it was the middle of the night. a storm woke me up.
i tried to wake ethan but he just waved his arm at me and turned over to the other side of the bed and put a pillow on his face. this man can sleep so soundly. more soundly than anyone i know. mostly because i don't/haven't lived with anyone else to know. so i got up myself, unplugged the important things and tried to get back to bed. i sort of tried to go back to be in secret knowing the spirit loves to wake me at this time of night and keep me up to write but also not wanting to listen. because sleep and blankets and bed. i laid back down knowing i had a choice to get back up to write something spirit led or ignore it and toss and turn for the next four hours.
i'm never really used to this feeling.
i hope it's always this way. although i never understand the timing.
i guess that should make sense by now at least.
a few nights ago i told ethan i didn't have a book to read. there's always this in between book phases and he can tell now before i even mention it because i stall before bed and he asked me this time, do you have a book to read for bed? no! how did you know!? i asked, wide-eyed.
i could just tell he said. i think i was pacing the living room and kitchen. i think he meant, you're supposed to get some sleep so i can have some quiet around here. although no, because he actually is too selfless to think that. but he does enjoy some quiet. which i am never.
so he introduces a book he has wanted me to read for a while. the timing is so great.
ethan is really patient.
he really has the best ideas but he keeps to himself until he sees an opening or feels the timing is right. i don't like the pressure of someone handing me a book with all their hope and dreams of it changing my life and being perfect. he has found this out about me as i sweat-read other people's book recommendations. he is wise and waits for that window and then has options ready for me. he had two books in mind and used a calm voice and let me choose. he's good.
immediately appropriate book.
it's all about the Holy Spirit.
the breaking of the outer man and the release of the sprit, is actually the title.
i am only on page fifteen and i have underlined, arrowed at paragraphs, and felt very deep, real things. the whole dang thing is everything already. let me just share the genius so far.
grab a coffee and let's dig in. also, fall is coming. so obviously i'm very happy.
i think the happiest thing to wear is an oversized sweater.
"we have to be clear that the first obstacle to our work is ourselves, not other things.
if our inner man is an imprisoned, confined man, our spirit is shrouded and not easily released. if we have never learned to break through our outer man with our spirit, we cannot work for the Lord. nothing frustrates us like the outer man. whether or not our work will be effective depends on whether the Lord has broken down our outer man and whether the inner man can be released through our broken, outer man. this is a very fundamental issues. the Lord has to dismantle our outer man in order to make way for our inner man."
"in order for the inner life to be released, the outer life must suffer loss. if that which is outward is not broken, that which is inward cannot be released."
"our very being has to be broken by the Lord. the Lord's life is well able to spread over the whole earth. however, it is locked up within us! the Lord is well able to bless the church, yet his life is imprisoned, contained, and blocked in us! if the outer man is not broken, we can never become a blessing to the church, nor can we expect the world to receive God's grace through us!"
"but the trouble with us is that we murmur as soon as we suffer a little hardship, and we complain as soon as we suffer a little defeat. the Lord has prepared a way for us. He is ready to use us. as soon as His hand is upon us, however, we become unhappy. either we argue with Him, or we complain about everything to Him. from the day we are saved, the Lord has been working on us in many different ways for the purpose of breaking the self. we may or may not know it, but the Lord's goal is always to break our outer man."
next comes the most beautiful, most dangerous prayer of my life.
"Lord, for the sake of the church, for the going on of the gospel, for You to have a way, and for the sake of my going on in my own life, i commit myself unreservedly and unconditionally to Your hand. Lord, i gladly put myself in Your hand. i am willing to let You find a way to release Yourself through me."
this is so necessary because,
"we cannot have the same flavor after the Lord has dealt with us for five or ten years. we must allow the Lord to have a way through us. this is the Lord's basic requirement."
why do people remain unchanged after being dealt with for years?
why have i remained unchanged?
wowza. that's a lot to feel. and a lot to unpack.
and i don't know why the Lord has put it on my heart to share with you such deep, incomplete thoughts of mine as i unpack this in my own life. maybe because when i obey, they are not my words but his. and they may bless one somebody. i hope.
i hope to find so much from this book. about God. about me.
so far i am finding the scary truth about my outer man.
maybe i dabble in releasing the inner man but i stop at the first bit of suffering.
the unhappy feeling pulls me back. the comfort addict lies and i believe there is something better than God and His ways.
because this type of upside down living feels wrong.
and the others are right.
living for self isn't wrong. it's good. and the lies spiral and everything true grows weak and loses its flavor. my tastebuds deceive me. and so i shrink back into the crowd. lose my voice and eat donuts.
i don't want to do the work on myself. but here, i cannot be used.
"self-love is the root of our problem"
"we have to remember that all misunderstandings, complaints, and dissatisfactions arise from only one thing - secret self-love."
"jacob was dealt with by God again and again, and he met with numerous misfortunes."
"jacob's outer man was broken. in his old age we see a beautiful picture."
but, i don't want anything bad to happen to me.
i don't want my story to be that i lose my husband or i can't have babies or i lose my babies.
"when our outer man is smitten, dealt with, and humbled by all kinds of misfortune, the scars and wounds that are left behind will be the very places from which the spirit flows out from within. i am afraid that some of our brothers and sisters are too whole; they have never suffered any dealings and have never changed in any way. may the Lord be merciful to us and set a straight course before us. may we see that this is the only way. may we see that all of the dealings that we have received from the Lord during the past ten or twenty years are for achieving this one goal. therefore, we should not despise the Lord's work in us. may the Lord truly show us the meaning of the breaking of the outer man. unless our outer man is broken, everything we have is in the mind and in the realm of knowledge and is useless. may the Lord grant us a thorough dealing."
i am too whole.
i must break.
so out of my wounds and scars the spirit can flow out from within.