One Truth I Believe But Am Slow to Practice

They say it’s supposed to reach a balmy sixty-five degrees later this week. It’s hard to believe since this time last week we were counting down the hours to The Biggest Snowfall in Ten Years here in North Carolina. photo 1-2But I do believe them because that tends to be how it is here which is why it’s such a nice place to live. Winter comes long enough to make a snowman but doesn’t stay long enough for you to turn into one.

I need the winter, the blanket of cold, the hush of nature. I need the reminder that new life comes when the old life dies.

Last week in church, we prayed a prayer during our time of corporate confession of sin. I apologize I don’t have the reference to tell you who wrote it – when I get it, I’ll let you know. Here is the last part of that prayer:

“Empty us of the disguises and lies in which we hide ourselves from other people and from our responsibility for our neighbors and the world.

Hollow out in us a space that you can fill with our transformed selves: peace, a whole heart, a forgiving spirit, holiness, and laughter.

Fill us with Yourself, we pray, for your sake, and the sake of the world.”

Guess what doesn’t happen fast? The hollowing out.

Following this corporate confession, we sit for a time of silent confession, not a begging of forgiveness but a time to embrace the forgiveness that is already ours in Christ. I look forward to these few moments every week, moments of personal reflection in the midst of a room filled with people. And after the silence, we stand to move towards others for a few moments, a passing of the peace.

Every week without fail, I have to gather myself before meeting those around me. To turn from facing my sin to facing my neighbor is a difficult transition and I always wish they would give us more time between silent confession and communing with others.

homeBut that’s the point, isn’t it? Move toward others even as Christ moves within you I am asked, invited really, to move toward others in my weakness, not in my strength. Though I’ve always believed this to be true, it is not easy or comfortable to practice. These few moments in church are a whisper compared to living it out in my life. But it’s a rhythm I am beginning to embrace more now than ever before.

On this February Monday, I’m thinking of us, the Church. As we face those places in our souls that are frozen, I pray those hard spots would begin to thaw in the presence of Christ. May we not try to mop up the water that comes from the melting but may we offer it to somehow quench the thirst of those around us.

As I reflect on offering my weakness as a gift, I also consider what it looks like to do the same with my work. This week I’m sharing a couple of daily reflections for The High Calling. The first is called The Art of Your Work and the second will be published at the end of the week.

What is something you believe to be true and right but have difficulty practicing in your daily life?

Comments

  1. says

    I’m kind of chuckling on the inside after reading your analogy because (and I have turned into a snowman up here I think) yesterday our pastor spoke on having intimacy with God and used FROZEN PIPES as an analogy for our blockage.

    Glory be!!!

    Amen to the prayer. Yes, empty me of all the empty things I hold on to. Fill my life with You. <3
    Kathy Schwanke´s last blog post ..New Wine Will Burst Old Wineskins

  2. says

    “invited to move towards others in my weakness, not my strength” Love this – it is such a good reminder. I have thought about how we need to embrace our weakness a lot since the barn event when John spoke about our becoming weak. I think admitting we are weak is so hard – we want to be strong. The reality is that we are never strong on our own. It is always his strength inviting us to lean into him, to give him our weakness and let him redeem it. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…” 2 Cor. 12:9 I just read this verse last night and it was once again a reminder that I will always be weak – only in him can I be strong. Thank you so much for your ministry and for sharing from your heart.

  3. says

    I am so encouraged by your writing!!!

    I love that our church has a time for corporate confession followed by greeting those around you! That’s a new order for me, but it sounds like it would be just what we need.

    We need to see each other forgiven and enjoying the forgiveness that is ours! We need to see each other walking with God! :)

    Thanks for sharing your walk here! I’m seeing it and it always helps me to trust Him more.
    Victoria´s last blog post ..Beyond the Wooden Blinds

  4. says

    Well. I needed to read this today.

    I struggle most with the idea that my brokenness in general is not meant to be covered up. My heart lights at the idea that is meant to be brought under and along with. But. The parts of me that struggle with believing grace is bigger and God’s love for me is what is enough in me? Those parts flat out stand in my way sometimes.
    ellen´s last blog post ..saboteurs.

  5. says

    It’s true that grace seeps through the cracks in my heart and it’s right that I let it drip right back out and over those who’ve hurt me. What it’s not, is easy. Today I’m still surrounded by snow (with more on the way) and allowing grace to freeze thoughts of contempt before they become words and then habits of unforgiveness. Thank you for this reminder Emily!
    Marcy´s last blog post ..Humble Holder Household news

  6. Mandy Pieh says

    Emily, thanks so much for writing this…it so resonates with me. Moving towards others in my weakness is NOT something I do well. But it’s something I was forced to do less than 2 weeks ago when my husband had a serious medical emergency that required him to be medevac’d to a city 150 miles from our home, undergo a surgical procedure, and be hospitalized. There was no getting around it…no acting like I was “okay.” We were thrust into crisis, we were weak, and we needed people…people to care for my husband, people to stay with our 4 children while we were away, people to pray, people to help with transportation and meals, people to visit us in the hospital. We needed to lean in to others…hard…and allow Christ to minister to us through them. It was tough, but a beautiful experience. We, all of us, were made for community…not just in times of crisis, but in everyday life. Thanks for the reminder, and the powerful mental picture, of allowing my melting ice to quench another’s thirst.

