201509-Stine-Succeed

God is sifting me.

Luke 22:31-32Crystal, Crystal, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Crystal, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your sisters.” (my personal paraphrase)

God is taking what I considered to be my best and is shaking it free. My pride is being sifted out so all that remains is a humble heart and a body that can’t take a single step without the strength of the Holy Spirit.

I have spent the last several years climbing. Quickly. Piling up achievements, honors, glory, praise, rewards. I’ve earned degrees, promotions, raises, elite certifications, hugs from high level executives, and invitations beyond my wildest imaginings. I’ve felt invincible.

And I acted like it.

Until, by the grace of God, I lost it all.

I’ve been shaken to the core, rocked straight off that ladder I was so proud to be climbing.

And the sifting? Goodness, friends, it hurts. The tearing down of pride left me empty, emotionally drained, and questioning all I’d worked for, all I’d done, and what might be next.

My flesh wanted to lean toward anger. If I could choose, I would have pointed out everyone else’s flaws, faults, and failures to keep that last toe on the rung of achievement. This refining though? It rips away what I would choose and leaves me weak to anything but the leading of the Spirit.

And in the tears and prayer God revealed a plan. To lift others up. To encourage, teach, lead, cheer for others. To lay aside my aspirations for achievement and help others rise to the next level. To step back from the growing, let roots dig deep and rest.

For this achievement addict? It’s hard to stand to the side. But I know that in the end, when my faith does not fail and the sifting has glorified God, I will be able to add to the legacy I leave my daughter and my sisters in Christ. I will be able to strengthen others with my testimony. My daughter will see that I have succeed where it counts — bringing glory to the kingdom of God — and not just where I earn the praise.

In this season of sifting and refining, I praise God for the opportunity to go through this process. For the strength He gives me each day, the humble heart He’s developing in me, and the way He’s using the gifts He blessed me with to bring honor to His name outside of my comfort zone.

May it always be His name declared, and not mine.

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