Monthly Archives: July 2018

Shame is a Liar

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Have you ever tripped over shame? One minute you’re fine, all is good, and the next you are swirling, having a hard time remembering anything true, and you just feel……That’s indicator number one- you begin being held captive by thoughts that are purely emotional. Play gets pressed on the shame tape, beginning these cyclical thoughts of how much you aren’t, how much everyone else is, and what you’ve wasted, maybe you start looking for someone to blame, and soon there you are, beat up and exhausted. Done. You might hear at the end of this battle you believe you’re losing: “Now look, you’ve even wasted this time, you loser!” YUCK! Shame is a liar!

I went through a bought of this hard earlier this summer. It seemed like everywhere I looked, everyone was doing better than me in every facet of life. All I could hear in my mind was how much I was lacking in comparison to everyone else. I felt alone, stupid, empty, and ashamed of being me. Indicator number 2- comparison. Comparison will always lead to death. A slow, horrifyingly painful, murder scene of who you truly are, what you’ve been called to do, and the gifts you bring to the world. Satan comes to steal- and comparison is a crafty con-man who needs to be caught and sentenced for LIFE!

So how do we catch this con team of shame, swirling emotions, lies, and comparison? The Lord has given me a arsenal, that I am hoping will be helpful to someone else.

1) STAY IN GOD”S WORD! The only was to discern a lie, is to know the Truth. And God promises, the Truth will set you free. This will feel like the last thing you want to do when you are feeling so bad about yourself, but its the first and most important thing you can do to stop the lies from having a place in your mind.

2) Journal with Jesus. Sounds simple, but this one step has proved to be one of the most powerful, freeing, aspects of my life. For me, I simply pour out my heart on the page, sharing it all with Him (He knows it all anyways, no use trying to pretend with God!) And then I ask Him, “What are you saying about this? What is true? Would it please You to share anything with me?” Then, I just start writing what I hear. I do not worry at that time, if it’s just me making it up, or if it is really Him. I just freely write what I’m hearing in my mind. I then ask Him to confirm what was Him, through His word. And He does!  There is no pressure to get it right, to be a perfect listener. He is so much bigger than our need to be perfect! He promises, “If you seek me, you will find Me!” So drop the perfectionism, and just seek.

3) Thanksgiving wins the war! I actively offer thanks to God! I look all day for what I can be giving thanks for! And I consider and pray for others all around the world who might not have as much to give thanks for as I do. THAT IS POWERFUL! Is your health fading? Pray for others who are suffering to! Is your money tight? Pray for the poor and needy and hungry around the world. Are your loved ones not following Christ? Pray for them, and for the nations where Christianity is unlawful. Look up, give thanks, consider then entire globe- cry out to God for your needs, and the needs of others!

4) Worship! When my thoughts are being attacked, and I can’t seem to slow them down. Worship usually unlocks peace, which unlocks gratitude, which unlocks JOY. From a place of Joy, by worshipping the God who IS in control, which means I don’t have to be, then I can begin to gain some victory over my thoughts, and fix my mind on only what is true, as we are taught to in Philippians 4.

5) Community. Pursue friendships with people who have God’s opinion of you. Know who is truly in your corner. Cultivate relationships that are deeply meaningful and spiritual. Not sure how to start? Find a small group, and start studying the Bible with other believers. Pray for God to send you the right friends. Pray for the friends you have. Humble yourself and ask for prayer and for help from friends. He will provide these gifts as you follow Him. We are part of One Body, and we all need each other!

If today, play has been pressed on the shame tape in your mind, let me encourage you right now, press stop. Tell God that you desire to get rid of that tape all together. Ask Him to open your ears to what Holy Spirit is saying over you and about you. Ask Him to show you His truth in His Word and through the saints in your life. Choose that today every time the tape tries to play again, you will meditate on a scripture,  sing worship songs, offer thanksgiving, ask others to pray for you, and pray for others around the world.

Shame may come armed with some friends, but you have The One True God, King of Heaven and Earth, The Most High, Almighty God with you! He wins the war! We are victorious in Him! He cares for you! And we will triumph together! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

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Tenderhearted??

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Philippians 2:1 Are your hearts tender and sympathetic?

I mean, honestly, it depends on the moment right? My heart might be tender and sympathetic if I just heard about a horrible, sad, occurrence that took place somewhere in the world. However,  if I just waded through the immense stress of the check out line with two small children, where the person in front of me had nine thousand coupons and it just happens to be the cashier’s first day, by time I get to my car, chances are my heart won’t be super tender.

Hmmmm. So what’s that about? Is my heart tender and sympathetic? What about if I get the opportunity to be offended? Or horrified? Or disgusted? Or inconvenienced? Or maybe all of the above? Lord, are you requiring that my heart always be tender and sympathetic? How is that even possible?

Pursuing this truth caused me to consider what the opposite of tender and sympathetic would be. Cold? Disconnected? Unforgiving? Hard? Unapproachable? Impatient? What do you think of when you consider the opposite? As I contemplated these words in relation to my heart, I began to understand the question the scripture begs more.

What is going on in your heart? “Pay attention to what triggers you to act opposite of Christ. This is where you need Me.” Oh, I see, this is not an opportunity to shame myself for (once again) not measuring up, falling so short of the standard. In fact, nothing the Lord calls us to, is that at all. Instead, each standard is only the sincerest beckoning to run to Him. Without Him, we cannot reach any standard of RIGHT, it’s only with Him and through His blood. But the good news, the very best news is, He never tires of lifting us up, carrying us through, reminding us, and encouraging us. He is faithful.

