(baby) Steps of Faith

Today Chrysantha learned how to walk along the couch. She was motivated by a ball that she really wanted. She saw her goal and she went after it. But, it wasn’t easy. She would hesitantly move her hand just a little. Then she would pick up her foot and move it just a little to the side, testing things out. She needed lots of encouragement. She was doing something new and it was scary. She had to keep looking at her goal and take those small steps towards it. She even went back to the safety and familiarity of the wooden cube (which is lower and easier to hold onto) for a moment. But, she kept going.

Watching Chrysantha reminded me of my journey with God. So often He calls me to step out in faith. If I am willing to focus on Him and take even just small steps towards Him I am rewarded. It is so tempting to stay with what is familiar. It is tempting to give up. Chrysantha wanted to give up. She got so frustrated. But, she kept moving forward. She made it to her goal. It was hard, it was tiring, but she did it. She persevered.

I need to be more like her and like Paul. In Philippians 3:7-14 NIV Paul says:

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.   Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I want to press on. I want to keep going forward. I want to keep learning and growing. I want what God has for me. It may take a lot of baby steps to get there, but I choose to follow Christ.

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Where is my worth?

A couple weeks ago my small group discussed Luke 14. Jesus tells the Pharisees a parable about guests at a wedding banquet. Jesus says in Luke 14:11 (NIV) “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” This led to a discussion about being humble and about our self worth. I realized that it is easier to be humble when we are rooted in our identity in Christ. We are aware that what others say or think about us doesn’t matter. How others treat us doesn’t matter either. We, as Christians, are children of God. Our worth is found in Jesus and the fact that He died on a cross to save us. We matter to Him. How society views us is not important.

It wasn’t until today that I realized how this applies to my life specifically. I’ve been dealing with an issue with someone for a couple of years. It’s pretty simple really, I paid for something, but have yet to receive what I paid for. There have been many conversations about it and plans to resolve the issue. But, it’s taking a while. Every time I think about it, I get angry. Months go by and then I remember again. The anger can be consuming. This morning, I was reflecting on why it makes me so angry. A light bulb went off. It’s because I’ve tied it to my self worth. This issue has made me feel unimportant, forgotten about, not cared for or valued. When I untangle my sense of worth from the issue, I am no longer angry about it. When I remember who I am in Christ, I realize that I am valued, loved, cared for, and remembered. God sees me and knows me. I don’t need others to feel good about myself.

I know that I do the same thing in lots of areas in my life. I hold onto offenses and let them dictate who I am. When another driver cuts me off, I get annoyed and it chips away at my identity. When the barista gets my drink wrong for the umpteenth time, I get frustrated and wonder why nobody cares to listen to me. When someone forgets to call me back, I feel unloved. I’ve tied who I am into how others treat me.

Today, I am recognizing how my thought process needs to change. I know I will forget, but as I focus on God more and listen to Him, I can choose His voice over the voice of others.