Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Regarding Unmet Expectations As "Stables"

I'm reading a book called Spiritual Mothering, by Susan Hunt.  She makes a great point this morning and I want to share it with you.

She is talking about Mary's clarity of purpose (and she isn't even Catholic!).  She discusses the extremes in Mary's life after the angel told her she was going to give birth to a son...the Son of the Most High.  A king.  Most specifically, giving birth to a king - not in a palace, nor even inside, but outside in a stable with the sheep and goats.

She tries to imagine Mary's possible disappointment about the conditions in which she would give birth to the Savior, Jesus, but more than that, her realization that it must be this way.  "Throughout the Old Testament salvation and sacrifice were inseparably linked.  To be the Savior meant that He would be the Lamb - the Lamb who would be sacrificed for the sins of His people."  She imagines Mary saying, Of course, where else would a lamb be born except in a stable!  Lord, you think of everything!

"In defining herself as a servant, Mary had relinquished control to God.  Her purpose was not her convenience but God's glory...For many women today, their purpose in life is shaped by their desire to attain the personal happiness they are told they deserve.  So they are not only disappointed by unrealized expectations, they are defeated."

The key here is to recognize the why behind our existence.  We are here to glorify God.  How do we do that?  Just like Jesus did for His Father, "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do"... (John 17:4)

We simply have to do the work He has assigned us (From my experience, this always boils down to loving and serving).  For parents, this is pretty straight-forward, there is always something to do!  For everyone else, it is not as hard as it sounds.  Tell God that you want to do His will and ask Him to reveal it to you.  Look around.  Don't be surprised if He is asking you to serve exactly where you are!

At the end of each chapter, Ms. Hunt offers a challenge.  She asks, "Can you honestly say that you want God's glory to be your life-purpose?"  Can you?  If not, what is holding you back?

Lastly, she offers a little exercise that can bear great fruit if it is thoughtfully done:

Write the statement "I am the Lord's servant" at the top of a piece of paper.

a.  Under that statement, list any hurts, expectations, disappointments, etc. that you are struggling with.

b.  Now ask God to enable you to interpret everything on your list in light of His will for you.  Ask Him to show you how each person, circumstance, or event is your platform to reflect the glory of His grace that has been poured into you.

c.  Ask the Father to help you discover the treasure He has for you in your "stable."

Dear God, Thank you for giving purpose to the "stables" in our lives.  Thank you for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph who have had these experiences before us.  Please give us eyes to see the places where we are hurting because our expectations were not met.  Lord, help us to realize that our expectations are often not based in truth and the only thing that ever matters is glorifying You, and that is always possible.  Help us to see the people and painful circumstances in our lives as part of the treasure You intend for us.  Our growth is an essential part of Your plan for our salvation, and in Your wisdom You know that we often don't grow unless we are uncomfortable.  May You be glorified in everything I do.  Amen.

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