It seems we are always searching, seeking, and running after something. We seek relationships to satisfy our longing for intimacy. We pursue careers to make it in this world. We search for significance or purpose through various means.
We must keep a close eye on the direction of our souls (mind, will, emotions). They often have a mind of their own.
Misguided pursuits that have one goal in mind, to satisfy misguided desires that were never meant to be fulfilled. Many feel the only way to satisfy these desires is to yield. They foolishly believe to give in, is the end of the struggle.
But even then, they quickly discover that the surrender leaves them and they succomb to something they quickly regret.
I have a client I’ll call Maddy. She was constantly searching for meaning to her life. But she doesn’t understand why nothing she tries ever brings satisfaction. In and out of relationships, jobs, marriages, and so many other things, she finally reached out for help. She was so lost and confused. She had struggled for years, but when she finally reached the bottom of herself she sought help. Today, she is finding so much purpose to her life and has been set free from that nagging dissatisfaction she lived with for years. How? She realized that Jesus can fill her empty self.
The answer is, simple, really.
And I always feel the simpler we make understanding spiritual growth in our lives, the easier it is to apply it to our lives.
I’ll be honest, I once had an addiction to ministry….yes, you read that right. I would spend all of my time developing and teaching bible studies and ministering to people every time the church doors opened and had my own outreach outside the church building. The problem, though, was that my personal life had so many serious marital issues that I was frustrated with and needed to confront, but just couldn’t find the energy to do anything, so I searched for something else to take up brain space. I convinced myself that as long as I was in service to the Lord He would take care of my life. I was so spiritual I ignored my marriage, and ultimately lost it.
Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, friends.
I got my accolades and validity from people and not the Lord.
and I became addicted to it….
It was a back and forth struggle. One part of me loved indulging in it, but the other part knew it was not a wise use of my time. I repented several times in my failings, but finally lost most of everything I was ignoring.
You see I wasn’t using faith….I dismissed my dislocated busy-ness by saying it was for the Lord,
As if He could only use me and no one else.
I think any human has the capability to become hooked on anything. We generally assume addictions are limited to those who abuse narcotics, drink alcohol to cope, gamble their money away, or view sexual content on the internet regularly.
Addictions can come from any angle. They wrap tightly around us until we are enslaved to them. Why are they so powerful? Because they give us a sense of fulfillment or pleasure−although short lived. They start off seeming innocent, but the more we come back for more, the more we become imprisoned.
Romans 6:16 reads, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey…..
Slaves is a strong word. A word that we don’t like to identify with our own lives.
Have you noticed how easy it is to identify the problems of others? We may see an area of weakness in their personality and we inwardly identify the changes they need to work on, especially if it is not a problem in our own lives.
As a person who does not usually get easily angered, I can quickly identity the wrong in someone who is angered or irritated easily. It’s so easy for me to judge them because it’s not a weakness for me. It takes brokenness and humility to turn inwardly and admit my own enslavements, and then turn to God for help.
Are there areas of enslavement in your life that you want to be free from?
The answer is simple. We were created with a vacancy, an empty place, within ourhearts that was only…ONLY meant to be filled with God.
That’s it! Not complicated!
We try to fill that emptiness with everything we can find to satisfy us temporarily. It will NEVER work. You will ALWAYS come to the end of yourself and realize you still aren’t happy or joyful or fulfilled….and you move on to something else.
Our most lonely place is when we are missing our loving creator, our King, our Jesus and we need to sit with Him and talk to Him about our hearts and what we need.
Service to Him will follow that relationship of intimacy that will so fill you to satisfaction you can’t help but want to share it with others.
Service follows relationship. No amount of service, if you don’t have the relationship of intimacy with God, will ever satisfy you. You will wonder why you feel burned out and disillusioned.
Because you were walking in an illusion of thinking “things” “people” “service” (fill in your own word) will satisfy.
Maybe you like all the things that fill your life right now, and you see no need to examine their place in your life.
The thing is, we will never come to a place where there is no need for change and growth.
There is always room for cutting off, turning away from, getting to the root of things. Our pride, selfishness, jealousies, evil motives, and the like require a daily examination…I have many such talks myself.
You will only get as much of God as you want.
It’s up to us how close we draw near to God. The less we want, the less we will seek. The more we want, the more we will seek.
“So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus”(Matthew 14:29).
I am changed.
I have been through some stuff lately that I can’t even bear to talk about, but yes, it has changed me.
