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GRACE…

In my September post I talk about losing my job and the journey that led to starting “The Rise Project”. Well that job was paying relatively well, had amazing benefits/incentives and I was comfortable in my function. I would say that in my 15 years of work experience, it was the best job I had landed thus far. I was three years in with the company and I was finally settling into my new responsibilities. I was warming up to the idea of being with the company for a few more years and saving up before moving on to the next level.

For the first few months after being home, I struggled mentally with my own will. I had spent years receiving from God but I felt entitled to do so. I thought I had already given and sacrificed enough in my latter years, it was my turn to sit back and reap the harvest. I felt that I deserved every ounce of blessing and I wanted even more! I was becoming greedy and ungrateful and it was also manifesting in my speech. Rather than thanking God for what I did have, I began to focus more on all of the things I wanted to change. Of course, there is nothing wrong with progressive thinking but God had to remind me through my husband that I was border lining being ambitious and stepping over into being ungrateful.

Gradually, God had to peel back the layers of my dead weight thinking. He revealed to me that I had been operating in a spirit of pride, fear and self righteousness for quite some time. Everyday, little by little I was forced to relinquish my grip on my life as I knew it before He could do anything else with it.

There was more to living a fulfilled life than acquiring material things. And in my mind, that job was my ticket to affording my dreams.  God had to remind me that “to whom much is given, much is required”. I had to learn to be satisfied with what I had in front of me first. I had to learn how to maintain a spirit of gratitude even when things weren’t going my way.

I was forced to tap into other gifts and talents that had been laying dormant for years. Gifts that I “chose” not to use for His glory because of pride. He quickly reminded me that the “choice” was not mine to make! My thinking was this: “if I cant do it BIG or be PERFECT at doing it, then I wont do it at all”. Or, I would make the excuse of waiting for the conditions to be just right. I was afraid of trying and failing. I was afraid of just being “ok” or “mediocre” at whatever I did, so I simply shrunk back. And to be honest, I secretly judged anyone that tried in their own endeavors and did not meet or exceed that standard that I had set for my own self. I had to recognize that, that level of thinking was associated with the spirit of pride and self righteousness at work in my life.

Many days during that nine month period, my late senior pastor’s voice echoed in my ear, words he had spoken just months before his passing back in 2014. “Never despise small beginnings” but I was doing just that. I despised the thought of starting small and not measuring up to my high minded thinking. I started to find faults in the many blessings that I had already been afforded. So it was time to self evaluate.

In that time, I rested physically yes but I also had to learn how to “rest in Him”. He had to retrain my thinking to “Not my will, but His will” being done in my life; no matter how miniscule His plans may appear to me. I had developed tunnel vision, but my vision was clouded by my own selfish ambitions. I had to learn that how He chooses to use my life is not always about me “winning big”. It wasn’t all about me. Rather, it was about being a conduit of His love to others.  I wasn’t the only one that had aspirations. I wasn’t the only one to have gone through things. And I wasn’t the only one that needed encouragement. I had to learn that my story was unique to me but that it was unfair to compare it to anyone else’.

The position I had taken with family and friends was “I have endured more than them, and I would never behave or respond to that situation like that”. With that mindset, I was sitting comfortably in the seat of self righteousness. It was scornful. I had to remove the chip from my shoulder; one that I had been carrying for years.

God is still working on me. The way I see it, its a daily process that I am prepared to walk through.  Everyday I am committed to renewing my mind. Old habits and old ways of thinking are constantly being discarded and replaced with a new mindset.

So even though I “lost” a job, much of the process that I have walked through has gained me an even larger degree of insight.

I created this blog a month before I was laid off but hadn’t published my first post until weeks into me being home. So for those of you that have been following my posts, as I learnt more about God and a surrendered life, I have been sharing it with you. I pray that it has been a blessing to someone.

Of course, sometimes written words get lost in translation and are limited in expressing the true intent of the heart. I have probably offended a few people along the way. Some of my views may not be agreeable, but it is my journey, nonetheless. One that is filled with lessons on both practical application and spiritual insight.

I have come to recognize that it is vastly important to know when to apply either of the two.  There must always be balance in making life altering decisions. Even though we ought to walk by the spirit; there is absolutely nothing that we can do physically that would “earn” us the right to the depth of His love and grace.  I guess, that is the beauty of being the perfect imperfections that we are.

Through out that process, God remained the loving father that He is. In all of His infinite wisdom He ensured that my cupboards were never empty and all of my family’s bills were paid on time each month. I still cant quite figure out the math BUT To God Be All the Glory!!! See, when He breaks us, its never to harm us but to heal us; to teach us that its only by His grace that we are here.

I approached 2019 with a much different view from the way I did 2018. Yes, my husband and I have written plans and have presented them before God but we remain open to whatever adjustments God chooses to make. Sometimes, He allows things to happen to jolt us. He has to temporarily remove His hedge of protection to remind us all that He ultimately has the final say. We are never completely in control!

It is important to remember that He is a jealous God. He will never share His glory with anyone or anything. Yes, we should be confident in ourselves and in our abilities but we should never cross the line into thinking that what we have achieved was done in our own strength. It could all be taken away in a heart beat. We should approach every single blessing in our lives with a spirit of humility! Our relationships, our children, our spouses, our material possessions, our careers, our titles, our gifts and talents, our health and physical attributes; everything is a gift given to us by God. Nothing should be taken for granted. They are all dispensable.

He is faithful to His promises but He operates on principles. They are unwavering, they don’t change. We must always check and balance every decision, motive and intent against His divine character to ensure that we are in line. I have found that once I hold up my end of the agreement, He makes limitless possibilities available.

Its only February and He is already working things in my favor. That’s the kind of God He is.

 

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