Last Saturday was a rather monumental transition in my walk with the Lord. I realized the strength of the Spirit overtook the strength of the flesh.
When I gave my life to the Lord, He began to work in me. In the years that followed He peeled the layers to show me where I needed to change; this caused me much pain, struggles, confusion, but also incredible joy, happiness and revelations. I hung on with dear life to all the amazing things He had accomplished in my life each and every time a new phase of unveiling came creeping in because of how painful they were and how much struggle they caused. Over time, as the cycle repeated itself, I started recognizing it and used the trust and faith I have in the Lord and His Grace to overcome whatever He set to work out of me. I was more knowledgeable, I knew what to pray about and how to rely on the Holy Spirit to show me what I needed to know and to guide me. Each and every time my relationship with the Lord grows stronger and my understanding of The Word clearer.
Then I finally found true joy in living an obedient life according to God’s plan…or at least that’s what I wrote in my first post of 2014 about 2013 after having an incredible Christmas in Rome and New Year in Baden Baden. However, things got bumpy again when I got back to work. My joy became a puff of smoke and misery was creeping in again. I was allowing my circumstances and the environment at work to finally get to me – I was cracking because of how unhappy and miserable work was making me. The question “why Lord, why” was once more knocking at the door.
I began to pray on what was happening. The feeling of dissatisfaction intensified. I have grown very familiar to feeling like this and I know the battle in these moments are real. It’s an opening for the devil and God will only speak when we’re ready to hear Him. Faith is critical. I spoke to the Lord “All I want is to serve you Lord in a job that leverages who I am, doing what I love so that you will be glorified. Why do you keep under utilizing me? You know how much joy and satisfaction I can get from work I love”
At this point in my walk with the Lord, He didn’t have to say much to me to realize all that’s wrong with that statement; but He none the less opened my eyes to three very important lessons:
1. I’m still looking to have things my own way. He spoke to me of all the blessings in my life right now and how I’m choosing to focus and be wrapped up in the one aspect of my life (being work) that is not what I want it to be. I was literally turning my back on God’s Blessing to focus on what I want from the work I do. My loving Father had to bring on suffering for me to appreciate His Blessings.
2. I know it’s unbelievable but the pathetic “But God” followed that revelation. “But God, you know I get my pleasure out of the work I do. I love being challenged. I’m driven. I love to accomplish things”
To which He replied. “I know. It’s time to change that, Ann. I am your source of joy – do not put anything or anyone above me. You have been seeking your worth and validation in the wrong places.”
Many, many years ago, either in High School, or my first year in the Marine Corps, I told myself I never wanted my job to feel like work. I wanted my job to be part of who I was and ever since I made that statement; I placed work above everything else in my life – that is until I was saved. Once I was saved, God began to untangle the mess I had made of my life because of the way I had set my priorities. But while the mess has been untangled, the root cause still remained.
Finally, He set me up in Europe with financial stability/freedom and opportunities to enjoy so much more than just work, but it didn’t take long for me to overlook all that and focus on work again. He placed me in the perfect position to unveil something deeply rooted in me that must change.
That’s how God works when you give your life to Him and you let Him work things through you/in you.
3. Spirit over Flesh. So how am I/was I to go about handling how miserable I feel because of how unsatisfying the work I do is with what the Lord is trying to change in me/teach me??
I tried doing this with my own strength and failed. Meaning, my first approach was to use mind over matter. It’s how I initially dealt with it but in the end I cracked. I also know trying to control/change the actual work environment is not the answer. I’m not in the environment to change the environment. I’m in the environment for it to change me. (Sometimes it’s vice versa, pray for discernment to know which way it’s supposed to go)
Then one night this week, I was laying in bed thinking about work and realized deep down, I was happy. My Spirit was in complete peace. God is working in my life, He is clearly with me every second of everyday, I’m living my life to serve Him, obey Him and I know He has nothing but great things for me…so what if I FEEL miserable?!? Feelings are of the flesh. My flesh is suffering. My flesh is experiencing feelings it doesn’t like but my Spirit is in a wonderful place.
Never before I have known the two to be so completely separated; we are to live in the Spirit not the flesh. Romans 8:4 “so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The fruit of the Spirit or the character of Jesus Christ, is reproduced in the believer who is under the Spirit’s control.
Galatians 5:16-25 But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want.
So there you have it! What I need to work on now is how to move ahead living in the Spirit more and more each day. And of course, as luck would have it (imagine a huge smirk on my face) God has set the perfect environment for me to work on that while I enjoy all of His blessings!
God is incredibly GOOD! He set up an difficult task but not without providing me all I need to get through it.
If you haven’t given your life to the Lord and you are cracking open self-help book after self-help book to figure out how to change and improve your life you are trying to achieve the impossible. Hand your life over to God and He will set your path, provide you the strength, the answers, and all the opportunities and tools you need to be successful at becoming a better person. He will make you who He created you to be while being right there by your side.
Just like me, at some point in your life while you were living outside His Will you probably made certain decisions and promises to yourself that sent you down the wrong path. God will straighten all that out if you agree to follow Him.