November 23rd, 2006


Freedom and gratitude

Great dinner last night at Buca di Beppo. So much fun. I don't know if it will even be possible for me to be hungry again until dinner at the Stonebergs' with Community Group folks and others. I'm not complaining.

Returning to Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest has been a breath of fresh air. Today's thoughts on temperaments that distract from a full life in Christ hit close to home:
Beware of "the cares of this world," because they are the things that produce a wrong temper of soul. It is extraordinary what an enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention from God. Refuse to be swamped with the cares of this life.

Another thing that distracts us is the lust of vindication. St. Augustine prayed—"O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself." That temper of mind destroys the soul's faith in God. "I must explain myself; I must get people to understand." Our Lord never explained anything; He left mistakes to correct themselves.

When we discern that people are not going on spiritually and allow the discernment to turn to criticism, we block our way to God. God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.

—Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (23 November, "Distraction of Antipathy")
Conviction on matters like these is freeing rather than crushing. My failings are placed in a context of overriding hope—change may be difficult, but it comes from a source and a power other than myself. This is being worked in me by the very Spirit of the Author and Perfecter of my faith. Instead of just gutting it out, I learn to recognize the choices that bring me closer to Him, because those choices will always be present. He is in them, and He is in me. Further, in this case, there is also the freedom of letting go: these are three distractions I can simply not worry about anymore. God is creating in my life such abundant space and blessing that they are no longer necessary (not that they ever were).

This is the first Thanksgiving I get to spend with barlow_girl. I am so blessed.