Saturday, March 29, 2014

Your 21 Day Makeover - Lenten Journey Day 21 Devotional - March 28, 2014

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” – 1 Corinthians 3:12

21 days.   That’s how long I’ve been on this Lenten Journey.  21 days.

There’s this myth I’ve heard in several circles that it takes 21 days to form a habit.

That’s actually a myth.  It’s based on this misinterpretation of a study done long ago that I’ll get into later.  The truth is, after 21 days this Lenten Journey is as challenging – if not more challenging – than the first day I started.   Most people can attest to this; when you step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to step into a greater version of yourself, either mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, etc., it takes effort and a lot of persistence far beyond just 21 days. 

That study I mentioned never said it takes 21 days to form a habit, but they did discover that in 21 days something interesting happens.  In the 1950/1960s a doctor named Maxwell Maltz discovered that after amputation it took around 21 days for the patient to stop feeling the amputated limb.  For 21 days the patient’s mind was still convinced that nothing had changed, and so a “phantom limb” still existed.  The conclusion wasn’t that habits change in 21 days, but that it takes that long for us to perceive and understand a change that has taken place.  In 21 days, our image of self can be transformed. 

Sometimes in the midst of change we can feel like we’re just going through the motions.  Like those amputees we may cut out old habits, repent from sin, or start obeying God in a certain area but still feel the same.  No fireworks.  No butterflies.  No parting of the Red Sea.  Change can feel devastatingly uneventful.  You may ask God, “What am I doing all this for, anyway?” I know I’ve been there.  I really didn’t understand why God wanted me to begin this journey, and each day I have sat down to have a conversation with you and share the little truths He has whispered in my ear.  One step at a time, we’ve walked down this path into the unknown.  But today, the road feels a little sturdier.  Today, I got a glimpse into His plan for us.  I got a sneak peak of His design.   You know what He showed me about myself – and all of you that are on this journey with me – after 21 days?

We are perfectly imperfect.
We are beautifully broken.
These broken pieces?  They are meant to be shared.
These imperfections?  Are by God’s design. 
If you allow it, this journey will create a masterpiece in you.
It may be difficult, but you can do it.
It’s not easy, but it was never meant to be.

Can you feel yourself changing?  Becoming better? Wiser? Stronger?
I can.
I can hear it in the emails and testimonies I receive from some of you.
I can see it when I look at you. 
I can feel it when I pray for you.
Those old ways, they’re dying away.
That light, is getting brighter.

God is polishing off His vessel and making you one of “honorable use” (Romans 9:21).

He is molding and shaping you.  He is polishing you off for His special use and making you an “instruments for special purposes…. prepared to do any good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).

He’s ready to put you out on display. 

Are you ready?  Like it or not, you’re top-shelf material!

21 days.

We’re not where we want to be, but I can assure you that we’re on our way. 

I felt led to turn the mirror back and allow you to reflect on the changes in you. 

Where have you drawn closer to God?
How has He spoken to you?
Where have you grown on this journey?

Can you see yourself?

You look amazing!….”remarkably and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

Thank you for sticking in there with me. 

Let’s keep going, shall we?

We’re over halfway through our Lenten Journey.

I can’t wait to see what we look like at the finish line! 

Let’s pray:  God, thank You for what You have already done and what You continue to do through us.  How wonderful are Your works!  There are just too many to count! Give us a heart of persistence, perseverance, and diligence as we walk along this journey of sacrifice and surrender.  Cleanse us, sanctify us, perfect us so that we may become the vessels that You desire for us to be.  May these truths bring us to the end of “me” and the beginning of You so that You may receive all the honor and glory in what we do.  Amen.  

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