I have had to let go of things that have hurt me deeply. The kind of hurt that centers in your core and takes your breath away.
And I won’t ever be the same.
Oh, yes, I believe in restoration and healing, but some things that happen to us, change us forever.
But maybe that isn’t a bad thing. Nothing, and I mean nothing, the enemy tries to take away from us, will be lost forever.
Restoration is coming….deliverance is coming…..healing is coming.
See Jesus walking on the water to your storm tossed boat.
My very foundation has been shaken to the core but I surrender it all to Him.
He is there in the darkness,
in the sad and lonely,
and in pictures of our lives changing to a sad distortion of what we once knew.
How would we even survive this world without Him. If you haven’t chosen Him as your Savior, whatever do you do with your fear and pain? How do you find peace?
We all can get distracted, especially when the storms of life rage around us.
It’s not easy to keep your eyes on Jesus in the middle of the night, when fear threatens to overwhelm you.
Very often our purest vision of Jesus comes when the storms of life threaten to capsize the tiny boat of our faith.
I love the scene in the movie Shack, where Mac is in the little boat out on the lake and his fears take over. The boat is capsizing to a ravaging black monster of fear that seems very real to Mac and water is pouring in……but then through the raging noise around him He hears Jesus yelling at him, “Mac, Mac, look at Me, look at Me!!! It took a while for Mac to look up and see Jesus…but, oh, when he did, the deception of fear disappeared….and he reached out and took the hand of Jesus and stepped out of the boat with Him on the water.
I hear quite often, “Dixie, look at Me!!! Dixie, look at me, look at me!! Take my hand.”
The wind always blows around us. The mighty storms come sooner or later. We have no choice or control over when the storm comes.
Today the sun may be shining;
tomorrow we may find ourselves toiling against the wind and rain, tossed about by adversity. Life can turn on a dime. We all know that.
What happened to Peter can happen to any of us. And most likely will.
For a brief moment, Peter forgets about Jesus and remembers who he is and where he is. He is Peter, a Galilean fisherman who belongs back in the boat. In that instant he looks down at his feet and sees nothing but water underneath. His mind comes to a quick conclusion:
“I’m not supposed to be walking on this water; this is impossible.”
When he lost his concentration on Jesus, he began to sink.
The lesson is clear for all of us.
Pray for “concentrating faith.”
For eyes that see beyond the present.
Lean into Him with all your focus and might.
You can survive any storm if you keep your eyes on Jesus.
Lord Jesus, help me to walk on the waters of faith because you can calm every storm.
As a Life Purpose Coach I believe that we are all called, have gifts and talents, and are incredibly loved by our Creator. Everything that we encounter in life prepares us for the next season in our calling.
I also believe that everyone of our gifts are as important as the next persons. We are all working towards the same goals and each and every one of us are highly loved and valued by Jesus!
What I’ve discovered over the years is that many women have an incredibly difficult time discerning what that calling is. The trials of life and the many mixed or misunderstood messages they have heard from various teachers have left them feeling like they never measure up to what God has for them to do. For these struggling women, certain myths about calling are getting in the way of discovering what God truly has for them.
If you’re feeling lost trying to discern God’s calling for your life, consider these myths that may be tripping you up.
Myth #1: It’s About You
The process of discovering your calling may necessitate some serious self-reflection, but make no mistake: It’s not really about you. Calling is not about self-fulfillment. It is a discovery of your preciousness, your beauty, and your gifting…..a plan set up for you from before you were born to fulfill….and the revealing of it is directly related to what you have experienced in your life through every trial and every experience, both positive and negative, to prepare and train you to be able to see others come to know who He is through your life.
Calling is a revealing and fulfillment of God’s will for your life.
Many people experience a special sense of satisfaction that comes from exercising their God-given gifts, talents, and passions, but that sense of fulfillment is a byproduct of being in God’s will, not the goal.
To discern what God’s will may be, you do need to look inward. You must seek to “know yourself” in order to discover God’s unique creation in you. Sometimes we can’t see outside of ourselves and being in community with other’s who know you can help to get a better picture. This is why we need each other.
And sometimes we miss the obvious– thinking it couldn’t possibly be important enough to be a calling. I have had women come to me in their season of child rearing, crying because they just don’t feel important to God because He has not revealed to them a calling. And there beside them stood their children.
