I learned something very interesting today. Pearls are created inside oysters because a foreign substance, an irritant, gets under the shell of the oyster. The oyster then secretes a film to cover the foreign substance; this becomes the pearl. Something beautiful is formed from an irritant. This caused me to wonder how do I handle irritants? Ask yourself, how do you handle irritants? Do we grow and mature, becoming more beautiful on the inside, or do we allow that irritant to scrape away at our insides, our heart and mind, until we are nothing but a nasty, ugly shell with no tender insides?
A few weeks ago, we received a kids' leadership book to review that asked the question, "What kind of a legacy are you creating?" This has had me thinking about what I might leave behind for my kids and their kids. I would like to think that I'm a fairly good person, that I don't have too many hang ups but, if I'm honest and really dig deep (don't have to go to deep), I'd see that I am impatient and selfish. Probably deep down, we all are. We all sin. At the root of sin is satisfying ourselves.
We've (I've) got to get beyond that selfishness. When I believed in Jesus and accepted his death on the cross for my sin and believed he rose from the dead, I became his child. God, the Father, had given me a way to him that I would not have had were it not for his son's death. In that, he made it so I would never have to be alone. I would never have to go through the hard times of life by myself. He gave me his Holy Spirit to guide me and convict me when I am doing something wrong.
Why do I still do things wrong? Because I am not listening to the Holy Spirit. I hold myself in higher regard than the God of the universe. Putting that in writing makes it sound so foolish. Well, that's because it is. Whenever we do something that is outside of God's will, we think we are better than God. We have no humility, just arrogant pride.
How, then, can I leave a good legacy for my children? How can I ever hope for them to turn out to be kind and compassionate, loving and joyful? I must model that in my life. I must put God first even if no one around me does. I need to focus on him and be willing to allow him to change me and make me beautiful inside, like the pearl. There will be all sorts of things that happen in my life over which I have no control at all, irritants. The kids fight. The dog jumps and chews. I get a large bill from a doctor. I get sick. And on and on. You get the point. What will I do with those situations? What choice will I make? Will I get all bent out of shape and be miserable or will I choose to go to God? I know what the answer should be. It's as clear as day. I am a selfish sinner, though, and I forget that God is beside me always wanting to help me and guide me. Oh, how I wish I could always remember that and turn to him when everything isn't hunky-dory. Things would be better; that's not to say that everything would turn out perfectly, but I would have a different perspective. I would be more patient and kind, more peaceful and loving.
That's the legacy I want to leave for my kids, my family, and my friends. I want them to say when I am gone, "Wow! She really loved the Lord and trusted in him for everything. It was great to know someone with such great faith." I'm not sure at this point that that can be said. Hopefully, I still have years ahead of me to change so that God can fix what I've broken.
What have you broken? What is your legacy? Is it one that needs changed. Allow God to change you and give you his fruit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Trust in him and see what he can do when you submit and humble yourself before him.