Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nuggests that need to be put together

So, a few things that don't exactly all go together. Yet.

First being the truth that if we are honest with ourself, God, and others, we will many times have to admit that we are not being fully filled and satisfied by Jesus alone. This is hard. No one WANTS to admit this! Our human nature moves towards others or even things to fill the empty pockets we often experience.

To play the flipside of that coin, we can also become so afraid of being un-healthy and depending on the body too much that we put up walls of shelter, forcing others out and forcing ourselves to only depend on God for every inch of the filling and healing process. (And what are shelters when WE build them? Strongholds!)In reality, God uses the body hugely in the process of healing and learning and growing.

I've been both places. I still bounce between those two places. They are closer than one might think! It is difficult to walk the line here. Anyone out there picking up what I'm throwing down?

The art I am learning is to be raw and open and vocal and honest before the Lord. I ask Him to make me aware of the moments I feel a void. (You gotta break it down into simple steps or you'll bypass something simple and fall into a pit.)This is hard. I mean, honestly, who in the world ASKS to know when they're hurting sub-consciously? This. is. not. fun.

Once I know what I'm lacking, I have to automatically cry out and talk to the Lord about it. That can be hard. Sometimes I love to, I delight in it. Other times I have to talk to Him despite maybe not FEELING like it. Unless we lay our emptiness-no matter how small-at His feet, asking to be filled, we are setting ourself up for disaster! The place I so often trip up is feeling like the emptiness is small and will pass and I need to suck it up and toughen up and just distract myself for awhile. I have built walls with this. I admit it. I keep others out. I am very afraid of depending on others too much. I've done it too often in the past and I don't trust myself anymore. It' hard to get over these types of habits. I need to learn to trust myself. I need to learn to let people in and be honest about how I'm doing. Last night, I was going before the Lord with a moment of loneliness. I was thinking that if I talked with Him long enough-or distracted myself long enough-it would pass. But He kindly told me to be more humble. To tear a brick off the tough exterior I try so hard to maintain. So I did. I asked a friend to text with me for a while. Told her I was lonely and needed human contact. It was nice. I think more than anything, it was the act of humbling myself and stating that that God wanted. I'm learning. Slowly. But learning.

What about you? My desire isn't just to talk about myself. Anyone out there resonate with anything I said? And what are you going to do about it?! Take an action step today!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The sweet sound of shackles falling off

So, last night was a huge move toward complete freedom. I wasn't feeling good as I got home from church and headed to bed. I tossed and turned with a headache for a while. Then, out of nowhere, the verses off my index cards started to come to mind. And one in particular stuck and started to play over and over like a tape on repeat. It was Hebrews 10:35-36: "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." I really "got" that verse for the first time. The meaning struck me almost dumb. Then...God suddenly removed the blinders and in a rush like a tidal wave coming over me, I began to see some of the major problems I'm stuck in from a view on top, rather than from under them! It was amazing. For one of the first times ever without being prodded from a friend, I took complete authority over the different spirits I KNEW have been bugging me. I decided out of nowhere that I wasn't going to take their crap anymore, and they needed to leave me the heck alone. So I had a little stomping session with Jesus. He let me have a taste of some pretty incredible authority. And WOAH, it was amazing! There just aint no high like the most high, I'm telling you. Nothing, NOTHING compares to the high of kicking demonic butt hand and hand with Jesus. It is amazing. I think last night was the first step towards learning to live in my authority DESPITE any feelings I may have. And if this is just the beginning, oh boy! I can't wait to see what comes next.

In the middle of all this, I realized that there was a special significance taking place. See, my major problem has been bondage to a destructive thought life. Lies about who I am and who God is have flooded my head and for years played over and over and over. I realized that what took place last night was the action of a tape playing over and over and over.....but it was a tape of truth. A tape of the God of the universe speaking to me and about me through His word. God is using the exact method that destroyed me and put me in bondage and held me there for years to free me. How like God. How awesome! I love Him more each day! Beth, I'm sure many many people have told you, but here's another telling you that the index card thing really, really works! Praise You Jesus!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Do You Know Him?

Grabbing on

I haven't had internet access on a regular basis. We had a hacker here at work. It's time to catch up on this Breaking Free thing......

