Saturday, August 18, 2012

Getting Unstuck in my walk with Christ - Day 26

Today is another wonderfully rainy day - so beautiful and calming.  *contentment*

Cleaning accomplishments >>
1.  Xmas decorations - I found a whole crate-full to give away!
     Now everything will fit fabulously, without any forcing, into
     my 2 Rubbermaid containers.  And, I'm only in possession
     of the items that truly make me smile :-)

2.  Mail box - Everything is now organized by category:
     blank, Xmas, Thanksgiving, Thank You, Miss You,
     and Valentine's Day
       a. Cards that no longer strike my fancy >> donate
       b. 2 address books I love >> ripped out the pages and
           kept the covers for future crafting projects
       c. Mailing labels with my parents' address >> trash
       d. I removed most card sets out of their individual boxes
           so that I could organize like with like and find things
           more easily.
Like cards are separated into Ziploc bags.

3.  File box - This contained a booklet for Apple Bootcamp,
     2 boxes of hanging file folders, and Leopard OSX for
     Dummies (such an odd collection of stuff...welcome to my life ;-)
       a. Bootcamp booklet >> recycle b/c I now also have a PC
       b. 1/2 of the hanging file folders (in a not so pretty purple color)
            >> donate (The remaining file folders fit very nicely into the
            crate I set aside for folders and such.)
       d. I still haven't figured out what to do with all of my computer
       c. Turns out this box is perfect for holding all of my 
           financial documents
Now the folders won't fall over 
when I'm going through them :-)

4.  3 random discs
       a. I found the French movie I made my Jr. year of HS...
           and it works!!! :-D
       b. Sounds of the Seventies - 26 CDs worth of fantastic 70's music,
           each disc with about 20 songs - A find that seriously
           made my day ;-)
       c. Photos from camp - 50 photos from the summer before my
           Jr. year of HS.  I already knew I had hard copies of these,
           but yay for digital!

5.  Finally hung my giant Dale Peterson yard sign back on the wall
     (it was hanging by just one tack and was too high up and too
     gigantic for shorty me to fix).  If you haven't seen the video,
     watch it below - absolutely hysterical!!!

This sucker is at least a yard wide...LOVE IT ;-)

And on to Spiritual reflections >>>

     Chapter 12 of Unstuck explores how we should deal with the "dark side" of our nature.  It's always there, even for the most mature Christians (Paul makes note of this vividly in Romans 7).  The thing that is so wonderful and so peace-giving about Christianity, is that it's okay to be completely messy, because Jesus unconditionally loves us.  No amount of good works or religious legalism will make us more likeable in the eyes of God.  Take note of Paul's words in Philippians 3:8 [The Voice]:

And more so, I now realize that all I gained 
and thought was important 
was nothing but yesterday's garbage 
compared to knowing the Anointed Jesus my Lord.  
For Him I have thrown everything aside - 
it's nothing but a pile of waste
so that I may gain Him. 
[emphasis mine]

     Of course this doesn't mean that we should run around and sin uncontrollably, but it does mean that our forgiveness by God and reconciliation in Christ allows us the freedom of not getting mired down in shame and guilt.  I can't stand when people say that Christians are hypocrites, because Christians are NOT perfect and should NEVER claim to be!  We ALL make mistakes because we are all human and have all fallen from the grace of God.  The difference is in the peace we feel in knowing that God will forgive us for our sins and in our repentant nature when we recognize our sins.  A mature Christian will ask for forgiveness for a sin they committed against someone, will bring their sins to God and ask for a renewed spirit, and will trust in the Lord to mold their hearts to His will over time.  Of course I say and do things that I regret, but with my Savior always at my side, I know that I am loved and forgiven and am free from the entanglements of worry over my sin.

     In regards to a man named Shane, whose story is told in
Chapter 12, "Here's what changed during his decade of walking with Jesus: He now doesn't try to hide his mess.  He's pretty open about it, even writes songs about the stuff that trips him up.  This brings sighs of relief in some who have heard his story: I'm not alone! they think.  I can stop pretending I have it all together and start living with authenticity, just like this guy.  I don't have to be afraid anymore.  I can take a step toward God, warts and all."

     And as Shane puts it himself, "This world is filled with wounded, hurting, broken souls.  I'd say that we're all pretty messed up, but only a few are brave enough to admit it.  We like to believe we're okay - that we have it all together.  I've learned that it's okay to be broken.  When we get to this point, we can put away all the junk that gets in the way - our efforts to 'get things right,' and do 'Christian things.'  God is our Healer.  He can accomplish in us what we cannot do on our own."  [Bold emphasis mine]

     The authors of Unstuck go on to say, "What marks those who trust Jesus as Savior and Lord isn't the ability or certainty to sin less, but the awareness of sin being forgiven and of being released from its ongoing consequences (guilt and shame).  The experience of that freedom fills our hearts with love for God, for what He has done on our undeserving behalf; this love empowers us to serve Him by loving others." [Emphasis mine]

     When we allow ourselves to get mired down in worry, guilt, and shame over our mistakes, we are being exceedingly selfish in acting as if God is not in control and does not have the power to heal us.  Only when we put aside our hang-ups over our own sins, can we approach others with true unconditional love, kindness, and forgiveness.

     I'd like to end with a short passage from The Voice translation of Colossians.  I can't think of a better way to describe the true meaning of Christ's death on the cross.

Colossians 19-20 [The Voice]
19  God was pleased that all his fullness 
should forever dwell in the Son 
20  who, as predetermined by God, 
bled peace into the world by His death on the cross 
as God's means of reconciling to Himself 
the whole creation - all things in heaven 
and all things on earth.
[emphasis mine]

State-of-mind pic of the day.
Another fabulous storm :-)
Photo taken less than a minute ago by me.

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