I just finished reading a book by Elisabeth Elliot called "Discipline: The Glad Surrender". I got the book as a gift from my dear friend Rhoda and it has been the perfect relief from all the stress that's been built up this summer. I've taken the last couple of days and just read. The chapters addressed so many of the issues that I'm struggling with. The first couple chapters are on God's call and my answer. It brings up many disciplines:
Body- I'm realizing that I'm taking for granted so many blessings that the Lord is giving me. Recently I've had sort of a built up fear of health and the uncertainty of it. My knees and ankles are giving me problems and some other health issues ... Then the Lord reminds me of his control on my life and my dependence on him for every breath. Praise God for that! He reminds me how fortunate I am. Even though I possibly might not be able to do the rugged bush traveling that I want to do in the jungles of no where (or something like that) he still commmand me to glorify him. Whatever I do. I think of Joni Eareckson who is paralyzed and paints with the brush in her mouth.
Mind- "The Christ-like mind counts for nothing what the world holds dear and holds as all-important what the world counts for nothing." (Elisabeth Elliot) Wisdom is pure; and then peace-loving, considerate, and open to reason; it is straightforward and sincere, rich in mercy and in the kindly deeds that are its fruits. I pray the Lord gives me a mind like a child. Innocent and curious, and PURE.
Place- I am so grateful to my parents for teaching me respect and place. I just have to put it into practice. As a kid, everyone was either Mr/Mrs or Aunt/Uncle. Growing up, I'm learning that people address each other by first names. It is very awkward for me. If I am placed under my elders and must submit to them, should I not address them with honor and respect? I'm still learning. Elisabeth Elliot writes of how honor is not necessarily a feeling, but a command. Give honor where honor is due. Due... "owed, payable". "It is not something above and beyond the call of duty, but something obligatory, just like bills, tolls, or taxes. It means also as much as is required, as 'due care,' or 'in due time.'" Reverence, respect, honor...
Time- "Oh, Lord, this is a continual surrender." I have to remember that everything is not about accomplishing something. It's a learning process, and discipline lesson. The Lord may decide to put me through something for years even when nothing comes of it, but a lesson learned. I mustn't do something expecting a result, but do something for God's glory. Yes, I can have goals, but I have to let the Lord direct every step.
Possessions- I read this chapter just in time to praise God for my bad alternator! I was pleasantlly surprised at what praise does. Instead of crying over my car... (I still might) I am finding that the Lord continually provides and will do so always. He supplies my needs. I was supposed to move into my house tomorrow and my landlord is going to help me move my stuff with his truck which will save time and gas money. I pray that my car will continue to run and provide transportation to and from work and school, but if it doesn't God be praised. He give and takes away. Everything He gives must be lifted back to Him in praise!
Work- I've addressed this before and I am ashamed to admit that it is hard to walk into work and think only "Lord, how might you be glorified?" and not about paying the bills. It's a battle, but there is victory with Christ and his continual much needed grace and mercy.
Feelings- I'm learning, like everything else. I'm a pretty emotional person, but God made me this way and I have to remember that everything I feel must come under His control and be in obedience to Him. Help!
I am sharing this, not so that everyone can see every detail of my life, but so that maybe if you read one thing that might encourage you, my job is done. :) It's taking me a long time to learn a lot of these lessons and I'm far from done, but I am so grateful for everything that the Lord is teaching me right now. I pray that you might learn from my mistakes, so why should I hide them?