I asked Him for more. He showed me, Colossians 3:12, “Since God chose you (I mean we could stop right there! What a JOY!) to be His holy people, whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” As I meditated on this scripture, I was reminded of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit out of Galatians 5. Relief swooped in, I am called to clothe myself in who He is, but I don’t have to find it alone. I prayed, “Holy Spirit, fill me up afresh, I choose to put You on, so that when the world sees me, they will really see You. I need You more now, than ever before, and I know tomorrow I will need You even more.”

Sometimes, the enemy wants to aggravate us, to sidetrack, and distract us from what Jesus has called us to. Most often this will come through some opportunity to be offended, hurt, enraged, depressed, or totally overwhelmed. I choose to see that attack as a tip off: Ohhhhh, I have an important mission today, so my enemy wants me defeated. Then I use that to fuel my fire for this world knowing they are LOVED through and through, by Love, Himself.

My resolve will be modeled after Jesus’, as we find in Hebrews 2:2, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.”

I have a goal, to make Jesus by living for Him and with Him.  I will continue to study how Jesus did it by being connected to the Father in utter submission to His Will. I will continue to model my steps, my choices, and my beliefs,

after His. I will finish my race with endurance, by receiving all the Heavenly helps available to me. And with YOU! We will triumph together in Christ!

 

Not afraid of the dark

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I found myself thinking, “I can’t do this.” And I heard the reply within my spirit, “But I can.”

I knew immediately that Holy Spirit was ready to help me. He wasn’t ever expecting me to go at life apart from Him. He is not disappointed in my limits, or my humanness. He made me. He sees me, He knows me better than I know myself.

I listen to the words being read from Psalm 139, “but even in the darkness, I cannot hide from You. To You the night shines bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to You.”

As I hear those words, I consider how often I try to hide when it gets dark. I hear the lies that I can’t be Debbie Downer, and that they are all so sick of my sad story, my pain. But the truth is, God is not afraid of the dark. He will not avoid the dark seasons of the soul. He is ever near.

A friend told me, “Lately, I’ve been thanking God for laments.” To which I instantaneously replied, “I welcome laments from others, but generally despise them coming from me.” She said, “He doesn’t just welcome them, He delights in them.” With those words my heart stopped beating for a second.

Can you believe that? As I contemplated on that thought, I chose to believe it. God never tires of hearing from me. He knows me better than I know myself.  In fact, He lives inside of my heart. He is truly the only One who can fully KNOW me. Why wouldn’t He delight in me opening my heart to Him, even if when I open it what comes out is sorrow?

Psalms 56:8 says, “You keep track of my sorrows. You have collected all of my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.”

I asked, why? Why would You collect tears? If they are that important, maybe there is something powerful in them. I imagined God pouring out our tears into the gardens of our hearts, it was the very substance that brought tremendous growth, delivering incredible fruit.

As it continued, I saw my tears being poured out into the hearts of my children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren. I found myself understanding, just slightly more than before, why my life seems to require so many. Peace and resolve settled in.

Therefore today, I continue to give Him plenty to collect as an offering. I will lament to the Lord if the need arises. I will not try to hide. I choose to ask Him for help. He is showing up, and I’m finding relief.

Resolve to choose joy while simultaneously experiencing what I need to, to be real. Joy doesn’t have to look like happy. Joy is believing in my great salvation in Christ Jesus, and all of it’s benefits, which will never change due to earthly hardships.

Romans 8:18 encourages us, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.”  Joy unspeakable, not hiding in the dark, being genuine, and asking for help. Today will be victorious and my future looks brighter than I can imagine. Praise the Lord!

Just a little more, and then……

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I’m hungry. I’m hungry to create something. Something that matters. I find myself desperate to be a part of something beautiful. To create beauty. To join in. To be a part. I want to write something that will change the world as we know it. I want to paint something that will heal a broken heart and bring the walking dead back to life. I want to be great! I want to do something inspiring and amazing.

I cry out to God! Here I am! Send me. But its more like waving my arms, as in, don’t forget me. I want to be used mightily. And He smiles, turns me around, and shows me the life I already have. He shows me how He has called me and sent me. He sent me to be his wife, and their mother, their teacher, their friend, their daughter, their sister, their confidant. I am called. I am called right here in the place that I’m already in.

Why doesn’t it feel like it’s the GREAT I desire? Why does it feel so insignificant? Why do I always feel this sense of wanting something MORE? It like a constant nagging, that even though I can’t put my finger on it, what I have is not enough. Discontent. Exhaustion. dissatisfaction. He reminds me that all I have right now, began in a place of prayer. I asked for this life, for these callings. And He answered.

You see, I believe this “not enough” sickness is a ploy from our enemy to steal our joy. To steal our moments, to steal our hope. I believe that, at least for me, comparing what I am called to, to what others are called to, is one of the most exhausting parts of this cancerous not enough plague. I have decided to declare war on not enough. I have decided to embrace what I have in my hands and heart, and offer it up to God in thanks.

I choose today to sow my whole self into what is already before me. I choose to no longer wait for the great. I choose to put my full weight into the great that is now. Today, exactly where I am, exactly what I have and what I don’t, is enough. I will honor God by honoring all of the ones He has entrusted me with.

Father, please keep turning me around to see the beauty of the life before me. Help me to guard my heart and mind from thinking everyone else has it better, or simply just easier, than I do. Help me to rejoice in the beauty that is my life, status quo. I trust You with my life, with my present and future. Thank You for covering my past. I admit that all I need more of, is You. Bless me with Your presence and truth all day long today, my daily bread. I see you, and I want more of You. In Jesus’ Mighty name I pray, Amen.