Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Roots



Deer. They are the bane of my existence. I understand that I moved into their neighborhood, but they are not being good neighbors (I, just as aside, feel I am a reasonable and agreeable neighbor). My recently landscaped yard is not an all-you-can eat salad bar, thank you! The elusive little beings nibble my sedum down to the nub and yank my phlox up by the very roots and just leave it laid bare to die, the only evidence that they were even there being their tiny little hoof prints all in my mulch. And the mamas are showing their sweet little babies where to come nosh, too, and then those babies will share their new eats with their own babies...they won't ever stop coming, will they?! Infuriating! I'm going to try some liquid fence to try and ward them off (ha! and double ha!).  I'm not holding my breath.

In some ways, my poor flowers remind me of life. Unless I am firmly rooted in the fertile soil of God's Word, I can and will be easily yanked up by the roots. I need to be solid and established in Him, by reading His Word and prayer, so that when the enemy tries to violently (it's never a gentle tug) pull me up, I will not be swayed. And the enemy won't ever stop trying, just like those blasted deer. My protection comes from God and God alone, although I have tried different ways of self-preservation, thinking that God couldn't or wouldn't come to my aide. It's not that He wouldn't or couldn't, it's that I never turned to Him to ask in the first place. He is fully capable and wants to offer us His security. He also wants us to be firmly rooted in Him so we can bear good fruit.  And we need to show our own babies where to be nourished, where to go to be established! I see His protection as a sort of "liquid fence" (a thick, inpenetratable barrier) that I am inside of, similar to my plants. But if I allow any chinks or cracks in that wall (like trying to find security and purpose in something else besides Him - that causes a sizable crack!), then that allows the enemy to squeeze his way in -- bad news. It's something that I have to consistantly stay on top of, too, akin to replacing that liquid fence in my yard. I have to keep up with it or I'll have breaks in the barrier that I won't even know are there. I don't see God's protection as confining like I used to. I used to see it as a list of "no's"- no, you can't do this, no, that's not right, no, you can't have fun, no, no, no! But now I see His protection as a source of rest. I can breath. I have hope, and peace, because I know The Maker of the entire universe (that's huge) wants to protect me.  Sometimes I imagine Him as a king (stick with my imaginative thoughts here...) like the king of England (or what about Prince William or Prince Harry?) or something, and I imagine how I would feel if the king directly summoned me and told me that he felt I was worthy of his entire army just to protect me. It kinda takes my breath away that God is that interested in me, just as I am...me. I am so relieved that I am protected.

Now what to do about my garden...

*picture courtesy of redbudfarms.com

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Be Strong and Courageous

I am in a Beth Moore bible study this semester, as I have mentioned previously, and it is called “The Inheritance”. I highly recommend any bible study as a way of learning more about God and His Word, but I particularly like Beth Moore’s approach. The last lesson was about repossessing your land, just like Joshua did in the book of Joshua. The interesting thing is, Joshua must have been scared to death, because in the first chapter the message God keeps sending is “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid”. I have to remember that, too. A part of what is rightfully mine has been stolen from me. God never intended for me to believe the lie that I am worthless, He intended for me to read and believe what I have had the privilege of knowing about my whole life – that there is life in His Word. As I grew up and dismissed the church, God’s Will for my life, and basically good, common sense, I can see where the lie became bigger than the truth. It’s not that God hasn’t tried, or that He hasn’t moved mountains to try to get to me. It’s just that I have looked away, turned my back, put my hand up and said “My way is better than yours”. But, oh, the heartache my way has caused! Now, finally, I have recognized the error of my ways. But it’s harder now because there are repercussions to some of my choices. God still has blessed me throughout my life, but I have, without really thinking about it, refused some of the blessing He has offered. You know that saying “you reap what you sow”? There is much truth in that.


But I digress. Back to “The Inheritance”!

