This past week, I was training for a new job. And still responsible for the old one as well. What that looked like in day-to-day life was working more than 8 hours each day. And, boy, was I grateful for the Thursday holiday. And while it was a day off of work, it was a day full of catch-up on everything not work related.
I am feeling so behind on all-things-extracurricular, like blogging, the writing course I enrolled in, a project to create signs for a friend’s son’s wedding, cleaning my house, resting. While I would like to think it is over, and the original job indeed is (yay, me), I am working extra this upcoming week due to coworkers on vacation. Those vacation times were the impetus for the quick turnover in jobs.
I will be solo for periods of time, this barely-trained and quite-apprehensive new employee! It helps that I know everyone and even a significant portion of the tasks required. But it has been a week of massive note taking and repeated practice! I feel sort of like a new student in my first weeks of school. Except the faces are friends! And that truly helps!!
Hard to believe it is well into July. Summer ends for me before August ends. Little Lovely begins her junior year at college that third week of the month. The weather has finally turned summer-hot-and-humid, my least favorite of all weather! Once this mess sets in, I begin to long for Fall’s arrival.
Raw July has been going well; better than June on the whole, but there is room for improvement for sure. I am living in the rut of fruit mono meals, chocolate avocado pudding, smoothies, salads, and nice cream. For me, life in the rut is not a bad place to be. With the busyness of the last week, I have been grateful for the ease of preparing those things, mainly due to familiarity. But I will be branching out after this week. I have found some great recipes for zoodle toppings, raw lasagne, and other more time-intensive meals. Once I am on my normal work schedule, I will have 2 full days off, plus the weekend. I am very (im)patiently waiting.
I have learned that I cannot shop for ingredients before I am ready to prepare that meal. Too much can happen, and then ingredients go bad. That is the number one negative issue with shopping for just produce: it doesn’t last long!
Even though my week has been crazy, I have been faithful with my quiet time. When I recite my memorized verses each day, I pray that God would impress upon me whatever I might need to take to heart. On July 4, I recited James, and felt compelled to read chapter one in the New Living Translation. What jumped out at me were verses 12-15:
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. ￼And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,￼ and he never tempts anyone else. ￼Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. ￼These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
Do I patiently endure testing and temptation? Because as the next verses remind me, even though God doesn’t author temptation, He still allows it for our good and His glory. So often, I scorn testing and temptation, wishing for a life of ease!
My own desires. Oh, boy, those are so embarrassing most of the time! The things I desire on a regular basis; not things like a roof over my head in the rain, coolness inside as the temps head over 90°, harmony in relationships, service opportunities. No my desires head in the direction of sugar-laden things to eat throughout the day, the perfect opportunity to speak negatively about someone, for someone to help me out with all my work so I can “relax” for awhile.
The James’ verses indicate that these very un-worthwhile desires are what causes temptation to begin growing in my soul.
As I allow these notions to take root and begin to grow, I become enticed by that other world over there in which I can do whatever I want and it’s OK. But that world is the one Christ asks us to keep our spiritual backs to. That thin line between being in the world (for Christ’s purposes) and of the world (pretty much for our own purposes) becomes impossible to discern with regularity once temptations are mixed up in there!
As I well know, once desires have blossomed on my temptation plants, it’s kind of all over for me. I am a wimpy desire-battler, for sure. What started as just desires in my heart and mind turn into actual sinful actions. Remember that until the temptations/desires turn into actions, you haven’t sinned, so to speak. You are still able to SAY NO and push down what might become sin. But as soon as those temptations/desires rear their ugly heads, for me, it’s all over. Again, super wimpy is talking down the desires.
Just like the fun slip-and-slides that come out with the sunshine and heat, halting mid-slide is nearly impossible to do. Notice, I didn’t say “impossible” because WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE (Matthew 19:26). But my ears do not listen so well, and my heart and mind do not agree very readily once the slide begins.
And notice where you end up: death! It could indicate a spiritual death if the process derails you from actually accepting Christ’s free gift of salvation. But for the true believer, I believe it is talking about a physical death. I might live a lot longer on this earth if I cooperate with God where my eating is concerned, right?
Another death that I feel can happen is when, as a believer, I become callous to God’s voice and His direction in my life. Just like a parent stops directing when a child stops listening, allowing the child to suffer the natural consequences of wrong actions, I believe God will do the same. Years of ignoring God’s commands to stop idolizing food has led to all the issues I currently am suffering. Plus, it is no where near as easy to discern the voice of God anymore. Why should He lovingly guide and direct when I just turn my ears away?
I am glad every single day for how much God loves me and instructs me and helps me to grow in my knowledge of him!!