YOU JUST NEED TO BE REFORMATTED

                                                              By Dee Wieninger

...to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV).



I recently had a very tedious task at work that required copying and pasting one document into another. I couldn't just copy the whole thing and paste it; I had to move a one-hundred-question exam into the rationale (an answer sheet with detailed explanations), one question at a time. The source from which I copied was in Times New Roman font, but the rationale template was in Arial. I was told not to change the original exam, only to place the questions in their pertinent location in the rationale. Hmmmm! I was to do this to nine exams ranging from 80 to 150 questions.


If you work in an office setting and do a lot of typing you will appreciate and comprehend the next paragraph.  If you don't, please hang in there with me and strive to grasp where I'm going. I believe it will ultimately bless! Thanks!


As I began this tedious, monotonous assignment (even the spelling of that word is monotonous:m-o-n-o-t-o-n-o-u-s "o" my goodness!) I thought, ok this will be easy; I should fly right through this thing! Wrong! I would have rather done straight typing of the whole rationale then do this copying, pasting, changing margins, indents, fonts, boldness, tabs, underlines, bullets, tables structures, page breaks, picture sizing, spell check, oh and did I mention indents? Yes, yes I did! I'll say it a third time, INDENTS! These had to be the worst! Anyone who knows anything about indenting bullets knows my frustration! These things take on a life all their own. You can take an A, B, C, D, list from one page and paste it in a new page and they become E, F, G, H!  Unfortunately, the gentleman who created the original exam only used the A, B, C, D, bullet formatter sporadically throughout the test and then hand typed his A, B, C, D, without the auto list whenever the mood struck, which was about 75% of the time. No problem you say? Just highlight my sentences and turn on auto bullet, works like a charm if I just clicked on "restart at ‘A’", but the hand typed A, B, C, and D were still there and I had to move the cursor and delete each one. I would have rather had the E, F, G, H; I would have had eight less moves to make (minimum). I'm afraid that if I go on with this tedious, monotonous description of this project you'll glaze over and quit reading this story, if you haven't already!  The point is as I mumbled to myself about this project God reminded me to "Do all things without grumbling or complaining" (Philippians 2:14). He also reminded me of my previous stories "Turkeys Don't Fly Do They" and the request he made of me "If this is all I allow for you right now will you still honor me in it?" and "Do the Difficult on Purpose". (the title is the reminder!)


As the Lord began to remind me of finding Him and his purpose in this project the thought, "sometimes you just need to reformat" came to my heart and mind! Wow! Let your mind whirl on that for a minute and then I'll tell you some of my thoughts!


God's Word tells us in Galatians that I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV) Ephesians says...to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV).


Okay! So here's what I'm thinking! In keeping with the scriptures we just read I trust that we have all we will ever need from God in Christ to be the person He wants us to be. We just need to be reformatted! In that whole task I described to you I didn't have to add one word.  I only had to place the words into a different document that was going to give the students an explanation for the answer.  This is our life in Christ.  We have everything we will ever need but it needs to be placed into a format that brings out that new life, revealing Christ in me, with clarity and purpose!  


When I finished each test rationale it would be clean, consistent and well organized.  It was something the teacher could hand to a student and know that this college takes pride in the education we offer to our students. Sure we could have thrown all the words on a page and they would have had the answer and its explanation, but it would have taken longer to read and require more deciphering and explanation on the teacher’s part. This document had become a resource and tool to aide both the teacher and the student.


Just for kicks let’s take a look at some of our formatting tools and see how they might assist us in our spiritual and character growth.


There are so many fonts we could incorporate into our lives providing very special personality enhancements! The style, size, and color could reveal our moods or personality and character. These are a matter of personal preference or choice to convey just the right message. I've chosen a few other formatting choices that may be areas we need to utilize in our lives a little more or less.


Bold - the bold font is used to make a certain word or passage stand out. It might be a title of a page or heading for a paragraph. When reading through a document these bolded headings jump out so you can find the topic you're seeking faster.  As a child I was always reminded to not speak back to my elders and that, basically, I should be seen, if need be, and not heard!  This has left quite a challenge for the Lord over the years to encourage me to step up and say or do the things He's put on (in?) my heart. I realize now, at the age of sixty, this does not come easy for a person whose thoughts and opinions were stifled as a kid. Years ago, as a new Christian, I was a member of a church where the pastor and other ladies encouraged me to step up, to lead and teach. They convinced me the gift was in there; it just needed to be formatted in such a way that I believed I could do it. I needed to be more bold; never taking the message off Jesus and our Father God but to love and encourage others to turn to them. Do you need to be more bold? Do you need to reach deep inside yourself to bring out what God has in there to the plan and purpose He has for you? Are you in leadership in your church already? Do you have the opportunity to encourage others, church members who might have some of those same childhood struggles that, if just given a chance they, and you, might be blessed by witnessing what God has inside them. Be a little more bold! You might be amazed at what you find God has tucked inside you!


