August 22, 2010

The Maimed Life

Matthew 5:30
“And if thy right hand offends thee, cut it off and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
“When God alters a man by regeneration, the characteristic of the life to begin with is that it is maimed. There are a hundred and one things you dare not do, things that to you and in the eyes of the world that know you are as your right hand and your eye, and the unspiritual person says – Whatever is wrong in that? How absurd you are! There never has been a saint yet who did not have to live a maimed life to start with. But it is better to enter into life maimed and lovely in God’s sight than to be lovely in man’s sight and lame in God’s. In the beginning Jesus Christ by His Spirit has to check you from doing a great many things that may be perfectly right for everyone else but not right for you. See that you do not use your limitations to criticize someone else.” ~ Oswald Chambers
I read the above words on the very day I had my cast put on. There is no irony in the life of a Christian, no coincidence. If my life is in the palm of his hand, then everything is of him or for him, even natural law which takes its course when we are injured or sick can be used for him.

The Lord has been trying to teach me a great number of things in recent months. Truth be told, he’s been trying to teach me for many years. There are some things in my life that need to change and have needed to change for as long as I can remember. But when I first step out in obedience and find that I feel unstable, as if walking for the first time; I get so uncomfortable that I revert back to my old way of doing things. It just seems easier that way. Change is hard.


I am right handed, and when I first got my cast put on my right hand, I realized I was going to have to learn how to do most things differently. I began to use my left hand for many tasks and for those tasks I couldn’t accomplish myself, I had to ask for help. It was all very awkward at first. I fumbled and bumbled and grew frustrated as simple tasks had become difficult. However, I began to adapt. I learned what I could do with my left hand and in time it became easier. I also learned what my limitations were and where I would need the assistance of another person or perhaps a prop. There are some tasks now that are just as easy to do left handed as right. For example, when I first got my cast I had to learn how to use my mouse left-handed while I was at work. It felt so strange at first, and I couldn’t control it well at all, but now, I can use my mouse left handed as well as I can right handed. And do you know that now that I have my brace on and can use my mouse again with my right hand, I am still using my left? It just feels natural now.


God has been using my wrist injury and my cast confinement to show me how to change. The attitudes and habits in my life that need to change won’t change magically, but if I am willing to do the work that the Holy Spirit gives me to do, and if I don’t get scared off by how awkward and unnatural this change feels, in time, the new habits and the new attitudes will take hold and be just as natural as can be. This all sounds like the baby steps of a new Christian life changing, but I have been a Christian for 35 years. I know that putting on the new is an ongoing part of the Christian life and will never end. It doesn't just happen in the beginning. God will always have something new to show me and teach me. He will continue to reveal to me how I need to change and grow. The Holy Spirit is my spiritual cast. He is my constant reminder not to pick up the old, but take hold of the new. If I will but just yield to him in regards to changing these old ingrained habits and attitudes, as strange as it feels, they will change and be made new. I realize now how easy I have wanted the change to be, and that isn't Biblical at all. It’s easy to focus on the “new” that I want, but putting on the new requires stripping off the old. Stripping off the old requires a willingness to yield to the Holy Spirit and continue yielding until the new takes hold.

Ephesians 4:22-24
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

9 comments:

  1. It is amazing how people can adapt. Reading this reminded me of when my mother cut two of her fingers off in a lawn mower when she was 59 years old. It was her right hand and I remember trying to encourage her by helping her learn to hold a pen with her fingers that were left. It was very awkward, but she learned to do a pretty good job. She lived to 86 and did about everything she did before, except crochet. She didn't try doing that. If she had I think she could have done it.
    I'm glad you are aware of how God is using your cast to teach you important lessons. Thank you for sharing with us.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  2. I intended to tell you I really like the look of your blog.

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  3. It's never too late to get in on Spiritual Sundays. I got to your site through there. I'm so glad I did. You have a lovely blog site. Keep on writing. God is pleased and will use what you write for His purpose. God bless, Dr. Bobbi

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  4. Oh dear friend,
    I am so, so sorry. Did I miss what happened? I thought I had been keeping up with your posts.

    I like all of your analogies and yes there are things in all of our lives that need to change--some dramatically--most of us can identify with that aspect of what you are experiencing.

    Hoping and praying that the days ahead bring quick healing, the change that is needed, and great calm and peace to accomplish the tasks at hand.

    Love,
    Dianne

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  5. Love this entry and it's so applicable to all of us as Christians. You have such a gift for writing! Happy Monday and I do hope that tooth is better. Hugs!

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  6. Wow! What a lesson. Our God is amazing in His timing and planning of our lives. Praying for your healing and learning through the process. Found you via Spiritual Sundays.

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  7. Beautiful, Stephani. I often get impatient with change, with sanctification ...I wish it would come sooner! :) Thank you for these encouraging words. (BTW, the pink wrapping on your cast...so cool!)

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  8. "The Holy Spirit is my spiritual cast." He keeps us stable in Him! Stephani, you have gained much during this season. Thank you for sharing with us. Blessings to you.

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  9. A beautiful lesson, beautifully spoken. Thank you, Stephani!

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