Do you know raising children is one of the highest callings there is? To raise a child to love and honor God with their own lives is the calling of a Mother. Yes, one day those babies will be on their own and you will be free to pursue other gifts and callings, as each season of your life reveals more and prepares us for the next season.
Myth #2: If It’s Uncomfortable, It Can’t Be Your Calling
Nope, not even close. Figuring out your calling isn’t an instant ticket to a smooth life and career. As a matter of fact sometimes we get so stuck in our comfort zones of dysfunction, we would choose to stay there, because at least it is familiar, right?
Knowing what you are meant to be doing is really just the beginning of what may be a long and arduous journey of hardship and defeat. Some of the most successful, inspired people throughout history have pursuit of their paths that has included feeling like a failure….but rest assured,
Not one of your failures is wasted…it is all a part of the plan, and what makes the difference is that you
DON’T GIVE UP!!
For most of my life I struggled with what I was doing, even when I was very busy doing “the work of the Lord”, the way I saw it…,
God is never finished with us and even while I was so busy, make no mistake, He continued to reveal to me those places I kept hidden that needed to be healed. I fell flat on my face many times.
I faced plenty of hardships and failures at work and in my personal life. These challenges helped me grow and learn more about God and more about how God created me to serve him, eventually leading me into Life Coaching much to my surprise. Now that I am a Life Coach and have been for many years, I continue to enter into places of so much pain I sometimes question where He is taking me now.
Your calling is most of the time a stretch assignment. Moses is a great biblical example:
He had no doubt about what God wanted him to do. God spoke to Moses through the burning bush, giving him clear marching orders about his next steps.
Isn’t this what we all kind of wish for when we’re searching for our calling?
But Moses’ calling didn’t sound all that great to him:
“But who am I that I should go?”
Moses questioned God, voicing the fear,
“I’m not important enough.”
But God answered, “I will be with you.” Then, Moses continued pressing back, asking, “What if they do not believe me?”
“I’m not impressive enough!”
In response, God provided him with miraculous signs. But it still wasn’t enough for Moses, who came back with the worry, “But I am slow of speech and tongue.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
God assured Moses that he would speak through him.
Moses was called to a task God designed for him, but it clearly didn’t feel good. He tried every way he could think of to convince God that he was the wrong man for the job, and then finally, when that didn’t work, he came right out and asked God to “please send someone else.”
Your discomfort doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re on the wrong path.
Myth #3: Choosing Wrong Can Thwart God’s Will
I know women (and men too) who seem to agonize endlessly over every major choice in their lives, calling included, because they’re afraid of choosing wrongly. It’s good to want to make the best choice you can, but at some point you just need to make a choice and go from there. If you find yourself worrying excessively about your calling, ask yourself whether this is really about discerning God’s will or whether you may be trying to control God’s will.
Your choices are important, but, when you are seeking Him with your whole heart, no choice you can make is outside of God’s sovereignty. Seriously…it is NOT that easy to miss God. Do you think He is not able to transcend your humanness, and lead you right into His perfect will…even when you think you are the one making the decisions?
If you had asked me 20 or 30 years ago where I would end up, I never would have foreseen the course my life would take. I now look back and am just amazed by God’s providence over all of it.
Myth #4: Your Calling Is Settled
Discovering your calling isn’t something you do once, or even twice. It’s not something you get to check off of a list and move on from.
The life of a Christian entails a constant process of discovering your calling. Just because God has called you to a particular purpose at a particular time doesn’t mean his plans for you are the same in every season….each season of our lives has a new calling that builds on the last one….nothing stays the same forever.
Looking back at my own life, I can see God shaping and shifting my calling over the years.
Each chapter of my life God continued to call and lead me through one season to the next. Some of the things that happened to me to bring me to this place today is astounding, painful, challenging, and sometimes unbelievable. In every phase my calling has looked and felt different, but God has been a consistent foundation throughout. And even when I was in total denial about my own issues that needed work, His will was accomplished in other’s lives through my calling. Astounding to me.
Who knows what the next chapter of life will bring?
Everyone’s calling is going to look different—and each season will bring a new process of discernment. Just remember, God is in control. He loves you and me, and his will for us will always bring us closer to him.
May you begin your discernment journey with courage and humility.
Of course you know that I am a Life Purpose Coach. So, I would be remiss to not invite you to contact me if you need help in this season of your life to discern where God is taking you. You may feel stuck in this chapter and need a mentor to challenge you and help you to move forward. Just call or email me from my web page and we will chat!!
