Earlier this week, I dove into my blog archive trying to find a piece I had written some time back. And in the process, I learned that I am a s..l..o..w learner. Not the happiest of revelations, but perhaps--since the lesson in question is one of life-long value--it might be worth taking the time to really get this one down.
Over the years since God called me to stay in the South and not go cross-culturally to proclaim Him, God has spoken many truths into a heart now better prepared to hear them. I was reviewing some of that journey/those truths in the blog entry Great Things for God, and was hit again by this particular lesson:
"I don't need you to do great things for Me, J. I AM great, and I WILL show Myself mighty. I am calling YOU to be FAITHFUL."
And last year, this is what I said about that:
Oh, how I still wrestle with this last one, at least in part. I have found peace in the knowledge that God doesn't need great things from me. In fact, I have found relief, as I am pretty sure I can't do great things anyway.
But being faithful, day in and day out, in the little minutiae of life, in the mundane things in my world, this is where I am weak. If you ever need someone to tackle a project or to 'come to the rescue,' I am your woman. I am great in the exceptional moments of life. I am terrible at coming through day after day after day in the piddly details.
This, I might add, is the lesson I am learning in my weight-loss journey. I could easily fast for a day or two. But being consistent in reducing my caloric intake and adding exercise to my schedule regularly are much harder tasks. They require dying to self daily. They require faithfulness in everyday moments.
So here I sit, not going, but growing, learning how to be insignificant, a minutiae-managing pro. It is a lesson I must master, for though perhaps someday God will see fit to add something else to my plate, I will never need to stop being faithful. That is where my calling lies...in the daily. So today, I'm not attempting great things for God; I'm just trying to be faithful. If anything great happens, you can be sure it was all Him. *
And then today, I read Sarah's blog entry from yesterday. It was really wonderful...and convicting. And I found myself saying to her:
Sheesh. Do you live in my head too? Yep, I get this completely. I get overwhelmed quickly (that is my (old) nature) and want to quit immediately, especially if there is ANY sort of a snag or pain involved. But God is teaching me--through weight loss, through exercise (even running, though not as far--yet--as you), through the discipleship & teaching He has me doing--that I must learn to be FAITHFUL, not great. My old nature wants to be GREAT and doesn't want to be there if it's not. My new nature wants GOD to be GREAT, and seeks for me to simply do as required, day in and day out. There's not nearly as much glory for me in that, and I'm pretty sure that's His plan, no? ;-) *sigh* I am so grateful that He is a patient God. It is so very necessary to deal with this wandering child.
Now regular readers may have figured out by now that sometimes I have no idea where my thoughts are leading until I start typing, and that I am often more surprised than you are where I end up. This blog is my processing place, and place where I am forced to formulate into coherent sentences and paragraphs the truths and lies and Truth tumbling through my brain at any given moment. And my reply to Sarah was no exception. Suddenly, I saw this lesson/struggle for what it is:
My old nature vs. My new nature
Self vs. God
My plans vs. God's plans
When I seek greatness, I seek it for me. Others may be able to seek greatness for God, but my motive is--at some level--that I might receive a share of the glory (a particularly repugnant truth when written down and faced with it...). But this daily-grind business God has called me to is surprisingly non-glorious. And thus, if any good at all comes out of this 'Nazareth'**, it could ONLY be God. And that, I know, is how it should be.
So here I go...back to much mundane. My life is good, and I learned long ago how to thrill in the little things. But a blockbuster epic it is not. And I now suspect that God planned it that way. It seems, the glory lands where it should when I'm walking through life's daily muck in faithfulness. And that, I know is my heart's deepest desire. So, though I have yet to master this lesson, I press on and reaffirm again: whatever it takes to be...
To the praise of His glorious grace,
* Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. --I Corinthians 4:2, NIV
* But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness... --Galatians 5:22, NIV
**Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false." --John 1:45-47, NIV