Best Foot Forward

Our Pastor is preaching a series on temptation right now. The timing is perfect in my life. I think I've always viewed temptation as something I don't struggle with. How absurd! I think the reason I have thought that is because I saw temptation as the "surface stuff." You know what I mean...the things we give in to that are obvious. What I am discovering though, is that temptation runs deep inside me and God wants me to know exactly what temptations I am fighting against so I can overcome them.

Being vulnerable all the time is hard. Now, don't get me wrong. It's worth it when I see what God does through it, but the truth is it's hard. The truth is, I am constantly tempted to just stop because it is hard. As miserable as it was living behind a dark fortress inside myself, I am constantly tempted to go back into it. Silly, right?

I had the opportunity this weekend to share a message with the ladies of my church about living a life of exposure. I started getting sick before the weekend even began and by the time I got up to share I was full blown sick; fever and everything! In fact, as soon as I finished I left and came home. I've been thinking on the whole thing and wondering what purpose was served in me being so sick in that moment and having to literally fight my way through it. Why, Lord?

Well, I have to say I learned something in pushing through and doing it anyway. Most of you know my biggest struggle in life is trying to perform. I used to translate my performance as my worth and acceptance. I now know deep in my soul that none of that matters.

But my flesh is weak.

My lifelong battle is getting my head and my heart on the same page. What I know in my heart does not always line up with what my mind says. The Lord has shown me, as I've thought on that experience, that I will always fight the temptation to perform. I fought it in that moment, when I had to get up and share knowing I was not at my best. I was so very tempted to say "I can't do this." and just hide. I felt so much insecurity in that moment. That gentle whisper though, was hard to ignore. That gentle whisper kept saying things like, "Trust in me," and "I am strong in you." As tempted as I was to give in to my flesh, I did not. I chose, instead, to practice what I preach. I chose to make myself vulnerable in the midst of my obvious weakness.

How foolish to think I don't fight temptation! I fight temptation every day of my life. I am constantly tempted to try and work for my worth. I am constantly tempted to try to meet man's standards. I am constantly tempted to only put my best foot forward and hide the other. I am grateful for the experience I had last weekend. I am grateful that my Lord was strong in me, even when I wasn't at my best. I am glad that when I was tempted to run away from my imperfection I resisted and instead ran to Jesus. In doing so, I saw clearer than ever that all He needs from me is willingness. He works out all the details.

Do you struggle with the temptation to pretend or perform? Take heart! Jesus has overcome the world. Not you or I...Jesus. Only when we hide in him will we find the strength to resist these temptations. I am so thankful that even in the midst of my struggle, He is faithful. I am glad He is strong in my weakness and perfect in my imperfection. His word says that the one He loves (me and you!) can rest between his shoulders. (Deut. 33:12) That reminds me of my children who like to come crawl in my lap and lay on me. I can do that with God. I can crawl in his lap and rest against him because He is good, faithful and safe. He is mighty in our frailty...mighty indeed.

"Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders." Deuteronomy 33:12

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