Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ramblings, Filthy Rags, and Lemonade

As the semester begins I find myself being overwhelmed and constantly busy. I love being busy and having full days, scratch that, productive days I mean. I may be a geek with analogies, but I like to think of my days as lemons and at the end of the day I'd like to say I squeezed all the juice out of my lemon and made some pretty darn good lemonade. (The lemonade being the product resulting from hard work and my hard work being the squeezing). 

Naturally, meaning by my sinful nature, I have a prideful, confident spirit and I'm prone to building and putting my confidence, worth and pride in what I do or accomplish. It's all too easy to pat myself on the back at the end of the day and say "YOU did it Lindsey" or "Wow, YOU did all of that in one day? Great job!" But thankfully, I recognize by the Grace of God that I didn't do it all, and not only did I not do it ALL, I also didn't do it by myself. What I mean by this is that my abilities or gifts are God-given and my strength is God-given. To return to my analogy, God gave me the lemon, the ability to squeeze it, and I'm making my lemonade for Him and Him alone. 
But wait, God doesn't need my lemonade. And actually, to God, my lemonade is as good as filthy rags. 
All of us have become like one who is unclean, 
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf, 
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Isaiah 64:6
I love that the Bible is full of analogies. However, I'll let you figure out what Isaiah means by "filthy rags" or rather, ask your mother...

He doesn't love me any more or any less depending on how good or bad my lemonade is. So, why do I strive so hard to make the best glass of lemonade for my Lord? 
Also, God doesn't need me. He is powerful enough on His own to do whatever he finds pleasing in His sight. He can accomplish His purposes and fulfill His will without Lindsey. God only chooses to use broken and flawed people like me to accomplish His purposes. 
It is so very important to know that God does want me. I am a child of God, relentlessly loved and pursued and wanted by Him every day. God has shown light in my life and my heart and overpowered darkness. (2 Corinthians 4:6) Because of this, I now have a God given desire to please Him and do work for Him, for His Glory, to make Him known and spread this light that so graciously was given to me. I aim to please God, not with the intention of winning favor with Him or to be recognized in anyway, but I desire to please Him because He loved me first (Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:19) and made the ultimate sacrifice for me. I am not paying God back, I never could even if I tried my hardest. (Romans 3:23) I'm always going to fall short of pleasing God. I'm going to fail at it every day. Running back to my analogy, my recipe for lemonade will never be perfected. Most days it's actually gonna taste pretty horrible. 

Discouragement, Grace, Endurance, Discipline, Worship
My constant failures shouldn't deter me or slow me down, but it is inevitable, I will get discouraged, but I will also be rescued by His unchanging grace. Hebrews 12 is a favorite of mine. It talks about not growing weary, but instead enduring discipline and looking to Christ. A few verses stick out to me in this section:
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,
Hebrews 12:11-12
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28-29
At the end of my day, I am prone to find my worth in what I have done, rather than Who allowed me to do it. But, no matter how discouraging, productive, horrible, or awesome my day was I thank God for His unfailing, overflowing grace. I ask for endurance, strength and discipline to do it better the next day. I thank Him for choosing me and wanting me. And I offer what I have to Him with what He has given me. How great it is that God doesn't need my lemonade! Even greater than that, He loves me the same today, yesterday and tomorrow.

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