Drudgery. Ugh. How to get through it? The repetitive, the boring, the whiny, the weak, the difficult, the demeaning jobs. In these places, we look for ways of escape. I've been there lately, impatient about an assignment and wanting out.
The thing I want out of is a part-time position that not only wearies me; it challenges any and every part of my pride. It has been inexplicably hard at times to do a job that is "way beneath my pay level" so to speak. Me wording it in that way should give you a sense of my pride and resentment of the assignment. At times it has not bothered me; but mostly I didn't think it would last this long. I do a good job and am liked; but too often of late, I am offended and feeling impatient.
This week, first thing Tuesday morning, I was sitting at my desk stewing. I knew this was not a way to start the day, so I decided to look at Oswald Chambers My Utmost devotional for that day. I know if I need a "good talking to" so to speak, I can find it with Oswald Chamber's spiritual writings. He speaks directly, cuts me right to the quick. I love it. Sure enough, from the very first sentence of the devotional, I am convicted. But it feels good because I sense God's presence and know He is right there bringing my darkness into His light for spiritual transformation. I keep reading and the words become ever more convicting within.
"Drudgery is one of the finest tests to determine the genuineness of our character. Drudgery is work that is far removed from anything we think of as ideal work. It is the utterly hard, menial, tiresome, and dirty work. And when we experience it, our spirituality is instantly tested and we will know whether or not we are spiritually genuine. " - Oswald Chambers
Owwwweeeeee. Drudgery. As clear as day, there it is. I am rejecting what I perceive as menial, tiresome, and dirty work! With words so directly applicable to my current state of mind, suddenly the fog clears. It's crystal clear God is lasering in, joining me in my pity party, but only in order to shift my focus. I am to reflect on my spiritual genuineness. Direct hit. I said a quiet prayer asking for His mercy and power to serve genuinely, John 13:4-5,12-17. This type of prayer and reflecting took all but 3 minutes; but it turned my whole day around! And don't ya know that right after I got a call from a very unhappy woman who was short tempered, cold, aggressive, and at the same time sounded very defeated. How would I handle it?
By God's grace and freshly filling me with His power through that little 3 minute prayer and reflection, I found myself impervious to her ill nature and easily focused on the defeated part of her that I heard. I couldn't believe it in the moment. But was almost giddy within as I listened and rose above her difficult ways. I encouraged her that her frustration could and would be addressed and not to give up on getting some medical direction for a family member. She spewed some things; but praise God I didn't react. She didn't soften towards me despite my way towards her; but she agreed to let me elevate the situation. About 45 minutes later she called again; but this time she was in tears, sobbing deeply, and extremely apologetic. I could barely understand what she was saying through her tears. Her repentance moved me deeply , so much so that I felt tears well up in me. She was so remorseful! She just kept saying "I'm so sorry I was so mean. It's not right. I know better". Again, I was amazed knowing that God did something in her. He was helping her release pent up emotion, frustration, heart ache, loneliness, fear, etc. I "got it" and was able to stay with her in that moment and speak gently and help calm her down. Turns out she is terrified of what is going on with her family member and in a state of total dismay, feeling trapped, defeated, and very alone. She continued to profusely apologize for how aggressive and mean she was to the medical person who called her back and for how she was towards me. I thanked her and told her she was forgiven. I let her know she wasn't alone. I shared tears with her. I shared some of what I have experienced in helping a senior family member, reminding her again that she wasn't alone. I told her about local resources for social work help, a grief group at my church, and told her I would pray for her. I'm not sure what impact it had beyond her quieted countenance and "thank you"; but I know the impact it had on me. God rose up in me. His love and knowledge of that woman and her need for that morning was "my lowly assignment". He wanted me to be Him to her. And before that could happen, I needed a heart check. Praise God for his intervention in me so that I could be an offering of His grace and comfort to her!
