“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins.
If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and
the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine
into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
(Matthew 9:17, NIV)
Thoughts from my He(ART) Journal, April 11, 2010
Watched Bible Teacher and Author Beth Moore today and boy, did she say something interesting.
“God doesn’t want us to settle for fine—ask for wine.”
An obvious reference to Jesus’s first miracle at the wedding at Cana (John 2), where Jesus turned water into wine.
Beth continued by asking, “Why are you on this planet? Can God trust you with extraordinary gifting? We do not have to look into the world’s eyes to see our fire—it comes from the Spirit. God has set us up for our gifts, through a two-fold heritage: (1) Natural heritage and (2) Spiritual heritage. God allows our family of origins in order to bring forth extraordinary ministry opportunities, if we yield to Him.”
This short teaching had a profound effect on me. I took some time thinking long and hard about the concept of not settling for fine, but asking for wine. One commentator has this to say about new wine:
“New cloth has not yet shrunk, and when it began to shrink after being patched onto a garment that had finished its shrinking, the patch would tear loose from the garment, making the tear worse.
In the same way, old wineskins had been stretched to the limit as wine fermented and expanded in them.
Because old wineskins has already been stretched to the limit, if they were filled with new wine it would ultimately burst them when it expanded. Traditional rituals must never
become a straightjacket that hinders us.”
The last few months, well, years actually, I’ve definitely been on a mission to find “new wine,” which metaphorically means freedom in Christ. Tired of all the old behaviors and patterns that disable, I’ve worked towards not just “settling for fine, but asking for new wine.”
My “new wine” being:
- Freedom from the fear of man. Author Ed Welch writes, “God must be bigger to you than people are . . regarding other people, our problem is that we need them (for ourselves) more than we love them (for the glory of God). The task God sets for us is to need them less and love them more.” Proverbs 29:25 (MSG) instructs, “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.” I come by this honestly, really, having grown up on stage, learning to perform and then wait for the applause. But, it’s 2010, now 2011, and yes, I am on a stage of sorts as a speaker and author, but one thing is very different—I am not “performing” for the applause of man. I serve an audience of One—and He loves me for WHO I AM, not for WHAT I DO.
- Freedom from having to do it all myself. If you know me or have worked with me, you know I don’t delegate. Well, let’s rephrase, I didn’t delegate. Let me apologize to any and all who have worked with me in the past for NOT delegating. Oh, I am heartfully sorry. 2010 taught me that delegation is a great word. Surrounded by a group of remarkable women (Lauren, Sylvia, Rebekah, Dawn, Eileen, Katy, Josephine, Andrea, Kim, and Gail), I found the new wine of sharing the load, letting go of control, and trusting in other people.
- Freedom from responsibilities that aren’t mine to bear. Once again, I came by this honestly. From birth, I suppose. Embryonic responsibility syndrome. Have I coined a new term? Finally, while in a very heated situation (which I can’t disclose), I had an AHA! moment. Lightning struck. Bells rang. I woke up to the fact that I am not responsible for everything. What a profound relief. Who do I think I am, anyway? No, I didn’t really think I could help everyone, it was much deeper than that. Somewhere along the path of my life, an innate false sense of responsibility wormed its way into the fabric of my psyche. Only Jesus could remove that weight from my shoulders. AND, he did. The situation wasn’t pretty, but it was necessary.
- Freedom from religion.Growing up Catholic, which I remember fondly, left me with a mentality that “good works” equated “good spirituality.” Nothing keenly obvious to the naked eye, but a subliminal voice that gently nudged me to do more. Do all the right things. Do what everyone expects. Be perfect. Finally, in Tuscany of all places, I had yet another AHA! moment where I realized true spirituality isn’t about “doing” but about “being.” Oh, I’ve thought alot about this concept, but there, on a dusty Tuscan road at dusk, my eyes opened in a way where I got it.
- Freedom from fear.Letting go of three twenty-something children has thrust me into a whole new world of trust, specifically that first born of mine who has fulfilled her childhood mantra of “going off the beaten path” by forging her own. I knew back in 2008, standing in Logan Airport in Boston, that life would forever be a “series of hellos and goodbyes” for our family. This Christmas, though, Candace even commented on the change, “Boy, I feel like I’m just visiting this time. I’m not here to stay.” Home and family took on a whole new meaning this year, yet it is part of life. I still wake up at insane times during the night, wondering what time it is in London or Kansas (where Grant resides) or thinking of Brooke and hoping all is well, but have learned that they are truly not mine, but God’s and that HE takes way better care of them than I ever could.So, I could go one, but enough is enough. You’ve sampled my new wine, now would you share yours? Have you tasted new wine in your life this past year? How did you go about putting it into new wineskin? Do tell.