God is sifting me.
Luke 22:31-32 “Crystal, 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.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I never thought I was a prideful person (usually when you don’t think you struggle with pride…that’s when you usually do). For many years now, I’ve been sifted much like you. It’s a hard lesson to let go of the “See what I’ve done’s” and instead have a life that points to God and says, “See what He’s doing through me.” I am still a work in progress, but all I can say is that I experience life to the full much more than I ever did when I coveted achievement. I see God sifting and refining you and it’s a beautiful thing. I can tell this post was written by the power of the Spirit moving in you, not just by Crystal. This side of Heaven we will continue to be sifted, but I rejoice for you that God is allowing this at a young age for you…looking forward to what great things God will do through you to lift up others.
Blessings and ((hugs)),
You are such a blessing, Bev – thank you for being a work-in-progress with me. I’m so grateful to travel through these seasons with such beautiful sisters.
Sundi Jo Graham says
“May it always be His name declared, and not mine.” – Amen!
The very real prayer of my heart in this noisy online world 🙂
Sundi Jo Graham says
Mine too. Thanks for the vulnerability.
Kris Camealy says
You know how things sings to me.
Love you. Xo
Love you, too – grateful for how you’ve walked through these seasons with me. xoxo
Amen, love this!
Thanks Kristen 🙂
Me too, friend. I haven’t known your success in this area. My career successes were before children, in another field. I have tried to find “success” online that was like that, but in the eyes of the world my online “career” would be a catastrophic failure—so much money and time invested, with little to no increase in the outcomes we measure. But God keeps telling me to re-adjust my expectations…that His Name must be lifted up, not mine. I am finally asking Him how I can do that and really meaning it. I have caught your vision of connecting with others and that shift has given me new hope because I see this way is The Way…thank you for sharing and for encouraging. It means so much to so many…
Your new vision makes me so incredibly happy – keep following The Way, gal!
Mary Bonner says
I only know the part of your story you have publicly shared online, but I have always been encouraged by your strength and the transparency with which you share your heart. You are an example of shining the light on Him and declaring His glory. Thank you, Crystal…
You are, and have always been, such a sweet encourager to me Mary! Thank you!
From one achievement addict to another, thank you. I needed to hear this today, especially after the humbling position of cleaning out poopy underwear and pencil art off the wall of my two-year-old’s room. My window of influence has dramatically shrunk over the years, but God is still using me in this humbling place. What you are doing is mighty Kingdom work.
Oh friend – keeping littles alive is an achievement worthy of a gold medal, a superhero cape, and a full trophy cabinet. God might change our circumstances, but He doesn’t change His plans for us 🙂
It’s always so easy to look at others and think, “I wish I could do, speak, sing, work, serve, minister…LIKE HER.” Thank you for the reminder that God made us all different. He has given us different bents and gifts, but they are all to be used to bring Him glory. This quote is my prayer for my life: “…the way He’s using the gifts He blessed me with to bring honor to His name outside of my comfort zone.” God use the gifts You’ve given me to bring honor to YOUR name. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
One of my favorite verses!
Preach, Crystal! Last year my family achieved our dream of a travel lifestyle. This year we have not been anywhere, but our home city of hot San Antonio, Texas. It’s humbling, but now I know without a shadow of doubt how any future travel is a gift from God and not something we created in our strength.
I love that so much, Amanda – how you found gratitude for the gift when the opportunity was no longer there. I’m going to remember that 🙂
Thank-you for such a beautifully written post
I thought I would share this,
In a way it’s sad but I learned more about my Parents than I ever knew after they passed away.They rarely discussed their achievements. Their love, nature, laughter and smiles are what is most remembered.
I think the things that are done for others have far more meaning than what is spoken of ourselves. I believe that is how the Lord would like for us to be.
Blessings to all,
What beautiful servant hearts your parents had, Penny!
Lauren Gaskill says
What a blessing this post is! Thank you Crystal!
Thank you for that affirmation, Lauren!
Keri Snyder says
Pride is something I have realized can so easily creep up into my life. So easily I slip into performance mode or forgetting about the reason why I am doing what I am- I love how you used this to share and encourage with others
Patrice Gay says
Your success is in recognizing, accepting and sharing your struggles with others. God blesses you and us through the lessons you teach and we learn in the name of his son Jesus
Nicolette Choi says
I desperately needed to hear this today! I am walking a similar path at the moment. I never thought that I struggled with Pride because I was always so insecure. I am still learning that that IS pride. Anytime my identity or worth is found in anything but Him is a dangerous place to be in. Thank you so much for sharing!
Crystal, this reminds me of your post that I loved a while back “For the Guards and the Builders” (had to look up the title again). I love this sentiment of lifting up the others around us. When we look around, we all have others in our spheres who we can support and lift up. Because “May it always be His name declared, and not (ours)” Love that. Thanks for sharing. Prayers as you adjust to the new ladder the Lord has you on. ((Hug))
Beth Williams says
God has sifted me also! I had a good job, great benefits and pay and liked the people I worked with (mostly). All that came crashing down beginning last year when my dad had many medical issues. Since then I quit my job and now stay at home to assist more in his care. My big question is what’s next a for me God? Where do we go from here. During this “down time” I have gotten more involved in church, prayed more & seen a heart change in myself!! I have gotten closer & more intimate with God!!!
Beautiful how got brings us to the high level of servanthood. After all he said it often to his disciples..love your vulnerability here! And yearning for God’s heart!