Living on the edge of the Muskoka region...our house is built on the rock....As I glance out of my kitchen the front yard area consists of jagged, massive rock formation, some covered with moss, others with yellow flowers and still others with amazing patterned mineral deposits and colours.
Dennis, being the obsessive, driven alpha man that he is likes to wash the rock to keep it bleached looking and pristine. As I sat on the rocks watching him do this, he remarked that...
“The dirt gets trapped in the crevices.” at that moment it felt is if God was speaking to me and saying...yes that’s what happens in our lives...
You see we all have cracks and crevices. Areas of hurt and past failures that do not heal properly. Areas that we haven’t quite submitted to the Ultimate and Masterful Healer, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We won’t release the final hurts and pain over to Him. We then try to continue on with our lives, but the crevices still collect the dirt!
I don’t know what your ‘dirt’ is, I do know mine...There has been plenty of ‘dirt’ I would like to pretend didn’t happen.... areas of behaviour that I could have avoided, bad decisions and choices I made. People I hurt, people that hurt me (physically and emotionally). Too many areas to even begin to list here....
Who am I fooling?
God knows it all...God heals it all and takes it to the farthest place to bury it, why can’t I?
Because dirt collects in the crevices, they are deeper sometimes than we allow Him to reach. We like to try to figure out these things ourselves. Sometimes we just can’t.
So go on then...Let God reach down to those deepest, darkest crevices and wash away the dirt once and for all. Believe He can do it..He will fill it with His love and grace...
God’s reach is limitless...
All moms know about security blankets, or security objects....In England, growing up it was a little different...I had security hankies that I used to put across or around my face. I have no clue where that came from, but it was a habit of comfort, or coping. When things got really bad I would bite the hankies, and that’s what gave me buck teeth as a kid. I would bite and pull on the fabric continuously - so much so that it pulled my front teeth forward.
As a grown woman - sans buck teeth! I know I need the power of God to release my locked-in negative thinking. Ruts can become security blankets in our lives...easier to stay put than to break out of the rut and do something different. If I am honest with myself I know that my negative, ingrained opinions and entrenched conclusions can become my emotional security blanket.
I don’t want to be that person any longer...
Doing nothing is also a decision in itself...It takes guts to leave ruts!
Time to climb out of that rut...whatever it is, I know mine. Do you know yours?
A rut is a grave with the ends blown out...I am stepping out of mine to new horizons...Banking on faith of my Savior to lead and guide me. Looking to Him to show me the way.
Come with me...Climb out.
Dare to do something different.
Dare to go back to school...no matter your age - or lack of previous schooling.
Dare to move to a new place...Some place you have dreamed of.
Dare to tackle something new - a fitness regime, a diet, a new language, a new skill.
Dare to come alive and try something completely new.
God’s abilities for you and for me are SO big...
Go On Then...Do it. Leave that security blanket and run from that rut!
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.
My eyes are closing, just dropping off into slumberland...and here it comes, the mind starts buzzing and I am thinking about 100 different things...Stuff that could be concerning, regrets, should haves, this may happen, that may take place, what ifs and if only I could flood into my now racing brain. Is it me, or the enemy of my soul? The deceiver, the one that contaminates my mind with lies. Maybe that sinister bully wants to weaken me, wants to deprive me of a good nights sleep, while at the same time stressing me, testing my faith and allowing my mind to wander into unhealthy places.
Will I allow my whole being to go there, or will I resist?
I am trying harder and harder to resist...to withstand his annoying charges at my sense of well-being, the rest I need in the arms of my Lord and Savior, Jesus.
How? By getting deeper and deeper into His Word, by memorizing His Handbook that I can recall at times like this, when the enemy is trying to challenge my peace and comfort, hinder my rest and rouse me from my beauty sleep. Heaven knows, we women need to get our forty winks - or else watch out world - I turn completely wretched without my sleep.
So I am trying something different. As the negativity slips in and the fears arise. I am filling my mind with Jesus - His promises and His affirmations that attest I can rest fully in Him. Then ta-da - I start to feel a little more relaxed, and slowly the gloomy, pessimistic thoughts dissipate and I feel better. The peace that really does surpass my human understanding is available.