This is the necessity of prayer that does a hard stop. It is a prayer that steals away for a moment (the difficult ones); and cries out for divine intervention and wisdom. He is near. He will give wisdom. He says, "Ask and it will be given to you..." But be open to his reply. Because in those moments He will show us some difficult things about our hearts. But if we do not avoid those moments, if we have eyes to see, the door is wide open to divine power and supernatural life and BLESSING! There was a supernatural joy that refreshed my heart and mind after those 2 conversations with a broken and weary woman.
I could have stewed in my own emotions, kicked and screamed within, resisted the day and had a really bad attitude. But instead, I chose to let God in, to let him search me, and to seek out His wisdom. His wisdom was served on a silver platter carrying words hard to swallow but covered with grace. I turned. The result was blessing and spiritual transformation in me, a temple of the Holy Spirit. You too, if you know Jesus as Lord, are a temple of the Holy Spirit. And you need the inspiration of God in your drudgery.
"The inspiration of God is required if drudgery is to shine with the light of God upon it. In some cases the way a person does a task makes that work sanctified and holy forever. It may be a very common everyday task, but after we have seen it done, it becomes different. When the Lord does something through us, He always transforms it. Our Lord takes our human flesh and transforms it, and now every believer’s body has become “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19). " - Oswald Chambers , My Utmost
Break away and pray. He sees what is done in secret and will reward you. Give Jesus the thoughts of resentment about the day-to-day drudgery assigned to you. What is your drudgery? Unending piles of laundry, everyday referee of bickering children, an ill tempered spouse, unthankful bosses, smiles that betray, work that is "beneath" you? Let Him enter those moments. It's so transformative if you do! He is right there willing to help with the state of heart and mind if you ask. Accept the hard word He might give about what needs transformation in you to get through the drudgery. Surrender. Go back in with His power humbly serving at the feet of another. Divine transformation and untold blessings await your heart!
John 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Yesterday, I asked a question on a public forum, "What is a tormenting thought you want God to take away?" I've gotten two answers that are heaven and earth apart. Both answers are from men. This was the first one I got-
Man #1- "Here is one of the damages wrought by religion. A life long dependence upon a placebo parent phantasm. Atheists, they put their grown up pants on every day, and sort out their own issues. Atheism, it requires strength and maturity. It may not be for you."
Here is the 2nd answer-
Man #2 -" I used to be tormented by the thought of going through life alone. I prayed and asked God to take this away from me. Instead, He sent me my wife. Turns out God knew what was best for me better than I did, and the years I spent single and celibate were setting me up to meet my wife and to love her... Now when I have difficulties in life, I ask God to help me see the purpose behind them. God is not a cosmological vending machine to pop a 25-cent prayer into and get whatever you want out of it. He's a real, living, thinking, feeling being with unlimited power, resources, and knowledge and a real, vested interest in our well-being..."
The 2nd half of his answer was giving an example of he and his wife taking their son to get his first shots. He recalls their little boy knowing they were holding him down so a strange man could poke a needle in him. His point is that their little boy did not understand what was happening to him, but as his daddy, he did. And that it is the same with God. He went on to say, "God's knowledge and wisdom far surpasses our own." And then he quoted the apostle Paul and affirmed his trust in God's knowledge. "The foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom. So I put my trust in His purpose and plan for me, even and perhaps especially when it causes me pain, because though it hurts me now, I know that this is nothing compared to the joy that is coming (such as meeting my wife)..."
Pretty radical in terms of the chasm separating the perspective of each man isn't it?
Before I got that first answer, I was meditating and praying through some verses in Psalm 32. And I see the radical difference of each man in those verses. Psalm 32 talks about a man who talks openly with God which it appears man #2 does. He admitted loneliness and trusts in God. It sounds like he knows Jesus pretty well based upon his references of Christ's foolishness referenced in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. So my bet is that he also openly talks to God about big issues referenced like transgression, sin, and iniquity. Big and often intimidating words, but good news for those unafraid of God. The author of Psalm 32 uses those 3 words repeatedly in Psalm 32, the New King James Version. What are the differences? Let's explore them, the blessing that comes through them, and do a prayer exercise at the end.
