“Reality” or “The difference between flesh and spirit”

My feet: burning and blistered. My body: tired and tender. My eyes: heavy and hurting. My spirit: filled and flowing. And I’m loving every minute of it. I’m loving that I can come back from a tough intramural triple-overtime loss completely exhausted and ready for bed, and yet not want to sleep yet because I desire to commune with the Lord and learn more about him–learn what’s on his heart late at night and what he’s been wanting to tell me all day as I’ve bustled about going here and there, too busy to listen.

It’s awesome to come back from a crappy day at work and to know it’s not going to carry over into my tomorrow. Yeah, it affected me today somewhat: I wasn’t very cheerful for a few hours. But what’s exciting is that I didn’t get down on myself for geting discouraged. I think it’s okay to get discouraged once in a while, as long it doesn’t ruin your life.

So often, I would get down on myself for how I reacted to a situation and carry that with me for days upon days, beating myself up and getting self-condemning. And the the situation would only compound. Not any more. I had my mood and let it pass. And I’ve moved on.

It’s just very refreshing to be moving places in my faith I’ve longed to move to for so many years. I wish I could bottle up the transformation I’ve experienced inside and sell it to people–both for my profit and theirs. I know I have more work ahead of me, but I also know God’s brought me a long way. And what I would give for EVERYONE to grow as I have the past year…I don’t want anyone to be where I was a year ago.

And this brings me to a point of growth I’ve experienced the past few days. The Lord’s taught me I can’t make it my responsibility for people to grow, or people to experience life to the full, or people to not have problems. I can encourage and play my role; I can pray and persevere with them; I can share and strive with them. But I CAN’T place pressure on myself or beat myself up and act like it’s possibly my fault if something doesn’t pan out as it maybe should have.

For a lot of years, I’ve created ways to take blame for things that aren’t my responsibility. In reading chapters 7 and 8 of John Eldridge’s Waking the Dead, I was reminded that it is in fact not my fault. God’s showing me that taking blame is the controling and perfectionistic tendencies within me grasping at another problem and trying to solve it. Some aren’t mine to solve.

If God told me to do something and I didn’t, or I did it wrongly or I did it with my knowledge and wisdom rather than His, then yes, I do hold some responsibility. But I’m realizing more and more that my hands are clean far more often than I allow myself to believe. And it’s just a burden I long to shed.

I certainly want to maintain a certain amount of compassion and empathy in all situations, but enough is enough. There’s work to be done and beating myself up isn’t helping anybody.

And this brings be back to this posting’s title. God’s teaching me the Grand Canyon-esqe difference between living in the flesh and living in the spirit. I’m telling you, there is so much LESS pressure living in the spirit.

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

1 Comment

emily

about 13 years ago

Thanks, I needed that reminder today! I'm amazed at how many different people have "just the right thing" to speak into my life when I need to hear it. God is an incredible orchestra director! Thanks for being an instrument and musician! em

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