The other day while checking out at the grocery store the cashier checked my i.d and noticed my b day. He said “Ah, so an Aries. That means you are strong-willed and independent”. And while I’m not an advocate for horoscopes I could not deny the accuracy of that information. “Yes, well, that’s what my mom says” I offered with a smile. But mentally I was already dissecting those descriptors. Strong-willed, in other words, prideful and stubborn. Independent, easily meaning being self-reliant. Self-reliance was a huge issue on my heart yesterday. I kept feeling Holy Spirit highlight this tendency in me as being a hindrance to His plan for my life.
While on 1 of 3 planes heading home from Haiti I sat next to a Haitian man. He and I dabbled in a conversation mixed with broken English, French and Creole. I would say his understanding of English far surpassed mine of Creole and French, though he would disagree. He asked me about myself and was so shocked to find that I was a single, working woman living on my own. No family. No children. Just me. I can’t even imagine how shocking that is to someone living in a culture where a random family member can move in with you with no end in sight simply b/c they have no means of providing for themselves. But God so ordained this season just for that. Me living on my own. Me doing my own thing. And I know several of my sisters doing the same thing.
A friend once told me that our strengths can also serve as our weaknesses. I think that is true. My ability to be independent, take care of myself, be firm in my convictions, beliefs and even lead others can hinder the need to surrender to the Father’s will when it differs from my own.
Yesterday I heard a really good sermon about Jacob wrestling with God. The minister said that the reason God did not prevail against Jacob (Gen 32:25) was b/c the fight was actually against Jacob’s will. God will not override our will. We must relinquish it. It was a really good word about Jacob relying on his ability to manipulate and deceive others. There were promises over his life but when it looked like they were not going to come to pass he took matters into his own hands and relied on his ability to deceive. He was self-reliant. His way of deception was actually a misuse of his gift of influence and leadership. Lucky for him he chose to be changed, though he had to fight for that change. Change is never easy, especially when you are learning a new way of functioning.
There are promises over my life which are tied to my gifts. But these gifts are being purified and sanctified in the journey so that they will not also be weaknesses. Humility is a sanctifier. Waiting and stillness bring forth humility.
I am reminded of a word I received years ago. Deut 9: 4-5
“Do not think in your heart, after the Lord your God has cast them out before you, saying ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out from before you. It is not because of your righteousness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers…”
I am reminded that it is not my righteousness that will cause me to complete His call. His call will be fulfilled in me b/c of His great plan for humanity. And His faithfulness in fulfilling His word over me.
On another note, Happy first day of Fall!!! Here is a pic I took this morning in celebration of this new season 😉.
Also if you would like to check out the sermon I referenced earlier click here.