So, I had decided that Breaking Free must've come up because of a particular addiction I've struggled with for years. I dove into the study with this is mind, and I was excited. Little did I know God would do so much more.......(Seriously. Why do I still continue to get surprised by this?)

As I worked through the first week of homework, the issue of pride came up and was talked about. "That's not me," I thought. "I pretty much disgust myself. I definitely don't deal with pride." Of course, just as this thought went through my head, I read the next paragraph in my homework. Beth talked about self-hatred being a twisted form of pride. She always seems to catch me right in a thought. Beth, how DO you do that?! Anyway, I had this revelation one night last week driving home that I believe is sparked by the homework. I was feeling my usual lonely, depressed-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach feeling that I get so often when I know I'm heading home to be alone for the evening and I don't want to be alone. So, I was talkin with the Lord about this feeling. He pointed out why I felt it that particular day. It happened to be because I knew it was my best friend's date night and the depth of the matter wasn't that I was depressed to be alone. It was that I was angry about her going on date night and enjoying herself in that way while I got NOTHING but a t.v. and weight watchers dinner and a workout with Richard Simmons. The realization that I was angry about it set me thinking. I know anger is an outward manifestation of fear, so I tried to figure the fear out. And AHA!! I got it. I was living in the fear that I would never get to have a date night. That I will ALWAYS be going home to an empty house. And it spiraled from there. I began picking out all the areas in which I experience anger and as I dug deep I found a fear at the root of each. All these fears boil down to being afraid that while God's slicing up the pie of life, He's glossing over me as he hands the slices out. I began to realize the deep root issue I deal with is feeling invisible and un-noticed and like I don't matter. And I allow myself to take it out on my friends because it’s much easier to tell myself I am angry with a friend than with God. But the truth is, the anger is at the "lot" I convince myself God has handed me. And being angry about it means I am afraid He's not looking out for me, He doesn't have my best interest at heart, He sees nothing special in me and will not grace my life with blessing or the ability to do glorifying ministry. This is hard to admit. Noone wants to admit they have an issue with these things. Especially not someone who has been involved in a position of leadership for years. But hey, this process is never going to be of any use unless I can use it to encourage someone else.

To further things, I was hit hard with more reality Sunday. Rick talked about a stronghold of envy that so easily takes over lives. And I saw the horrible way in which envy has infiltrated and taken over like a cancer. Looking back, I can see that for YEARS now, I haven't gone one day without being flooded and consumed with envy towards someone over something they have that I don't. My friend's marriages, families, bodies, cars, jobs, money, talents, etc....I have spend a good portion of every day since I was a little girl being sick over these things in others and wondering when God is going to do something-anything-for ME! Me me me me me. Ugh. It's disgusting. It is going to take so much to re-wire my mind. God literally has to do re-constructive surgery on me to redeem this evil cancer that has taken over. I love the way Rick put it Sunday-Envy is the fever and Doubt is the infection. In other words, this envy goes right alongside anger in the way of having doubt and fear as their roots. And this all leads back to one thing-a Believing God issue. It's always a Believing God issue! Sure, I love Him. In fact, I’m crazy about Him! Sure, I’m saved and trust in Jesus Christ and have been growing in my intimacy with Him for 13 years. Sure, I am spirit-filled and I study and love the truths of scripture. But I struggle with believing that the God of the Universe, the King of Kings, is crazy about ME. Is aware of my life and goings on. Or even cares. I have some serious things to learn here. And there is a stronghold of fear that I need to be freed from.

