How do we get from our very human selves with our angers and fears and judgments and ego-centricity—all grounded in the world’s ways– to expressing the fruit of the Spirit in all that we do? How can we humans bring peace, joy and love, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control/humility to all whom we meet and interact with? There is really only one way. And it is this: God must heal all the egocentricity in us over time and we must surrender to all that He asks of us.
We cannot heal ourselves, because we are way too close to ourselves to be able to see what needs to be healed and in what order. And God– who knows already all that we are, all that we’ve done and who He created us to become—who created the talents and gifts and challenges in each of us can see clearly how to get us from a world-based human being to someone who loves God with all of themselves and who can express all that God is to the people he/she meets. He transforms us into someone who lives in the kingdom here on this earth, to someone who is in the world but not of the world. [Romans 12:1-2]
When we give our lives over to Christ, we begin to give over ourselves. Issue by issue, God seeks our permission to recreate us in the image of Jesus. He will highlight in us the major issues and the small ones, too. From my own experience He named what I couldn’t admit to. First, it was this call: “I have an agenda for my life.” And I had no idea who the “I” was who had an agenda, nor what that agenda might be. But I began to ask a different question: instead of what should I be doing?(an outer focus) I began to ask this: What do I really want to do? (an inner focus)
A couple of years later it was: How can I say I love God if I can’t love my mother? I immediately saw the truth in that question and tried for two years to get beyond my teen-aged rebellion(in my forties!) Finally, He enveloped my mother and I with a cloud of love on a railroad platform and changed both of us.
Later when my husband’s cancer recurred just months after being declared cancer-free, God said clearly: “If I can just entertain all possible outcomes equally, well, then…” As soon as I could do that, I began to see that the one outcome I was dreading was only one of many outcomes. And He gave me a gift of faith that left me feeling like a house built on the rock. Even though my husband died a few months later, I felt so held throughout that time, that I never resented his death, although I certainly mourned it.
These are only a few of the healings I’ve been led to over the last 39+ years after I gave my life to Christ. But the pattern continues: a statement, a question that reveals the underlying truth in me, then giving that issue up to God to heal and then seeing the result of the healing in my life and in my being. I’m convinced that the healing will go on until the day I die—there is so much in us that has to be healed if we are to living in the kingdom here and be able to give out to the world what God has given to us.
We can think of our life stages in the metaphor of the stages of a butterfly or moth: from egg(fetus) to caterpillar(childhood to adulthood) to pupa(transition to ourselves as we were created by God to be) to butterfly(fulfilling our purpose). God would take us to be our most beautiful selves.
I am amazed at and grateful for what God has been able to do for me that I couldn’t do for myself. I’ve gone from a person who was full of doubt about herself and always trying to fit myself into the societal norm to one who is secure in God’s love and trusts all that He brings into my life. I was raised in a hell-fire-and-damnation church which left me with nothing but negative expectations of myself and of life and of God. But I can see His footprints everywhere in my life now and even in growing up in that church. He has brought me out of all that negativity into a love for God and all that He is. Recently I have been working on forgiveness and on focusing on God’s presence throughout my days. Today it was my constant preoccupation with others seeing me with critical eyes. I am sure there is more to come.
Our lives are shaped by God. If we’re willing to go along with whatever He sends us, whatever He asks of us, then we are to be His forever, freed of all these human burdens that we are to unload onto His shoulders. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matt 11:30]
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I aware of God calling for healing in my life? How do I respond to these calls? With surrender? With resistance? How willing am I to accept and to heed God’s desires for me? What pain or suffering has God healed in me?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who live in a growing freedom as God heals what happened in the past to us. May we willingly accept His healing. May we be free of all the chains the world would bind us with.
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