This Is Her Story: Trim the Excess.
Arlia M. Frink lives in Darlington, SC, where she studies poetry. She has a passion for children’s literature, northerly foods, and music of most genres.
If you ever need to find her, it’s best to check the nearest library or coffee shop. You can also find her on Twitter @arliamarie.
At the start of this year, my lungs were recuperating from the vestiges of a clingy pneumonia that made me wheeze like a hippopotamus attempting to tug skinny jeans up her hips. Not a pretty picture, and definitely not pleasant sounds. But, in the midst of my rattling chest cough and consistent exhaustion, I prayed the same thing I pray every January 1st: Lord, give me what you would have me work on this next season, this year.
And when God’s quiet voice resounded through my being with Trim The Excess, I was too tired to laugh as Sarah did, so I told God that I had nothing left to take, that I had nothing of value, let alone excess, to trim.
And then God did what He does best—He began the process of proving me wrong.
I believed I comprehended how deft, how sharp God’s pruning shears are, but in the last two months I have learned new definitions of excess and unimagined reasons for trimming it. My, how deep the roots of pride are entrenched. How complete the selfishness of the flesh. But oh, how necessary the pain of surrender. How necessary the freedom of an already liberated child.
For my excess, as God knew, held me so close, so tightly, that I could not breathe any better than when pneumonia wrecked my lungs.
Let me clear, I am not speaking of the excess of material possessions, although collecting an unnecessary amount of physical belongings is often a result of a much deeper attempt to secure the intangible with the tangible. No, I am speaking of the excess, the dross, those behaviors and beliefs that masquerade as holy truth and are worthless providers of sustenance to your soul, your heart, your mind, your spirit. I am speaking of the deepest crevices of a stony, cracked heart crying out to remember when it was turned to flesh and redeemed to spirit.
For what is more excessive, more unnecessary or devoid of nourishment than anger, than denial, than pride? Oh yes, these are the excesses and extras that must be trimmed.
They must be, for when I, we, choose the smallest of ideas, of notions, even unconsciously, over the truth of Christ and His work, then we leave our abundant life unguarded for the thief to steal. Yes, examining the hardened parts of your heart requires vigilance and resolve and faith that you are not surrendering everything you have fought for only to be abandoned. I will not lie, this process is hard. And it hurts. Oh my word, does it hurt. Not all the time, but enough that you become acquainted with the exquisitely humbling knowledge of the totality of your depravity and the wholeness of grace.
And when you arrive at this point, you will ask yourself: Am I satisfied in my God? Do I believe, trust, that He is all, that His feast is more? Or am I afraid that I need too much, and that He and His trinity are not enough? You will realize what a silly heart you possess and how small is your understanding, how short your memory. You will dare to claim that a column of fire or smoke would provide everlasting obedience, as the everlasting God inhabits your living temple and you still turn away.
During those moments when you question whether progress, or growth is even occurring, whether you will ever be able to breathe again— rest assured, renovation is indeed taking place. We do not serve a God constrained by time or circumstance. We do not worship a Christ who worried over splinters when the cost of purchasing our lives meant iron driven into His body. And we do not follow a Holy Spirit defeated by death.
And so this is the beautiful fight we engage in with each inhalation: that our bodies cry out to satisfy themselves, but our spirits crave with an insatiable hunger for communion with our God. Nothing more, and nothing less, than what remains after trimming the excess.
Arlia Frink, Guest Blogger