Not Failure

A few nights ago I was renting a movie from Redbox and a young man asked me for a cigarette. I told him I didn’t smoke and he said “Good for you.” (I thought to myself “That probably wasn’t the best thing to say.”) But he didn’t seem offended by my honest answer and continued to talk with me. “I don’t want to by a whole pack, I just want one. I’m trying to quit.” I responded with “I’m sure that’s got to be hard.”

Honestly I wasn’t in the mood for small talk. I didn’t want to do anything more than get the movie and go home. I had dinner in the car and it was late. As I walked back to the car something told me to tell him that even though I didn’t have a cigarette I could pray for him, but I wasn’t about to turn around and talk to him some more. Remember, I had food, a movie and it was late. Obviously, I had greater priorities here. (As I write this I shake my head in disappointment at myself, but I would much rather respond with a willing heart than out of a sense of duty and obligation.)

So I headed home, but I knew I should have stayed. My heart strings were being pulled, but I responded selfishly. I now wish that I had stayed and shared the love of Christ. That’s truly what I want to do, who I want to be. But I find myself at this crossroads more times than I care to admit and its getting old. All I can think about now is why I don’t do the things I know I should and do the things I shouldn’t.

So here comes the battle in my head:

Lies rush in like “I’m not someone who should be in leadership at church, that was low girl, what’s wrong with me, I’m a selfish person (well, that’s true if you look at my actions here), I’m rebellious, disobedient and a myriad of thoughts that I know aren’t from God. Just condemnation from the enemy of my soul.

Then I begin questioning my behavior and the motive of my heart. Is it because I’ve felt so worn out lately, exhausted from life, my job? Life itself has been draining. I’m working hard to change so many things, in an effort to be a better person, a better Christian, a better leader in the church. Why shouldn’t I give myself a break? Is it because I’m struggling with depression? Is it due to the discontent that I find in my heart because I’m disappointed at what I don’t have that I want right now in life?

I am reminded that I don’t need to concern myself with the why so much because it only seeks to take my focus from You Jesus? Like my four year old niece I want to understand the why behind my choices so that I can fix it, yet I recognize that I don’t need to know or really understand the why because it’s not my job to fix things or derive the solution to making a change. I have been trying for so long to fix things and find solutions to walk in freedom, but anything I try on my own independent of God’s leading goes nowhere or finds me more disappointed than before.

My response is to come to Jesus, ask Him to change my heart so that I will respond with His when the next opportunity arrives at my doorstep. In desperation I asked “Would you put me in the place where there is no other option but to respond the way I know You would have me respond?” Maybe I would make the best choice next time, but then again I don’t know that I would. I have to discipline my thinking to recognize when the fear and doubt come that it’s not from God. I must remember the truth of who God has purposed and called me to be, humble and in community with all types of people, even those that I am not always comfortable with at times.

This scripture comes to mind “Everything is permissible, but not everything is profitable.” Lord, I want the profitable, not just what’s permissible. I want to respond with a willing heart out of my love for You and those You put before me everyday. Thank You for being patient with me as I grow to become more like You. Flood the heart of this dear one with the beautiful love of my Savior. Don’t let me hold back; compel me to love like You want me to love. I offer my heart and my life to You again to be used as You want dear Lord Jesus.

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