Awhile back I wrote a blog about what God taught me through an outfit, lovingly called my Matrix suit! Who would think a piece of clothing could be used to teach life lessons? I sure didn’t but here I share more! You can read part one for the backdrop; how I came to own the suit, weight gain and loss, my changing shape, and the first two lessons I learned about change happening from the inside out and our continual transformation. We are the same people yet different! Remarkable revelation! https://julieamarxhausen.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/a-matrix-suit-lessons-learned-from-the-lord-part-1/
The third lesson: Don’t miss the graduals in life by looking for the suddenlies! I was blinded to my gradual physical transformation because I didn’t “suddenly” gain or lose a bunch of weight. I didn’t notice how my muscles were softening through years of inactivity after a serious accident and how this affected the shape of my body along with how clothes fit. As the Lord healed me I increased activity but didn’t notice the weight loss or tightened muscles. My goal had been to be active, feel good, live without pain, and serve the Lord more fully. The physical changes that came with this didn’t happen overnight but were so gradual I was unaware my shape was changing and clothes fitting differently…again! I was looking to “suddenly” feel good! All the while, God was slowly healing and strengthening me.
We like “suddenlies” or “bam’s” in life! At least I do! We get addicted to them! But often times we are so consumed with looking for them, we miss, dismiss, or ignore the opportunity to celebrate the small things happening in the midst of gradual transformation. We love instant gratification! When we go on a diet we want to see the results NOW! When we start an exercise routine we want to do MORE immediately. When we take medicine we want INSTANT relief. When we get a chiropractic adjustment we want an IMMEDIATE sign we did the right thing. When we are repairing something we want it to work RIGHT now! When we order food in a restaurant we want it PRONTO! When we call or email someone, we want a PROMPT reply!
This “suddenly” or “bam” mentality has even impacted the Church! We want INSTANT healing; NOW prophetic words; and IMMEDIATE dream interpretation! We want God to do what He does and we want Him to do it on our time schedule which is usually “NOW, GOD!” We don’t want to “go through” we want to be done!
Turns out, God IS into suddenlies! AND He is into gradual transformation as well! In fact, most often He combines the two, gradually transforming and then SUDDENLY, life as we know it, changes! Luke 18:7-8 “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” We should always expect God to do the unexpected, living expectantly in faith for a God who always shows up!
God used the Matrix suit to show me how often I was missing Him in the journey. See, the suit didn’t “suddenly” fit one day and then just as suddenly “not fit” the next. It was a gradual misfit. I needed to slow down and notice God’s work each day of my life, not just focus or long for the day when I would be pain free. The suit reminded me I was changing and being made whole yet different. I was missing the little changes because I wanted the “BIG” change! Don’t miss the graduals in life by looking for suddenlies! Just know they will happen when we persevere!
The fourth lesson: Don’t miss the value of “beginnings”! When I look at the Matrix suit I am reminded of the day my husband bought it for me. I loved it, but felt uncomfortable in it because growing up as a shy girl I never wanted people to notice me. Wearing anything that might draw attention was a “no-no”. This suit would definitely draw attention. So…the Matrix suit was the beginning of something I couldn’t see at the time! It represented embracing who God created me to be! The suit would get some attention but more importantly, God got my attention through the suit!
The suit reminded me of the work God did through all the years of intense pain; the time when I came to know Him in ways I never knew Him before; when I learned to cry out to Him in desperation then let Him hold me; when I was okay with being vulnerable before Him; when I let Him strengthen and put me back on my feet; when I learned “for real” how to believe Him and His Word; when I learned to suffer righteously instead of suffering as a victim; when I learned He had plans to prosper me not to harm me, to give me hope and a future; when I learned these plans were not about this world but the next; when I learned I had no control over anything but He has all control; when I learned about my complete weakness and dependency and then about depending on His strength.
I realized every one of these “things” represented a “beginning” and I was in process! Friends, without a beginning there could be no story! Now I saw the value of His beginning work! Now I saw myself in His-story! Can you see the value of beginnings in your life? God begins new with us as often as necessary! Never undervalue the day of small beginnings or the significance of such days! Zechariah 4:10 “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…”
The fifth lesson: Don’t miss the value of the dark! When I finally realized I could no longer wear the Matrix suit because it was too big, I thought to give it away. But I couldn’t! So I tucked it away in the corner of a dark closet and forgot about it. All the while it was in the dark, I continued to walk in His calling, gain confidence, risk it all for Him, doing things completely out of my comfort zone, follow God’s lead, fall down repeatedly, give up on occasion, and question myself incessantly. Through it all He picked me up, put me out there again, and answered my questions with His Word of truth. While my Matrix suit was in the dark my life was being defined by His light!
God taught me the value of the dark and how to stop missing its’ value! Just like my suit was in the dark, I had been in the dark place with God for years. It was a good place for me at the time because it was there where I waited on Him, spending valuable time hidden away with Him! But once I was in the Light, I had the tendency to miss the value of the dark times! This was noticeable in my nervousness, fear, and doubt when I stood before people to proclaim His Word in the Light.
That’s when I realized the Matrix suit had fit the bigger me, before the dark time! See, when I was in the dark, I lost me, so now there was less of me and more of Him! John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.” In the dark, God taught me not just to live IN Him but that He lived IN me! I needn’t be nervous or fearful any longer because it was Christ in me, not just me in Christ! In the dark I learned it really wasn’t about me – it really WAS and IS all about Jesus. Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The Matrix suit just didn’t fit the lesser me. Praise the Lord!
In the dark with God is the place of secrecy; alone time with Him where we grow deeper in love with Him! When it’s time, we come out from the dark where we have delved deep with God. In the light we discover we’ve grown; we’ve been changed; life doesn’t fit together the same way anymore. Everything that happened in the dark continues in the light because more changes are in store for the person who regularly spends time in the dark with the Lord!
When I realized the value of the dark in my life, I went looking for the Matrix suit hidden away in my dark closet. It was time for alterations! And…now that it was in the light, it needed to change because I was changed, from the inside out. Now the suit would be changed from the inside out as well! And change? Well that’s what life is all about! To be continued…