Have you been going through the fire lately? I feel like I can’t get out of the fire. It has been one thing after another. Just when I start to make headway with the nerve damage to my feet, I fracture my foot. But, I’m taking it as an opportunity to write while I’m off my feet and to learn whatever lesson I need to learn. “Be still and know that I am God.” Here is an excerpt I wrote a year or two ago. My Aunt Betty’s words are in red:
The saints went through a lot of stripping because they were praying that they’d be close to God. When people tell God, they want to get close, to please Him, to live in His Divine Will, and any other statements like this, then God will take them seriously and allow things to happen whereby they need to make the choice for goodness, love, and truth either for God, self, or others. He’s only doing what we ask Him to do. The problem is that in making those choices, we have opportunities of testing where we need to actually do it.
Life, in a sense, is a testing period where we learn to really choose God for who He is, not just to use Him so we can get His power to use for our own glory. So, it has its hard times, but yet the saints were some of the happiest people that ever lived. And the saints lived through some really hard testing.
When we go through our testing, we forget that it’s all part of what we asked for. The purification is different for everyone. For you, the Lord has to purify you of that perfectionist part that’s very headstrong. The positive side of a perfectionist is that they’re determined. The negative side is that they’re stubborn. That’s where the pain comes in. We need to learn to unite whatever is happening to us that we really don’t agree with to the suffering of Christ. We say, “Ok Lord, you’re permitting this. So, I do believe it’s for my good because I believe You’re always seek my good.” We have to learn to live on faith, not always seeking what feels good.
We live in an environment that is geared to doing what feels good, so when we choose to follow the Lord, we are going against the culture. It’s hard, but we don’t turn around and refuse to walk with the Lord because it’s hard. Instead we pray for the grace to say, “Bend my stubborn heart and will. Melt the frozen. Warm the chill.” That’s a scripture that is really describing the walk we have with the Lord. That scripture is part of the sequence for the feast of Pentecost, but it’s what’s going on in our spiritual life in trying to follow the Lord because He has to keep bending our stubborn heart and will. That part of us says, “Yes, I want to follow You, but only if You do things the way I want it.” The Lord does things we don’t want and then we go into rebellion. If we have a stubborn mind and will, then that part has to keep dying in order to let Christ rise in us. The enemy is always looking for ways to stop us from becoming the person we are called to be because Satan has the most to lose when we become the unique expression God created. St Ignatius said, “The glory of God is man or woman fully alive.” He tuned in to how great a glory God gets out of a person fully becoming what God intended them to be.