Archive for October, 2010

Christ’s Beauty Trumps Insecurity

October 22, 2010

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Cor. 4:7

Someone recently suggested saying the words of Song of Solomon 4:7, “You are altogether beautiful, my darling, and there is no blemish in you,” for two weeks every time I stood in front of a mirror or whenever I saw my reflection. While recognizing this recommendation was Biblically based, I questioned what needed to happen in order for spoken words to transform my life.

Speaking these words didn’t seem adequate in bringing a life change. I’m no idiot, I have flaws and I have sufficient evidence to support their existence along with friends and family who deal with my blemishes. Saying out loud, “There is no blemish in me” feels like a lie and the Bible says lying is a sin.

I struggled to understand how these words could bring a change in my perspective until I discovered the Song of Solomon paints a picture of Christ as a bridegroom. He is seeking a marriage relationship with His bride. Christ desires to be the treasure within this bride’s heart replacing her inner darkness with His presence. This partnership allows His life to flow out of hers releasing beauty. The psalmist understood this when he composed the words, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty.” (Psalm 84:1)

As long as I rely upon myself as my source of beauty, transformation will never occur. When I’m fixated on me, I’m blind to Christ. I look to external indicators as a source of beauty and performance as a measurement of my identity and value. Unfortunately, the more I look in the mirror, the more I see me, blemishes and all. 

When I stop my self-fixation and focus on Christ who is living within, I possess beauty that radiates outward.

I’m discovering that all insecurity problems are identity problems. When I become my reference point for beauty or identity, blemishes break out. Instead of covering them up I’m partnering with the Unblemished One who brings beauty into every heart that flows outward.

Personal Prayer

Father,

You know me intimately, love me completely, and of all the places in the world to live, You chose my heart. Let this amazing truth reframe the way I see and think. May this transforming truth allow me to see myself in the light of your incredible love.

Reflection Question

What are false beauty indicators?

How do we recognize when we are relying on our performance and physical exterior to frame our identity?

Thought to Ponder

Christ tells us not to dwell on our glaring inadequacies, but instead reminds us that of the incomparable adequacy that comes from our relationship with Him. He is our adequacy, therefore our security and identity.

Quote to Consider

Insecurity is more than a complex emotion. It is a lie about our God-sanctioned condition.

 

Where’s Your Trust?

October 19, 2010

Oh my God, in You I trust. Psalm 25:2

There are times when our desire for clarity becomes a road block hindering forward movement. Our view of the future is always limited. When entering a journey of trust, there is more certainty of what one leaves behind than what lies ahead. Although it’s natural, even human, to desire and ask for clarity, there are times when God asks us to move forward, not with clarity, but in trust. The foundation of faith is a confidence in God, not in calculated plans and predicted outcomes. Our challenge is determining whether we are stalling for clarity when we are to move forward in trust.

Personal Prayer

Father, I confess, I want clarity in life. I desire the security of well-formed plans with identified outcomes. While I believe it is godly and responsible to plan and prepare, ultimately You are directing my life, calling the shots, and establishing Your plans and purposes in the world. Help me to live in partnership with You and in confident trust that one greater than me is in charge and in control. Let this understanding be my security and confidence.

 Reflection Questions

What are clues that the desire for clarity is competing with or replacing the need to trust? 

How can we recognize when our confidence is rooted in our well-formed plans instead of God? 

Thought to Ponder

Once you identify your areas of worry, you discover areas of needed trust.

Quote to Consider

I haven’t a clue as to how my story will end. But that’s all right. When you set out on a journey and night covers the road, that’s when you discover the stars.

Nancy Willard

Don’t Cocoon

October 7, 2010

This devotional has been revised and reposted. It was first posted on April 19, 2010

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Rob’s acceptance of a work position for E-bay led us on a home search to San Jose, California. On our third and final day of searching, we put an offer down on a condo. The reality of the move and its preparation seemed surreal and mind boggling. Uncertain how to downsize and adapt from a four bedroom, 4200 sq. foot four bedroom home to a two bedroom, 1240 sq. foot home brought an endless whirlwind of questions that left me unable to sleep at midnight.

In my sleep deprived state, I arose from bed, wrapped myself in a blanket, and headed to another room praying that God would help me release my anxiety. My prayer seemed more of a plea asking God to overcome my anxious thoughts, more rightly, mental anguish, into a peaceful calm.

While praying, God brought to the mind of this visual learner a picture of a butterfly standing on top of the cocoon from which she recently emerged. Strangely enough, this butterfly was seeking to return to her cocoon. The message was clear. I was looking to the things and circumstances of the past for peace. This is idolatry. I was shackled and enslaved and needed to become free.

From my previous life opportunities and surroundings, God birthed beauty within. Remaining in the cocoon would damage the wings that developed within the cocoon equipping me to fly. Returning to the security of the past would rob me from embracing the glorious adventure and metamorphosis God is crafting.

With a renewed perspective, instead of loss, I saw this new direction as a path to freedom. God was releasing me of my attachments to things, comfort, and the false security that came through my environment and relationships with others.

With new insight, this butterfly began to fly freely into a new life chapter.

Personal Prayer

Father, forgive me for allowing my home and my past life to become a false security. I don’t want to trust in anything more than you. Help me recognize and release any false securities that compete with your plans and purpose for my life.

Reflection Questions

What causes you to cocoon?

What are signs and clues that you’re cocooning?

Question to Ponder

Are you clinging to God for things or clinging to God because He is the only thing worth clinging to?

Quotes to Consider

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

C .S .Lewis

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of shore.”

Andre’ Gide