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I Will Rise

I will rise
When He calls my name…
I will rise
Before my God
Fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise  (Chris Tomlin)

I feel like I’ve been sitting for a long, long time – waiting for God.  And now, He has told me to rise and go to Haiti.  It is extremely unexpected.  I’m not a social activist with a heart that bleeds for people I don’t know.  My heart bleeds for people I do know and I’m willing to turn myself inside out to help them.  God has to hold me back at times and remind me that He is the rescuer, not me.  Yet I need to go to Haiti. 

God is cutting all the fat, the excess, out of my life.  I’m learning what is important and what isn’t.  I carefully consider each decision before I spend money, before I commit time, before I put food in my mouth.  This careful consideration is also new for me.   My parents are frugal, responsible, conscientious people who hate debt, fat, and laziness.  They went a bit overboard at times and while I learned a lot from them, I saw what others had and couldn’t understand why I didn’t deserve it too.  I resented it when we got to go to amusement parks and couldn’t buy a soda there, but had to hike back to the car parked 16 miles away to eat soggy sandwiches and Capri Sun from the cooler.  I resented it when told not use paper towels excessively and to buy clothing on sale.  My parent’s taught me good lessons, but I didn’t appreciate them.  As soon as I had money and credit, I rebelled.  I used as many paper towels as I wanted, left the refrigerator door open while I made a sandwich, and bought my clothes at full price from the best stores.  And the only one I hurt was me.  Today I am paying for my excesses, and it’s about time I learned. 

It sounds terrible.  It isn’t fun to drastically cut your spending, your food portions, your entertainment, and more.  However, it’s worth it.  Freedom comes through simplicity.  Freedom comes through discipline and sacrifice.  It embarrasses me that it took so long to realize this truth.  My self-regulator broke, or turned off, or just got ignored?  The joy that I feel right now, the sense of accomplishment, is more than I can say.

What has changed me?  What has given me the strength to finally do something I wasn’t able to do before?  It’s simple:  Scripture.  I’ve read the Bible all my life and can tell you most of the stories and quote much of it by heart.  But I wasn’t feeding myself with God’s Word daily.  I wasn’t feasting on it.  I didn’t know how.  And then someone taught me about the daily readings in The Book of Common Prayer where you read about 4-6 chapters a day, about 30 chapters per week.  I committed to it and within a few months I was a different person.  A year later, I’m beginning not to recognize myself, and the change is good.  Right now I’m reading The One-Year Bible with my church and that’s still about four chapters a day.  It doesn’t really take that long.  You don’t have to do any kind of extensive study.  Just read the portions of Scripture each day, reflect prayerfully on them, and jot down some notes about what they mean to you. 

It. Will. Change. Your. Life. 

Proverbs 5:22 -23 (NLT)
An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
      they are ropes that catch and hold him.
He will die for lack of self-control;
      he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

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