I just have to tune in.
Feed your faith and fear will starve.
Sounds so basic, so easy....and really it is IF I just do it. I tend to have a steel trap as a mind for the negative, and a sieve-like mind for the positive. I am working on changing that bit-by-bit. It is slow process, but so beneficial.
So tonight as I lay my head on the pillow - no double talk from the enemy of my soul, but a mind filled with good stuff, hope, grace, peace and a good dose of mercy from the Lover of my Soul.
Go On Then.. Believe it...
Peace I leave with you: my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Hard to admit - but it’s true...I grew up trying to get the affirmation I was okay by pleasing people. I would get affection by doing what made them happy, agreeing to things in order to make people like me. It originated from living a childhood of abuse, neglect and fear, and this behavior was a trait that just made it easier to skip through situations without backlash. Only problem is, as an adult it tends to linger, and finally I am at the point of breaking this vexatious tendency.
I have taken my sweet time getting to this point - but no complaints...
I am free to say NO or YES
I realize that God has gifted me for a unique role in my life. He never promised it would be an easy journey, and it hasn’t been. I have had my fair share of critics, but I am trusting that as I keep my eyes focused on Him, He will be there for me. Sometimes people whip around negativity with full-force to achieve what they want. I end up wasting my time and energy trying to recover from their stinging words or criticism. So without further adieu I am stepping into the water - no I am jumping into the water, not just dipping my toe, and I have abandoned my water wings - the pleasing people ones. My lifeline is securing myself to what God has purposed for me.
So even if my voice shakes...I will do what God is calling me to do.
I am ready to do what is really important for my freedom and peace.
Go On Then...Read Romans 8:31-39 from The Message.
It says it ALL.
Here is a taste...
“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?”
When people try to put you down, or sabotage what you are doing by ignoring you, ridiculing you or fighting with you...Let it Slide...
When you are doing something that is not in the norm of what everyone else is doing, people get sort of nervous, they don’t get it, they think you are crazy!
How can you do that? How is that going to work? How will you eat? How will you survive... Oh you know her....she has lost her marbles! Frankly, I don’t know how these things will happen - and I think that is okay not to know. Let’s face it, even the best planned and organized events do not always work out as expected.
God has a plan for each one of us, and when we follow it, this may not necessarily fall into the pragmatic scheme that our culture dictates for us.
So as for me, I am following God’s design for me...How will it turn out? His blueprint for my life is the one I need to pursue.
How do I know?
I trust, I listen - sometimes out of desperation and I believe...That’s it.
Candidly I believe God is doing new things, through new people, in new ways, and I want to be part of that!
Go on then ‘Nay Sayers’...Let it Slide...
Positive is undoubtedly the best attitude to choose.
Sometimes it’s harder than others. When the sun is shining, when the soft breezes blow, when the bank account is healthy, when you feel vital and in control, when the kids are in a safe relationship or place, when your emotional tank is full - it’s easier to comply with this petition. Other days it’s snowing, raining or cloudy, the wind is knocking down trees, you are financially broke, you feel lousy, the kids are running havoc or out with some questionable friends, you are running on empty - feeling knocked around and dispassionate about life.
What do we do then?
Renewing our mind needs to kick in hard here!
As irrational as it sounds...try this.
Remember no other animal has the capacity to be a believer in God - this is our unique heritage.
Out of the cemetery of your hopes and dreams, re-establish new ones. Think about how you would like things to be at this moment. No, no I am not talking about winning the lottery, be a little patient with that one. I am asking you to draw a mental image. Ask God to give you a vision, or an image of hope. The sub-conscious, like a roll of undeveloped film picks up on the image and moves you into a motivational phase.
Your enthusiasm and energy will be released and you can start to feel better...
Go On Then, try it...
The power of a positive idea is greater than the power of a negative idea...
“The me I see is the me I’ll be. If I cannot see it. I will never be it. Until I believe it, I will never achieve it.”
Don’t let the enemy cross the threshold of your mind...
Are you clinging to anything?
