“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
These are my goals for myself this new year.
Maybe, better to say, these are God’s goals for me this new year.
It is hard for me to fathom the many changes that have happened this year. Between being in the hospital, in intense counseling, and the major shifts I needed to make in my thinking and belief systems, I really had my work cut out for me this past year.
God took me through every step of the way. Looking back at the depression I was suffering through last Christmas, the difficulties in facing conflict in my life.. the problems with standing up for myself and telling others what I really wanted… Heck, I didn’t even know what I wanted most of the time because I was so used to deferring to others, and letting others make the decisions because I wanted to keep the peace and do what someone else wanted. But looking back at all of that, I can see how much God led me through it all.
He taught me how to start standing up for myself, and how to deal with the emotional fall out that often happened afterward. He showed me to how to be responsible for myself, and my reactions to things, and to learn to not take responsibility for others reactions. It has been easier to do that now. Now I am starting to be able to see where others are coming from, what modes, what pains, what difficulties they may be coming from and operating out of. It has enabled me to give them more grace in our interactions.
God has been the one who has opened my eyes up to those things. It is nothing of my doing, or the doing of anyone else in my life. It has only been God using others when I was ready to see those things.
I have dealt with a lot of pain in my own life this year. I can remember times in counseling when Tricia would mention that we hadn’t dealt with something, and I would tell her, “I know,” and change the subject. Many times she let it go, until I was ready to bring it back up again. It was hard to bring things back up, but as I tackled each painful topic this year, I could feel the freedom starting to work into my life. I could feel God’s healing power, and oh the relief!
I can’t describe to you the relief I started feeling. And that relief from the pain, the pressure, the depression, the bondage was what kept me pressing on. I think that it was pure strength of will, this deeper grit that I didn’t know I had, until I really needed to use it, that God activated in me as I needed to keep going into the deeper, harder topics.
Now I am done with counseling. I have worked through the stuff that Tricia can help me with for now. I hope to say that I’m done and won’t need to go back at all. I know that for now I have things I need to work through, but they are things that I am equipped to deal with. God has given me the means to work through them.
That brings me back to the verses from above.
This coming year is about offering myself as a living sacrifice to God.
My life, my body, my heart, my soul, my will.
All of it is God’s.
Things may happen that I don’t want. Things may not go as I will. I may get sick; my heart may hurt; my soul may quake at the coming things. But that is my sacrifice. It is a sacrifice, because I have to die to myself. I have to let go of all the things that I think I need to live. But God is in the business of resurrection. Bringing to life the dead. My worldly desires and flesh may die. But Jesus is raising to life a new person inside of me. A person that reflects God’s beauty and wisdom, I hope.
I hope that I will be a reflection of His glory.
I pray that I will shine with His light.
I pray that my face, my life will be radiant as I look to Him.
As I said before, this past year has been one of equipping me with tools. Some of the tools have been helping me transform my ways of thinking and believing and reacting to situations around me. A lot of the tools have been centered around how I know what is truth and what is a lie. Both of them all twisted up together within me.
Those tools stem out of a deeper knowledge of the scripture. God has given me a hunger for His Word like never before. As I soak in His truth, it has started to transform me.
My mind has been transformed as He has revealed lies about my identity, and lies about Himself, that I have been believing. Slowly the Truth has been working it’s way deeper and deeper into my mind. Deeper into my heart. Deeper into my thoughts. Deeper into my belief systems.
I don’t want to do the things that the world does… at least not as strongly as I used to. There are still areas of struggle. I think there will always be as long as I live here. But slowly I am fighting against conformity to this world, and desire more strongly to be transformed by God… from my thought patterns to my habit patterns, from my feelings to my actions. I want to be completely renewed and transformed by God… and that starts first in my mind. The transformation moves from my mind to my heart.
As I wrote that I realized, that encapsulated exactly what Tricia was working me through this whole past year. Transforming my mind, my thought patterns and the things I believed, because as those got transformed, my heart became transformed as well. As I started to believe the truth (that sets us free) in my head, my heart was transformed by those new beliefs!
I want to continue this process of offering myself to God, as a sacrifice… and not allowing myself to be conformed by the world. I want to continue being transformed, by the renewing of my mind. I want those processes to keep going this coming year. I feel that God is really calling me to that, in a new way than I have ever understood it before.
If I do that this year, then I truly will be able to know what God’s will is for me. The more I soak in His Word, the more I will be transformed and renewed, and the more I will be able to recognize His voice, and know His will for my life.