Last week was a crazy tough one. Work was particularly stressful and busy. It seemed every person that could possibly take jabs at me took 3 or 4. I had one of the worst headaches I’ve had in a really long time and it lasted ALL. WEEK. LONG. I was really in a dark place emotionally (but now, looking back, I had prayed for it when I asked God to break my heart). I was ready to run away and hide from everyone and every thing. It seemed easier than handling everything that was going on. But, that isn’t my story. I’m not a runner, I’m a fighter. I whether the storms with my Prince of Peace at my side.
After light finally started showing back down the long, dark tunnel in my mind, one of the most amazing lessons was set on my heart in a conversation with God. I had been praying and praying for Him to break my calloused and hardened heart. I didn’t realize how bitter I have been until He gave me a little insight into myself Monday night. (As usual, Sunday morning’s sermon was timed perfectly.) I find myself blaming someone for something that they did not do. I have been carrying pain and bitterness and earthly rejection around in my heart for so long and had never dealt with it head-on. I didn’t realize how it affected every conversation I’ve had with other people. If a part of my heart is hardened and closed off, how can I enter into every conversation with an open heart like we are called to do? How can I truly feel everyone else’s pain if I am secretly harboring my own? How can I love the hard-to-love when I’ve now realized I’m one of the hard-to-love?
It’s funny how Satan gets in our heads and twists up our thoughts and does it for so long and so well that we don’t even question the lies. We don’t think about our over-reactions in depth when they happen because we are so wrapped up in who hurt us or how to throw back another comment that stings a little more. And how many of us (myself included!) go back over what YOU did wrong in a disagreement? Not many. Aren’t we all telling everyone we know about what was done TO us? That is what Satan wants from us. He wants us to hang on to the hurt and lock it away deep in our hearts so it festers and gets deeper and deeper until we don’t really know where it started. We don’t know how to even begin to turn it over to God and ask him to transform it back into something beautiful.
Most of the time, I don’t even know where it started, so how do I forgive the person that wronged me so that I can ask for God’s strength to move on and focus on filling that space with beauty and grace? That is one of the things that I am still working on, but I am getting there. Every day, I’m trying to choose my reactions instead of just letting them happen. And God is so good; He makes it much easier if I ask for help. That’s one of the things I love the most about Him. Even with the small things in my life, He is faithful and He will meet me in the middle of the road, holding out His hand. I do not deserve such treatment, but it is such a blessing to know that I cannot mess up so badly that He will stop loving me.
Do you have something you need to ask for God’s help with? Don’t ever think anything is too petty or childish; He already knows your thoughts and what you need. He just wants to hear you ask for them. What can you fill up your newly emptied spaces with? Ideas for impacting those around you in the name of Christ? What about impacting your family first and making sure they know where the change comes from? Then, see who else around you needs help…and then reach out your hand. We are the body of Christ. We have to act like it and not just talk it. If you are uncomfortable, that means you’re doing something right.
My heart has been tumbling this concept around for a while now. What does it look like to pray? If you don’t pray the “right way,” does that mean God doesn’t care about what you are praying for or for some reason ignores you? “No, He says.” Does it mean that when people who DO bow their heads are listened to with more love or concern? “No. God hears everything we pray and the things we don’t even know how to put into words.” But, I have heard people say that they hit their knees to pray. After hearing that I feel like maybe I’m not doing it right. If I’m not “showing reverence” for my Savior, does that mean I love him any less? Definitely not. So, do you have to kneel? Do you have to bow your head? Does God care how it looks as long as we are talking to Him?
I spend a good amount of my day driving and somewhere between most and all of that time are devoted to singing worship songs and praying before I get to work. But, I also talk to God throughout the day, whether it be to pray for a friend who has asked for it, a situation that has just come mind, or just simply to ask Him to make clear to me what His will is in the situation I’m facing. How could I possibly have my hands folded, head bowed and eyes closed every time I talk to God? But, I feel like I’m not giving Him my all and He deserves nothing less than that.
Is this something that Satan is putting in my head to get me distracted? I really would like to hear some thoughts on what you do or don’t feel you need to do, etc. Are there any scripture references that I don’t know about? Please share your thoughts with me. Thanks! 🙂
One of the things God is working on in me right now is to figure out where I need to be in my walk with Him so I am ready to fulfill the reason He wants me to be here on Earth every day. I know we are called to be disciples and to have a relationship with Jesus, but I feel like there is MORE that I should be doing with my time than getting up, going to work, going home, going to bed…lather, rinse and repeat…day in and day out. Not that being a mother or a friend of Jesus or a disciple are minor things, but I have this restless feeling in my heart that I just can’t put my finger on. Years ago, I thought it was related to a situation that I was in. So now that situation has changed and it remains. Then, I thought it was related to facing trials by myself, so I tried to change that and failed…and my restlessness is still here. So, I think the only possible thing that can fill up that empty, gaping whole in my heart is bringing glory to God (or trying to the best of my flawed ability).
God has been sending me signs and repetition of them from every angle. Bible study class, Sunday morning sermons, books that come through my inbox, songs, etc. I know I’m stubborn so He is repeating them to make sure I am paying attention.
What exactly does God want me to do in this fallen world? I’m not completely sure yet but I am fairly certain it will have to do with writing and other types of creativity. I am working on pushing myself out of the boat (my comfort zone) and having faith in Jesus. (This is another reference that God keeps sending my way.)
Have you figured out what makes you happy beyond belief? How is that bringing glory to God? Please share with me.
There is no doubt about it; I am a rebel. I’m the person who always did the opposite of what someone told me to just for the heck of it. I knew when I first started going to church that submitting to an authority figure was going to be the hardest thing I would ever be asked to do. And it’s something that I have had to work on in stages. First, it was learning more and more about my Savior. Then it was being baptized. After that, I started to study the Bible in more depth and joined some small study groups. Now, I’m volunteering in the church almost every weekend. The newest area that I have surrendered to my heavenly Father is my financial situation through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. One has to be truly devoted to God to be able to submit to Him and ask Him to use you to do His will, not yours.
But, my dreams? My big huge pie-in-the-sky kind of dreams? Certainly God didn’t want to hear what I dream about. He has his own plans for us and I just have to wait for him to open doors when I am standing in the right place at the right time (which I know has happened before). I was (read: am) afraid that His dreams for me are going to make me uncomfortable and probably face the number one thing that I avoid at all costs. What if He wants me to be friends with that one person I just can’t bring myself to forgive for past trespasses? What if He wants me to stand up in front of ridiculously huge audiences and speak to them when I’m terrified of speaking in front of my Bible Study class? What if He wants me to start a new ministry or business and I have no education or understanding of how to even begin to go about it? What if He wants me to do ALL of these things?! I will do whatever my Father leads me to do because I want Him to be given praise, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to be praying for the strength to get through it every day.
I know for me, I am frightened by the thought of sitting around waiting on doors to be opened when I feel like I should be running to be closer to Jesus. Does that mean I will never fall? Absolutely not; I fall every day. But, He offers His grace when we do and picks us back up even when we are at our lowest. How can I NOT want to do whatever He needs me for?! Who am I to tell God that I’m too busy to do what He needs done for building His kingdom?
Please share your thoughts with me! What are the things you avoid at all costs? What are your big huge, pie-in-the-sky dreams? I will share mine with you on another day. 🙂