MEEKNESS: AN ELEGANT QUEEN IN A GORGEOUS ERMINE CLOAK
It was one of those rush jobs. The designers were sending over three 4ft. x 4ft. samples of red brick and they wanted me to do three variations of whitewash and aging on them. The samples were supposed to arrive at 10a.m. but they didn’t come until two hours later. The mortar wasn’t even dry yet and they wanted to pick them up the very next day. This was going to be tough.
I was under the gun to work quickly. I got three fans out to dry the pieces and started to mix my colors. (Yet another last minute project where I had to produce something great in an outrageously short amount of time.) Usually I get uptight when I’m pressured into this type of situation. Somebody pushes me and I want to push back. But I told myself, Jesus is with me. It’s okay. I can do this.
I worked rapidly and steadily and got two of the pieces finished. Then the project manager came out to tell me the guy was going to come for the pieces two hours earlier than planned. What? I thought. They bring me the pieces late. They aren’t even dry enough to paint and now they want them completed two hours earlier? I started to get angry and then a strange thing happened.
I felt a meekness come over me. This felt really odd. It’s not in my nature to be meek when I’m being pushed. I’m more likely to be rebellious and ready for a fight and I can have a very sharp tongue if I let it loose. People who don’t know me very well may not believe it, but that’s because I’ve tried to keep those reactions in tow.
But this time I didn’t have to anything to control those reactions because they disappeared instantaneously and a huge meekness enveloped me. It wasn’t me trying to be meek. It was genuine. It clothed me inside and out and it felt really true and good. It was like an atmosphere of meekness, through and through, beautiful, elegant and powerful. This isn’t me, I thought. But I didn’t have the time to ponder it, so even though it felt alien, I went with it.
I finished up the samples even before the deadline, which was pretty amazing and I’m sure it was the Lord helping me on that one! I told my project manager he could call the guy to pick them up and I followed him over to the job site with my touch-up kit.
The samples were displayed leaning against the wall of the restaurant where we were going to do the job. A group of five men waited for the designer and gave their opinions about which one they thought the designer would choose. I sat at the side with my box of touch-up colors in case the designer needed to see changes on the spot. I hardly recognized myself.
I was so calm and peaceful in this new coat of meekness. I walked onto the jobsite with my hard hat on, my safety vest, my boots, my painter pants marked with the various colors of past jobs. I found a place to sit on a dusty cardboard box on top of a stack of bricks. There was construction dust and dirt all around, but I felt like an elegant powerful queen in a gorgeous ermine cloak and beautiful crown. Meek isn’t weak but quite the opposite.
The designer arrived and picked one of the samples he said he loved. That made me happy, but not nearly as happy as this new meekness I was experiencing.
How elated I was to feel the genuine calm, in contrast to the uproar I usually felt in these hurried, stressful, last minute type situations. Some part of me had changed on the inside. This new feeling didn’t feel like me. I know the old me: sharp-tongued, rebellious and angry. This new meekness wasn’t the old me, it was the fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22, the new me, Christ in me.
Romans 7 talks about the two natures we have in us, the old one and the new one. Only God, through Jesus Christ can deliver us from our old nature (Rom 7:24-25). I could try my best to be meek under stress but even with my strongest efforts it wouldn’t last very long, and it definitely wouldn’t be true meekness.
But with the miraculous working of the Lord Jesus Christ, the rebellious angry nature of the old Carolyn was replaced by the true and wonderful meekness of Jesus Christ. That’s the new nature God intended for me to have. It had nothing to do with me changing myself. It had everything to do with God working in me to change me to my real self in Christ.
Almost every morning Jane and I add this little phrase to the end of our prayer: “I can hardly wait to see what God’s going to do today.” It’s an exciting life.
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