Tuesday, October 9, 2012

30 Day Challenge - Day 11

For an explanation of the challenge, please read Day 1.

Friends, it's confession time.  God knows that He has to tell me to do something more than once before I admit that yes, I really do hear what He's asking me to do.  Then it takes me a few more reminders before I actually obey.  Thank you, Lord, for your patience with me!

My confession to you:  I was going through the motions of this 30 Day Challenge.  I have been praying and believing and trusting in God, but I haven't been honest with myself.  Worse, I haven't fully surrendered to God.  I haven't written what I am fasting for this challenge (scroll up and click on the link to read Day 1 for more info).  I have done this challenge once before and I gave up all forms of alcohol.  At the time, I was turning to it more frequently than I should.  I would use it to relax in the evenings, I would drink socially, and the intake was increasing more than my thirst for God.  It was a necessary sacrifice at the time.  However, since then, I haven't turned to it as much.  I realize it just makes me tired, it's harder to wake up the next morning, and quite frankly, if it isn't the weekend I just don't even bother.

Yet, Sharon's challenge was to read all those Bible passages and give up something we couldn't live without. I knew what it was, but remember my cycle with God.  Like a child, I put my hands over my ears and scream repeatedly, "I can't hear you!" *sigh*  He's patient.  He knows eventually my arms will get tired and I will eventually put my hands down.

Finally, I confessed to God on Day 9 (10/7/12) that I was going through the motions.  I was doing the minimal requirement and expecting God to fill me to the measure of all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19).  I fully expected Him to bless me and be victorious without ever truly sacrificing.  I wasn't putting my heart into the challenge for God to change me, to provide His strength in my weakness.  I asked forgiveness and then begged God to give me the strength for what was about to happen the next day.  The day I truly give up what I could not live without.... coffee.

Some of you know, experiencing me without coffee is just not a pretty sight.  I didn't even want to go to be the night before because I was so dreading the morning.  I have strategically posted signs in my house and office saying, "All the coffee in Columbia can't make a morning person" and "Coffee is the most important meal of the day."  All the pictures in this post are from my kitchen and this isn't even all of it!

Praise God the Day 10 (10/8/12) was a holiday!  So I was able to take my time with getting up and functioning without my "lifer juice".  Amazingly, as the day went on, I actually wasn't craving it, I didn't have headaches, and I was able to function!  God really did provide strength in my weakness!

For the two women who are bravely giving up coffee also, thank you.  You know who you are, but you had no idea that sharing with me your sacrifice would convict me.  Hearing your courage to take that step of faith to honestly look at your life and lay down exactly what God put on your heart to give up for 30 days is refreshing!  I pray that God blesses you richly during this time and that you will be victorious in your challenge. 
You may realize that I didn't dare blog about this at the time it was happening.  I have such a hard time admitting failure.  While I'm processing things, I tend to think too hard about what is happening and I don't allow others in until I get a clear direction from God.  With this one, I needed and received multiple confirmations before proceeding.

In our blogging world, I find that the writers I identify with the most are the ones who are vulnerable.  They put themselves out there.  Without makeup on.  In their jammies at 4 p.m.  Wait, I've already done that.  That means that you've seen me at my worst, and you've accepted me just as I am.  I'm not perfect, and it's high time I stop filtering what others know about me in my life.  If my mistakes can help just one person realize they aren't alone, they aren't the only one, then it is all worth it!

Also, because of this dishonesty (just calling it what it is), I have decided to recommit to the challenge as of 10/8/12.  So, my 30 Day Challenge will be 40 days and end on 11/7/12.  I have decided to continue giving up alcohol through this extended time too.

Lord, I thank you that your strength is made perfect in my weakness.  I thank you that I'm not who I used to be.  You are continually molding me into a new creation, your beloved.  You are so merciful to me even when I pretend I don't hear you.  I thank you for your generosity and patience.  Please Lord, continue to do miraculous works in my life and in those reading this.  May I always be honest before you and continue to hear your voice and do as you ask.

Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT) Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God - truly righteous and holy. 

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