Well, hello world! It has been a while! I noticed that the last time I wrote was 3 days before the end of 2014, and here we are, in the second month of 2015. My, how time flies. Everyone doing okay?
I came from a prayer fast retreat a week ago in the beautiful place my church frequents for activities such as these, which is Sunrise Mansion, about an hour and a half’s drive from town. This place, to me, is just the quiet, tranquil environment one needs to get away from the distractions and flurry of activities back in town. Here, the only (beautiful) distractions are the waves that crash into the shore and pull you towards the water. Here, we can pray quietly while we enjoy the beauty of nature, which is what you see at the picture below. Breathtaking, right? It’s a blessing to live so close to the ocean and I never want to take this for granted.
One of the things I had to address in my own private time with the Lord during this retreat was dealing with certain attitudes and behaviors that have taken hold. It is impossible not to hear from the Lord when you have your bible open before you, when your heart is in full submission to the spirit’s leading, and when your desire is to really hear from him. The things you would rather hide or not confront, these things will all come out in the open if you really are honest with God. Most, if not all the time, we’re the ones that are just denying what is already very plain and evident to us. We know our mistakes, we know our flaws and our weaknesses, and yet a lot of times, we don’t want to address them. Why? Because it’s painful and it’s more “convenient” to just let things be. Today in church, Pastor Cesar mentioned how partial obedience, or even delayed obedience, will be even more painful in the long run. I had better admit these things to God, and obey what He tells me, or I will inevitably get hurt later on.
For instance, I know that as of late, I’ve been very, very impatient with people, with our secretary especially. One mistake gets to me and instead of being patient with her as she learns and relearns things, I get really agitated about it and I lose control very easily. She would be the one person who could attest that I get angry easily, that instead of being patient with her, I blow up. That’s the sad truth that needs no cover up. I can’t get myself to be understanding and forgiving because to my mind, we’ve done this many times in the past! You should know by now since you’ve been with us for a year! How long should it take you to remember this and that? Hearing myself say all those things can really be frightening and disheartening, knowing that I’m not exemplifying the fruit of patience and self-control, and realizing that there is this evil, cruel spirit in me that is at work. It’s almost become like second nature to me to be impatient and easily angered –something that happened and has taken hold in the past year, or who knows, maybe the past couple of years. I asked myself, where is this coming from? Why am I too agitated and impatient? Why can’t I be gentler, kinder, more considerate or forgiving?
And if I were honest with myself and with God, the answer is just because I don’t train myself to be otherwise, and I just let the sinful nature come out and “take hold” of my heart. The only way to defeat that, according to Galatians 5:16, is to be filled with the Holy spirit so that you do not gratify the desires of the sinful nature, which is the flesh. Another way to address that is to fill yourself with Scripture, to chew on it, to meditate on it day and night, and to submit to it and its teachings. There is no other way for us to be “kinder”, more “forgiving”, more “patient” or more “loving” because contrary to what everyone thinks, by nature, we don’t have those in us. We’re selfish people right to the core. We’re people mired in sin and in need of a savior.
I realized, as I was praying and conversing with God, that I have allowed many things, many habits, many practices, to take a foothold in my life, which have become destructive and hurtful to myself and to others. Above all, to God. You begin to realize just how much it means for you to have a Savior to pull you out from this dark place, to have hope that you will not always be this person, this version of you, and that you are still being sanctified, cleansed, renewed day by day so that you become more and more like Christ.
Would you pray for me? Would you pray that I would submit to God’s rebukes and painful teachings that I may learn how to be patient and loving and kind, and even in humility, that I would seek forgiveness from those I have hurt along the way?