    Blessings to you.

  7. says

    The one thing I believe to be true and right but have difficulty practicing?

    Trust in Him when I know that’s all I need to do.

    Sometimes it seems He is far away, and on these days, I have trouble with trust.

    But He is always reminding me, He’s never far away. It’s me who fails to see Him, because I fail to look.

  8. says

    I wrote a blog post about trust that I’d like to share, mainly because I’m new to this blogging thing. And even though this might seem like a shameless plug, (and maybe it is) Please know my intentions are good and I’m just trying to figure out how to spread these words coming from my heart.
    I would love for you to read http://aheartlikehers.com/2014/02/06/joy-in-the-rain/
    I’m pretty sure that’s now how I’m supposed to link in a comment, but I don’t know how. Sorry!
    Thank you for your words
    Melanie´s last blog post ..Thanksgiving on Valentine’s.

  9. Kim says

    Wow, this so speaks to where I am in my life right now. This past week, I have felt like I can not get close enough to God. I know I am dealing with positive spiritual changes and maybe it is a hollowing out, readying for my continued transformation in Christ.
    I also wrote a poem a few weeks ago about how I’d been feeling called Frozen. But, I keep thinking I want to thaw and chip away at my frozenness, collecting the wet in a towel and tossing it aside so I can just move on and finally be fine. I had not thought about the melt being a blessing to others. Thank you.

  10. says

    Emily, it’s so perfect that you posted this today — I just had a conversation with a good friend in which we spoke about how it’s our weaknesses, our human fallibility and frailty, that connect us. Those are the things that let us know we NEED each other. And yet — as your insightful question reminds me — I don’t always live as though I believe this to be true. In fact, I often act like I have to be perfect to be loved. But slowly, slowly, I am letting go. As I wrote recently, “It’s so wonderful to fail, because now I can stop running. I can find what’s been here all along.” Thank you for this post!
    Caroline McGraw / A Wish Come Clear´s last blog post ..On Accepting Yourself (Even if Self-Checkout Tries to Shame You)

  11. says

    I have difficulty believing that once forgiven, God removes my sin as far as the east is from the west. Shame still lingers and whispers that God harbors grudges. I need to embrace grace.
    Kimberly´s last blog post ..True grit

  12. says

    So many words come to mind…grace, guilt held on to, transforming, deep reflection, facing my self. Learning to embrace the transformation process of becoming like Christ. Trying to live a full life of love and joy. Thanks for your words today.
    Linda´s last blog post ..Sabbath Words Refuge & Hope

  13. says

    Bear with me as I connect some dots here…I am in a time of transition in my life and I’m seeking to build up my creative self which is something I’ve never done before. I recently found your book A Million Little Ways on Amazon and I am DEVOURING it – every page is filled with truth but in a way I have never conceived. I’m also taking part in an art journaling workshop and beginning to read through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way – both of which encourage artist dates. So, after an appointment the other day (Sunday), I was driving home and thinking over all of this new found information about creativity and spirituality and artistry. I look over at a park I’m driving by and there is a small tree that stood out to me, more like it spoke to me. I thought to myself, hey, I have my camera with me, I have a little time, and the weather is not terrible; this can by my artist date! I turn the car around and park by the tree. I get out and start taking images of the tree, noticing its details and characteristics. And then I see it – an area in the trunk that looks like a heart. It’s a hollowed out area in the shape of a heart!! My heart immediately filled with joy and peace and love. I was reminded that, like the tree, I am rooted and grounded in God’s love. I just smiled as I walked back to my car.
    The very next day I read this post with this prayer and these words, “…Hollow out in us a space that you can fill with our transformed selves: peace, a whole heart, a forgiving spirit, holiness, and laughter. Fill us with Yourself, we pray, for your sake, and the sake of the world.”
    WOW. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and Ted’s words; what a powerful connection for me.
    Sarah R.´s last blog post ..Friday 5 with tandem51 {Des Moines Family Photography}

  14. says

    I am embarrassed to say, I believe it is right to forgive and love the people that hurt us in ways big and small, however, I have a very difficult time practicing that belief.

    Your writing is truly beautiful and I look forward to it each week. Thank you!
    Mel´s last blog post ..in the club

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