Beth gave a beautiful example Monday night that truly touched me. She had a prayer shawl that was a replica of the kind Jesus would have worn in His day and in His culture. The shawl has four long tassels on the ends that hang down, to remind the wearer of who they are and who they belong to. And Beth demonstrated what it must have been like for Jesus to be squished in the middle of a large crowd, with this shawl on, at the moment that the women who had been bleeding for 12 long years touched Him. There was a specific lesson He wanted to teach when He asked the crowd “Who touched me?” I mean….it wasn’t like people weren’t squished all against Him on every side! And He was God in human form for cryin out loud! If He made that statement, it had to have been for a reason. Perhaps it was because He knew that from somewhere in this crowd, a women, desperate to be healed, longing for freedom, tired of being ignored and looked down upon because of her affliction, thrust herself into a crowd she likely usually avoided in an effort to get just close enough to reach out and grab hold of the tassels on Jesus shawl and hope that He would notice her. And the next verse says………”Jesus noticed the woman.” GOD……noticed……her. How many of us have been afflicted, addicted, ignored, looked over, not given a chance, or even abused for 12 years? For longer even? Do we get so tired of the issue that we give up hope? Or do we thrust ourselves into a crowd just to grab on the tassel of Jesu’s robe and hang on for dear life, trusting in Him to heal us? I am diving in, grabbing on, and starting a whole new ride!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Lord gave me a pretty incredible word last night: "So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your heart, for it is strong enough to save your souls. And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don't obey, u are only fooling yourself." James 1:21-22
"Don't be misled. Remember that u can't ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow." Galatians 6:7

"It is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as a clean one. While in other sciences the instruments you use are things external to yourself (microscope and telescope), the instrument through which you see God is yourself. If a man's self isn't kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred-like the Moon seen through a dirty telescope." ~C.S. Lewis

Oh, how badly I desire to remain always under the umbrella of the spirit! I'm believing God for this!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Unexpected Meeting.

Oh, the ways in which the Lord answers our feeble cries for help! I was SO down in the dumps yesterday. Exhausted, defeated, angry with myself, afraid, and a failure. I remember Sunday night, crying myself to sleep and being too weak to say much, but mumbling, "I want freedom Jesus. Help me. I can't do this. You need to." I had no idea He'd answer so quickly, and it what way.....
I found out yesterday that while I am hosting the old Breaking Free with my co-workers at work, there is a new and revised version. I had read somewhere that this was being done, but didn't know that a.) it was finished, and b.)Big Valley was doing it. Still, how different could it be, apart from Beth's hair being a little smaller this time around? As I considered attending, I thought about how busy it would make me. I'd almost decided not to go, when a friend texted me asking if I was coming. So I decided to give it a shot. A night with Beth? Can't really turn out badly.......
And BAM!!! I am STILL trying to catch my breath. It left me somewhere between Beth talking about cycles we just can't break free from, and the feeling of failure being bondage. I was completely knocked off my feet. God used Beth to reach down and grab my heartstrings, and I wonder if He'll ever give any slack to that tight grip. I'm sure other women feel this way sometimes, but I was beginning to wonder whether someone has been following me around with a video camera. Could it be any more me? It was like going into the doctor because of a little cold, and being told you have cancer flooding your body, and that u have to go into surgery NOW or you will die. Last night, He made the first incision and began to scrape out the ugly cancer that has so thickly infiltrated my whole being. I am a little scared of the rest of the process, since this much happened in one night. But at the same time, I know that in the hands of the God who loves me, I have nothing to fear. (Except NOT getting free.) Oh, Beth. I don't feel ready for this. But here.........we.........go!!!!................

Monday, January 11, 2010

When you fail.

Part of me really wants to delete my last post. I have failed. This weekend was a long and difficult one. And I ended up behaving in a way that is sinful. This is weighing heavily upon me. I am tired of continually tripping up and acting out in this un-healthy way. I am tired of forgiving myself a thousand times. I am currently feeling a lack of hope that I will ever live victorious and free of these actions. God is showing me a serious spiritual stronghold here. I need to truly break free of this. It is amazing how strong a hold sin can have upon even a child of God. I wonder today what the activity looks like through God's glasses as He looks at the spiritual war waging all around me. Oh, when will I truly kick demonic butt for good? Anyone out there know what I mean? I thank you, Jesus, for being big. For being my strength, and for having it all figured out already. Isn't it wonderful that even on a day of exhaustion where I just want to curl up and cry and sleep, I can rest in the fact that I have a King fighting over me? I'm so thankful for being His. Praise you, Jesus!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Continuing to break free...