“An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 5:30-31
We see the Lord’s displeasure being expressed against those who operate an effort to control the people. Consumed with their own ambition, these leaders have convinced the people that their power is divine. Yet in reality, these false prophets are merely wielding their self-imposed influence for personal gain, claiming they speak for God.
“From the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. And they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace” (NAS). Jeremiah 6:13-14
A common characteristic of an abusive religious system is that the real needs of the people are lost in the never-ending quest by the leaders for personal fulfillment and happiness.
And this has been my story. Part of it anyway. You will find my whole story in detail in my first book, ”Climbing Out of the Box, My Journey Out of Sexual and Spiritual Abuse Into Freedom and Healing”
When I needed to go to work to help support my family I was told by the authorities of the church I attended that I needed to forfeit working and stay in the ministry because if I didn’t I would lose all my gifting to ever do ministry again. For years I thought my gifts would not be used again and that I was disobedient because I didn’t obey them. (Until I was shocked when I began to see my same gifts used out there in the market place..aha moment.)
A church that repeatedly told us they basically had the corner on the market of Jesus and they had the fullness of God and His gifts, where other churches did not, and that if we ever had to go elsewhere, we would miss God’s highest.
A pastor who found ministry to be a vehicle for his great gain, lying and manipulating donors to give more and more money. He actually took the offering in decorated trash cans…(not lying). The wealthy had the high positions in the church. There was the pastor who had the men of the church build his home for free labor, stating, that as Solomon had to have the temple built before he could help the people, he, too, needed to have his temple before he was free to really be a pastor.
A leader who cornered me in a room alone, threatened me, and yelled because he said I was too “perfect” to minister to women. He said I needed to dress down and quit painting my nails if I wanted women to identify with me. He also said I needed to project being poor. I was devastated.
Openly ostracized and lied about to a congregation of people to manipulate me to quit my women’s ministry outside his organization that was reaching hundreds of women. ( I didn’t quit. I left his church organization that very night.)
Innocently called into a pastor’s office alone and watching him lose his temper at me, yelling with spittle flying, finger pointed in my face, falsely accusing me of talking about him behind his back because I told a sound man I was removed from the worship team and had no idea why. I sobbed so loudly I couldn’t gain control while he stared me down with contempt until I finally got up and left.
These are all true stories, and I could go on and on but,
…now, many years later I coach so many who relate their own stories of pain and abuse at the mercy of “godly men and women”. My heart aches for them because I know this is not Jesus. This is man or woman who wants to control and the power goes to their heads.
But, this was just the beginning of my story. Upon leaving these controlling ministries after 25 years of having a church building as home and family, I went through a 5 year sabbatical where I had an encounter with Jesus such as I never had, after being in church and busy with ministry all those years.
It took me many years to be set free from the damage that was done to my spirit and to be able to enter a church building without anxiety and tears.
So don’t lose hope in the pain of loss when you know you have to make a change. Jesus promises to NEVER leave you or forsake you. Even when you are brave enough to leave and everyone is saying to just overlook the sin.
When all the control and crutches are gone guess Who is left standing?
And oh what a Man He is…never to leave us or forsake us. He will reveal Himself to you in all truth and lead you to safe places to experience the true love of God in motion, and connect with believers who really care and walk in His love in confidence.
Things to look out for in your place of church community if you suspect spiritual abuse:
Do they say you have to blindly respect and obey them, without having earned it, just because they said so and they are your leader?
Do they demand your allegiance to them as ‘proof’ that you are a follower of Jesus?
Do they use exclusive language: “We are the only church in town really following Jesus.” “Our theology is the only sound doctrine.” Everyone else is missing the “deeper” walk.
Do they shame people, without grace, if they fail to live up to the church’s expectations?
Do they quote scriptures about “not touching God’s anointed” when referring to themselves? Yet they often confront sin in others, particularly ones who bring up legitimate biblical issues. Or they have their circle of influence take on this task, silencing their critics.
Do they cultivate a dependence on one leader or leaders for spiritual insights? Personal discipleship isn’t encouraged. Often the Bible gets pushed away to the fringes unless the main leader is teaching it. And if you have an insight from God they have to approve it before you can share.
Do they demand blind service from their followers, but live prestigious, privileged lives.They live aloof from their followers and justify their material extravagance as God’s favor and approval on their ministry. Unlike Jesus’ instructions to take the last seat, they often take the first seat at events and court others to grant them privileges. They typically chase after wealth–at any cost, and often at the expense of the very people they shepherd.