Margins: (See how bolding that word made it stand out to state what this paragraph is about? Our boldness should do the same in our lives; this is what I am about!) Margins are a setting or boundary in which your document may appear. We use a one inch margin around our whole document where I work. It keeps everything nice and tidy. We don't have one paragraph starting way left and ending in the middle and the next paragraph starting in the middle and running off the page to the right. Margins allow you to have a clean starting and ending point on each page, top and bottom, left and right.  Do you have boundaries in your life or do you need some margins that enforce that you can only go this far and no further?  Do you have one set of margins when you're with Christian friends but a different set when with non-Christians? Do you even have margins that incorporate God and the boundaries He has ordered for your life? You might be pleasantly surprised how surrounding yourself within God's margins will give you a safer more concise purpose for your life.



Tables are a resource that provides columns and rows with those same clearly defined boundaries similar to margins but more to a page. 
They allow you to cleanly define a heading to each column and row labeling what the column defines, i.e., Name, Address, Phone Number.  
There are times in our lives that we might need a table in order to maintain a well-defined structure and organization of our time and commitments with columns defining

 
 Work
Home
Church
Hobbies
Community Service
 etc.  
 

Indents - Now for those nasty indents that made my life miserable. Indents help to keep numbered or bulleted items in a straight line, setting them off under a topic to which they refer.  Actually, it wasn't the indents themselves that were difficult it was the auto-indents.  It's sort of like the auto-correct we have on our I-devices or computers. They can be so frustrating!  Do you have auto-responses to situations in your life? Do you automatically get angry when people disappoint you and then respond with a cursing and/or rantings?  When life gets difficult or disappointing do you automatically choose vices such as food, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs to comfort or reward yourself?  These might fill the void for a moment but end up creating other situations that you never wanted or intended i.e. 


obesity 

cancer 

alcoholism

chemical dependence


It might be time to reformat your auto-response! Maybe it’s time to respond with 


prayer 

Bible study

counseling (with a strong Christian friend)  


Maybe it's time to turn off your fleshly auto response and have more control over the choices you make in these areas of your life. Once we have trained ourselves in response to the stressors in our lives we can turn that auto response back on and begin responding in a more positive, productive way that blesses our lives as well as those around us.


One more function available in most document structuring software programs, that I personally could not live without, and I would be remiss in leaving it out, is Spell Check. I always have this turned on not only because I'm a lousy speller but when I'm clipping along at about 60 words a minute I have a tendency to hit a few wrong keys. Spell Check is right behind me either automatically correcting words or underlining them so I can easily proof and correct my document. Wouldn't this be a magnificent feature to have in our lives? How about we call it Life Check. As we go through our days this device is right there to clean up our messes. When I auto respond to friends or loved ones in anger or neglect Life Check is right there to fix it.  If I accidentally hurt someone Life Check is right there to make all things new. Well, the Lord Jesus Christ is our Life Check, our Spell Check! He doesn't necessarily make it like it never happened, but he does offer grace, mercy, love and forgiveness so that guilt and shame can be eradicated and relationship can be restored with our Heavenly Father God and those loved ones or neighbors whom you hurt. Why would anyone refuse to utilize this function in their lives? 


I know if I take an advanced class in Microsoft Word and learn how to better utilize all the formatting features available to me these typing tasks might be easier and less frustrating.  Sometimes knowing just enough to get by hinders our abilities, slows the process and totally frustrates us. It's the same with our walk with the Lord. Thinking that you have a belief in some higher power out there somewhere in the cosmos or that you're "good enough" to get into your understanding of heaven because you haven't murdered anyone only hinders, slows and frustrates all areas of your life especially your relationship with our Father God. God has all you will ever need! Trust His Son and the plans He has for you.


Be bold and stand out in representation for your God, create margins and tables in your life that give you safe structure and parameters, train your auto response indents with positive and loving reactions, and trust in Jesus our Life Check; he loves you too much to leave you as you are. Begin to reformat your life in such a way that your life is a carbon copy of Him or in keeping with today's technology...a scanned copy! 


God Bless!

 

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20 ESV).


For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin (Romans 6:6).

 

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices. 

(Colossians 3:1-3, 9 ESV).

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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