God is Systemic

God is Systemic

Most of the changes I’ve tried to embrace seem to have stayed at a superficial level. Skin deep. But on my way through the “valley of the shadow of death,” something different happened. God eased in through my tear ducts, my open wounds. Don’t mean to sound all morbid but just speaking the truth here – victimhood and all.

As I was outside gardening this morning, I began to think of how a systemic works. It is poured into the ground WHERE THE ROOTS ARE. When my foundation was in upheaval, the soil I’d depended on loosened, became unstable. That made me dependent on Him to hold me upright and sustain me. The more nourishment I received while abiding in the Spirit, the more was drawn up from healthy, new roots, filling every cell with faith and trust, pushing despair and fear out bit-by-bit.

It’s still a process. Always will be. For this growing season, however, I’m seeing some real, lasting growth. Healthy branches. Soon, new leaves will grow and even flowers will bloom again. I can count on it; count on Jesus to finish the good work He started.

Who’s running my life?

My wise editor returned my manuscript with the following paraphrased comments regarding my character, Eaven Alexander:

Eaven often seems to serve the agendas of others rather than following through on her goals. Though she had some stated desires, she often responds to, or is motivated by, others’ decisions and needs, and she seems to achieve success or failure incidentally, instead of as a result of her own actions. Even her emotional responses seem filtered through the judgments and needs of others instead of clear expressions of her feelings and desires. It’s a problem since it keeps your character from truly living and breathing. Secondly, it weakens your scene structure as she meanders through the scene, accounting for time and moving across the stage, but not necessarily doing so with purpose along the path to a specific goal.”

Make you want to cry? I did. I wrote myself on the page and was forced to face the mirror. Eventually, I was grateful for this revelation and used it to rewrite Eaven’s character and begin the renovation of my life.

On this journey, I came across the question, What is God’s purpose for me? It’s found in Genesis 1:26. “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image.’” That is still God’s quest for us. Every challenge, trial, and victory will be used to transform us.

What does that image look like? Pure love. God is love. Agape love, not just human emotion or caring. This road is not for wimps who are meandering through life. I Corinthians 13 lays out what agape love looks like. I’ve listed a few characteristics here:

Love is patient and long-suffering with the betrayals and failings of ourselves and others.

It is kind to everyone without partiality.

It doesn’t parade itself with an attitude of ‘look at me’ and is not puffed up with pride or arrogance.

It isn’t rude, even when confronted with rudeness.

It is not provoked into being less than love by the words or actions of others.

That’s Who our God is. That’s how He reacts to our rudeness, pride, and selfishness – with perfect agape love and acceptance. He already knows our failings, but He also has an immutable plan for His children.

Like my character, I need to know my purpose – to align with God’s goal to form me into His image. After that, my instructions are to trust and thank Him for the work He is doing through the challenges, failures, and triumphs, keeping in mind His promise that, “All things work together for my good.”

It takes practice to see my life this way, but through experience, I’m becoming more confident that, “He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.” Even though our spirit is already perfected in Him, it takes a lifetime for our character to be transformed into pure love. A worthy Purpose.