Are you up for forging new things?
It’s been a LONG two years of waiting, hoping, and enduring an overwhelming sense of helplessness in the midst of unimaginable world issues. It’s confronting, isn’t it? We human beings like to feel in control and in charge, but there are all kinds of circumstances going on around us that remind us we are not.
I’m not going to hash out the issues of a global pandemic, volatile politics, or the horrors of war that fill our news headlines, but these are the things that agitate the soul setting the context in which we live and do life. I don’t know about you, but I am tired. This has all been a lot. Yet even from that place of fatigue, I also find that I am so ready to push ahead and forge for new things.
I’ve been thinking about how personal circumstances sometimes just seem to take over. In an effort to simply make it through we often settle for the path of least resistance, which interestingly enough isn’t always the easiest way through. I’ve learned that I tend to just go with the flow in order to hold things together, which is fine until it’s not—and then it’s bad. Can you relate?
Getting unstuck from well-practiced patterns may feel hard, but getting that breakthrough is not as difficult as it may seem. I am a huge fan of rhythms and routines because they create a sense of structure that helps bring order to the chaos. We need that, but we also need to guard against complacency and comfort.
Forging new things means we have to trust God when He allows interruptions in our everyday life moments. Some of the greatest things come in the most unexpected ways.
Forging new things
Can you identify a place in your life that feels stuck right now? Maybe it’s something you’ve been dreaming and waiting for? Or maybe a relationship that’s just not right? What is the source of desolation in your soul right now?
It’s often easier to blame circumstances than to look for the things inside that need to be shifted. Oh, I’m not saying that situations don’t cause frustration, pain, or discontent, but there are ALWAYS challenging things going on. Most times, we can navigate through the yuck, but sometimes we can’t. Those moments are usually good indicators that something inside the soul needs attention.
Last summer, I had to read a book for a leadership class I was taking. Without getting into the deep weeds of it all, I found myself frustrated. I felt stuck as I tried to discern between my true and shadow self.
My journey led me toward some study on the Enneagram, which has helped in unexpected ways. My husband and I went away for a week of vacation last September and while he played golf, I read.
Reading through each chapter, I wondered if I was going to find anything to help me understand myself. Feeling desperate, I inched my way toward the end, hoping for some helpful insight. Secretly though I wondered if I was so far blocked that I’d never find my way out. Living with a mask was looking easier by the minute because forging new things felt like it was getting me nowhere fast.
Ultimately, I discovered myself in the description of the enneagram nine profile. Up until that last chapter I had seen aspects of myself in each number, which by the way is pretty normal for nines. But as I read through the way nines see the world, I began to experience some clarity.
To be clear, I don’t wear this number like a badge of honor, because it just doesn’t work that way. The point of this personality assessment is to justify habits but to expose the sin issue. Sin always stymies a person’s ability to live from his or her strength. Truthfully, I found it easier to identify myself with some of the unhealthy coping mechanisms of my shadow self.
Forging new things means facing the truth. Self-discovery is never easy, but I continue to learn that authenticity is the only way to healing and wholeness. That’s what peace looks like, by the way, and it’s rooted in truth. There’s also surrender in that, right? Because if we want the more of God, we have to face the truth and be honest about everything.
The capacity to embrace the grace of God is directly impacted by how willing one is to die to self. And it’s really hard to lay it all down while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge sin. Salvation comes through confessing faith in Jesus and accepting him as Lord. But the working out of all that? It happens in our everyday moments. What I’m saying is that salvation opens the way for life transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit. Following Jesus is about becoming conformed to His likeness. And it’s a process…
Can I be honest?
I know what scripture has to say about how God sees His people and how Christ-followers are identified as beloved sons and daughters. Maybe you are familiar with these passages too? God is clear from beginning to end about how He loves His people, yet, even knowing this, I’ve still struggled to stand in this grace choosing over and over to settle for striving and proving. And I know I’m not alone…
Understanding how God sees me has been an empowering aspect of my healing journey over the years, but what I’ve begun to see is that there is more. Not fully understanding or even recognizing the core sin issue affecting the soul will keep us stuck in the healing journey. And what happens when we are stuck? We try everything we know to do and then often, we try it again, right? Here’s the thing, sometimes getting unstuck means you have to do something that just feels counterintuitive.