According to biblical concordances, transgression is rooted in rebellion, sin is a crime or offense, and iniquity is a bent or warped nature (perverse, depraved). So to describe it to another, it would be in context to say, that each is born rebellious, so each commits offenses/crimes that are perverse and depraved. How in the world does God bless us as a result of these?
Wildly, the psalmist claims there is blessing for those! It's conditional of course. But radical none-the-less! So think of man #1 above. There is blessing awaiting him. Radical blessing! IF man #1 would see God as good, not as a fantasy made up in imagination. Please stop and pray for him to intersect with the love of God, to go in the way of blessing.
What kind of blessing? Blessing in biblical Hebrew terms has a literal picture of one kneeling down to offer an undeserved gift that brings joy, that satisfies the receiver. I have blogged about blessing God in this way a couple of times prior. But, in God's highest terms, blessing is His supernatural offering. He reaches down. He bends down and offers undeserved gifts that wholly satisfy in ways no other gift can. Man #2 wanted strength to endure loneliness and celibacy. Yet God knew better and sent him a gift of help in a wife, Genesis 2:18-25.
God is always wanting to send undeserved help. But far too often, we are like man #1. Maybe not in the same degree, but like him none-the-less. Maybe we are stubborn like the horse or mule referenced in Psalm 32. Maybe we steel ourselves, and talk to ourselves saying something along the lines of, "Today is another day, man up, be strong, you can do this." Or, "Don't be such a baby. Grow up. God has bigger issues and doesn't care about all your little problems. You screw up anyways, so why should He bother with you?" Or we ignore God's assist. We prefer to ignore the whispers. Assess yourself. What is your self-talk telling you? Is it your voice or God's? If it has any form of condemnation it is not from God. Is it a voice from your past? A disapproving parent? Yourself as a rebellious teenager? Pay attention to your self-talk. Does it push you to rely on self or God? We are not to carry burden alone. That takes us totally off the path of blessing.
The most radical blessing God can offer is forgiveness. Each time we talk to God we have opportunity to acknowledge our rebellion, our crimes of offense in thought and deed, and openly share our perverse and imperfect nature to God. All without rebuke, to receive mercy in our time of deep need! Psalm 32 promises that approaching God this way, without deceit, confessing our offenses brings supernatural assist in big ways. Great flood waters that destroy do not come near! There is a perpetual hiding place that preserves from trouble! There is a supernatural surrounding of song, songs of deliverance! He promises to instruct and teach the way to go, to guide you with his loving eye you! As you trust in God and not rebel against His guidance, mercy surrounds you! You are glad and rejoice! This is the blessing of those receiving undeserved forgiveness. You shout for joy, for you know that when God looks upon you, despite yourself, you are upright in heart because of Jesus!
Forgiveness is the center of all blessing from God. Forgiveness is lifting up, carrying away, taking the burden, bearing the cost. The only one who is strong enough to take away the twisted nature of the heart is Jesus. Contrary to man #1 who thinks he has to put on his grown up pants on and be strong and mature. Man #2 gets it, the foolishness of God is wiser than any man's wisdom. He has received the undeserved gift and approaches God not as a vending machine, but as a Holy and Sovereign good God who knows better than he does and trusts Him.
Who do you have more in common with today, man #1 or man #2? Take some time with God and unburden.
Below is a prayer of confession for followers of Christ. It will help you put to memory and pray through the differences of transgression, sin, and iniquity. It expounds on each word as it appears in verses 1 and 2 of Psalm 32 NKJV. Getting the definitions clear inside your heart and mind, will help you be able to talk about human nature to another. It will also help you work with God as you pray and confess, to position to receive the multitude of blessings and healing He promises! Blessings!
PRAYER EXERCISE (expound on definition): Read through Psalm 32 first.
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Hi my name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 25 year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and praying for His life in greater measure!