My bible study facilitators Dolores and Stacey (thank you ladies!) put together a little homework assignment for the group to do. It goes basically like this: if you can, imagine yourself standing on one side of a river – that’s where you are today. The river represents your fears (what keeps you from claiming your promises), and the other side of the river represents your “promised land”, or that which is rightfully yours. My river consists of some of the things I’ve shared on this blog: gaining weight, getting older, losing significance, tragedy in my life, what other people think, and – this blog! It scares me to put my thoughts and beliefs out there, but God has put it on my heart to do it, so…here I am :)

I decided that if I can trust God to help me get over the river of fear (and I’ll refer back to Joshua chapter 1: do not be afraid, be strong and courageous), then I have so much waiting for me, like:

-confidence and significance (Psalm 71:5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth)

-peace (Numbers 6:26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace)

-joy and enjoying life (Psalm 36:8 They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights)

-having a purpose (Colossians 2:2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ…)

-beauty (Psalm 45:11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord)

-living abundantly (John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full)

-creativity (Romans 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!)

-knowledge in Christ (Isaiah 33:6 He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure)

-finding security in Christ (and helping others find it, too)- (Jeremiah 33:6 ‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security)

These are only a few of the promises I’ve found in my limited time searching Scripture, but it’s enough to keep me searching, and claiming, those promises and more!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Giver or Taker? Part 2

I have been pondering the question "Is God a giver or a taker" for a few weeks, and came to the conclusion for a while that He is a taker. As I thought more about it, I began to realize that sometimes I think God is a taker because He doesn't give me what I want when I want it.  Now, I must admit to myself, and to everyone else, that I am a mostly self-centered person (that's embarrassing to admit).

Can I just jump to the conclusion that God is a taker simply because He doesn't give me what I want? It's not as easy as that, fortunately, and because it's not that easy it gives me the opportunity to search His word and find out why. As I break it down, and think about God as just a giver for a few minutes, it's hard not to have a spirit of total thanksgiving for all that He HAS given me. It's important to remember all the good stuff and not concentrate on the not-so-good. He has given me a beautiful life. A wonderful, supportive husband, and a marriage that has been redeemed. A body that works. My list is long and I could go on and on, all the way from the simple pleasures in life to the big stuff.


And if I really think about the basics that a person needs, like food, shelter,
clothes and love, then I begin to realize that everything else is such a
blessing! I have abundantly more than all I could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). In order to keep a thankful heart, to stay positive, and to keep from concentrating so much on all the negative, it's important that I remember all the positive God has done in my life. Take just a minute right now with me and offer Him thanks for everything.


The thing is, I know I can trust God because he has proven himself over and over again in my life to be trustworthy. And, yes, while He might take something, I can ultimately trust that whatever the thing was that He took, He will give back in one way or another ten-fold. I have no answers for why God takes things or people away. My own mother died in 2006, so I know what it's like to suffer loss. But I am learning over time to, instead of choosing to live in angst and mourning, live in peace and trust. To choose to believe that no matter what, He will 1) take care of me, for I am the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8), 2)give back more than I could ever ask or imagine. I am learning that I can't go on emotion. I have to make a choice. ,and  3) I can trust that the circumstances of my life are under His control and I do not have to worry or be fearful. I can take a breath, sit back, and relax. Now, I can handle that!

So giver or taker? I've come to terms internally with my struggle over the
question. That doesn't mean I won't have conflict over it again. It's just good to know that I have Someone I can ultimately put my trust and hope in. It makes life on Earth a whole lot easier!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Giver or Taker?

I re-read Genesis 22, an interesting story if you really know the history. I just don't know how Abraham could have taken his son to the mountain and then just tied him up to offer him as a sacrifice. I mean, it sounds crazy! Besides that, I keep wondering what Isaac was thinking the whole time. I know he questioned his father at one point, asking where the lamb was that they were going to sacrifice, but what about while his dad was tying him up? What must he have been thinking? Abraham and Isaac both had to have had an incredible amount of trust in God as this journey unfolded for them. I know that God always has a plan, but it seems like such a sacrifice to ask someone to do something like this. I don't know. Beth Moore's question, "is God a giver or a taker?" is stuck in my head. My head says yes, of course God is a giver, but I think that way deep down inside, I am scared of God, and that means I'm too scared of Him to trust Him with too much. Why? Because I'm scared He will take away something that means a lot to me, and it will hurt. What must He take from me to get glory from me? I guess with growth there is always some pain, hence the term "growing pains", but I don't want to face pain. I don't want to deal with pain. I am a pain-avoider! I don't even like confrontation because it may cause pain. It makes me uncomfortable.

