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Monday, April 7, 2008

overwhelmed by refinement

Have you ever gone through a stretch when God was trying to teach you so much that your mind, and more importantly your heart, had absolutely no way to process it all? Or at least so you thought in the midst of the chaos. I hadn't until about two weeks ago. That's when God started in on me.

Each lesson came in such quick succession that it has been easy to get overwhelmed. As I began unpacking something that the Lord had showed me, the next thing would hit. My mind raced. I didn't know where to start. I haven't slept very well.

I'm not gonna lie, I haven't really enjoyed it all that much. It has been a confusing, frustrating, and exhausting experience. It has been painful and hard. I've cried. And yet, though the process is uncomfortable, this one fact makes it worthwhile: I know that my King is refining me. My heart is being transformed to be more like His.

James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Here are some of the things that God has confronted me with during this time. They are by no means new lessons or earth shattering ideas, but I am seeing them with more clarity now than before.
  • My plans are not God's plans.
  • When I say that I trust God, that often includes the unspoken condition "as long as things are going my way."
  • I must learn to be still and quiet; to rest in him. (Psalm 46:10)
  • I try to protect my heart, even though that is Jesus' job. (Philippians 4:7)
  • I don't have to have all the answers.
  • Man will often disappoint; God never will.
  • I've got religious pride.
  • I often find it difficult to accept love.
  • When it comes to God, I think too much and don't allow my heart to engage.
  • I need to be more earnest in prayer.
I don't know where or when I will emerge from this period of God's refining. On one hand I pray that it ends soon, and on the other I pray that it lasts for some time. For that is the very nature of this experience. Spiritually it is a very challenging period but also rewarding. Ultimately, God's plan is perfect, and I choose to fully place my trust in him, no matter how difficult that may be for me to do.