Do they hold to outward performance but reject authentic spirituality. And place burdens on followers to act a certain way, dress an acceptable way, and have an acceptable lifestyle, but they often demonstrate licentiousness, greed, and uncontrolled addictions behind closed doors.
Use exclusivity for your blind allegiance to them. Followers close to the leader or leaders feel like lucky insiders. And, of course, this meant they are more spiritual than the rest of the congregation. Did you ever feel like you are exempt from the “click” of popular people in the community of believers? Everyone else is on the outside, though they long to be in that inner circle.
We are all one body in His church.
You are the church!
We need safe places to gather together and grow together and share Him together. Don’t settle for less, and be brave enough to change if the Holy Spirit is showing you that something is just not right. In fact, run!!
The longer I stayed out of my ‘loyalty’, the move abused I was in the end. You cannot fix it!! Run!
There is healing and restoration from this horrible sin for both the ones who have abused and the victims of their abuse. Remember we are all an important part of His body. We ALL have gifts, callings and talents He wants to use. We were never meant to sit in a pew looking at the backs of heads while listening to one man teach, without using our own gifts too!! No one is more important than the other.
Be set free today!!
Call me if you need help with this issue and you find yourself sunk deep into spiritual abuse and feel like you can’t get out. Go to the home page from this blog and send me a message. Or please comment below.
God longs for you to know that He is more than enough in your troubled times. He desires you to rest and fully embrace that where you are is exactly where God plans for you to be.
Even in situations like you have never faced before.
It has taken me so long to be able to write again. I was frozen in time it seemed–for the last 3 months of 2015. But the last 2 weeks I could feel it rising up within me again and now I think I can verbalize somewhat of what I have learned in the very hard and trying year of 2015.
I have learned that when I feel like my faith has been shaken to the core that I become~
~stunned and “shell shocked”…
That it’s a tumultuous venture, this walking by faith. At one time or another, you encounter the completely unexpected followed by the unthinkable.
And when it happens, the impact of it brings you to your knees, able to utter only one desperate word – “Why?”
It’s an intense battle when you’re that overwhelmed. First there’s shock and anger, then comes denial,
“This can’t be what my loving Jesus has planned for me – not me, not His beloved child.”
You wonder why God doesn’t see that you need a different outcome. Perhaps if you just go slow and lay out the alternatives for Him – each and every one of them – you’ll help Him figure out how to reverse what’s been put in motion…
He whispers my name~~and I feel His presence~~and it is more than enough.
When I finally realized that our steady income from investigations was gone for good due to California laws, and if we were to survive in life it would be a miracle…..
He whispered my name…
…and said that I was to take no thought for tomorrow for He would sustain us as a mother sustains her babies life by giving it sustenance from her own body. He would be our life giving force. From that day forward we watch daily as He brings in the finances we need from various sources. He never fails and I have found I can just rest in it and not have to be hyper-vigilant and afraid that maybe today it won’t happen.
Philippians4:13Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.
When my precious daughter had a ruptured appendix and I stood over her bed, helpless, watching her in agony as a result of poor medical care, and fear wanted to grip my heart and squeeze the life out of it;
He whispered my name…
..as I stood there over her bed I felt His hand on my shoulder and his voice in my ear saying, “Dixie, I have this, she will be okay.”
I John3:22We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him.
When the horror and shock and fear came when my ‘adopted’ son was in a freak accident, while intoxicated, that took someone’s life ….the father of my grand kids…and I had to tell my babies that their daddy was going to prison.
As I sit in the court room weeks on end gripped by anxiety, unable to breathe– and watched the judge, moved with compassion for a lone veteran gripped with PTSD, miraculously lessen his sentence… I felt Jesus in the fire with me and with him…and I knew God had a plan.
He whispered my name….
His plan has unfolded, in the midst of the pain, in opening huge doors of prison ministry for my adopted son and has brought healing to him in areas that was never able to be reached…but in the midst of the deep valley He has found a very real Jesus.
I Corinthians 9:8God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.
