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Becoming Myself, Embracing God's Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge | | Booktopia
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Heather A. Hold Me Tight. Pay rent. Buy car insurance. Plan a wedding. Kill or ignore invading spiders. I needed to rise to the occasion of my life. It took practice.
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Killing that first spider as a young woman on the verge of adolescence was a milestone for me, and over time I became a woman who possesses the capacity not to be paralyzed in the presence of an eight-legged creature. I changed. And that's a good thing.
Maybe you never were afraid of spiders. Maybe you are like my friend Sam, who captures any and all invading insects—yes, even spiders—gently transporting them to her backyard and releasing them to buggy freedom. But you do have those places in your life where you want to grow up. You want to be free. I believe God is in the business of setting us free, making each of us into the woman he always wanted us to be. The woman we always wanted to be. Sometimes he does it with the flip of a switch.
But not most of the time as you well know. Most of the time God invites us into a process of change—a process where by his grace we can rise to the occasion of our lives. But before we talk about that process, there are a few things we need to get straight. Like a shot of caffeine in the morning, self-loathing may propel us onto the road of change, but we will find that hatred of self only leads us onto a never-ending roundabout. Like being terrified by a number on the scale in the morning and vowing never to overeat again, a shot of shame may get us through to lunch but never through to our freedom.
Self-hatred, shame, and fear—though rampant in so many of our hidden worlds—are simply never going to be capable of creating or sustaining the growth we long for. Yet most women try to use shame as their inner motivator. I know I have. Discipline, particularly spiritual discipline, is a holy and good thing, one that increases over a lifetime of practice.
But when we lean on it alone to bring about the change we long for, we find that the fruit is not a grace-filled woman. We get angry; we get discouraged. If we do make it through a few battles, we can easily become the kind of woman who pressures others to do the same, a hard and get-your-act-together kind of woman. With self-discipline, the focus remains "self," so we are already off to a bad start.
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Trying, striving, working harder may get us through the week, but it won't take us through the decades. Yet most Christian women believe that this is the way to handle our external world. Some women at our church decided to do a study on the Proverbs 31 woman. I joined because I want to get to know these ladies, but really, I loathe the Proverbs 31 woman. But anyway, last week the study told us to buy a new mattress so we sleep better, so we can serve more and clean out our pantry, and yesterday it said I should only eat vegetables and water for the next 10 days like Daniel , and today I'm supposed to stop eating sugar and serving it to my family.
I say to my husband, "So, we need a new mattress and we are going vegetarian and I'm cutting out all sugar from your diet and mine. Now, some of those changes may be good things. Maybe God is calling her or us to do some of those things. But true transformation cannot be forced from the outside. It's an inside-out process. Who of us has not received or created a list of ways to live, eat, exercise, respond, seek God, grow, and change—and how long did it last, if it worked at all? Those lists don't work very long for anyone , and so we fall back into self-contempt.
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