Saturday, November 7

What I've Learned from Prayer Group and LOST

My parents have a weekly prayer group that normally meets on Thursday nights. Imagine the craziness that breaks loose when they decide to change things up a bit and have it on Friday night this week!

I have blogged about this group before here (if you want the full experience, I wrote down another message that was spoken). If you live in the Fort Myers, Florida area perchance, contact me if you are interested in attending. Seriously, it's been a great blessing for many years.

Yesterday, I could sense the Lord speaking to my heart, and surprise, surprise, it was yet another continuation of the peace vs. anxiety theme that's been ongoing this week. This was the message:

St. Augustine noted that "Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they rest in You." This restlessness is rooted in the deepest part of our hearts, a yearning that longs for God. Only He can satisfy this intense desire, because He placed it within us. He created us to long for Him, to long for something more than this finite world can offer. 
Unfortunately, in this uncertain times, our hearts are consumed with a different, corrupt kind of restlessness, one that brings anxiety and fear. We are restless because we seek peace, security, and fulfillment in earthly things that can never live up to our expectation or needs. And yet we turn to them again and again, seeking satisfaction.

 It is only when we realize the incredible destiny for which we were created, and turn back to the Lord that we find what we are searching for. He is the answer to our every question, and the provision for our every need. He alone can provide the peace we so desperately seek.
(For all you St. Augustine fans, I wrote a three part meditation regarding his meditations on praise. Read it here.)

This message that the Lord spoke to my heart was incredibly powerful for me. It resounded in my heart and convicted me of something that I have always struggled with: the reality that peace is not something I can attain on my own, but rather it is a state achieved through surrender to His will.

As you know, I have confessed to being somewhat of a perfectionist. The notion that I cannot of my own strength achieve my fulfillment or perfect myself has been a stumbling block. Wanting to do it all on my own, I keep banging my head against a wall hoping to accomplish things that I simply am incapable of. And the Lord waits patiently, calling my name, saying "Little one, you don't have to do it alone. I am here and I am ready to help you." But in my pride, I feel I can't ask for help, can't abase myself in humility.

My perfectionism has always been a source of stress, tension, restlessness. It has been a powerful lie that Satan has used to bring me to despair. The devil whispers in my ear that I ought to be able to perfect myself. I have all the strength and skill necessary. And then when I fail (which is of course inevitable without grace), I am overcome with a feeling of inadequacy.

But the Lord has been faithful in showing me and reminding me of all the ways that He has helped me grow spiritually as well as heal from past wounds. He continues to call me oh-so-gently, to tug at my restless heart that above all longs for union with His heart.

One day, I hope and pray, it will be easy. For now, I am content to struggle.

I was just introduced to the TV series Lost, and have been enjoying the deeper themes present. Today, we watched an episode that highlights the beauty of struggle. John Locke is helping Charlie, an addict going through the misery of detox. Locke uses a moth struggling to escape from its cocoon to illustrate an important lesson for Charlie, who is looking for an easy way out. Locke notes that he could make the process of emergence so much easier for the moth by using his knife to open the cocoon. But if he did, the moth would lack the necessary strength to survive in the world. An action intended to aid the moth in kindness would ultimately result in its crippling and death.

Locke continues to say that life is full of struggle, and that it is through struggle that we become stronger, wiser, better. For us Christians, if everything were easy, or the Lord simply gave us everything that we ask for, then we would never grow from our experiences. We would never have the strength necessary to press on and endure in the fight.

That's why I am content and at peace in my struggle. I know that I don't struggle alone, for He is with me. I know I don't struggle in vain, because life is not about achieving perfection. It's a journey, a process of growth, a walk with a Person who knows exactly who I am, and loves me anyways.

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