Thursday, May 8, 2014

When Did I Become A Wimp?!

When did I become such a wimp?

I had been in Florida for a little over a week when I set out one morning on my daily walk. Four times around the park was approximately 3.32 miles. I had been walking this distance at home at least three times a week, no problem, but all of a sudden, here in Florida, I could only manage to do 2 laps around at a time, or so I told myself. I had also gotten sloppy in my eating habits; if I felt hungry, I would eat without “policing” myself. Suddenly, I couldn’t bear to feel any hunger pains!!

As I started on my walk, the voice I heard said, “When did you become such a wimp? What, you can’t handle a little sweat or a little hunger? All of a sudden you’re in Florida and it’s all about your creature comforts????”  

Now, I’m not saying that was the Lord speaking, although, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised, but it sure did cause me to take stock. Yes, I was here for a time of rest and refreshment, and yes, I had only gotten 4½ hrs sleep the night before, but, I definitely wasn’t here in the Sunshine State to indulge my flesh completely!!

When the biggest decision I had to make on any given day was - should I go to the pool today or the beach - it’s easy to see how my flesh would totally think it was time for indulgence!!!

It was time to give my flesh a good talking to and that’s exactly what I did!! First, I started by taking an attitude check. I was feeling a little grumpy because I hadn’t slept all that great, so, immediately, I began to thank God for everything I could think of. I was appalled that here I was in beautiful, sunny Florida and all I could do was complain! How quickly the flesh takes over! As I began to thank God and put some appreciation back into my mood, the smile came back to my face!

Then I began to give my flesh a good talking to! “Yes, you can handle a little sweat and you ARE going to walk around this park 4 times this morning, you hear that, 4 times, and I don’t care if you do complain!!! You won’t melt from a little sweat, plus you’ve got air conditioning to go back into when your walk is done!!”

Lord, have mercy on me!

I am a spoiled, self-centered creature, who, left to my own devices, would turn into a self-indulgent, completely selfish person, with no thought to anyone but me, me, me!!

It doesn’t take much to revert back to this. Unless my eyes are focused on Jesus and I am feasting on His Word daily, I can quickly fall back into the patterns and desires of the flesh. I constantly want my flesh to be pampered.

Being in Florida, I was excused from most of the responsibility I carried at home. I’d been spending a lot of time at either the beach or the pool, bike riding, walking, reading, some shopping, working on my book or spending some time with a good friend who lives here in the winter. I really didn’t have to think too heavily about things. Didn’t have any major decisions to make.

I felt before I came here that the Lord was giving me a time of refreshing and I believe He did just that. BUT that didn’t exempt me from “policing” the out-of-control desires of the flesh. How quickly the desires of the flesh become prominent again when left unchecked for even a short time!

I was reading the Word and spending time with the Lord, but it wasn’t what I call “quality time.” I don’t really know how to explain what was happening in my Spirit, but I am thankful God arrested me before it got too far gone!

I think I knew before I came to Florida that God wanted to do something in my heart while I was there and I tried putting it off. Have you ever done that? Can any of you relate? I think I tried to take a break, too, from the dealings of the Lord!  
But He was having none of it!

I can fly hundreds of miles from home to get a break from “real life”, but I could fly thousands of miles from home and still not escape the “hound of heaven.” And, truly, I wouldn’t want to!

I want God to continue to pursue me, to continue to deal with my heart, to continue to share His truths, love, mercy and heart with me. I don’t ever want to be where I can’t hear and respond to the voice of the Lord.  But sometimes I act like I do.

Lord, forgive me!

There may be those of you reading this who can't relate to what I'm writing and to those I say - You are truly blessed!!!  But to those of you who can relate, I want to encourage you in the way the Lord always encourages me.
Fighting my flesh has always been one of the biggest battles I face and I know I write a lot about it here.  I gain victory a majority of the time, but there are times I feel like such a failure in this battle.    You would think after all these years of walking with the Lord, I would be past this, but, truthfully, before you and the Lord, I have to admit I'm not.  God is so merciful to me in this.
Just this morning He came to me again and said, "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."  I needed this reminder because too often I try to fight in my own strength and I do become weary and heavy-laden.  I need to be reminded to give it to Him and enter into His rest.  His arms are open and I walk to Him and He embraces me in His love and mercy.  He is my Father, wanting to protect and comfort me.  He is my Dad, wanting to fight the battle for me, if I but run to Him with it.

Just yield. 
Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do.  When you're someone who wants to be in control, yielding can be a very scary thing to do.  But, I know, too, it is the greatest place of freedom.
I have to admit, too, that I still, at times, have problems yielding to my heavenly Father, and some of the work God is doing in my heart and did in Florida, has to do with my earthly Father.  Our perceptions of God are so colored by our relationship with our earthly Fathers.  My father was not a merciful man.  In fact, he was a hard taskmaster at times and I continually have to shake off that mentality when I'm relating to my Father.
My Father wants me to turn to Him with problems.
My Father wants me to turn toward His mercy.
My Father stands with arms wide open at all times to welcome me.
My Father loves me - at all times.
My Father's grace is continually extended to me.
My Father understands when I blow it.
My Father's heart is always for me, never against me.
My Father continually pursues relationship with me.
My Father is always present with me; never ignores me or shoos me away.
My Father is always concerned with those things that concern me.
My Father is always good and I am always loved.
My Father loves wimps and reminds me always that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.
I have this song on my iPod and when I walk, I play it often because it reminds me to continue to press on.  It reminds me that in the Lord I can find the strength to press on.

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