'As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another' Proverbs 27:17
I don't know if it comes with age, or if its just something that comes with the realization that there is so much in my life that I need to work on, but I find myself craving correction more and more. By that I mean that I long for people to challenge me and correct the way I think and act - I love it when people are bold enough to tell me where I am going wrong, but I love it even more when they explain that, and are purposeful in it, and are practical by explaining how that problem or issue can be overcome.
I learn more about my sinful self everyday, but there is still so much I am unaware of, and I am grateful that those things that I don't notice in myself, can be pointed out by others. Its a wonderful moment when God confronts you on things you did not know were an issue! There is excitement in finding a new area to grow and improve on. I don't want to be stagnant in my faith, I want to be constantly growing...constantly learning... there is so much to learn! I am becoming increasingly aware of how incredibly selfish I am, and its not until someone forces me to dissect my thoughts that I realize it! I thank God for His grace and patience in every aspect of my life, I am a S-L-O-W learner, but He remains faithful, always loving and always true! I believe He is really stretching me in the area of dependence. Because recently so many of my actions have been highlighted as seeking approval & validation from people, rather than Him. Today I saw that I have a fear of abandonment that runs deep - one that causes me to rely way too heavily on what others think of me, and how I react to that. And in thinking about it, I cannot believe how many of my actions are driven by my 'need' for people to like me, to be 'ok' with me and not to leave me! And also driven by the thought that being a good friend to everyone somehow validates me as a person! How insane!
Its hard when you truly and honestly examine yourself and realize that some of your 'good' actions, have bad motives... It makes you feel like you have wasted so much... like any good that you have done has been worthless! But I have come to the conclusion, that this is not so, God used my selfish attempts to love and care for people (even though my motives were not always pure) because He is a God of grace! BUT - God wants me to move on from my selfish ways! And He also is a God of freedom, who does NOT want to see me bound by these chains of approval addiction, need for validation and fear of abandonment. He wants me to be free, He wants me to remember that I am approved by HIM.. and to be able to love out of a pure heart, love without needing love in return...Love, not for myself, but for Him. Love, knowing that He is my identity, my passion, my desire, NOTHING else. What a freeing and liberating thought!!
Someone shared with me today about how we need to 'Practice God's Presence'. I thought I did, but the more I thought about it and the more she talked about it, I realised I completely deny God's presence in some areas of my life. Like in the area of reaching out and loving others... I just assume that because its a nice thing to do, that it would be what God wants me to do.... and He does call us to love... but I should be turning every thought and action over to Him, even if I, in all my lack of wisdom, think I know what's right.
I think that if I had been practising God's presence in all areas of my life, then I would not be in this position of selfish ambition that I find myself right now.
God challenged me hugely today.... it kind of went like this - 'Erica, how do you expect to know and feel how much I love you, if you are running after the love of other people!' 'No wonder your'e exhausted!' - 'Come to me!' 'Seek me'.
It IS exhausting running around trying to find your value in others...even if you don't realise you are doing it! I have decided to stop!!! I have decided to remember who is the author and creator, who is the first and the last, beginning and the end. I am challenged to be more purposeful in practising His presence...ESPECIALLY in the areas I think I don't need to - because those are clearly the most dangerous areas of all! I still crave correction... and I desperately want to change and grow in every area of my faith! I want people who know me to be able to say - She HAS grown, she HAS changed, so that I can say 'Only by the grace of God!' ..I am approved by God, and I need to live it.- I want people to know the full EXTENT of my sinfulness, so they can get a clear picture of how HUGE the grace of God truly is! I want to Glorify God with my life - and I want to know when I am not doing that. I am grateful for the people bold enough to show me areas that I need to work on!
God is Good.