When a broken bone doesn’t heal right, the only way to correct the issue is to re-break it, re-set it, and give it time to heal. No amount of physical therapy will help fix the structural problem of a bone that hasn’t healed correctly. Healing comes by getting to the root of the issue.
Forging new things means facing the truth and then dealing with it. In my quest to remove my mask and embrace my true self I’ve learned again, that the healing process is hard work that requires a sustained effort. Embodying the woman God created me to be, means facing the truth about who I am, how He’s designed me, and the truth about how I allow my will to lead me away from his goodness.
Picking Up Your Cross
I’m reading through Daily in His Presence, by Andrew Murray, and during lent the daily reflections were all about surrender and identifying with Christ at the Cross.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”Matthew 16:24-25, NRSV
Conformity to Christ requires dying to self and the only way to die to self is if you are willing to see yourself as you are. Living starts with dying. Jesus did all the heavy lifting, taking sin to the cross and dying so that we could experience new life, but we are indeed called to pick up our cross and embrace the suffering of death to sin.
The grace of God is a gift that we do not deserve and cannot earn. The fact of the matter is that Jesus did what we would never be able to do, giving us a way to live in communion with God and be free from sin. Picking up your cross is about facing the truth about the core sin issues that block healing. We practice this in surrender. This is what forging new things is all about.
Surrender positions us at the throne of God, where we exalt Him above it all. Surrender is how we give Him permission to do what only He can do in redeeming, restoring, renewing, and reviving the broken parts of the soul. In this place we wait and trust, believing Him for the strength and power to overcome.
Embracing the Resurrected life
Jesus died, but three days later there was a resurrection. He rose from the dead forever changing the dynamic of the relationship between God and humanity. Salvation doesn’t just open the way for shalom, it’s what it’s all about. Everything about Jesus’s life and death points us back to the purposes of God. Embracing the Resurrected life is about forging new things, not trying to dig up the old.
Healing takes time. Becoming the men and women God created and purposed us to be, requires a commitment to participate in His grace—one day at a time.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.Ephesians 1:19-20, NLT
We need to continue to rehearse the promises of God so that our hearts remember what is true. This is how we learn to recognize what is false. Resurrection power is planted in us giving us everything we need to overcome, but access always comes through surrender. Embracing a surrendered life—being yielded to the will and way of God—produces new things.
Getting unstuck is about submitting to the healing process, following God into the deep places of grace where love breaks away the calcified sin that holds us captive. Forging for new things isn’t about accumulating or storing up, it’s about fulfillment and wholeness. This is what it means to embrace the resurrected life.
Forging new things in the everyday moments
Today is a brand new day!
There may be big things that cast big shadows over your life right now, but there is one who is bigger still. Choosing to trust and believe God may mean surrendering doubt, worry, or fear. It may also mean submitting to a process that you don’t understand (or like). Because sometimes the only way to expose what needs to come out is through intense pressure—kinda like drilling for diamonds.
Christ-followers get to encounter the greatness of God’s love and power every single day as we lean in and trust His heart. Forging new things is about becoming the people God created us to be. Conforming to the likeness of Christ takes practice, not through the rehearsal of doing good things, but through absolute surrender. Willfulness always seeks to serve self, so as we forge new things we do so on the ashes of that sacrifice—not by digging down, but by dancing on top!
One of the things I have found to be especially helpful as I forge new things is the practice of contemplative prayer as I write, paint, take pictures, and even do menial housework. In that, I’ve learned about how journaling with a prompt, can help me process more deeply with the LORD. I have a weekly devotional, called The Grace Notes, that uses this kind of discipline. Sign up using the form below to get the Devo delivered directly to your inbox!