September 24, 2012

Bless the Lord Reason #2: He Challenges Me

Okay, today I want us all to think back to childhood.

Now, whether you were a naughty child or not, you surely did SOMETHING you didn’t want your parents knowing about.

And even if what you were doing wasn’t wrong per se, surely there were times in your life when you weren’t doing something to the best of your ability.

You weren’t getting the best grades you could, because you’d figured out you could slack off and still pass. And that was alright with you.

You weren’t being the nicest friend or sibling you could be. Sure, sometimes you’d share, but maybe not all the time.

You didn’t eat all your vegetables, and whined enough times that your parents let you off the hook (this was NOT me, folks).

Whatever it was, none of us wanted our parents to call us out on it, right?

We wanted to keep going at status quo, to keep skating by in school merely because we didn’t care enough to do better.

To keep being somewhat selfish because, well, our friends weren’t ditching us or anything, so they must have accepted our behavior as normal.

To keep refusing vegetables because we didn’t care if we grew up strong like Spiderman (please tell me someone remembers that line in the Tobey Maguire version!).  

We were just fine with the strength we had, thank you very much.

Maybe some of your parents did call you out.

Okay, so here’s where I bring this around to God.

Because here I’ve been going in life, going, going, going, knowing I needed to change. Frankly, I need to spend more time with him. Sometimes, I forget. Other times, I don’t have time—or so I tell myself.

And all the time, lately at least, my quiet times haven’t really been filled with refreshment, study, meditation, reflection, and prayer.

They’ve been selfish. Me-centered. Me coming to God and asking Him to give me this or that, or bless me in this way or that way.

I’m ashamed, really.

But God doesn’t just let me keep going in the status quo.

Basically, God calls me on my crap.

Gently, of course. But He still calls me out. Not because He’s mean. Not because He wants to be a dictator.

Because He loves me.

He doesn’t want me forever staying the same. He wants me to grow. Be better.

And it’s not like this all just came out of the blue either. He kept nudging me, a little bit at a time, until my heart was ready to hear the truth.

I love that my God doesn’t let me stay in the status quo.

I love that He challenges me.

It flips my world on its head sometimes, but my world is better for it.

Your Turn: When has God challenged you?

*I just returned yesterday from an amazing week at a big writers conference! I’ll be posting pictures on Friday. Wednesday, come back for a blog post by author Jody Hedlund and a chance to win her new novel.

**Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

31 comments:

  1. This is a great way to start the week.
    No, really ... a nice bit of let's-be-honest-reality.
    God is challenging me now to realize life isn't about what I want (EX: for my novel to be successful), but rather, it's about what he wants -- for me to be transformed more and more into his image.
    And he uses everything in my life to accomplish that. Everything. The successes and the failures.

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    1. That is such a hard lesson to learn sometimes, isn't it? But to know He's got a plan...for me...and my life...that's amazing.

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  2. Wow. God challenges me often. Because I have wrong perceptions often, I guess. He challenges me to trust him. To obey God is not easy because it almost always requires trusting him for something we can't control.

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    1. You totally hit the nail on the head, Sally. I like to be in control. That must be why it's so hard to trust someone else. I guess I think I'm the only one who can get something done right...but that's soooo not true, especially when it comes to God.

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  3. This entire last summer was one big fat challenge. And I ove that God calls us on our crap.

    You look like you had a blast at conference in pics!
    ~ Wendy

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    1. I did have a blast, Wendy, but I was sad not to meet you. Sounds like God had some great things in store for you with your family, though.

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  4. ALOT. lol I'm really good at being selfish, unfortunately. And stubborn.
    Great post, lady!!

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    1. I can definitely be stubborn, too, especially when I think I know best...

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  5. Oh, yes! God likes to call me on my crap too. Isn't that amazing that He loves us enough to do that?

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    1. Yes! And it can be so hard to see it as an act of love all the time, but it is. It really is.

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  6. I love Beth's comment above. It reminded me of something Susie said last week when the MBT staff was meeting--if God doesn't mold you during the publishing process, you've missed the point. And I think it applies to all of life. If God isn't molding me--challenging me and calling me out on my crap--then, yeah, I've missed the point. Good stuff, Lindsay!

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  8. Thanks for your honesty, we all need to be called on our crap. I know God's been pushing me out of my comfort zones and asking me to trust Him more. It's uncomfortable but also liberating and wonderful.

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    1. Isn't it funny...the one thing we think will steal our freedom actually brings it.

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  9. God uses almost everything in my life to challenge me and call me out. Children come to mind first. Becoming a mother is the quickest way to realize how selfish you are - but it also shows you how strong you are, too. Being a wife. Being a friend. Being a writer. I loved what Beth and Melissa said - and I agree with Susie May Warren - if anything He's called us to doesn't mold us, than we've missed the point.

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    1. I can only imagine how having kids changes a person. Marriage does that too. I have heard it said that marriage isn't meant to make you happy, but holy. It's meant to make us more like Jesus, because we have to lay down our own desires and wants for another person's. It's definitely a way for God to call me on my crap!

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  10. I agree with Gabe, God uses everything - if we let Him. I love a good challenge, and when they come from Him, they are ALWAYS for our good and spiritual growth.

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  11. Ok. I'll admit it. I was really envious this weekend of all my friends at the conference. I whined at my husband (I blamed it on PMS), I pretty much avoided Facebook because I didn't want to see all the pretty pictures, and I thought some not-so-nice things about some very nice people. (I'm seriously thinking about erasing this right now.)

    But God told me that this is part of the Him molding me - just like Melissa said - and that He's got me covered and that I need to give my ugliness to Him. Guess what. His shoulders are MUCH broader than mine and He's really good at the whole comfort thing.

    Good reminder, Lindsay. Still learning to lean. Sigh.

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    1. I LOVE your honesty, Becky. I so wish you could have been there with us.

      I love what you said about his shoulders being broader than ours. We just need to realize it. Amen to that!

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  12. Humility, a great thing, but sorta-so painful :) I'm great at getting frustrated when things take so long. That's my selfishness, my not trusting the one so much greater and smarter than I am. So thankful, God forgives and grows.

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    1. "I'm great at getting frustrated when things take so long." Amen, sister! I'm right there with you.

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  13. Great observation that God waits until our hearts are ready to hear the truth before He sends us to new emotional or physical grounds. Yet when we connect the dots backwards, we see all the little hints He dropped along the way of how our time of growth-in-His-love was a'comin'.

    Looking forward to seeing your pictures. It's been neat reading all the recaps of what others have said about the conference.

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    1. Yes! I love that he doesn't just bash us over the head with realization of our sin or ways we need to become more like him. He does it slowly, gently. If we didn't see it coming, that's usually our own fault.

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  14. "God doesn’t just let me keep going in the status quo."

    Love this, Lindsay. The Lord isn't content to let me be. He wants me to be better, pushing me out of my comfort zone by stripping me of my security and forcing me to face new challenges. Only then will I grow and experience all He has for me.

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    1. And I didn't really think of this when writing this piece, but by taking away the things we see as our security, HE becomes our security. Love it!

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  15. I'm so there, Lindsay. Time has dwindled to nothing since I returned home from conference, but God always gives me snippets when I need them. A book that's been teaching me a lot is "The Papa Prayer." Seriously life-changing.

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    1. That book sounds intriguing. I'll have to check it out!

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  16. Oh. My. Word.

    Challenged this weekend on a)envy, b)house work habits, c) time in the Word and d)getting my MS revised before I go to Bolivia. 3 weeks from tomorrow.

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    1. It can be overwhelming for sure when he challenges us in so many ways, but just think about how much that means he loves us!

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