Last week, in our latest Bible study, our facilitator encouraged us to journal through the study. I don’t know about you, but personally, I do not like to hand-write. If you are a lefty like me, you’ll understand. It doesn’t matter what pen I pick up, I end up with a smeared page and ink on my hand. The OCD part of me comes out and it drives me nuts.
Beth Moore’s Bible Study “Stepping Up” is a step-by-step journey to draw us closer to God. Each day is an exciting experience and I don’t want to forget any of it (but I don’t want to write it down, either). Can you see my dilemma? So, I’ve decided to journal it here. Maybe some of you can relate to my experiences.
One challenge we were given was to lie facedown and surrender to God every morning. Yes, facedown on the floor. At first, I thought, “How can this make a difference? I pray every morning anyway.” It only takes a few seconds and it feels awkward at first, but after last week, I relish it. Yes, I’ve gotten up with animal fur stuck to my forehead or in cases when I’ve forgotten about my dog in the room, she’s licking my ear feverishly and whining wondering why I am on the ground like that.
The body in an posture of surrender seems to make the heart and mind follow. Let me share something that happened last week with you.
We were getting low on groceries and didn’t have any money. I knew at some point that I would be getting either some money or a stub for my property management fees, depending on whether they took out my dues or not for the month. I prayed silently about that check and how much we needed groceries for the week. I went to the mailbox Thursday and there was an envelope for me with what appeared to be a check in it. My heart skipped a beat. I prayed on the way to the house, “Lord, I’m scared to open it.” But I thought whether it was $25 or $75, I would be grateful and get what we could with it. Hands shaking, I opened the envelope and it was for $179. I squealed and shouted, “Thank you, Lord!” I was grinning from ear to ear!
My daughter and I headed to WalMart and I got a front parking space (which is not easy!). I whispered, “Thank you, Lord.” I cashed my check and we got groceries. I had a buggy full. I got what we needed and checked out at $99. I was estactic! I grabbed $20 and put it in my pocket. I promised the Lord I was going to tithe off that money and I couldn’t wait until Sunday to be able to put it in the offering. This time, I was not ashamed of how much I was putting in. I realized that pride had been holding me back on tithing off my meager income. Wondering what people were thinking about my small amount and if I was “tipping” God kept me in a state of pride and I didn’t want to be “embarrassed” so I didn’t tithe. God was trying to show me the error of my ways.
As we pulled out of the parking lot, I told Lindsay that if we obey God and keep his commands, He will bless us. She, being in the attitudinal-teenage-phase, snapped back at me, “Mom, just because you do something wrong, doesn’t mean God is going to leave you.” I patiently explained that I didn’t say that God was going to leave me. I just said that He would not bless us if we continue to blatantly disobey Him. We had allowed sin in our lives and God had given me the courage to speak up this week and to stop it. His Word says that if we knowingly allow sin to continue and do not say anything, we are equally guilty. He will not honor or bless that.
Sunday morning rolled around and as usual, I had a mental battle as I got out of bed. Having some physical ramifications from a surgery over ten years ago, I struggled with pain around 5am and tossed and turned until time to get up. As I got ready for church, the mental temptations kept barraging me. “You don’t need to be there. There are plenty of people singing this morning.” “You need a break.” “You can just go to church, skip Sunday School.” On and on it went. Even the high about tithing had gone away. But I know, as most of you should, especially if you are a female, you cannot go by how you feel. You should just do what you know is right and leave the consequences to God.
After I woke up fully, had my shower and got my coffee, all the while steadily praying about what to wear (another female issue), I got it together and headed out the door.
As I sang Sunday morning, I felt free. Free to worship and praise the Lord without the burden of guilt, self-loathing and sin hanging on me. I sang for Him.
Obedience equals joy…!