Sunday, June 17, 2012


Then Jesus said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."  ---Luke 9:23

I've read this verse numerous times over the last few months and although I felt like I understood it (in simple terms, give up my will for God's will), I still struggled with what this meant as a practical matter.  I'm a black and white kind of girl so I struggle with a lot of the biblical metaphors and how to actually apply them.  I had a migraine yesterday which kept me in bed most of the day and a little dizzy too.  In the 10+ hours I was in the bed, this verse began to make more sense to me.

I picture it like a 3-frame cartoon (I wish I could actually draw this, but I can't):
  • Frame 1 - I'm a stick figure standing there holding everything that is "mine" - my time, my family, my priorities, my agenda, my dreams, my schedule, my money, my resources.
  • Frame 2 - I'm a stick figure standing there with arms open wide with all of those things of mine laying at my feet, scattered on the ground.
  • Frame 3 - I'm a stick figure standing there, holding up a cross, which is covered in the words "love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control".
This is what I think Jesus meant.  We have to give up everything that is ours and take on everything that is His - every day.  Even the great apostle Paul said, "I die daily" (1 Corinthians 15:31).  In my life this means things like reading my bible instead of watching tv, spending time with my family instead of taking on more housework, being kind to people at WalMart when what I really want to do is scream at them to get out of my way (I've resolved this b/c I no longer shop in-store, only on-line with delivery right to my doorstep - pretty smart, huh?), lovingly and firmly telling my kids to do something (instead of raising my voice) even if though it's the 10th time I'm saying it, taking time to ask Jonathan about his day when he gets home even though I feel too pooped to hold a conversation, talking to my friend about Jesus even though I'm nervous about it, just to name a few things.

This all sounds great, but as I pray for God's help in these areas I get hung up on and have to ask for extra help because I tend to be a little sarcastic and very much have OCD, which tends to interfere with me living a more godly life!  While I'm praying through this I just picture God standing there with a comical look on his face saying to me, "Yes, I know you need extra help in these areas; I made you, flaws and all, remember?"  And I find comfort in that.  God has no expectation that I'll be perfect in carrying my cross, only that I set out to do it - daily!  I just have to put a little yellow caution tape around my quick-wit and OCD to make sure I pay extra attention in those areas.

You know what else?  You would think carrying a heavy, wooden, awkwardly-shaped, blood-stained cross would be really cumbersome.  But I find on the days that I'm diligent about carrying it, I feel much less burdened, more peaceful and much more rested.  It's a paradox.  Something that would seemingly act like an anchor brings great freedom and relief.

Surrendering my will daily isn't what I want to do, but I know that I have to do it.  It's the only way to a life that pleases God and therefore brings joy. (Take delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart. ---Psalm 37:4)

Thank you for continued prayers for my Meniere's disease.  I still firmly believe I am in remission but am still fighting through some lingering dizziness and some new issues (like all this sinus trouble I've been having causing bad headaches).  I am SO blessed to have come so far and I really do feel almost guilty asking for more prayer, but I am such a firm believer in it's power I will never stop asking for it.  One very specific request over the next few weeks: I am trying to wean off of the medication I've been taking for months.  It's very addictive medicine.  I've been on a really low dose but I still am asking for prayer that my body will easily adjust and I can break this bondage to this medicine that I feel (I am thankful for the medicine but at the same time I despise it).  Thank you, thank you, thank you - I will keep you posted on how this goes!

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