Thursday, February 28, 2008
Each morning one of the prayers I say is the 7th step prayer from 12 step group literature.
My Creator, I am now willing that You have all of me, both good and bad. Please remove from me every defect of character that stands in the way of usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me strength as I go out from here to do Your bidding.
About four years ago, I began a little list after this prayer. I wrote “Turn my fear into faith.” See I used to deal with fear in a major way that disrupted my family’s life, my sleep and definitely my usefulness to God and others. I tried everything WITHIN MY POWER to just get brave. Didn’t happen. Along the way I realized that I cannot change myself. I can’t muster up goodness or bravery or joy.
The Bible says that the Spirit ripens in our lives FRUIT – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. A tree can’t just pop out fruit. The process must be in place for the fruit to ripen. Ultimately, the tree has to yield to the life giving force that makes this happen.
So I gave up control, a little at a time, and began letting God be God. I would pray and keep close to Him and wait. Through a series of events, fear began to change to faith. I added to the list “Turn my worry to peace, my prattling on and on to listening, my greed to contentment.” Again, God has been faithful and is changing me. Now I have an entire page of my journal dedicated to asking the Lord to turn my defects into attributes of usefulness.
I am so far from being where I want to be. So many days I ask myself, “Was I useful to God or others today?” and the answer is “Nope.” But the ripening process is at work within me and I am grateful. I can talk about it easily because it’s not like I went through a four step formula to become the best me possible. That would ultimately glorify, well, me.
No, the growth I see in my life is ALL ABOUT CHRIST. He is the one working in me. I am allowing Him to be in control.
Today, I hope to be useful. We’ll see what God does.