When my father, (who molested me for years) on his death bed, told me he could not forgive ME for exposing “our” secret to my mother and that I ruined HIS life…and Mom’s life, before she died. Realizing there would be no closure with my abuser before he left this earth– when my picture was always of his saying how sorry he was for his crime against me and my little girl. There I was, sitting in his hospital room, with, strangely, no one around, next to his bed, while he told me he could not forgive ME…
Jesus whispered my name~~ I felt Him in the chair beside me and felt His breath tickle my ear as He whispered, “Dixie, I’m right here and I am not going anywhere. Just lean into me.” I knew I could endure the pain and shock of it all. It was the last conversation I had with Dad. Jesus’ presence got me through the funeral of confusion and distress at being so removed from all feeling, just numbness, as my husband performed the ceremony.
Matthew 21:22,23But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.
When I read my parents trust sent to me after my dad’s death, and realized that in 2006, my mother and my father stated that they, in full disclosure, and with full knowledge did NOT want their daughter, Dixie, to have one thing that belonged to them; I felt the ultimate abandonment and full force of their anger towards me for stopping my father from molesting again after he molested my daughter. I was the black sheep of their family and was pretty much hit with it on their deaths. I had to admit to myself, finally, that I didn’t want their “things” but what I had wanted was their love, and would never find it here on earth.
He whispered my name~~ “Dixie, you have a new name that I have given you. I will be both mother and father to you. I take the sting away of their earthly rejection. This is the end of years of torment for you and though you didn’t hear what you needed to hear from them, you will hear it from me and I am more than enough for you.”
Ephesians 3:20,21God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
And you know what, HE IS more than enough. Better. No comparison.
God wants you to know that He is so much bigger than all the desperate and tragic situations in this life. He wants you to know He is always with you and for you.
His blessing isn’t found in what He gives or takes away. You find it as you abide in Him.
Ask Him to align your heart with His. Believe His Word. Trust Him.
In my journal to Him, He speaks to me too…in one recent one Jesus said to me,
“Don’t count on what you feel but continue to allow me to fill you where you are lacking and believe Me when I say, I know what you lack, and I am more than enough for you…..I am doing a work you cannot see!”
When I posted this picture on face book a few days ago it so resonated with my soul–my life has been so like this illustration and I know yours has too….the more I thought about it however, the more I kept asking myself if I, indeed, can consider my life pure joy. Or have I been caught up in looking at the depth of pain and the depth of trials and sometimes pure craziness in my life, and thought, “Why the heck me, Lord.” Have I not sown into your Kingdom? When is my time coming?
Yes, I am really being transparent here.
“Haven’t I served you all my life? Why so much suffering. Starting from my childhood of abuse and ending up here, years later….still struggling for a reprieve.”
Woe is me.
Don’t we just get so wrapped up in ourselves sometimes?
I like what Michelle Perry says: “Storms are invitations to dance with Jesus. When you get high enough above the squall, even the most turbulent storm has beauty. And every storm has lessons.” Michelle Perry!
The scripture is actually in James 1:2-4:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The answer is yes, I have, at times, been caught up in feeling sorry for myself at times and even justifying my right to do so.
We have these preconceived notions in our heads as to how our lives will be, and when it doesn’t fit our pictures we feel frustrated and defeated. Have we ever considered that the Lord has a different plan for us than what we thought?
Maybe the very trials we are in now are what is training us for the journey right into His plan for us in the next season……
“And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.” Galatians 6:9
Jesus tells us over and over in this life we will face many adversities and trials and temptations.
We cannot get through this life without Jesus, friends. I don’t know how people who have no trust in Him do it. Do they just give way to fear?
Yes, I think so.
Without our faith in Jesus to guide, protect, and rescue us…without Him to rush to in times of pain and grief….without knowing His extreme love for us, who do we turn to?
And what about this scenario? When it looks like everyone around you is being blessed and seeing the fulfillment of God’s blessings in their lives and yet, you are still struggling and nothing is happening. What do you do with that. Well, in Psalm 37: 1-11 it says:
Do not trouble yourself because of sinful men. Do not want to be like those who do wrong.2 For they will soon dry up like the grass. Like the green plant they will soon die.3 Trust in the Lord, and do good. So you will live in the land and will be fed.4 Be happy in the Lord. And He will give you the desires of your heart.5 Give your way over to the Lord. Trust in Him also. And He will do it.6 He will make your being right and good show as the light, and your wise actions as the noon day.
So, we hold on and bear up under the pressures of life and make a choice to put on perseverance…which is a fruit of the Spirit that He freely gives us when we ask for it.
We WILL reap what we have sown if we don’t give up!
