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!