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
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 ago....you 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.
Life is NOT LINE, IT IS A CIRCLE.
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.
"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.
Linking with Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus for God bumps.