And look at this as Psalm 37 continues:
Rest in the Lord and be willing to wait for Him. Do not trouble yourself when all goes well with the one who carries out his sinful plans.8 Stop being angry. Turn away from fighting. Do not trouble yourself. It leads only to wrong-doing.9 For those who do wrong will be cut off. But those who wait for the Lord will be given the earth.10 A little while, and the sinful man will be no more. You will look for his place, and he will not be there.11 But those who have no pride will be given the earth. And they will be happy and have much more than they need.”
Do we believe this? This is why we have to be diligent in His word and in talking to Him.
It boils down to a choice. Not a feeling!
I choose to believe that in due season I will reap if I faint not…
I can feel it in my very bones. How about you?
Are you ready to give up?
Hebrews 12:2 in the Message says it this way: “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. 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. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Georgia had finally reached the end of her rope when she came in for coaching. She was on her 3rd husband and could not understand why he was so much like the former 2 husbands who were rageful, controlling and vengeful. She longed for a peaceful marriage but her feeble attempts to ‘fix’ these men had made her feel like such a failure and her husband helped her along with that by saying that yes, she was a loser in everything she did.
But what Georgia didn’t understand was that she kept seeking her own healing from years of abuse by a rageful father through men that were just like him. She would just jump into the first relationship that made her feel comfortable– without seeking healing from Jesus so she could walk away from her past and make wiser choices in who she connected with.
The problem was the men that made her feel comfortable only made her feel that way because they reminded her of her father. She had this need to repeat the life she had with him– to try to make it come out right in order to fill the gaping hole her father left in her in her growing up years.
And the pattern was bound to be repeated in failed marriages over and over again until Georgia finally found her way to allow the Holy Spirit into those wounded places.
Unhealed relational wounds drive us to compulsive attempts to repair the damage. Without being aware of it, we seek out people we believe can “fix” what’s wrong with us or help us find a piece of ourselves we feel is missing.
We function emotionally like the man dying of thirst who sees a mirage and hurries to it only to find it is dry sand. His perceptions are driven by his need.
We are rarely aware that something in us wants completeness. The truth is we long for Jesus continually because He is the one who has really set eternity in our hearts. Within us, our spirits, we know the answer lies in Him. But our soulish realm, the mind , will and emotions has to be renewed and healed so we can change ourselves from the inside out.
But if we remain unaware of the powerful forces at work within us conditioned by our past emotional injuries, such as our family dynamics and how we responded to it, we can be blind to its influence and seek out the completeness we lack by making all the wrong choices. For example, consider the following scenarios:
The codependent person lacks assertiveness and the ability to confront, so she attracts controlling and aggressive people. (Georgia’s case)
The rageful person can’t bear to feel emotions that make her sad, so she finds empathic people who won’t confront her moods.
The rigid, black-and-white person with walls a mile thick is not able to let go of control, so he seeks out spontaneous, creative people who won’t try to control him.
The over-responsible, guilt-ridden person lacks self-care and feels like a loser, so she finds self-absorbed people who care for no one but themselves.
These kinds of responses do not reflect God’s intentions for us in any way. And they don’t lead to healthy or fulfilling connections.
But we are not complete without relationship with Him and knowing Him as our healer from the past.
We have missing pieces— holes in us that we carry from childhood into adulthood.
The path to completeness or wholeness is to find a relational context and healthy relationships within community in the body of Christ…..finding those who you can trust and be vulnerable with and who can help you finish the emotional work that enables you to grow into the capacities you lack and become who you were always meant to be.
The first step is admitting to the pattern and seeking help.
“You complete me” is a great line from a movie, but it doesn’t work in real relationships. Another human being is simply not capable of making you feel complete. Your sense of worth has to come from God and His complete work in your life. Our pasts to not have to dictate our futures.
That is why most of us need to put less energy into romance and more into personal growth. It pays off later in romance. I recently saw this posting on Face book that got a resounding “YES” from me.
“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek HIM to find her!”
Complete people attract other complete people.
We all need relationships that are supportive and caring in order to thrive. And while there can be excitement and drama with a person who follows your old patterns of dysfunction, it will ultimately be exhausting, if not debilitating. Setting boundaries and expressing your needs clearly will not only detract unhealthy people from seeking you out, and make them less attractive to you, but it will also attract people who are healthy enough to be there for you as well.
And that is where the real passion, excitement and God’s love will emerge.
Don’t let unhealed relational wounds or the pain of a past relationship affect your future.