Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Will

When I chose 'believe' as my theme for the year, never in my wildest imaginations did I ever suppose it would come to this.

At the end of last week, my health coach called and ended the conversation with, "How can I pray for you?" I almost broke down in tears while telling her, "Courage.  Pray that I will have the courage to believe that this goal is possible."  While believing would result in a good end, at the same time it was too awful.  For to believe would require hard choices. 

I always wanted someone to come alongside me and help with my physical health, a personal trainer or a diet that I could actually keep.   Though I was finally getting what I wanted, at the same time, it was painful to admit that I could not do this on my own, that I needed a health coach.  It was, in fact, required, and not even an option, since I was the only one in my family who failed to meet the standard.

Recently I've heard snippets of the radio speaker and pastor, James MacDonald, who just finished a series on "Humble Yourself".  Jesus, at the last supper, took up a towel and served his followers by washing their feet.  That was his last message to them.  Humble yourself.

When I don't know what to do and my heart is overwhelmed with unrest, I'm reminded that those two little words, "humble yourself" is the best thing I can do to resolve the conflict.  

In all my life, I have never before had to fight with health.  Strength comes natural to me, genetics hearty, and numbers superb.   Now as I seek to meet the requirement, God has opened my eyes to the immense and overwhelming beast this is to tackle.   I have gained a renewed compassion for those who've struggled in this area their entire lives.

Our culture has a prejudice against 'the wrong shaped' people.  We sneer down our noses at them and mutter simple solutions, as if we are somehow superior . . . as if we do not have our own issues we fight to control.   Some weaknesses are better hidden than others, but that doesn't make them any less severe.

It is so easy to put on our false fronts and throw that image out to the public.  We don't want them to see the real person inside, the person that struggles to overcome in an area, or that fails time and time again, who is crying out for help, but too ashamed to ask.  

Lately, God has been laying bare my heart, showing how desperately I need Him.  He looks deeply into my eyes and says, "You can.  Now believe it, and act."  I know, that doesn't sound like right theology.  In actuality I cannot do anything.  It is God in me that gives me the strength, discipline, and power to overcome. 

Yet, all my life I have beaten myself up to the point that my focus was all on my weakness rather than on God's strength, a backwards sort of pride.  To get past myself is to say with confidence, "I can".   It seems a paradox, but it actually turns the focus away from myself and onto Him.  By God's strength, I can, because nothing is impossible with Him. (Matt. 19:26)  He asks me to simply believe. 

If the truth be known, it is not that I cannot, but that I won't.  It comes down to obedience and not so much an, "I can", but that "I will".  I have to want the right choice even though my flesh screams against it.  When I truly desire it, then the fight seems won before it begins. 

When Jesus went to the cross, much of the battle was fought in the garden.  There he surrendered his will to the Father's will.  Am I above Him to think that I will not have to go through the same surrender, the same aligning of my will to my Father's

Humility sweeps over me when I realize my heart is prone to wander and that deep down I do not really want to change.  But far off in the distance I see a light of hope, and I fix my eyes on it.  That light is the courage to believe which moves my heart toward the will to obey.  And so forgetting what is behind, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."  (Phil. 3:14)

 I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.  (Phil. 4:13) 

(Pictures taken from the Bible camp my brother manages, Camp Morrow, in Wamic, OR)  


  1. I love this quote: "Yet, all my life I have beaten myself up to the point that my focus was all on my weakness rather than on God's strength, a backwards sort of pride." I have learned so much the past couple years about God's transforming power in my life, rather than focusing on everything I do wrong (as I naturally tend to do!)- "And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations." Ezk. 36:26-27. And He does all this for His sake, so it's not all about me anyway!

    Thanks for your honesty and openness, I always appreciate your thoughts, Jewel. I remember having some conversations in high school with Jeff about Romans 7 and 8 and "why do I do the things I don't want to do!" and am so thankful for your thoughts here too, as the Lord continues to teach me. You both are loved and appreciated! :) -Karen

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Karen. Love those verses from Ezekiel as well. God continues to groom us into His likeness. Guess that's what keeps us alert, never a dull moment in His presence.