I finished the study of James and "BAM," God let me practice what I learned. In no particular order:
- Slow to speak, slow to anger, quick to listen. (James 1:19)
- Pray and read His word daily. Without fail. (1 Thes 5:17)
- Focus on my boulders and planks in my eyes. (Mat 5:7)
LORD, I'M READY FOR YOUR RAIN!
So why is this post titled "Perspective?" Because my sweet little Caroline got glasses last week! She has a mild discrepancy in her vision when comparing the "numbers" of both eyes. (I know very little about the world of vision. Ask me about allergies or emergent literacy, and I'll talk your ear off.)
This sweet girl was a bit nervous, but excited about getting her glasses. She loves to ask me how many days it is until something. So for ordering her glasses it was going to be 5 days. Each day she would reconfigure and say "Now tonight, I go to bed, wake up, go to bed, wake up" etc as she counted her days as waking and sleeping until the "5th" day arrived.
We are into our third week with them and today she said "I've gotten so used to them, I didn't even know I had them on!"
I completely felt the same way with Jesus. In the beginning (not my baptism, but when I really started learning about having a relationship with Him) I felt like what I needed to do to be truly free felt like a hard walk up a big hill--really? I need to pray a lot? Read my bible? That's work! I thought. Then as I dived into my first bible study I realized that it was my perspective that was wrong! It was a lie I felt like was truth. It wasn't work, doing the praying and studying was liberating and exciting! I finally felt the freedom in Christ all my "free" friends raved about.
I had gotten so used to our relationship, that I felt I was in control. I thought I knew what He wanted. I found myself feeling and speaking as if I had all the answers. I didn't even know I had Him "on."
Guess what God does when you think you have the answers...He allows you to realize you don't.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
He allowed several situations to occur within the same general time frame to teach me hard and fast that yes, He wants me to be an encourager and spread His message, but that only HE knows what people need and only HE saves. Not my words or even prayers...but by HIS saving grace and power.
I was trying to give quick answers to help solve problems, but He gave me a grand, amazing change in PERSPECTIVE that I will never forget.
I have to CHOOSE every morning (and maybe multiple times during the day) to seek His wisdom in order to keep a peaceful mind and loving attitude. It's not a one time choice to be made, I appreciate that our God loves us so much that He does not treat us as pawns. He wants us to freely choose Him. And guess what?? Each time I CHOOSE Him over my own desire, I end up being blessed in ways I couldn't have even imagined for myself. Yes, every time!
Every person's journey to peace and an abundant life requires steps unique to him or her. And only God knows what that entails. Even if I think I know what is happening and an "answer" that I'd love to share--it's because I assumed. Assuming to know what the other person is going through, or assuming I knew what was best for me or assuming (fill in the blank!), but assuming is not Truth. It makes me think of that old saying "If you assume, it makes a you-know-what out of you and me. (google it if you don't know it. I don't want Caroline reading it on my blog :-))
No one can assume to know what someone else is thinking or going through--we are all way to quick to try and filter people's actions and words through our own experiences, which are never the same.
So, I've learned my lesson! (I have asked God to not let me have to learn it again, one time is enough for this pain!) It is wise to be slow to speak, pray first, and at God's prompting proceed with advice, or otherwise just encourage and pray for people; don't let my own subjective truth become the first thing out of my mouth, let HIS Truth be told! And that Truth is all word for word in the bible. Yes, that's the book for me.
I am being careful and meticulous now about removing the planks in my eyes, thank goodness for the Great Physician who hears our call for help and delivers. Psalm 57:2
ps Thanks for the Henry Eye Clinic, too!
"Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action."
James 1:22-25 (message)