Take the time that I'm offering to Him. It's a real sacrifice, one that is, yes, a little painful for me to give. I want my time, I feel like I need my time. And while I'm giving Him some of it (I mean, I have a lot of other "high" priorities, which is why I'm even writing this blog!), I still have things I need to do. My house needs to be cleaned, laundry done, shopping done...things have got to be accomplished! I can't just sit here all day and spend the day with Him...can I? And... do I want to? Do I crave time with Him enough to do that? It may be that I just don't, and I pray that He will take me there, because He is where all the answers are.  (The thought did cross my mind that He would like somehow super-naturally give me more time if I gave Him the time I have...is that crazy??)

So, is God a giver or a taker? Right now it seems like He is  taking my time away, taking my focus away from what needs to be done, and taking away the confidence I had in a clean(er) and straight(er) house. Not to mention that even though I'm doing okay right now, I still feel like He's taking away the confidence I had in how I look. I feel frustrated because it's not all coming together like I expect it to. I feel frustrated because I don't have it all together like I want! I don't get what He's trying to get at, and that frustrates me too!

Yes, ultimately, I am scared of God, and it's not having a "fear of the Lord". That's totally different than what I'm feeling. How many times have I wondered if He would let something I fear happen to me just to prove that He is God? How many times have I questioned Him and wondered if He would take something away from me (like my house, or car, or something important to me) because either I love it too much or don't appreciate what I already have? And then I wonder, gosh, I'm asking all these questions, doesn't that make Him kinda mad? Shouldn't I already know better? It says He is a loving God in scripture, and I believe scripture, so shouldn't that be enough?

But I already know that He knows what's going on in my heart of hearts, so for me to pretend that I don't think these things would be silly. Honestly, I do trust Him enough to at least say these things  and I pray that He would not be offended, but please understand that I want to get to know Him better, I want to get past all this nonsense. I want to get to a place where I trust Him NO MATTER WHAT! What a great place that will be!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

God In My Pocket?

As I finished up my quiet time yesterday, the thought occurred to me that I have been asking God to help me let go of this need to control my weight, but I have not really wanted to let go. I feel like I’m attempting to get God to do what I want because I know that’s what might be best for me and I also know that that’s what He would probably want for me, but I haven’t actually wanted to let go. I have not really changed my perspective at all, and every time I see a picture in a magazine of what I think I would like to look like, I feel a twinge of jealousy. I still am completely hung up on being thin, as if thin=pretty=LIFE. I haven’t tried to change my thinking, haven’t really wanted to, but I’ve been asking God to help me. I guess that’s a good start, but I think I’ve got to be willing to change. I wrote a while ago about being secure as a rock, and I think I need to go back and read it again!  I can’t be so secure in my own thinking that I’m unwilling to move forward. As I think about the way I’ve been, I realize that I’ve been looking for the best of both worlds. I want God on my side because, well, who wouldn’t? But seriously, I want Him on my side because of all He has to offer, because I know in my head and in my heart that He has all the upside of life. But in my daily life, I also still believe that for me, thin equals pretty, and no matter what, I want to stay thin. I’m scared to move forward because I’m afraid I will be unhappy with the result, which I suppose means that I don’t trust God as much as I think I do. I want God in my back pocket, because of all the upside, and also keep what I want in place. I want Him to be happy with me because I’m seeking Him, and it’s sincere, but it’s almost like I want Him to do things my way because He is so happy that I’m willing to seek Him. I say these things because I know that He already knows what I’m thinking, and honestly, there isn’t anything I can say or think that He can’t handle, so I may as well be completely honest. I don’t think I can have it both ways, I really don’t, but I also don’t know how to change. I’m so stuck on trying so hard to be pretty (because that’s where my security lies), that I have no idea how not to try so hard to be pretty. It would be interesting, as an aside, to see how much brain space I might free up if I didn’t think about this so often…

