man (Galatians 5) evident, then chances are you are “spinning your wheels”.
Devoting myself to God, depending upon Him like a baby depends upon her mama for all her needs—this is where it all begins. The rest all flows outward from this bowed heart.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean no on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6