|Saturday, Jan. 15, 2005 || My Darling Clementine, Part 2|
So, that little Clementine in my hands has been picked and it has a purpose. Now, how can it fulfill it’s purpose?
I haven’t said much about New Year’s resolutions, because I sort of feel they are made just to be broken, but the New Year does give one pause to think about what we’d like to do differently, goals we’ll set, and things we’d like to replace or get rid of.
Shedding weight, dropping bad habits, getting rid of clutter, off-loading debt...all of these are a casting off, a peeling if you will.
Looking at that little Clementine again, I realize that in order to get to the good stuff, I have to peel it. Have you ever taken a bite of an orange with the skin on? Or caught a child trying to do the same?
I’ve got to get the skin off so I can get to that yummy fruit!
We all have skin too. For some, it’s just a few layers, not too difficult to push a nail under and begin to peel away. For others, it’s tough and deep.
In order for the “good stuff”, the fruit of our life, to be exposed and available and ready to use, we have to begin peeling away the skin, which could consist of a variety of things.
How about bitterness and negativity? Have you ever been around someone who is chronically negative? It saps your energy!
Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired” (The Message). Proverbs 15:13a, 15b “A glad heart makes a happy face…for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” (NLT)
If your family is anything like mine, any get together is going to involve food. We eat it, we talk about it, we eat some more. Who wants to go to a party if some goodies aren’t going to be served, right? I want my life to be a continual feast; having a case of the perpetual gloomies means I am going to be stuck at my own private pity party in short order.
Hmmm...it’s not a lot of fun, this poking about the skin I’m in. I find myself resisting a bit. And then I realize, oops! I’ve hit another layer, and it’s called pride.
Proverbs 16:18 says, “First pride, then the crash - the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.”
You know what? We can humble ourselves, or we can be humbled. The former is a lot less painful than the latter, isn’t it?
For years I didn’t think I struggled with pride. After all, I had low self-esteem! But guess what? Low self-esteem doesn’t necessarily mean that pride is not an issue.
Time to cast that off. I’ve carried it with me far too long!
Let’s dig a little deeper…what else is hiding in there…?
You’ll never be good enough, Nicole.
Do you really think God’s forgiven you for that?
There are two kinds: conviction and condemnation.
Conviction is God’s business. It’s that tug from our conscience. That pull that says we need to say we are sorry, that we need Someone bigger than we are to fill the gaps and be in a personal relationship with.
The warden opens the locked door, setting us free, but we choose to stay in the cell – door wide open – anyway.
We sit, defeated, shame our cloak.
Hey, wait a minute. I’m free!
It’s time to start living like I know that. Really know that. Not just in my head. In my heart.
The door is open. The question is, when will I walk on through?
Is there anything else lurking about? My face burns a bit, as I come face to face with...
The need to forgive is an entire topic alone, one I’ve wrote about and wrestled with more often than I care to admit. But let me leave you with a few thoughts:
1. It hurts! What that person did to you was ugly and mean and unfair – and it deserves to be punished, but it’s God’s prerogative to mete out justice in His perfect way.
2. Forgiveness means giving up my right to revenge.
My refusal to forgive is actually a subtle form of control. “But you don’t understand what they did to me!” Perhaps I don’t. But I do know what unforgiveness does. It breeds bitterness. It steals joy. It is cunning and insidious.
I know because I once let it grow and flourish in my own life and it almost destroyed my family.
It nearly destroyed me.
3. Forgiveness is for me, the offended. It frees ME. As the offended, I do need to properly grieve (anger and resentment are natural reactions to deliberate wrongdoing), but then I must, must, must forgive and release the hurt and pain.
And so I ponder: how thick is my skin? Is it easy to peel, like a banana? Sure, there’s skin there, but it’s easily cast aside to get to the good stuff.
Is it like that Clementine or an orange…a bit tougher? N@than loves Clementines, but since he bites his nails, he can never get the skin off. “Mom, can you get this started,” he’ll say, handing me that little tangerine with a crooked grin. So, I dig in a fingernail and with a bit of effort, the skin begins to peel.
A little tougher, yes, but that skin is coming off!
Or are you like a pineapple. It’s gonna take a knife to pierce that tough outer layer. And some of the fruit on the inside is going to come off right along with it.
As I ponder the skin I’m in, I realize that like the little orange fruit I am holding, I can’t do this on my own. The Clementine needs me to peel it.
Just like I need to be in God’s hand to begin peeling away the layers.
And I realize that, as a mom, my children are watching me. They model my attitudes and behavior. It’s how they learn.
When I was nursing N@than, K@ytlin was just under two. I learned to be quite adept at nursing and doing other things, as N@than not only nursed every 1.5 to 2 hours, he was a
One day I noticed K@ytlin walking about with a baby doll, holding her against her chest, a toy phone held to her ear with the opposite shoulder, as she muttered, “Uh huh, uh huh.” I got a giggle out of that one.
What was she doing? She was mimicking me. She’d been watching. Even at just-under-two, she was paying close attention to what mom was doing and saying.
Others are watching too. And listening. And the One who made me is watching and waiting. “I can help you get out of that skin, Nicole.”
This time I hear. And I realize, yes, it’s time.
(Part three to follow soon.)
If you missed Part 1, click here.
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