There is an issue, okay lets call it what it is, sin in my life that I have struggled with for many, many years. Probably most of my adult life. It is one of the biggest ways I get my "emptiness" filled. There are many reasons I can see that caused this to become what I use to fill myself, I won't go into that now.
Why am I letting hundreds know this??? Well speaking it out loud takes some of the strength from it, and I do believe there are others that struggle with the same issue.
God and I have been working on this issue for awhile. I can see a gradual releasing of my hearts grip on things, but I can also see how my heart can justify itself when I want something. I am not saying that buying things is wrong, because we all know things in themselves are not bad. It's our grip on them. I don't hold things with a tight fist, I am a giver, I like to give, but I also like new things!!! I like pretty things around me. Again, beautiful surroundings are not bad. God created beauty, abundant beauty.
But I am beginning to know my heart a little better.
Charles Ringma says, "The changes that will reorient our inner compulsions that spring so often from our wounded self, come by way of purgation and painful transformations. Inner change involves self-confrontation, disarmament, relinquishment, and the journey toward wholeness. On this road there are no shortcuts and certainly no quick fixes."
I believe this. I believe God does the changing in my heart. But I also believe there is a place for me to say "No"!!!! Why do I think this will be an easy thing to change, and that God will just zap me and make it go away??? He can of course, but usually he does not.
I want to so tell you why this is an issue for me. To tell you a bit about my childhood, and to say see, this is why!!! I am not so bad!!!!! But the fact is it does not matter. Because I'm not so bad - I am loved, accepted, cherished as I am. But I have things as we all do that God wants to heal. Your way of getting that emptiness filled may be different than mine, but we all have them.
I don't want anything to have a grip on my heart - except the maker of my heart.
Compulsions-Transforming our inner motivations
The journey of transformation into the image and likeness of Christ is never a call for change that has to do only with spiritual activities such as prayer and meditation. The transformation that Scripture has in view is a full-orbed one. It is a transformation that has all of a person in view: the personal and the social, the inward and the outward, the spiritual and the political.
Some do not see this integral perspective. They hold that the following of Christ has primarily to do with the afterlife. Others see their relationship with Christ primarily in terms of developing inner virtues. Others again see Christian discipleship within the frame of the work for peace and justice.
But growth in Christ and walking in the way of Christ involves all of this and more. No human activity is excluded from God's concern. No part of our lives is out of bounds for the renewing and transformation work of the Spirit, including our genetic and social shaping and configuration.
While one may speak about a certain predisposition in terms of who we are physically, emotionally, intellectually, there is no suggestion that the human being is simply a predetermined and programmed. Change and growth are possible. And the gracious renewing work of God in our lives can bring about a shift in our motivations and orientation.
This is not to suggest that this happens overnight or comes prepackaged with our conversion. It is a process. God's healing grace is for all the areas in our lives where we have become wounded and things have become skewed and even twisted.
Henri Nouwen confesses: "I know too well how hard it is to live without being needed, being wanted, being asked, being known, being admired, being praised." And I can add: I know how easy it is for me to be functional rather than relational, overdoing things rather than balancing activity with Sabbath, activity-centered rather than prayerful, self-protective rather than vulnerable.
So there are things in us that need to change. Conversion and coming to faith are not the end but merely the beginnings of this transformational process. And these called-for changes in our way of thinking and doing won't come easily as scattered seed from the sower's hand.
The changes that will reorient our inner compulsions that spring so often from our wounded self, come by way of purgation and painful transformations. Inner change involves self-confrontation, disarmament, relinquishment, and the journey toward wholeness. On this road there are no shortcuts and certainly no quick fixes.
God's renewing work is not to do violence to us but to heal us and make us whole. This is the strong but gentle work of God. This is purging the darkness and healing the wounded places.
None of us can escape this sculpting of God's Spirit within our lives. We may long be oblivious to our own needs. We may long resist the gracious healing hand of God. But finally we do need to yield ourselves into the hands of the One who made all things and seeks to make us whole.
By Charles R. Ringma, "The Seeking Heart - A Journey with Henri Nouwen"
Blessings, and may what Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours my friends.