We all know that each day brings about an opportunity to learn something new. If exhibiting Christ-like behavior is a priority and you reflect back on each day, examining where you may have gone wrong, there is a strong chance that there will be a lesson to learn providing opportunity to improve the next day. Humility is important and a big plate of humble pie in the morning will set you up for success, at least that’s what I tell myself. But, can you take that too far? I don’t know! And once again the battle within continues. It would seem that my greatest opponent is myself. What do you do when you occupy both sides of the ring? You fight! This is the fight worth having and the only one that will bring about the results you are looking for.
This summer I went out of my comfort zone and decided to volunteer to be a cabin leader at my church high school camp. What a great experience. I love teens and my heart hurts thinking about the struggles of growing up in today’s world. We adults may think they have it easy because they are only responsible for themselves, when the truth is, this a very complicated, confusing time when they are being pulled in all different directions all while trying to discover who it is God made them to be. I have a strong desire to teach them the truth about God and keeping it simple. I prayed that God would use me to teach them what He wanted them to know about who He wants to be in their lives. So I went. And it was great, when I felt myself being used. But, I have to tell you, I did not realize that I would be on an emotional rollercoaster there. God used that camp to open my eyes to a weakness that has the potential to take me down and make me useless as His soldier.
In my quest to be the best I can be by exhibiting the traits that the Bible teaches us to have I seem to have adopted a self destructive one as well. I have become far too concerned with what other people think of me. I know that it isn’t of my own power that the traits I wish to model to the world around me come through. I have learned to humble myself to the Spirit within, that’s the way it works. We are far to weak to change on our own. But why then do I worry about the way I am perceived if I know that I don’t have control of what people are thinking about me? I find myself becoming consumed with wanting to please and appease when I feel my actions have stirred the pot. I have absolutely no problem with admitting guilt and saying “I’m sorry”, but what’s frustrating is when I know that I did nothing wrong and I still say “I’m sorry” over and over with no progress to show for it. By doing this am I validating the accusations or thoughts, or is there a time when it’s not about right or wrong? There must be. When speaking your mind or defending the truth or saying I’m sorry doesn’t work, what do you do then? What do you do when your heart hurts because you cannot change the way someone thinks about you?
Well, it’s not that someone that is causing me the heartache, it’s me. I’m an open book, I talk, and then I try to listen and believe that God will speak through others to teach and help me. I have learned that I need to protect my heart by not stressing about right and wrong and what others are thinking all the time. There is a time and a place for the truth and I will rely on God to raise my voice when needed. So, to keep from getting hurt or escalating a situation I just need to consider the source, keep my mouth shut, and then just say “ok”. Not everyone is going to like me or agree with me. I HAVE to be ok with that. I can’t let it torment me or play over and over in my head taking up valuable time and energy. I need to trust that as long as I know I am putting God first and my behavior is in line with the teachings of Christ, I shouldn’t worry. But it’s much easier said than done…..for me anyways. Seriously, who am I really trying to impress? God or those around me? Of course, God is who I answer to and it’s His opinion that really matters, but I still struggle. As long as I am focused on who God wants me to be and am willing to learn from my mistakes, I should feel good. I guess that is something I will have to remind myself everyday. I will be sure to put that little pill into my daily dose. I want to be a fully functional soldier for Christ and I don’t want to allow my human instincts and emotions to get in the way. I’m realizing that the enemy lies within and I should expect a fight daily. It is so exhausting, but I know it’s totally worth the fight.
As the boxing within continues, I will pray for my Spirit nature to take down my human nature……I want a first round knock-out, but a TKO will do.
Heavenly Father, thank you for today. Help me to hold on to this lesson learned and never forget. I ask that you help me overcome the destructive human nature within and lift me up high in your Spirit. The gift of Christ within shall not be underestimated and I go forward living in that truth. I love you and thank you. In Jesus’ precious name I pray, Amen.