Anything in our lives we hold on to that ends up holding us becomes bondage in some way or another. What starts off as entitlement thinking, becomes dependence, that eventually turns to bondage. These thoughts are made by habit patterns, like echoes in our minds, that over time get burned into our minds through repetition. Negative stuff that is said to us (verbal abuse.) Things we see, things we hear. What may happen is that these thought patterns take up residence in our mind and stay there.
They can end up ruling our life!
Sometimes strongholds are built piece by piece for our own protection, however they inevitably become a self imposed prison for us.
Regardless of the stronghold, they all have one thing in common.
The enemy of your soul is fueling your mental tank with toxic deception to keep the stronghold or bondage running. Turn off his engine.
Renew your mind with the word of God...Go on then...blitz yourself with some serious spiritual exercise. Put your spiritual mind on a vigorous workout program...Give your mind a good dose of spiritual vitamins and minerals - Withhold all negative consumption. It will clear your thinking and start to fill your mental tank with good positive, healthy thoughts.
Stretch your faith by increasing your expectations.
Acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths... (based on Proverbs 3:6)
Each day has a beginning and an end. There are all sorts of characters, all sorts of settings. A year goes by like a chapter from a novel.
Time flies by. We are but vapors in the breeze.
Sometimes the story seems like a tragedy. Sometimes like a comedy. More often it feels like a soap opera. Whatever happens, it's a story from start to finish. There are many stories I would like to re-write.
Only God has the answer to these stories.
I would have two more children at home. Carl, a jealous ex-husband would not be in prison for shooting and killing my sweet friend Ginny. Michael would not have hung himself in his barn. My wonderful friend Cheryl would have her 21 year old son off at University, instead he took his own life last year. Sorin, the son of other lovely friends, would not have died this last Mother’s Day.
But I am not the Author....
And I am glad I am not. With each one of these precious people...God has turned their pain into purpose, the misery into ministry, and their devastation into beautiful messages of hope and restoration. They I know would love to re-write their stories. God is however slowly and masterfully re-penning their story, through the pain and long starless nights.
Sweet and sudden reverence can be seen in their stories. Their love journeys of living and moving and having their being in Christ has led them through dark valleys and back out into the light on the other side. Even as they struggle with some of their issues, Christ meets them daily, moment by moment with flickers of hope and encouragement.
How do we avoid the fracture of our hearts? We have to stay attached to the vine. We do this by being in constant communication with our Lord Jesus Christ, by developing a day to day relationship with Him. Talking to Him, Listening to Him. Even in the midst of our trials, and in the midst of our joy. Stay attached to the vine. It is truly the only way to bear fruit.
Go On Then...Pray, Remain in Him.
How can we be effective for God. Number One in my book is to remain yourself, don’t try to be some super hero, or pretend to be this superb, squeaky clean, ‘got it all together’ type person...Let’s get real here, we are all trying to be better, but frankly we just can’t.
Not without the help of Jesus in our lives.
Try being nice - I mean really nice, be exceptionally kind and say nothing negative for a day...my bet is you can’t do it by your own self-effort. You need to call on the only One perfect person around that can help you with that. Do you really think you can be kind for the rest of your life without the inner help of Jesus? I know I can’t do it...One day of kindness is a miracle. What about Forgiving? Generous? Honest? Do you really think you can overcome your lifelong strongholds without some sort of Lazarus-style breakthrough? Have to be bitterly honest here...It simply will not happen, not without the life of Jesus in you.
So to be effective, first we need to be who we truly are...warts and all. Then we need to dig into our deepest wounds, what the enemy has tried to use against us. This is where God will use our bruised self - to minister and help others. That is where we are truly effective. When we have walked that walk, travelled along that lonely, dark path, across the bridge of bitterness, through the murky valley and back out to the light on the other side. This is where Christ will meet us and use us to help others struggling with the same issues. Here He will come, day by day, minute by minute with rays of hope and encouragement.
If you are not drawing your life from Jesus, it means you are trying to draw it from some other source. I’ll guarantee that it’s not working...
When you reach the point of encountering those things in your life, which you cannot handle. - then, sometimes only then, you are forced to turn to Jesus.
So use your potent power, be helpful, benefit others, be valuable and useful by sharing your deepest hurts to be your most effective in ministry.
Go On Then...Try it.
Reach out to someone with the life of Jesus in you...
Be your most effective self.