I have been fasting lately from some bad eating habits. “Binging” on sugar, which seemed to lead inevitably to excess consumption of all sorts of saturated fat. It was all weighing me down (in more ways than one).
So I have been saying “NO!” to those temptations lately… one day at a time. By Your grace, Lord, I have been succeeding! And it hasn’t been nearly as hard as I expected it to be.
The excess weight has mostly disappeared! How could there not also be internal benefits I cannot see?! Best of all, I feel better about myself.
I am no longer beating myself up for the “gluttony” I knew was part addiction and part rebellion. REBELLION??? Truth be told, what else could I call it? Knowing something is wrong and doing it anyway… just because I want what I want right now.
But “rebellion,” Lord? I know, I know… “If the shoe fits, wear it.” If the Truth fits, speak it.
“If anyone wants to be My disciple, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
But here’s the thing, Lord — the awesome thing You have shown me. The success I am experiencing is not because I have learned to “just say No.” It’s because of what — or, rather, Who — I am learning to say “YES” to.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
You have given me a Vision, Lord, of how You want me to spend the rest of my life on Earth. It isn’t some vague, “pie in the sky” platitude destined to collect dust on some shelf. (Like so many vision statements do). It is a vibrant, living document charting my course toward The Future you have always dreamed for me.
“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
This Vision captures my heart’s desire in every sphere of influence You have given me. And it articulates what will be required of me to move from where I am to where You will take me, as I follow in the direction You are leading.
I call this journey, “Planning the Rest of My Life.” 🙂
Maybe it’s prompted by the fact that, by Your grace, I am a cancer survivor — four years out. Funny how walking through The Valley of the Shadow can result in a certain perspective on the fragile and fleeting nature of Life.
Maybe it’s just the urgency of the days we are living in. The “end times” prophecies You wrote about in Your Word so long ago are coming to life before our very eyes.
Whatever the prompts might be, planning the rest of one’s life can be an overwhelming endeavor. Ya think? 🙂 So overwhelming, one’s “instinctive” response might be, “It’s impossible! Why even try?”
Maybe that’s why You broke it down for me into “bite size” pieces, Lord. After all, how does anyone eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
You have given me concrete actions I am to take — daily, weekly and monthly. You have even designed some accountability tools for me, so I can more easily “measure” my progress. (As we used to say in my C12 Christian CEO accountability group, “Priorities are what we do… the rest is just talk.”)
But one of the most powerful pieces has been the key declarations You have given me to speak out loud every day, along with the scriptures that undergird them. I am moving from reading those to knowing them… which is leading me to living them!
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
The other day, You led me — as You so often do! — to a particular scripture. Why am I not surprised that You used it to speak volumes to me?!
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6)
Isn’t this what You are doing in me right now, Lord? Setting me free from sin patterns (yokes) that were energized by lies (cords of yokes) that had become ingrained in me? Lies about You and me. Lies about what satisfies. Lies about the “impossibility” of true freedom.
“We demolish strongholds and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Isn’t that what You are doing through me, Lord, whenever I help my clients turn to You? To recognize the lies they have been living by, and replace them with Your Truth? Truth they can come to know (believe in their minds and their heart of hearts) so they are set free?
Isn’t this what You want for our nation, too, Lord? To free us from the sin patterns and excesses we have come to regard as normal and desirable? Excesses that are weighing us down, and so clogging our “arteries” that we are all but oblivius to the real “Heart Cath” we all so desperately need?
“This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all — how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31b-32)
Thank You, Abba! Through Your merciful kindness, I am losing excess “weight” I have carried for decades. I am feeling wonderful! And Your blessings to me are starting to bless the people You have privileged me to influence!
But what about the nation, Lord? Ahh, yes… I remember. One flap of one butterfly’s wings can become a hurricane halfway around the world.
WOW. Have Your way, Lord!
Learning (daring) to fly, one “flap” at a time…