But I have a picture of myself to share with you here.
You see, that is me right there. I am that pumpkin plant that is coming up all fresh and shiny but just won't let go of its old seed pod. It is necessary for this seedling to let go so that it can spread its leaves and be fruitful. But it won't let go. I've been watching it for the last couple of days, and come rain, wind or shine, it is still clinging onto its old skin; its old life.
This past Wednesday, Pastor Dan spoke to us about what we need to shed, what we need to leave at the altar in order to lead the 'quiet life' that Paul talks about in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life...so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders
This was a hard one for me. Not only are the words 'ambition' and 'quiet' not often found in the same sentence -in the same breath- for me, but it was the shedding that Pastor Dan was speaking about that really got me.
What do I need to shed in order to lead a quiet life?
I have a hard time shedding. I am like that seedling that just won't let go. My past and the mistakes that I have made in my life are like that seed pod that is hanging on the tips of the new leaves of that pumpkin plant. They are ugly and useless. They were necessary trials that I went through in order to learn and to become who I am now, but they are no longer needed. They need to be shed and dropped to the side. They need to be left to decompose so that they can feed my spiritual life by their death.
But I cling on to my mistakes and I let them dangle from the fringes of my life preventing me from completely unfurling and reaching my full potential. My mind is always crowded with the what if's and the if only's. If only I hadn't done this or that. What if I can't do this or be that because of the weaknesses that have repeatedly exposed to me through my failures.
And then my husband, through the words of the Shepherd, reminds me that I am who I am right now. I am not defined by my past. I am who I decide to be every morning that I wake up and dedicate my day to God, every new day that I decide to love my husband and love my children and walk through my day looking to my Father for guidance, (because these are decisions that are made anew daily lest we become complacent in our relationships with God and with each other.)
One day soon now, that little pumpkin plant will strain towards the sun and break free from its rotting shell,
Every day I, too, strain towards the Son in an attempt to break free from my rotting flesh in order to let my mind live the quiet life that I was intended to live so that my daily life will 'win the respect of outsiders' and point to the glory of God.