Sandy made a comment on my post, “To Thine Own Self Be True.” She said, “I might accept the FACT that I have warts, but to embrace them is a whole other issue!” While replying to her comment, I thought of a conversation I had with a friend about it. And I wanted to share more, particularly about this:
“Only when ‘to thine own self be true’ becomes my reality can I fully receive God’s gift of a new me – and ‘to my NEW self be true.’ We have to leave our concepts and embrace His.”
So today I want to reveal a weakness that I called a curse but God said was beautiful.
While growing up, I had an extreme difficulty with reading. You remember, “Reading is Fundamental!” I loved and collected books with a desire to read all of them but just had little to no reading grace. It was never a fun activity for me because I moved so slowly through each sentence. I had no problem with comprehension; I was just moving at such a snail’s pace that I would lose interest or attention before making it to the bottom of the page. It made me feel stupid. I couldn’t even finish the Cliffs Notes® much less the books required for school. This compounded the shame and mocking hurled at me by classmates for my inability to read aloud. My heart would literally pound in my ears as I waited for my turn to read aloud in front of the class. When my turn arrived, I’d lose my breath, feeling like I was going to pass out. I just couldn’t breathe! I read like I was brain-damaged. The whole thing was a years-long nightmare for me. I felt like I was less than everyone, all the while knowing that you can’t get anywhere in life without reading.
I confess, I didn’t even read my first book all the way through until I was in my early twenties. After I became a Christian, I read Good Morning, Holy Spirit by Benny Hinn. This was the first book I ever read cover-to-cover. I thought becoming a Christian healed my problem! Well, even though I read this book, grace for my reading wasn’t there. This only added to my shame because I thought, “How can I be a Christian and not read…?!” At the very least, you have to read volumes of the Word as a minimum to get by, right? So I set out to conquer the recommended reading plans for Scripture. The Bible in a year! A chapter of Proverbs and Psalms every day! What came out of this was failure and self-condemnation. I said, “Why, God? Why can’t I read?!”
One day God revealed His purpose. Number one, He didn’t want me to maneuver through this world via head knowledge. His plan was to make me more intuitive than scholarly. He created me to function out of my heart, not my head. The nightmare I lived for years and years was His keeping not His torment. I realized He was saving me not condemning me. WOW!
Secondly, my brain functions very deliberately. I process slowly and ruminate deeply. One verse can have more wealth for me than reading whole chapters of His Word. I ingest and digest slowly, and this is where I meet Him. I have fellowship with the Lord as He hand-feeds me slowly. This knocked my preconceptions about why He made me like this. God desired to commune with me and intimately move with me through words. He wasn’t rushing me or force-feeding me to get down a quota. No, He was tenderly moving to woo me and entreat me with His meaning for me.
Oh, I would have run ahead and lost Him in the process. Sure, I might have been able to quote a passage, or repeat back the meaning of the chapters, but would I have had fellowship with my Lord?
This is just one of the weaknesses I could tell you. In my last post, I certainly wasn’t justifying sin with a flippant statement like, “This is just how He made me, so deal with it!” What I’m talking about is embracing the Lord’s wounding to release His purpose and plans for my life. Whatever that wounding was and wherever it’s taken me, I accept both the course He chose and the way my responses to it affected my soul. I own it! Then He is able to reveal His Divine order and purpose that has extreme significance for life and living.
Now, I could stay stuck in a life of resistance and futile effort to overcome God’s own forming me. But in the process of correcting the wrongs I blame Him for, I would miss Him. Life is to be received by Him, from Him and through Him. It might not be in line with my design but it is perfectly in His.
Awesome! You get the best portion: the Lord Himself!
That’s precious, John–how uniquely He molds us!
And, by the way, because my son IS brain-damaged and doesn’t like to read because he can’t remember the first sentence when he gets to the end of the paragraph, I can relate. . . not yet a Christian, as you know. Eager to see how the Lord will work with him in this (and other) areas, when he is saved.
“I read like I was brain-damaged.”
Bless you, John.
Lovely precious insight of His intimacy with you John. I never think of those retorts to someone while in the moment. It’s only later when I do that I realize He has kept me from speaking from the flesh.
Absolutely, John. SO blessed by you today. Thank you again for your openness.