Friday, September 1, 2017

Live for Him As Only You Can

"Empty your life into the hands of the Lord Jesus--empty yourself out and you will be full."
~Ravi Zacharias 


When I was a teenager, super straight hair came into fashion. You know, that pin-straight hair that may only be achieved by using a straightening iron. And for me, the queen of curly-frizz, "the ideal" could never be achieved. I inherited thick curly hair from my Mediterranean Dad, hair that will not be tamed. :-) My Mom would say, exasperated, "Why do you want to straighten your hair? You have such pretty curly hair!" But straight hair was "in-style," and something within the human heart longs after something that it can't have. And so I tried to straighten my hair. And it didn't really work--it just rebelliously began frizzing at the edges and then the old curls tried to creep back in, and the rest is history. At any rate, I am back to "embracing" curly hair. It is how the Lord made me, what He gave to me. Something unique to my person, created in the image of Him. So I am content. 

Lately, the Lord spoke to me in a powerful way through a Ravi Zacharias message. I listened to the message over and over; he was addressing something that the Lord was pressing upon my heart. His peace came afterwards. 

Ravi was speaking about how the Lord created us as individuals. And I shared a trivial story about straightened hair at the beginning of this post, but sometimes, deep inside of our hearts, a battle is raging, more significant than curly or straight hair. An inward battle that can eat us up and consume us. 

The battle of who it is that God created us to be


Because there are times in our lives when we become frustrated with ourselves, with the distinctive personality that the Lord gave to us to be used for Him. We admire those around us who seem to exhibit the qualities we find lacking in ourselves.  Perhaps it is leadership abilities, maybe speaking abilities, perhaps those who seem to be "in control" of their circumstances and surroundings. Perhaps it is something else. It is natural to admire the perceived "strengths" of others. 

And maybe we struggle with speaking in public. Maybe we struggle with taking the lead or doing something independently. Maybe we struggle with understanding how to handle different situations that arise in our lives. Maybe we feel anxious easily. Maybe we are overwhelmed in social situations. These and other areas of weakness can cripple our souls. 

Each person has their own personal struggle unique to themselves. 

So it is tempting to see our own perceived "weaknesses" as a hindrance to spiritual growth in our lives. We think that if only our personality was different, things would be better, things would run more smoothly. 

But I have come to believe that the secret is not in trying to be what we are not, but in embracing who it is that the Lord created us to be--

We don't need to be like any other person, as admirable as they may be--we just need to be ourselves, embracing the unique personality that God has given us--surrendered each day to Him, filled with His Spirit, full of joy in Him, an obedient vessel of grace. The secret is not in a different personality but in an attitude of humility and surrender. 

And I think that many of us would begin to find great peace in the Lord when we embrace who it is that God made us to be --that "self" filled with the Spirit of Christ to be emptied out for others around us--our children, our husbands, our church families, our friends. 

Ravi Zacharias said in the message that I was speaking about earlier, "You are an individual, your face, your emotions, your way of speaking . . . He has made you that way. Accept who you are--and know that God has made you distinctive and unique . . . He made you that way; don't try to be anybody else."

We don't need to be like anyone else--except the individual the Lord created us to be-and then allow the Holy Spirit to fill us as only He can, with power and strength and love in and through our individuality. There is peace in that. There is quiet strength and joy in that. And there is hope. As we grow in our relationship with Him, He will show us areas that we need to change in terms of obedience and surrender. But in terms of our individual personality, He is working in and through it to accomplish His purposes. We may commit our self to Him. 



And again, we think that if only some aspect of our personality could be changed, we would "have it all together." Our homes would be clean and airy, our complexions would glow, our husbands would adore us, our children would be well-behaved. 

But friend, I have discovered that it is only in Christ that we have it "all-together," and even when the outside things seem to be "in order," (and they very well may be)  only He brings order and beauty to the inmost heart. He is the One who holds together, through trust, through obedience, through quiet determined dependence upon Him, day in and day out. 

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord tests the heart . . . 

Sometimes things need to fall apart before He pieces them back together in His beauty and order and peace. Sometimes we need to acknowledge that we desperately need His help, that we can't do it in our own strength, that we are limited simply by our human-ness. 

And sometimes what seems to be weakness and the stumbling block in your or my life may be the very thing that Christ uses to draw us nearer to Himself. When we surrender. When we admit our weakness before Him. When we stop trying to be strong in our own strength. When we admit our sins and shortcomings. When we allow Him to work through our weakness. 

And we embrace Him. Not our sin, but our makeup as a person created in His image with all of the unique personality traits He has given us--surrendered to His love. 



Lilias Trotter said, and I've shared this quote before, but it is so powerful, "Take the very hardest thing in your life, the place of difficulty inward or outward and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. Just there, He can bring your soul into blossom."

Take the hardest thing, the very hardest thing, even the inward struggle of the way that you have been made and offer it to Him. He will use you when you surrender to Him and make you into a blessing for those around you. The Lord is using your weakness to make you realize how much you need Him--this is a gift, not a curse. As Ravi Zacharias suggested, we should pray to the Lord, "Help me to live for You as only I can . . ." Use your individual personality to bring glory to the Father and to show forth His grace and sufficiency. 

Ravi went on to challenge in his message, and this strongly challenged and encouraged me, "Do whatever you do for the glory of God. Do the best you can for the glory of God. Empty your life into the hands of the Lord Jesus and you will be full." 

Whatever your calling is--do it for the Lord. Whether you are a mother with very little children, struggling to overcome tiredness and drudgery, or a missionary laboring to bring the Gospel, or a Pastor, or a truck driver, or a waitress, or a single woman or man finding rest in the Savior, do it for the Lord. Empty yourself out. Give everything that you can, through His strength alone. Obey with all your heart; go from strength to strength and trust Him--not yourself,  for the results. 

