Friday, December 13, 2013

A Heart "Full of Unwashed Socks!"

Previously, in the pages of this blog, I've shared how God has been doing a work in my heart this past year, preparing it as a habitation for Him. 

The work continues. 

I have been brought mighty low lately by what He has shown me. I have to remind myself that I can be thankful He is revealing what's in my heart, so I might again turn towards Him and ask Him to do the work to change me!

Things have been happening in my life. 
God has revealed some ugly things. 
Great sources of frustration have laid bare again the nastiness of my heart.

A few days ago, I went to the post office to mail some packages and buy some stamps.  When I got there, there was a line of about 7 people before me and only 2 clerks working.  Right away, I could feel my frustration leveling rising, knowing I wasn't going to get out of there anytime real soon. 

Actually, the line progressed faster than I had dared hope and it was my turn only about 15 minutes later.  Hopeful now that I would make it out of there in time to fulfill other obligations, I rushed to the counter.  Alas, my hopes were dashed quickly when the clerk didn't have any international stamps.  He went in search for some, taking his merry ole time.  Came back muttering he couldn't find any so he was going to have to "make some."  Couldn't figure out what this meant until he proceeded to try to figure out what other denominations of stamps he had that he could put together to make up $1.10 worth of postage.  This took some time; his math skills were apparently rusty! 

Frustration meter is rising!! 

Then someone came out from the back room inquiring about some packages.  He left me standing there to go show her something in the back room.  After what seemed like 10 minutes (in reality, I'm sure it was only 2-3), he finally came back and finished his calculations.  Then weighing one of my packages, he couldn't find his "Priority Mail" stamp.  At that point, in my mind I am thinking -

Are you kidding me? 
I can't believe this incompetence! 
No wonder the post office is having problems!"

Immediately, I felt the heavy hand of the Lord - "Donna, take your peace and have compassion on this poor man."  I think my face actually got red; I know it felt very hot!  I was ashamed and embarrassed at what was exposed in my heart.  It felt like it was "full of unwashed socks" (from the song,  You're A Mean One, Mr Grinch.)! 

I silently repented and changed my attitude towards this man.

There are so many things I could tell you that God revealed to me through this incident,
but the main one was -
my heart had an attitude of entitlement!! 
Do you know with whom that sin originated?
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the side of the pit."
Isaiah 14:12-15 

I live within a culture of entitlement so I expect that I am entitled -

 entitled to all the finer things in life,
entitled to preferential treatment,
entitled to the best house,
entitled to the best car,
entitled to have what I want when I want it,
entitled to be the exception to the rule because I am so special, 
entitled to the best table in a restaurant,
entitled to the best,
the best,
the best!

I somehow felt that I deserved better treatment. 
Why were my needs not being met? 
Didn't that clerk know I had places to go, people to see, things to do? 

Lord, forgive me! 

My heart is not immune to the spirits and attitudes of this world.  When did I start to think I deserved better than others?  I deserve only death and apart from His sacrifice for me, that's what I would get!!

A poor and contrite heart is what I desparately need.
"Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that you build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word."
Isaiah 66:1, 2

I need: 
A heart that prefers another above myself. 
A heart that defers to others. 
A heart of love and compassion. 
A heart that covers anothers mistakes, errors and incompetence; not a heart that condemns!! 
Jesus did not come to condemn us because our hearts condemn us already.
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved."
John 3:17
What we need, what I need, and desparately so, is mercy. 
"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22

How can I, who has received so much mercy from His hand, dare not extend it to others?

"O wretched man that I am!"
Romans 7:24a

Thank God that He doesn't demand perfection! 
Thank God that He offers forgiveness and freely! 
Thank God that He absorbs my sin into Himself and the price has already been paid! 
Thank God that His mercies are new every morning!

The frustrations I've been experiencing are a result of my sinful heart. 
My heart, that has been making demands it has no right to make!! 

At once, I am humbled, but also encouraged.

Because I know a God who can change a heart and He has revealed the state of my heart to me because He loves me! 
Because His desire is to change me, to conform me into His image.
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:29

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."
I Thessalonians 5:23, 24

This is what Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts) calls the ugly-beautiful!
He will take this ugly heart of mine and
work it,
mold it,
change it,
prepare it and
finally present it as something beautiful - in His time!

No matter what's in my heart, no matter what's in your heart,
what really matters is that we offer it to Him, just as it is and invite Him to do with it what He chooses.

His peace, hope, love and joy will flood our hearts and we have the assurance that He will do exactly that, because that's the kind of God He is. 

He doesn't want us to struggle to get it right and then present it to Him. 
He wants us to lean hard into Him with all our imperfections and let Him make it right.

As I was finishing up writing this, my daughter dropped by to see me.  I was in the den and as she came in, she had to pass through the kitchen, where I have a mitten-shaped dish full of red and green M&Ms.  As she came into the den, she said, "I stole some of your M&Ms, but don't worry, there are some left so your dish still looks pretty.  Here, you want this defective M&M?"

Wow - that's what I say to God - you want this defective heart???
You really want this defective heart???
He really does!

If you don't usually listen to the songs I post, please take the time to listen to this one.  It's beautiful and worthy of your time.  God bless you!


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