Saturday, July 12, 2014

Accepting What I Have Denied

There is a pain so deep in the core of my being that I have denied its cause my whole life. I don't deny that the pain is there. I have tried to deny how much it truly hurts, but I no longer can. I opened up my heart's ache to the touch of the Lord, so it is no longer possible to deny it.

What I have denied is the whys, the causes, of the pain. There are parts that I have accepted, but parts that I haven't. I have truly wanted somethings to not be true, to not have happened. I have tried to explain them away, excuse them. Last night, the veil was lifted, and I saw it for what it was. I allowed myself to remember what I didn't get that I needed to grow up healthier and more whole than I am. What I don't want to do is stay there. I don't want to stay in the past and let it continue to dictate how I feel about myself now, how I live now.

However, right now, I need to grieve it. I need to allow myself to feel the feelings that I have. I need to guard against bitterness and anger, but I need to allow myself to feel the normal feelings of loss. So I will take some time to feel and let the Lord heal what only He can heal. I know He can and will heal my broken places and help me become the me He is revealing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Praying to Quiet the Thoughts

The other day I was having not-so-nice thoughts about someone. Even as I was thinking them I knew that I needed to stop. I tried to just not think them, but that only worked for a little while, and the yucky thoughts were back. I could physically and emotionally feel the effects of the thoughts. Then a verse popped into my head.

"If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and God will reward you." Proverbs 25:21-22

Specifically, the second part. I know that heaping burning coals on someone's head sounds awful, but it truly is not. In ancient times people traveled from place to place, think of shepherds, since they couldn't just run to the local Walmart to get a fire-starter they had to carry heated coals with them. They would take hot coals from their fire and put them in a box. The box would then be placed on their head as they traveled. That evening they would take the hot coals out of the box and use them to start their fire. Giving someone hot coals was considered an act of kindness. Giving coals to an enemy would obviously be seen as an extreme act of kindness, and according to Proverbs would result in a reward from God.

So what does this have to do with my thoughts? I stopped and prayed for the person I was thinking about and prayed that coals would be heaped on his/her head so he/she would have what is needed on his/her life journey. As I prayed the ugly, unkind thoughts simply stopped. I believe that was God's reward for heaping the coals. In 2 Corinthians 10 we are told to take ever thought captive. I don't know about anyone else, but I find this very hard to do at times. I am a thinker. As a thinker, my mind can go into speeding mode and it is very hard to slow it down enough to even stop the thoughts, let allow take them captive. I believe that by heaping these coals through prayer the Lord helped me to take those unkind thoughts captive.

Now, these heaping-of-coals prayer can be for more than just my enemies. The yucky thoughts I was having were not for an enemy, but rather for a friend. Yea, I just admitted that! I am sure I'm not the only one who has had a bad thought, a judgmental thought, or a even vengeful thought toward someone that I care about. For me it makes the physical and emotional impact even more profound when it is for someone I care about. If I am commanded to give an enemy food, water, and heaping coals, then how much more should I do this for a friend or family member!

Over the last few days a bad thought, a negative memory, and even a judgement has popped into my head. I woke up with one this morning, literally woke up thinking a negative thought about someone. Each time I have stopped and prayed for the person, in a specific direction when possible, but each time heaping those coals on their head. Each time the result was the same. The thoughts were gone, and I know that God truly will put upon that person what he/she needs. Next time you have a not-so-nice thought give it a try and see what the Lord does.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Becoming Myself

The other day I was clicking through my email and deleting the junk. There always seems like there is so much junk! Usually I just click the little box without even viewing the email, you know the ones that are trying to get you to buy something. Well, for some reason I decided to open up one from a Christian book seller. I thought I'd see if there was any fiction books that I might like. Instead I saw a book that jumped off the screen at me. Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You by Stasi Eldredge. The title made me think it was perfect for me! The little blurb confirmed it.

For most of my life I have been hearing all sorts of messages about what is wrong with me. Some of these messages have been external but many have been internal. I am sure that I am not the only one who has heard them and repeated them to myself. I'm too fat. I'm too quiet. I don't say the right thing. I don't do the right thing. I'm not smart enough. I'm not social enough. I'm too passive. I'm not good enough. I'm too damaged. I'm too broken. Etc. Most of the time I believed these messages. These lies.

There are days when I believe these lies wholeheartedly. They are yelling in my mind and my heart. They keep telling me that I need to change. I need to be fixed. They keep telling me that I need to do this or that. That's the key, or the problem, I. I need to lose weight. I need to speak more. I need to say the right thing. I need to do the right thing. I need to be smarter. I need to be more outgoing. I need to be more assertive.  I need to be better. I need to be fixed. I need to be whole. I. I. I.

After only one chapter of this book, I realize that it isn't I who needs to do anything but let go. God is the one who can. He's in the business of transforming people. He doesn't say, "do this list of fix'ems and you'll be all better," or, "once you start the work I'll finish it up for you." Instead He wants me to just give all of me to Him. He will do the transforming. Yes, there are some things that He'll require along the way, but not as prerequisites. Rather they are steps that allow me to flex the fixes that He is working. Kinda like spiritual PT.

Now, I'm not saying you have to read a book, besides the Bible, to get answers, but for me I think this book has already helped me learn something that I need. God already knows who I am, and He wants me to embrace who I am. He is doing the work to change me into that person. "For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his son..." Romans 8:29a. See it there? He is making me become.