Can you name any little sins or weaknesses you've made progress on in the last year? I mean to the extent that you no longer consider them problems?
Does the Christian walk seem futile sometimes? I mean, sure, we have these Christian words we use--like grace, mercy, humility, brokenness--but are we really any different than the average Joe?
Are we set apart from the crowd--evidenced by our inner joy and peace?
I'm not sure how this miracle works, but the answer is emphatically, YES! We are different. Even on our worst, most downcast days, we look blessed to Someone--a someone who is quietly noticing us. We never know who or when or where or why, usually.
We don't need to know.
And who has set Someone's (meaning any person's) gaze upon us? The Lord! They see in us only what God wants them to see. We are merely instruments in God's plan.
And it's no thanks to us.
The more I live this Christian life, the more I realize my will is nothing--accomplishes nothing. It can hurt, but it can never help.
I used to dislike cooking. There weren't many things I could make well, partially because I was afraid of high-flavor foods (for their fat and salt content). I've always been an eat-to-live person. Food only interested me in restaurants. Indeed, I'd get lost in a book and forget to eat, back in my single days.
And another thing. I had the hardest time remembering to thaw something for dinner. It was amazing how many consecutive days this would happen to me--forcing me to thaw something at the last minute in the microwave, which sometimes ruined the meat.
But no more. I'm a decent cook now. And guess what else? I love to cook! I actually love to cook. And "what's for dinner" is always on my radar--no more microwave thawing.
Tonight, as I was making two batches of potato soup, I marveled at the change in me. I now view cooking as a gift to my family. No, not a chore. A gift, happily given. A fun thing to do, even--minus the toddler's interruptions.
And here is the miracle.
I don't recall saying to myself, "It's a shame I can't cook well. I really need to improve in this area, for these reasons--blah, blah, blah."
No, I never had such a conversation with my head or heart.
My point in all this?
IT WAS GOD! He wanted me to become a good cook--one who blesses willingly and lovingly.
I don't know why, or even why now. Why isn't important. The lesson is that positive change comes from God, not of ourselves. And it comes in His timing, for his purposes. His "to-do" list for our hearts and lives may not match ours. As I said, I wasn't berating myself for being a mediocre or poor cook.
Now, the volume of unfolded clothes on the sofa? I berate myself often for that.
This whole, now-I-can-cook topic probably seems like a small thing here on this screen, as though it was even silly to write about.
But I know how big this change is, from yesteryear. Only tonight in my soup making did it really hit home.
I'm a different person. Unrecognizable even, in some respects.
Friends, be joyful. God is working on you in ways you can't even imagine--for his purposes--and you don't need to worry about the details. Your will, your plans, however lofty...they are nothing.
When God needs me to keep up with the clean-laundry folding, I will suddenly start doing it. Easily. Joyfully. (Right now, I must confess, I hate it.)
It gives me such peace, knowing that I'm God's piece of work. Not my own. The blueprints are none of my business, really.
So, what does God want me to do then? What is my role, if it isn't to improve myself?
To fellowship with Him. Give Him the glory. Live joyfully, with a peaceful, grateful heart. Be as a child without burden.
Psalm 118:24 "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
"... for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Philippians 2:13