Tag Archives: goals

The Process IS the Purpose

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Taken from Oswald Chamber’s “My Utmost for His Highest”.  Emphasis mine.

We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success.  We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us.  In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite.  We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not.  The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way.  What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself…  What people call preparation, God calls the goal.
Process is not something that anyone really enjoys, most of the time.  We are very often so focused on the destination, that we forget to stop and smell the roses along the way… or roll in the poison ivy along the way of some routes.  God has a purpose for us along the way.  It involves the death of our own ideas about how things should be done or what the end result will look like.  For me, language school was the first intense dying to myself process that I had ever really experienced.  Before, I could control most of what happened in my life.  But once I was put into a new culture with a new language, I had no handles to steer with.  I had to take my hands off the wheel and let God do the steering.
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Stripping of pride, laying down of conveniences, forgetting my own identity, and adjusting my values were just a small part of the process that happened as I learned to conjugate Spanish verbs.  When I nearly had a panic attack at the thought of ordering pizza over the phone, I hit an all-time low.  What is God doing with THIS kind of process?  Crushing, refining, purifying, kneading and reforming are all words that come to mind.
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Probably many of you have heard this illustration before… but it’s worth sharing again.  
As a butterfly struggles to push out of its cocoon, it squeezes itself through a tiny opening at the bottom of the confining sack.  It pushes and struggles and takes a long time.  Its body bloated with transforming fluids, it presses through the little hole and this forces the fluids into the wings.  The fluids help the wet, crumpled new wings to spread and dry straight and strong.  
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If some compassionate person were to come along and see this great struggle, they might be tempted to free the butterfly from its confinement and thus bypass the work and struggle of emerging from the cocoon.  But if that happens, the wings will never fill and spread.  The fat, bloated body will never fly with purposeful grace.  That act of compassion would be seen as cruelty.  The butterfly MUST go through a process in order to live and thrive.  It can not take short cuts.  Struggle and pain are part of the plan, part of the process.  
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It is this way with us.  God has a plan for us and sometimes it involves suffering for a “moment”.  Think of the Children of Israel wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.  They learned through that process that they could trust God to take care of them, to fight for them, to lead them, to heal them, to provide for them, and to speak to them.  What if they had taken the short cut and gone straight to the Promised Land.  They would have never had their terrifying and glorious Red Sea experience.  They would have remained butterflies with crippled, crumpled spiritual wings.  They would have never thrived in Trusting the Lord.
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What process are you pushing through right now?  Embrace the slow and painful growth.  Focus less on the end result and more on the path you are on.  Process is the purpose.

The Most Superlative

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Hello Everyone, Grammar Nazi here to give you a quick lesson on Superlative Adjectives.  An adjective is a word that describes a noun (person, place or thing) and the superlative form is the most extreme form of the adjective that you can find.  Most superlative adjectives end in -est, if the root word has one syllable or if it is a two syllable word ending in -y.  For example: big – biggest, pretty – prettiest.  With root words of two or more syllables, you add “most” to make the superlative.  For example:  intelligent – most intelligent.  Two major exceptions are the words good – the best, and bad – the worst.  Remember,

Good, Better, Best.  

Never let it rest,

’till your good is better and your better is the best!

Now aren’t you all glad you stayed in school, kids?

I don’t know if anyone has ever described me using superlatives.  And I’m not a competitive person, so I have never actively striven for superlative status.  In order to find a superlative that suits me, I would have to reduce my field of comparison considerably because there will always be someone out there who is better than me.  Records are broken all the time!  The superlative is a slippery fish to hold on to.

So just for the fun of it, I am going to compare myself to other family members.  But I am not the funniest in my family.  That trophy would have to be shared by my Uncle Russell and my sister Aimee.  Both of them can cause my laughter to dissolve into tears when they get wound up.  Neither am I the most educated in my family, that would go to my Dad who is just months away from receiving his doctorate in the ancient Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of John.  Which reminds me that even through I am bilingual, I am also not the most linguistic in the family. My Dad knows ancient Greek and Hebrew, a pretty good chunk of Latin, can hold his own in Spanish, and muddle along a bit in German… but don’t ask him to pass the butter, because he will  probably forget the word in his mother-tongue, English.  (That’s a family joke.)  I am, in my opinion, not the prettiest in my family.  That honor would go to my Mother who is still often confused for my sister when we go shopping together.  She also has the prettiest teeth I’ve ever seen, movies stars pay big money for teeth like hers… and she’s never had braces!  (Why couldn’t I get her genes??)  And finally, I’m not the most athletic nor the most coordinated.  My athlete husband just laughs at my clumsiness.  (Wait!  I might be the clumsiest in my family!)

So even though I will never be the superlative of anything, I compete against myself, in a way, and try to improve what I do have going for me.  I try to become better and better and what I do and who I am as a person.  I am constantly practicing to improve character flaws that I detect.  I am forever working on strengthening my weaknesses.  I fight the good fight and press on for bigger and better things on a personal level and spiritual level.  Though it’s likely that no one will ever describe me using superlatives, I am striving to be the best ME that I can be.  And that’s all anyone can ask of each of us.

“Flee from all sin, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…”  1 Timothy 6:11-12