My workout time is more like worship time (I call it worship workout/worship yoga). I listen to sermons, my audio bible and worship music (yes, I’m the lady in the gym belting out songs of praise at the top of my huffing, puffing breath; I’m not embarrassed and most people have their headsets on and can’t hear me anyway….I think). I discovered that when I focus on God, the hard things in life become easier; the overwhelming becomes doable; what I think is ridiculous becomes necessary; the unachievable becomes victory.
If I take the focus off me and my health struggles, my workout becomes something I look forward to instead of dreading. Especially on the days I really don’t feel good, when I have to force myself to face my dizzy, nauseous, off-kilter days but would rather sleep through it (even though I feel it in sleep). Like I told my sister last night, if I focused on all the negative in my life, I would end up in fetal position in a padded room overcome by despair and hopelessness. But, we could all say that. It’s all about perspective. It’s all about our choice of focus.
Today during worship workout I listened to a Joyce Meyer sermon titled “Thoughts and Behavior parts 1&2“ http://joycemeyer.org/BroadcastHome.aspx?video=Thoughts_And_Behavior_-_Part_1
It focuses on self-control. When she hit on one particular point, my flesh arrogantly screamed “boy! I’m glad that’s not my issue anymore”. But, then my morning devotional came to mind, which hit on the same topic. Unfortunately, my reaction was the same both times. Any red flags going up for you, too?
I don’t believe in coincidence (I call it God-incidence). Usually when God repeats something in Scripture, it means “Hey!! Pay attention here! Beware and on the lookout.” When I come up against the same warning twice, I’d better keep my eyes peeled (Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour, 1Peter 5:8). I don’t want to be complacent and ride on the waves of former triumphs. It’s so easy to be on auto-pilot and not notice what’s about to side-swipe us when we think a particular battle is won.
Regrettably , humans have a tendency to contrast our lives with one another. We have this ridiculous urge to keep things “fair”. It’s drilled into our heads from childhood. My mom tried to make things “fair” between my older brother and I (as many parents do) by getting us the same items for birthdays and holidays. The harder she tried, the more guy stuff I got ( like the Atari which I rarely used but my brother loved…..not a gamer). She tried to match her parenting style to be the same for both of us even though we were 2 completely different individuals , for “fairness”. She allowed me to do things because he had done those things, to be “fair”.
So where do we get this idea? The bible doesn’t even allude to making sure we are “fair”, yet we try to no avail. “Fair” , in this sense, suggests entitlement; what I deserve; my human right; what’s owed to me; equality. The dictionary doesn’t even define it that way. The enemy is lying to us and we are falling for it. If I compare my life to yours, I could come up with the short stick every time if I don’t know what you went through to get where you are. From the outside your life may be enviable, but the inside might be bleak and desperate. You might look like you’ve got it together, but are crumbling on the inside.
I used to wish I could live someone else’s life, even just for the day. Step out of my own sorrow and suffering for a minute. I wanted to sing better, be more graceful, less clumsy, more observant, less ADHD, more in control of my emotions, less out of control, more loved, less……whatever the problem of the day was. I prayed that constantly. “I wish I could just be someone else today. My life is too hard!” I looked around and saw moonbeams and rainbows around many other’s lives. I thought if I could just avoid being me that life would be spectacular.
Then one day God confronted me about it. “It’s so unfair!” I whined as I had many times before, “Why do ‘K’ and ‘J’ get to do that and I can’t? What’s the harm? Why am I not allowed and they are?” He promptly put me in my place. Because you are not them! Have you walked in their shoes? Have you gone through the trials they went through? Have you cried their tears? Have you been overtaken by their fears? Have you lived their life? And as Joyce Meyer reminded me, I’ve asked Him for a lot……do I want it or not? The answer is yes, I do. Well then, I don’t always get to do what others do. What’s good for the goose could be destruction to the gander.
Instead of trying to be what I can never be, I need to see myself through my Creator’s eyes. Instead of wishing for the same gifts another has, I need to allow God to develop my gifts. Instead of whining about what I don’t have, I need to praise and thank Him for what I am blessed with (which is A LOT!!). I’m entitled to nothing on this earth. I deserve nothing good. I was made from dust and to it I will return. I can feel sorry for myself, do the bare minimum and ride the shirt tails of His mercy and grace and still get to heaven. But, you get out of life what you put into it. I need to go all in and embrace God’s exclusive plan for me and not be nosy about His plan for others. It’s none of my business. On judgement day He’s not going to ask me to account for someone else’s deeds…..guaranteed.
I’m SO grateful about the fact that God is not giving me what’s “fair”. I deserve a long torturous death for some of the things I’ve done in my 42 years. It wasn’t “fair” that Jesus had to die because of my major shortcomings. It wasn’t “fair” that God had to turn His back on His own flesh and blood (even momentarily) to redeem us from the pit we continue to dig and climb out of repetitively. I don’t want God to love me “the same” as He loves others. I want Him to love me uniquely , for who He created me to be not for who He created someone else to be. My life is complicated enough……I don’t need to be jealous of someone else’s battles.
Lord, thank you for not leaving me the way I started. And thank you for keeping me on guard for things I get lazy about. Help me to be a vessel that blesses not curses; that loves and doesn’t display a green-eyed monster who wants what others have. Help me to be content in any situation You present me (Philippians 4:12). Help me to walk in Your Light. No log-sawing**, no comparing, just allowing You to change me into who You want me to be.
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:6-12
**log-sawing: pointing out the speck in your brother’s eye when you have a whole tree hanging out of your own (Matthew 7:3)