So, yesterday I was overly exhausted, for whatever reason. (I'm blaming it on Mr. Short Shorts. See my other blog.) I went home from work, warmed up my Smart Ones dinner, and settled in for Season 4 of House on DVD. And it hit. I suddenly could think of nothing other than two things I really wanted to do that I shouldn't. One of those things being to eat. As silly as that sounds, it is truly amazing how much it takes over when I'm bored or needing regulating. And recently I realized how much I want to eat when I'm trying not to take part in other sinful activities. It helps calm me down and distract me. And thus, last night was SO difficult because I was a.) trying with everything in me not to act out sin I wanted to succumb to, and b.)trying not to overeat. This is a seemingly impossible combination. And I did not see any way in which I would succeed. I had never yet at this point succeeded in refraining from sinful action when I wanted it at this large of a level. So, in desperation, I cried "Help" out loud to Jesus, and tried so hard to concentrate on House........"Not gonna make it. Not gonna make it. Gonna fail. Gonna fail. What else can I do to distract myself?" Then, the answer came. Tell someone! Then at least I'll know I may have to answer to someone later if they ask how I did. That makes me want to succeed so much more. So, I grabbed the phone and texted. That help a lot. And then it didn't seem to be working again. I had never wanted to sin so badly. Why does the pull always seem stronger when I'm trying not to do it? THAT'S when it hit me. Of COURSE it's stronger after I've committed not to do it. That is precisely what the enemy WANTS! Well, two can play at that game! Forget it. I'm above you uncreative, un-intelligent demons! You're getting less and less attractive. So, House goes off. And Richard Simmons goes on. Dance until I'm too tired to think about doing anything at all-good or bad-and crash. That worked. I made it through the night! I was happy about that. Until I woke up this morning and couldn't stop thinking about wanting to sin. Again. This is not good. And it's exhausting. But what else CAN I do? Sweatin to the Oldies. Again. Good thing I have 4 different ones to keep me going. At this rate, maybe Skinny Liz will show up sooner than I thought. Hey, whatever it takes! I am just extremely glad I can say Believing God to get you through REALLY works! I banked everything on Him, I cried out to Him, I went with what He was telling me to do, and I was actually able to overcome whatever was set in front of me. Believing God and Breaking Free. One day at a time!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Believing God

As I was relaying my last two blogs to my best friend last night, it hit me. Again. From the thousanth angle. It ALL goes back to Believing God. Really! Always. We were discussing the deep reasons for acting out in sin. It hit me. At the core of every time I CHOOSE to live in sinful action, is the un-belief that God has something better for me. Or that He won't let me down if I bank everything on Him. Disobedience is acting on un-belief, right? Oh, Beth. You were right. It ALWAYS comes down to believing God!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Breaking Free 1.2

Okay. One week into this. Already my world is being shaken. I'm surprised. And at the same time, surprised at BEING surprised. Oh, the insanity!

In addition to-or maybe alongside-Breaking Free, I have seen the LORD weaving a theme into my life that I never dreamed would pop up. Isn't that just like Him? I love that He enjoys pulling out a great serendipity and shocking us in the most pleasant way. (Okay. I confess. I secretly just wanted to use that word!) Usually, I tend to deal with deep spiritual issues and truths. In school I was majoring is Speech and Psychology. So, I'm always looking deep into the well of the human being. Imagine my surprise, then, when I realized this week the theme that has been working and weaving it's way around down deep and just began surfacing this last week. The theme of........physical health. *Gasp* WHAT?! Yep. That's right. At first I couldn't believe The Lord was putting a non-spiritual issue before me. And almost as soon as I began to think along the lines of this surprise, He lovingly slapped me up-side the head and showed me very clearly that a.)EVERYTHING is spiritual, and b.)Physical health is ALWAYS a spiritual issue. Just usually not extremely obvious.

