Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Break the Tape: Shouldn't I Be Done by Now?

Welcome, friends, for today's edition of Break the Tape.  Essentially, our goal is to identify the lies that repeat themselves over and over again in our minds, break the tape that automatically begins plays when ever we feel we've fallen short, and learn a new song to sing in its place.  
Meet Jody.   I wish this woman lived closer to me.  She is one that takes you under her wing and loves you.  She writes at Three Way Light and her passion for encouraging women is God-breathed!  She writes authentically and from the heart in a way that you can find yourself in her words, too.

"Nothing is ever over.
You thread things on your life
and think you've finished with them
but you haven't because it's like beads on a string
and they come around again.
"When it comes around again then if it is possible,
give what you failed to give before to someone else.
You will have made reparation, for we are all one person."
Elizabeth Goudge, 'The Scent of Water', c. 1963

My eyes were closed in the back seat of the car as we drove home in the dark from our days' excursion to the mountains. I was having a silent conversation with Jesus, "Forgive me, Lord, for my short attitude today with my husband. For my sarcasm and biting words. Forgive me for my selfishness with my sister, my mother-in-law, my disrespect..."
I worked through this confession and felt His forgiveness and peace. I kept my eyes closed for a while, relishing the release.

The self-talk started, 'God, how many times are we going to have these conversations about my shortcomings? I thought I was DONE WITH THIS.....' I gave my life to Jesus 40 years think by now I'd be well, more Jesus-like.

And I was reminded of my reading project--I decided this summer to read through all my journals and number them, sort of in a cataloguing kind of way. (I've been writing and keeping journals since 1983, so there are many volumes.)

At first I was disheartened by how many times I read about the same exact thing over and over. The themes of selfishness and pride and a short tongue kept coming up.
Then I noticed that the periods of time between the complaints and repentance were becoming longer.

In February of 2010 I wrote this:

"God is always changing us one challenge, trial at a time.
Here is what it looks like.'
I had drawn a spiral/vortex kind of picture,
with dots along the lines of each curve.
I can't reproduce it here, so I'll share this life picture I created with beach rocks a few weeks ago:
My journal entry continued, "Each dot represents a new start, a new surrender.
Notice the dots are farther apart on the circle,
(do-overs are not so frequent) and the circle just keeps getting bigger and bigger
as God adds things to your life, layer upon layer.
Like the 'territory' we've been given, our 'Promised Land' enlarging our borders."

There is more grace between the spaces.

No, life is NOT a straight line, like tearing the pages from a calendar, marking off the days in a manageable sequence. Life is a continual turning, growing in an ever-widening circle, a process of
picking things up
putting things down
trying things out
trying things on
throwing things away

One of my favorite old hymns is
(this recording is Yo Yo Ma and Allison Krauss)
that so beautifully sings this truth:
"Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free
Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be
And when we are in a place just right
Til by turning, turning, we come 'round right."

The markers in the path of my life are becoming fewer and farther apart--the signs that more of the old me is dying and that God's life is being released in me. There are memorial stones in the path, altars that say, "I died here. I gave up here. I want to remember this."
II Corinthians 3:18 says we are ALL being changed into His likeness from 'glory to glory.'
But it will be an ongoing, life long process. 
John Piper says (in '50 Reasons Jesus Came to Die'):

"One of the greatest heartaches in the Christian life is the slowness of our change.
We are becoming holy--but are not yet fully holy.
And it is precisely these--and only these--
who are already perfected.
The joyful encouragement here is that
the evidence of our perfection before God is not our experienced perfection, but our experienced progress.
The good news is that being on the way is the proof that we have arrived."

Jesus has made us his own; we are the jewels in His crown.
There are stones, pearls, beads
along the way stringing together our lives.
Beautiful markers, with grace between the spaces,
reminding us of how far we've come and what He has done.

"Father, keep us continually turning towards you,
letting You make us into your Bride,
adorned with the jewels you have made of our lives. Amen."

Want to visit Jody on a regular basis?  Click here to read her blog, Three Way Light.


  1. This hit me..."do-overs are not so frequent." That's a good way to measure ourselves, to be encouraged that, though the road still goes uphill, it's not quite as steep as it used to be.

    1. Joanne--so glad, too, that we can climb the hill together with friends. Thank you for stopping by.

  2. wow I certainly can identify with your words, Jody. Love the line,"There is more grace between the spaces." that will stay in my heart.

    Glad to read a fellow journaler too. So many lesson among our pages and stories that drip from our pens isn't there?

    You have encouraged me today.

    1. Jean--thank you for your kind words. I'm encouraged myself at His faithfulness--it shows up everywhere, especially when I read my 'way back when' pages and see how far He's brought me.

      Bless you.

  3. LOVE that book-posted about it a while back, too. And love the spiral image - it is one I use a lot in counseling and spiritual direction. We cycle around and around our basic issues, but by God's grace over time, they get further apart. Thanks for this, Jody.

  4. I love that "experienced progress" serves as the "evidence of our perfection," even long before we experience that perfection. Thank you for an encouraging post. Here's to the grace between the spaces!

    1. Janice--school starts today and I work with Special Ed children. Our mantra is "Progress over Perfection" for all of us, I think.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Jody--How lovely to find you here. And that spiral imagery is new to me, but oh so precious. I do feel as though I keep cycling back through the same territory but, by grace, there is progress and the spiral moves upward.

    Love this: The good news is that being on the way is the proof that we have arrived.

    1. Nancy--thanks for your kind words. John Piper can sure speak the truth. It's encouraging to me, too, think I'll make it a t-shirt....:-)

      Bless you today.

  6. So much wisdom & truth in your words...been cycling around over certain issues, and like you, I have seen the changes over the years...all b/c of His grace...signed up to receive your blog via e-mail...blessings, Jody...Thanks, Jen, for introducing me to Jody :)


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