Sunday, November 5, 2017

When You are Smushed and Squeezed~

It seems to me
if a ketchup packet is labeled a ketchup packet,
when you smush it and squeeze it
until it can't take the pressure one bit more,
ketchup should squirt out.

It's just right.
It just makes sense.

And, that's what has me feeling so very broken.

No, someone didn't slip me a faulty ketchup packet.
If fault is to be found,
it can be found with no one but myself.

You see,
here lately,
life has been smushing me and squeezing me
until it almost feels as though
I can't take the pressure one bit more.
And, as hard as it is to admit,
and as hard as it is to write it here
in black and white
for everyone to see,
this heart that has been labeled
is squirting out anything but
Christ-like qualities.

In fact,
what has been spewing out of my heart
(and subsequently my mouth)
doesn't represent Christ at all,
not one bit,
not by a long shot.

And despite all the stress I am under,
despite all the issues I am wrestling with,
the one thing that bothers me most,
the one thing that has found me broken and shattered,
is the realization of who I am.

And, I realize
stress and emotional issues don't usually
bring out the best version of who we are,
but if we are Christ's,
if we have truly surrendered
who we are
to who He is,
shouldn't we resemble the best version of Him,
especially in difficult times?

Isn't this the true test of
what is truly in our heart?

"Don't take it so hard, Stacy.
Some people just know how to push our buttons."

"We aren't going to get along with everyone.
Sometimes you just have to walk away."

And, while I know this to be true,
I also know
that as easy as it would be
to blame my reactions on someone else,
deep down inside the truth is this:
My reactions belong to me and me alone.

I can't blame
how I respond,
how I react,
on someone else.

When I am smushed and squeezed
and Christ doesn't pour forth from my heart,
I only have me to blame.

And if this is where the story ended, -
me lost,
wallowing aimlessly in a sea of guilt and shame -
I would be broken and shattered
beyond any hope of repair.

But, praise God,
this is the very place where Christ
once again,
faithful and true,
loving and kind,
merciful and full of grace,
steps in.

While I am the only one to blame for my actions,
Christ is the only One powerful enough to free me from them.

While I am the only one to blame for my ugliness and stench,
Christ is the only One who can bring beauty in place of them.

My brokenness breaks me
not to condemn me,
but to convict me:
to show me once again
my continual need of my Savior.

Walking with Christ is not a one time,
this prayer fixes everything,
you're good to go,
kind of journey.

Yes, it is true,
our salvation is granted
the moment we cry out to God in our sinfulness,
but the refining of our character,
the transforming of our behavior,
the molding and re-shaping of our heart,
the sanctification process itself -
this takes a life time.

And it is this very place I find myself in now,
that is allowing God to do some of His greatest work in me.
I have to believe this to be true
even though I still don't see
His beauty,
His reflection,
His character,
squirting out of me under pressure.

My painful awareness of my lack of Christ-likeness,
and my brokenness about who I truly am on the inside,
both assure me
Christ is at work.

Otherwise, I wouldn't care.
Otherwise, I would be sleeping right now
instead of here,
working through this issue with my God,
as I type on my keyboard.

Yes, God is at work,
and He will be faithful to finish what He started.

I'm not who I yet long to be,
but praise God,
I am not who I used to be either.

I am a work in progress
and progress takes,
well - progress.

Moment by moment,
day by day,
as I allow God's Spirit
to have His way.

1 comment:

  1. I hear you. Thank you for sharing this and for being REAL, as we all need to be if we want God to continue to mold and shape us into Christ-likeness.
    May I also suggest you show yourself COMPASSION, as I know the Father's Heart well enough to know He is cheering you on, not sitting in judgement.
    In fact, He is only loving on you, and He is so proud of you; the daughter He loves so dearly.
    It is hot in the fiery furnace and I've noticed many have been in it this year.
    I just have to remember that when we come out, we will be as pure GOLD, and will shine brightly for Him, with no imperfections remaining.
    He has told me to focus on HIM, not on the fire.
    He is training me to learn to be STILL in His Presence, where there is fullness of JOY. I find it so very hard to be still in my mind, and am asking His help daily, as I need that JOY from His Presence in order to endure the fire.

    God Bless you Stacy. Many will be impacted from this post and your raw honesty.
    Amen to your Scripture graphic!!


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