Yesterday, I started to jot down all the ways I felt the Lord has been stretching me and growing me over the last 15 months working in ministry.
Things I’ve learned (and continue to learn):
I’m more stubborn than I thought I was.
I’m more selfish than I thought I was.
I’m more prideful than I thought I was.
I’m more impatient than I thought I was (okay, maybe not, I’ve always struggled with this one).
I’m less loving and less compassionate than I thought I was.
I don’t point these shortcomings out to beat myself up. I don’t believe that it why I was compelled to think about and list the areas where I tend to fall short over and over.
Working in ministry is opening my eyes. And, personally, it’s been a wild ride with lots of learning curves, with plenty of (sometimes uncomfortable) opportunities to stretch, grow, and learn.
This morning, I had this thought pop into my brain as I thought about the “hopeless looking” list I shared above.
Lord, You won’t illuminate or spotlight a flaw, a sin or a shortcoming in my life without also offering me a solution.
And then, I thought about the “mouse hole to safety.”
You might remember this reference if you have followed this blog long enough. It refers to a light bulb moment I had about 15 years ago during a tug of war match with the Lord. He wanted me to surrender an addiction to alcohol and I was resistant. In the midst of that struggle, I read this verse about temptation and the light clicked on. I finally understood.
“…But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” 1 Corinthians 10:13
Here’s what I wrote a few years back:
This was the part of the verse that hit me the hardest that morning. God was reassuring me that my situation was not hopeless. I was not on a dead-end street. It was not too late. I was not trapped. That morning, after reading those verses, I took out my journal and sketched a picture of a house. The house didn’t have any doors or any windows and I was trapped inside. At that moment, the Truth sunk in and I knew what those verses were promising me: Even though sometimes there doesn’t appear to be any way out, there always is: God always provides a way out. I just needed to commit to taking a closer look. And when I did, I discovered this tiny little hole in the wall. In my journal, I named it “the mouse-hole to safety.”
You won’t illuminate or spotlight a flaw, a sin or a shortcoming in my life without also offering me a solution. You always provide a way out. This is why I don’t think I can simply look at my list above and think. “Well, that’s just who I am.” Once we commit to following Christ, the Lord takes us on a journey of learning and growing. He peels the onion. He shines His light. He shows us areas (in us and in our lives) where we might struggle at allowing Him to fully reign.
But here’s the beauty we can find tucked away in that truth:
Jesus came to be the bridge. Jesus came to clean house. Jesus came to show us the way home. Jesus came to rescue us and show us the way out.
He is the way out.
And this is why I can look at my list above and be filled with hope instead of despair.
Thank you, Lord, for your patience and your grace. Thank you for shining spotlights… because when You do…You always have a better way in mind. And, yes, sometimes it’s more like a mouse hole and it takes some intentional seeking on our part in order to find it.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13