I've been diving into what my being overweight ACTUALLY means. There is a list developing that is longer that I would've ever imagined. And since my whole desire with this blog is to hopefully encourage someone out there, I get the lovely opportunity of being open and raw. So, well, here's a few:
1.I love to use food as a comfort to regulate myself. I CHOOSE to let food control me and comfort me rather than the LORD.
2.I don't love myself. I don't think my body is worth taking care of.
3.As much as I HATE being fat, I probably love to hate that. The hate of it is a bastardized version of self-worship. It's this weird, ugly, twisted thing.
4.I've never had brothers. I was never taught anything about guys. I'm uncomfortably around them. I don't get them at all. So, I probably use weight to keep them away. My sub-conscious probably thinks if I'm ugly, they will stay away and I don't have to worry about the scariness and heartache. Yeah. And I've spent the last 8+ years alone, lonely, isolated, being the bridesmaid, watching friends get married and move, desperately wanting companionship and love and marriage and children and........Well, it's definitely not working out for me at all. NOT SMART!

So, the journey has begun. The journey of freedom to be the real me. This year, I will lose 50 pounds. I've cleaned out my system, and am enjoying a wonderful healthy diet, and am exercising daily. I love doing Zumba twice a week. And I refuse to admit that I love what I do the other 4 days. Maybe if he just wore shorter shorts...........

Breaking Free 1.1

Since this is sort of Beth’s life message, and since I’ve recently been realizing the long road I have yet to travel, I decided on it for a starting place. I can see God’s hand and timing in the choice of study. In the last two weeks, I’ve been on a roller coaster- ranging from a high of feeling that I’ve come so very far, and looking down on all the familiar ugly places I’ve been; to a fast dive, swooping around steep, sharp corners and straight down among some of those very familiar places. Sometimes it seems that roller coaster moves so quickly, that I feel I’m plummeting straight down into one of my old pits, only to crash once I’m deep inside. Ah. But the beauty of roller coasters is that while you certainly feel you are plummeting straight down towards the ground at lightning speed, you KNOW that’s not the case. You trust and believe in the construction of the ride. And even in those moments of feeling your stomach has risen into your chest, you have faith that at that very last second, just before you do hit the asphalt at 100 miles per hour, the track will take a sharp turn upwards, or sideways, and you are suddenly safe again. I especially love Space Mountain because you’re in absolute darkness. You can’t even see your hand in front of your face. You have to believe that you are safe and that the roller coaster track isn’t going to lead you straight into the ground. THAT is often what our lives are like. THAT is often how we walk with the Lord. It is encouraging to know that no matter how wild the ride, no matter how scary it may seem, we are safe.

That leads me to the introductory session of Breaking Free. The day I put it in to watch it, I had had a rough couple of weeks. I had gotten to a point of feeling overwhelmed, depressed, exhausted, like a failure. But I had not stopped to analyze why I had gotten back to a place of feeling like that. Just weeks before, I was confidently on a high! I often get on a low that makes me depressed and exhausted in a way that makes it too much work to figure out how I even got there. I’m just there. Little did I know or expect Beth to talk about oppression and the reasons for it.

I was reminded that, yes, we do have a very active enemy who thrives on the demoralization of humans-(I’m stealing this from Believing God) finding out what we fear the most and then doing everything he can to make that come true. I too often forget this. I have let myself again fall into the trap of deciding I am too tired to fight or function in the power and authority I know has been given me. Which is exactly what the enemy wants. This is a pattern too often repeated. For me and too many others. The upside is that I can trace it slightly better this time. Which is progress-Praise you LORD! See, this time I can see that several weeks ago, I was having a time of clarity and wisdom and revelation. I was seeing myself and certain difficult situations through God’s eyes. I was walking in confidence. And I even spoke up and verbalized some of this. And it was in that place and that verbalization that I became a threat to the enemy. He starts to get nervous when he sees that I’m getting it. That I’m beginning to function as a powerful and dangerous weapon against him. And BOOM! The arrows begin to get thrown. Attack on our camp begins. A desperate attempt to stop any power and freedom before I happens-because he knows who he’s up against and that once it starts to flow he’ll never gain any ground. That is why he calls on all demons to ambush from all angles. I can see how I get hit so fast from all sides and before I know it I’m down and falling into those old familiar pits. Being ignorant of the enemy and the way he does this is just ridiculous. I need to know this and arm myself against it. I need to wise up and get to work. I have nothing to lose. In the end, I know who wins. So why am I not enjoying the power I have kick some serious demonic ass? Time to get busy. Get your boots on and join me! Let’s shut him down and find out just how free-and how powerful-we can be!