Healing, Life Journey, Thoughts on God

Humble Dependency

I have been really mean to myself this week – really down on myself for shortcomings, ugly/raw reactions, messy processing of emotions, etc. And, of course, I have plenty of Bible verses swirling in my head to back up why I should be upset with myself for not doing x, y, or z or for feeling icky feelings:

“So far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone.”
“Turn the other cheek.”
“They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
“Fruits of the Spirit…” are not anger, mourning, frustration, sorrow.

Luckily, I just had a perspective pivot (courtesy my amazing counselor). She said:

“Instead of seeing yourself as a failure or being hard on yourself for not doing things the way you’d like to, how about saying, ‘Papa, I am not You. My ways don’t ever look like Yours, but that’s not because I’m a failure, it’s because I’m not You. I need You because I am not You. I am humbly dependent upon You because, while I am amazing, I’ll never be You, and that’s ok, because I have You.'”

I think that far too often, we unnecessarily brow-beat ourselves and take verses out of context to hold ourselves in contempt. Yes, we are called to forgive and to love and to live in peace. However, we are not called to be doormats or punching bags or enablers of poor behavior. What we don’t learn soon enough is that sometimes love looks like not allowing someone to continue to behave poorly and to ruin their relationships with hurtful behavior. Yes, we will eventually land on love and accept His peace, but we must give ourselves the grace to grieve and process the emotions, just as they are, first.

So here’s one: “Love others as you love yourself.” THAT right there is permission to love yourself well so that you can love others better. You love yourself by honoring your process, with all the ugly, messy emotions that come up, and listening to what you want/need. If you can’t do that for yourself, you won’t be able to do it for others. Keeping your peace and love on look like being really kind to yourself by recognizing that you’re not God and never will be. And that’s ok, because He is God, so you don’t have to be. But you are human, a spectacular one at that, and humans were created to have emotions – even “negative” ones. Celebrate your humanness, knowing that the God spot is already taken by the One who fearfully and wonderfully made you, process and all.

Today, if only for a moment, may you grant yourself the grace Jesus died to give you – He loved you enough to believe the sacrifice was well worth it, so let Him align your mind and heart to His love. Give Him permission to be God and take your glorified place by His side.

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Thoughts on God

On Mess & Stress

After opening my eyes to feelings of anxiety this morning, I was like, “What the heck? This isn’t me.. What’s up, God?” Waiting for His answer, I stared out over the landscape of my bedroom. My pulse quickened with embarrassment upon noticing the overwhelming mountainous mess. This past month of travel and transition cultivated bad habits, leading to “I’ll deal with this later” and shoving items into bags or drawers or piles. If I needed quick access to something, I just shifted piles around like puzzle pieces. I told myself it was organized chaos: I know where everything is even if it looks like an explosion. This only worsened as guests would come on short notice, causing me to hide messes from other parts of my house by throwing them into my room and closing the door.

The problem is, a mess hidden from view is still a mess, organized chaos is still chaos, and it’s a horrible waste of time trying to bring order to something that, by very definition, lacks order.

A knock on the door interrupted my pondering. The landlord’s repairman had finally come to knock out my list. “Oh no,” I thought with dread. “He will have to go into my room! The mess will be revealed! This can’t happen!” I briefly considered shoving the whole mess into a giant pile – some bare floor space might make it look at least a little better? No, I’d lose any semblance of organization I still have going for me. “Well, maybe I’ll just tell him to come back?” No, I had been waiting a week already and the repairs were necessary as they were beginning to effect my ability to function in the space and host guests comfortably. I was going to have to let him into my room, in all it’s mountainous glory – I hung my head, avoided eye contact, and muttered excuses about having been traveling, whatever.

Noticing my posture and panic, it struck me: I no longer live in shame, and nothing gets to allow it back into my life. So then why was I responding this way? He’s just a guy trying to help improve my living conditions, and I seriously doubt he cares what my room looks like. In fact, he’s probably seen worse!

