My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love.
During Teacher Appreciation Week, our school puts banners up throughout the school with enlarged pictures of every staff member on them. In looking around at all of the banners, I didn't see my picture. The idea that I wasn't on any of the banners only surprised me in that my principal is very dedicated to making all of the staff feel valued and respected. When I mentioned to a friend that I wasn't on any of the banners she said to me, "Yes you are. You're right over here." Leading me over to where my picture was, my jaw dropped. I didn't recognize myself at all!!
You see, over the past 8 months, I have been working on getting my body back into optimal health condition. After maxing out at my heaviest weight ever, I decided that it was time to PURGE my body of all of the unhealthy things I'd been feeding it. In so doing, I have lost 51 pounds and dropped from a size 16 to a size 10!! Clothes shopping is actually fun again! :-)
Yet my picture was taken pre weight loss--hence the non-recognition of myself on my part!! The thought struck me that sometimes, in order to get back to who God intended us to be, we need to go through a period of purging.
There are several definitions of the word purge. If you're looking for a laugh, check out the definition at the Urban Dictionary!! For my purpose, the best definition of the word purge is: "to rid, clear or free from"... It is the complete and total opposite of gorging, which we in America have created a lifestyle out of. Most of us are pretty good at gorging ourselves, whether it be on food, entertainment, gossip, activities, technology, etc....
The problem is that when we continue to put all of this extra stuff in, we lose sight of who God has called us to be. We become defined by our career, our kids, our activities, our dress sizes, our economic status and fill our days trying to maintain and add to all of these things. Well, most of us probably aren't intentionally trying to add to our dress sizes! But the point is, the more we fill our lives with the excesses of our culture, the less room we have for God to live and dwell within us.
Hence, the need to purge, to rid, clear and free ourselves from those things in our lives that pull us away from being the person God created us to be and to refocus our time and energy on those tasks God has called us to do. Sometimes, we need to downsize. We need to take a moment to reflect and take stock of our surroundings. We need to look at where our time, our talents, our resources, and our focus is going and determine whether or not the paths we are pursuing are the ones God has asked us to follow.
In my life, my weight loss has been the impetus for a season of purging in my life. I've felt as if I've woken up to my life again. I'm reclaiming the dreams and goals that God has planted in my heart. And in order to follow them, I need to give some other things up. I need to make time and space in my life to do what God has called me to do.
When we take the time to purge/clear/free ourselves from the things that hold us back from God, we give God room to create. As the apostle Paul writes....
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Blessings and Peace,