Tuesday, June 21, 2016

hard verses tough

This week, the Lord reminded me that there is a grand difference between being hard (as in someone not easily broken) verses being tough (as in someone having enough strength to withstand adverse conditions or rough/careless handling).

Let me explain:

I have spent many years of my life becoming hard.  I have built up protective layers in order to shell myself away from the ongoing disappointments this world constantly hurls.  And in this self-imposed defensive stance of hardening, I can easily default into the role of Controller - always preferring security over spontaneity. Always planning instead of taking risks and exploring God's new.

Yep, I'm the person clinging tightly to the bird in my hand... chaining myself to my own posted safety warnings so later I wouldn't find myself betrayed or feeling sorry due to some unknown.  Simply put, I have spent much energy hardening myself so I would not break.  For I am certain I am not strong enough to endure yet another break.  Oh Lord, must I break again?

Whenever I feel out of control - whenever I sense a change in which I have zero say whatsoever... well, you can imagine the initial "hardening" panic alarms going off.  I talk nervously.  I laugh excessive, uncontrolled, loudly.  I don't sleep.  My mind races, and dissects, and races some more. All in the interest of my own comfortable commonplace, I can easily freak out into a crazy obsessive-compulsive dictator who can clear the room by assigning to do's in less than 15 seconds flat.

Yes, I am quite capable of being hard.

But am I tough?

Am I resilient to real enemy warfare?
Am I strong to withstand the frightening unknown, the unorganized, the unfriendly, the unmanageable?

No.  I am not tough.  I need Jesus to become tough.  And how easily, in my own hardness, do I avoid becoming malleable for His hands to remold, reshape, renew. With Jesus, I am called to give up my hardness and soften myself.  I am encouraged to love, to be kind, to show patience, to know His peace.

Friends, God does not intend for us to live as foolish people making prayerless decisions.  Instead, He calls us to live fully - running eagerly toward His NEW!  To wrap ourselves in His proven Word.  To clothe ourselves in His authority and hope... always advancing toward His promises... always moving toward His Throne.  Jesus commands us to arise each day seeking God first - - boldly forging ahead on His behalf, and choosing to nourish and feed His sheep while promoting His good, no matter the cost.

Sadly, those who are "hardened" grasp tightly to the false securities of this world and hide deeply inside themselves so as not to break.  I am the forgetful first on this list.  But thankfully, The Holy Spirit forgivingly reminds me that Christ mends and renews.  Jesus weathers and improves me for His good.  He invites me to join Him in the eye of the storm.  He leads me joyfully through all chaos and death.  He asks me to forget myself and put all my faith in His Name - risking everything I hold dear for the future reward of His Life!!!

This week, the Lord reminded me that there is a grand difference between being hard (as in someone not easily broken) verses being tough (as in having enough strength to withstand adverse conditions or rough/careless handling).  I am thankful to be reminded that Jesus is my strength.  He calls me to become a broken sacrifice so that He might reveal His glory through me.  Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

For Him, may we each refocus all energy, all efforts... all everything.

Lord Jesus, not my will, but your Way.  Make me tough, not hard, in your holy faithful Name.  Break me if you must, but keep my heart softened, tender, brave and bold to seek first your truth and display your endless grace.  You are the adventure of my life, precious King!  Toughen my soul, so that I may always live large, and full, and free indeed!

Blessings!

Victoria

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