Right then, God showed me that my internal world looks a little like my bedroom right now: I’ve been so busy meeting people, serving others in crisis, and rushing around that all my personal messes have just been piling up in the bedroom of my chest. The places people get to see have been swept clean, leaving the secret, quiet place cluttered – there can be no real rest in a cluttered nest. I’ve been asking God many questions and waiting on Him for some major life decisions to be made, but how can He do that if it’s all been piling up behind a closed door to a room that I am too embarrassed and busy to open? Behind that door, so many moments needing to be processed and put away properly have been tossed into the “later” pile. And this was ok for a time, but my anxiety is flagging that we’ve hit max capacity.

Ready or not, it’s time to slow down, open the door, let Jesus into the mess, and deal with everything…shoe by shoe, paper by paper, pile by pile.

But isn’t it so good to know that He’s patient with our processes? Where we are content to sleep in squalor and step through mess, God says we were made for more. Yet, He won’t force the door open until we’re ready – He’ll just stand there and knock, tool belt at the ready. If we allow the resulting panic or embarrassment to be indicators and immediately ask Him what needs to be done, shame and anxiety are denied a place to take root.

Because I let the Lord’s Repairman (wink wink) in this morning, my heater is now breathing warmth back into my halls, I will not be trapped in my room again by the broken doorknob that kept falling off, and my fire alarms will sound and save me from fiery peril. What’s more, he noticed some cosmetic issues with my car that I’d just accepted as permanent and fixed them on his way out. BONUS! What would God withhold from us, His precious kids, if only we’d give him the permission? He always does more than we could ever ask or hope for because He never settles for less than everything His Son died to give us, even if we do.

P.S. He never leaves us in serious mode very long – Joy always comes in the morning. After setting things right, He sang this perfect little reminder to me and invited my heart to join in by making an incredible video…I’ve been dancing the anxiety away! Enjoy:

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God Doesn’t Answer Prayers… At Least Not Mine

The ambulance screams past. There’s that feeling in my gut again. “Pray for them, right now,” it says.

But then the voice of “reason” chimes in. That one that swoops in with anxiety and accusation and laziness. “You don’t even know them,” it says. “It was probably nothing, and if it is, surely someone who knows them will be praying. They’d actually have the authority to, really, since they actually are involved. I mean, what’s my one little whispered plea gonna mean in the grand scheme? I don’t even know what I’m praying for, specifically.”

The more I sit with this, I find that I believe a lot of lies about prayer. Maybe a few might be permeating into your psyche as well:

“I’m not in the right mind to pray right now.”
“If I pray right now, I won’t say the right thing.”
“I don’t have time to pray through that – I’ll have to set aside a special chunk of time or I might get lost in this.”
“I feel like I should pray, but it probably won’t really matter anyhow.”
“Wow.. what a bummer. I’ll pray for them…later.”
“I’ll pray for you!”
“Someone else is probably covering it, so it’s ok if I skip.”

“God totally answers prayer…just not MINE.”

Even worse: “It’s better if someone else prays for it because if I do, I’ll probably block their blessing/healing..”

Yesterday as I was pulling up to the house and reaching to turn down the radio, I suddenly felt the urge to pick up my phone, start recording, and turn up the K-Love (I didn’t, kinda like when I feel the urge to pray and then don’t). A man started talking about how his wife was struggling with prayer – why pray? Does God really answer prayer? Do my prayers really make a difference…like, REALLY? Well his story gave me chills and left me kicking myself for not taking the Spirit’s prompting to record.

Teaser (and spoiler) – His wife was driving down the highway and came upon an accident. She decided she’d just say a prayer on the off chance it would matter, and continued driving. After some time passed, they had a knock on their door – it was the woman in the car accident. She said the last thing she remembered before dying (yes, DYING) in that accident was seeing the wife’s van driving by with a huge bright pillar of light beaming skyward.

Boom. Life. Amazing.

Luckily, I found it on the K-Love blog! Take a listen HERE

I also stumbled upon this blog post by Erin Davis on Lies Young Women Believe that gives a good Biblical look at “at least eight specific reasons why our connection to God gets blocked.”

I don’t know about you, but I need a daily, perhaps hourly, dose of testimony to keep me kickin’ and believing that He really (REALLY) does listen, that I don’t have to be a heavy-hitter like Heidi Baker or Billy Graham for my prayers to literally span the gap between life and death…

…that even the smallest prayer is like a lightning strike.

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