He honors those who honor Him. And they and all around them, are blessed. 

Your personality is a gift; use it for the Lord. Empty yourself out. Embrace whoever it is that the Lord has made you to be--and be used for Him. 





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30 comments:

  1. I'm hopping over from Faith 'n Friends and I really loved your post! I struggle with the fact that I love to write but I don't feel like I'm a "speaker" I admire those women who speak and sometimes wish I could do the same. I love that God uses our weakness to show us how much we need him. He equips us for whatever He's called us to do. Amen!

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    1. Yes; that is so true, Valerie! He uses weakness to show His perfect strength through us--that is such a powerful truth. Have a blessed week!

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  2. Amen to "It is only in Christ that we have it all together!" Wonderful, encouraging post. Thank you!

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    1. Oh, you're welcome! I'm glad that it was encouraging! Have a blessed week!

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  3. Thank you so much for encouraging me this day. I am almost 70 and still feel less than I am. I forget just Who created me and Who loves me just as I am...and the list goes on. I love to read Lilias Trotter and hear Ravi Z. I am so grateful to have come by.

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    1. You're welcome, Linda; I'm so glad that it was encouraging. The Lord bless you!

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  4. Love this so much. Beautiful thoughts. Can you link to the message? And,I have dead straight hair that people always ask if it is straightened - and I've always wanted curly hair ;) Lol. So encouraged today x

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    1. Sarah, oh yes; the trials of hair!! :-) I am glad that this post was encouraging! I have been trying to find the message!! I heard it on an older Ravi CD from my Mom--I even called RZIM and they could not locate it on their website--but they said that the CD could be ordered through RZIM. It was a CD of Ravi speaking in Oman--I am going to try again to find a link and send it to you--I will let you know! Much love in our Savior, Rebekah

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  5. So very real! Just be who you were created to be! I try so hard to teach my teenage students this - but it's hard to achieve if you make no effort to be connected with Him.
    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

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    1. Yes; that is true, Carol--one has to be connected with Him first! Everything else flows from that relationship. Blessings to you through our Savior. <3

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  6. I had that super straight hair naturally and I wanted curly hair:)
    Thank you for this reminder! It's all how we look at what we have if it's a benefit or a hindrance, right?
    Great words and wisdom!
    Visiting from #Faith'nFriends

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    1. You're welcome, Julie! Yes that is true--the Lord uses both our weaknesses and our strengths for His purposes! Have a very blessed day!

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  7. A hello girl from a girl w/wavy hair. Keeping it straight on humid days proves nearly impossible, doesn't it?!
    It took a long time for me to realize my identity was lost, stolen even. When the Lord begins putting together the pieces for us, it's like a puzzle no one else can tear apart. He's continuing that good work, but we're miles further than when this faith journey began. Good encouragement today, Rebekah. #raralinkup

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    1. Yes; that is true, Kristi--I love the way that you described it--like a puzzle that no one can tear apart. That is so comforting.

      And yes; nearly impossible to straighten! :-)

      Have a blessed day!

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  8. What beautiful truths! What is it about our human nature that makes us want to be what we aren't instead of all He created us to be? Thanks for these sweet reminders.

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    1. Oh, you're welcome, Donna! Have a blessed week!

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  9. You have shared beautiful truths, Rebekah. I have often struggled, not only with my curly/frizzy hair but in how I have been created to be. I am grateful the Lord has gently been teaching me to just be me. And I am letting my hair go curly more :) Blessings!

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    1. Yes; me too, Joanne!!! :-) Blessings to you as well!

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  10. Rebekah. God has used this to help me this morning -- wow and thank you.

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    1. You're welcome, Meg! Have a blessed week!

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  11. Ah, the trials of a curly haired girl in a straight-haired world! Yes, I can definitely relate to those. I was a teenager in the 80s, so my hair fit right in, but the 90s were a different story altogether. :-) Along about 40, I decided to embrace my curls AND my natural color (darker brown), which has made life with my hair much easier. Seriously, though, learning to be who God made us to be--personality, hair, talents, anything--is so freeing, isn't it? It's like taking off a tight, itchy dress and slipping on something soft that fits you exactly right. So glad to be your neighbor at Coffee for Your Heart this week ...

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    1. Yes; it is so freeing! :-) Blessings to you, Lois!

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  12. Love Ravi and this post! Visiting from Jaime's today!

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    1. I'm glad that you stopped by, Susan; have a blessed day!

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  13. I will remember that I need to empty me, of all the frustrations and angst, lovely post to remind us.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Rebecca; have a blessed week!

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  14. Great reminder to be enjoy being ourselves and quit trying to be someone else. We are all so wonderfully made and have all the gifts we need to succeed.

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    1. Yes, Theresa; that is true--wonderfully made! The Lord bless you!

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  15. Bekki,

    I found so much encouragement through this post!

    I can testify that indeed the Lord used my anxious heart to ultimately draw me to Him and he continues to use that weakness to draw me near to him on a daily basis. I have also seen Him use my experiences to encourage others. And I only had this revelation recently.

    I LOVED the quote by Lilias Trotter!

    The Lord has been teaching me much about being filled with Grace and letting it pour out from me, and He continued to teach me more through your post.

    Thank you so much Bekki! I think of you often.

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  16. Yes! It is so incredible to me how the Lord uses the very things that we think of as hindrances to actually draw us closer to Himself and use us more greatly as His strength is made perfect in weakness.

    I love you, Karen; I think about you often, too! <3

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