“The meaning of our lives is not dependent on what we make of it but of what he (God) is making of us.” Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways–Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live
As if making up for the years of running away from myself, of chasing happiness over contentment, I am here, stepping into who God created me to be. I’ve been reflecting on our intentional life, of the bravery in sharing it with others.
In the past, I’ve withheld. I’ve kept my distance, more so from circumstances and transitions.
But once I settled it in my mind, decided to make my roots right here in a small farming community in Texas, I faced my own pride and vulnerability. Exposed, I became aware of my insecurity that familiarity would breed contempt. That once I was really known, rejection would soon follow. I’d never stayed anywhere long enough to test it, but surely, it was true, right?
I also found myself fearing that I’d fail my friends and worse, fail motherhood in front of them all. In those early transplanted years, a host of vanities nagged my spiritual life.
“Before God can fill us with Himself, we must first be emptied of ourselves.” AW Tozer, Keys to the Deeper Life
Last year, I came across a website on spiritual warfare. I read and clicked to the next article and then the next. Within each article, truth captivated me with a, “Yes, exactly, that’s it!” Spiritual warfare can be many things, even a paper-thin difference between condemnation and conviction.
What I’ve seen in myself is a reckoning. It’s a tearing down of the shell I once built to get through life on my own terms. I’ve known this twice in a lifetime. Once when I rededicated my life to God and again, when I dedicated it to community.
I’ve learned more of myself, through honest writing and whole-hearted living. As I’ve become aware of it, each hidden part rising to the surface, I’ve let things go. But sometimes, my own convictions of knowing myself and giving it to God, can lead the opposite direction.
Even if He holds it, I stare at that awful thing in His hands. I become fixated until conviction jumps in the camp of self-loathing, condemnation. Firing arrows into my war-torn mind, deception hunkers inside the foxhole beside me.
Even though we know, intellectually, that the enemy stands as our most vehement accuser, we don’t always recognize it. Condemnation, many times, sneaks in, under the radar. Even the root of a lie is buried and unseen without the power of a spiritual life.
The sour way spirals into a web that consumes every part of our lives. We mentally whip our souls. Condemnation murderers us, never allowing our new life to emerge, the crime scene repeated over and over. Our God-given gifts and talents are buried inside the tomb, “Here Lies–Self, that Horrible, Wretched Old Man.” Condemnation is the psycho in our shower scene.
If we listened closely, or not so closely, the enemy’s breath would brush our earlobe.
It’s this volatile thought life that drags us away from our new life in Christ.
True conviction looks like this: It comes as a shovel, digging us up with sorrowful repentance, and sets us free. Our captive mind is released. Our heart skips in childish abandon. Even in deliverance, we die to self by taking up our cross. In fact, we gladly wrap our arms around the wooden beam we once held in our eye and carry it to our Golgotha’s. Our lowly state is but an afterthought as our twinkling eyes are brightened in His gaze.
“Almost all Christians want to be full of the Spirit. Only a few want to be filled with the Spirit.” AW Tozer, Keys to the Deeper Life
The spiritual life is more than Jesus stickers or a one-way ticket. More than scripture verses on t-shirts or crosses on bracelets, ‘though we wear such things in remembrance of the true life. By accepting the both, gifts and humility, we embrace the power of a spiritual life. Denying either does nothing for the good of God.
In Christ, we bear marks of those who are called. His Spirit now resides within us, the new temple behind the curtain, filled with His glory.
True conviction allows God’s handiwork to not only be seen, but also to propel us into our calling. Intentional community advances the Kingdom versus defending a position from foxholes. We must choose to not be afraid for ourselves, but instead, stand up and fight. In so doing, we not only take back ground in our spiritual life, we advance the Kingdom.
As part of the #Write31Days series, I’m writing everyday. However, I’m not publicly publishing every day. But I will be posting more often. You may find mistakes such as grammar or spelling errors. It’s the conversations that matter, right? Feel free to share your thoughts too.
To find the whole series, click here–Empowered by the Spiritual Life.