Do you ever bang your head against a wall (proverbially, not literally I hope!)? I do. All the time! I spent the last couple of decades working hard to get better at what I did and to stay on top of all the changes in medicine, (literally) when I was flying: memorizing and understanding the physiology behind 126 pages (yes I said PAGES) of clinical guidelines so that my partner and I could autonomously care for the "sickest of the sick" without direct consultation with a physician. That was my JOB....and I LOVED it! I miss it. Striving. Working... harder, better, smarter. Every flight meticulously analyzed by peers, clinical manager, medical director (MD)and then often again by peers (at Flight Review). EVERY flight. Every chart... sometimes 20+ pages each... with every word, every trend in vital signs, every intervention scrutinized. Every flight was a learning experience... but one axiom held true: "You're only as good as your last flight". Striving.
Today I found myself feeling frustrated at a pattern of behavior that just doesn't seem "changeable". I was banging my head against a wall. This didn't feel like a learning experience. It just felt frustrating. I found myself thinking, "This isn't going to get better!" and I feel like nothing I do will change it! GRRRRR. Then I opened my email to find the following "Prime Time With God" devotion from Ephesians Four Ministries. It doesn't speak directly to the issue I face, but it does speak to the issue of human striving and our need -- no, our OBLIGATION -- to be totally dependent on God... and THERE is the power for change...in HIM, not in US!
I hope if you're struggling today that this will speak to you like it did to me. Love, Claudia
Dear God, Your Word [instructs] me to cast my cares upon you. Oh how I want to do that, to bring all my cares to you and leave them at your feet. I do not want to be a worrier, but one whose faith is strong to trust you. I want to bring those burdens and concerns to you, and not keep picking them up and worrying about them. May this year be one of spiritual breakthrough in my life and in the lives of those I love. May our lives be filled with joy and peace through your Spirit. May you be the center and the heart of our homes. May we be more Christlike and less like the world in our everyday lives. Help us and have mercy upon us, dear God. Please forgive us of our sins and guide our steps. In Jesus' name, amen.
Withholding Your Natural Gifting
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman
"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power" (1 Corinthians 2:3-5).
In the work world, we are trained to press through obstacles, no matter the cost. However, perseverance that is not directed by the Holy Spirit is only sweat and toil. We must learn to walk the fine line between these two concepts. On this subject of relying on our human strength, Watchman Nee wrote:
"I believe many people are so rich and strong that they give no ground for God to work. I frequently recall the words, 'helpless and hopeless.' I must tell God, 'all that I have is yours, I myself have nothing. Apart from you I am truly helpless and hopeless. We need to have such a dependent attitude toward God that it is as if we cannot inhale or exhale without Him. In this way we shall see that our power as well as our holiness all comes from Him. Oh how God delights in seeing us coming hopeless and helpless to Him. A brother once asked me, 'What is the condition for the working of the Spirit?' To which I replied that . . . the Holy Spirit must first bring us to a place where we can do nothing by ourselves."
Of course, God gives us our natural skills and He will use them, although it can be hard at times to tell whether it is God working through us or if it is our natural skill alone making things happen. We need to try to distinguish the difference even as we resist over-analyzing (which can result in paralysis by analysis).
The apostle Paul understood that it was not his ability to deliver eloquent sermons that changed people. It was the power of God working through him. If God?s power comes through our work, that brings glory to the Father.
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