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Negative Energy

I haven't had much energy lately. I don't know why, I just haven't felt that little lift in my step. I've never been a person who truly has no energy, I guess I take after my (very) energetic mother in that respect. I do not know how the woman did it sometimes, she was like the energizer bunny! So, this little reduction in my energy levels has caught me a bit unprepared. I was lamenting to a friend on Thursday how I was feeling bad because my jeans didn't fit right. This is something I struggle with not daily, not even hourly, but minute to minute. It may not show in everything I do, and I can certainly carry on my activities without it affecting me on the outside, but make no mistake, I carry it around like a heavy weight on my heart. And it's not really that my jeans don't fit right, that's just a trigger. It's that I feel helpless. I used to be in control, and now I'm not. I will just be straight with you. I don't feel like there is anything I can do to stay in control of my weight, besides just stop eating altogether, and I'm not far-gone enough to think that's a good idea. I have a certain ideal in my head of what my perfect weight ought to be, and now I don't know what to do. I'm completely caught off-guard, which is where God needs me to be so I can be open to Him, but I'm struggling mightily with it. I'm also what my sister calls a "snowballer"--I take an event and it snowballs in my head to my absolute worst-case senario, and it scares me half to death! So, I take my jeans not fitting right and it has snowballed in my head til my soul is wracked with fear, anxiety, stress and a mild depression. At that point, it does take a toll on my countenance, although I'm fairly good at pulling off a happy face. 

So back to my tale of sorrow to my friend on Thursday. I added on to the end of my saga that I have no energy. She looked right at me and said "It's because you are carrying around all that negative energy. If you get rid of that, you'd be surprised at how much life you have in you". That's a wow statement if I've ever heard one! Carrying around all that negative energy...it struck me forcefully.  We all know how stress affects people negatively, but a lot of time I assume it's from an outside source, something we can't really control and we just have to deal with. But to think that I am putting that on my own self?! Daily? It's time to stop the madness, reverse the cycle...however you want to say it. I need to hand this one over to God for good and get on with my positive energy. 

Here's my prayer, I can't remember where I found it, so I can't take credit for coming up with it but it certainly bears repeating!

Give me the gift of laughter. You are my help and my deliverer (Psalm 40:17), anoint me with 'the oil of joy' (Isaiah 61:3), may I continue the feast of a merry heart (Proverbs15:15). Give me a sprit of joy. You are my help and deliverer, please do not delay! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

War

    4For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,

    5[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)...(2 corinthians 10:4-5)

I have discovered what it will take for me to stay on this path of healing and grace and not wilt from the pressure to turn around. And there is a measurable amount of pressure, especially when you're insecure, to hang onto your bogus securities with everything you have got inside of you. Everything is telling you that if you lose that [false security], then you've lost everything. So, it stands to reason, it will take an equal amount of gumption to stand up and say "No". To push back and say you don't need any security but what the Lord God offers (which, by the way, is everything we need! 1 Corinthians, 2 Peter 1:3-4).    

It will take trust, first. I can't go with God down this road if I don't first trust Him. Do I? Admittedly, some days are better than others. I have to know that I am the apple of His eye, that He "know[s] the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. " (Jeremiah 29:10-12).  There are certain strongholds in my life that only God can break, and I'm choosing to trust Him to break them. It's not easy to trust someone who you cannot see, but that's what I call faith! I have faith in God to fulfill the promises He spoke over me the day I was created, and I can guarantee that these strongholds weren't part of His promises. But He has a solution for strongholds, too! See, in 2 Corinthians 10 Paul talks about the stronghold, and how God is able to "overthrow and destroy" them. That is some mighty work right there! I have got to allow Him to do that, though. I need to declare war on my strongholds and fight with the weapons He has given me..."Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication." Ephesians 6:14-18 

I have answers right in front of my nose, but sometimes when push comes to shove, I fail. It's okay. God never said it would be an easy fight. But a fight God and I can win? I'll bet my life on it. I'm stopping right now to claim victory in Christ. I'm saying out loud Ephesians 6:14-18, putting those weapons in my aersonal. There is power in the spoken word, and I am trying to meditate on Scripture and say it out loud when I feel threatened or defeated. Victory is mine!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Looking In

Sometimes writing down the way I feel is very therapeutic. Sometimes, it scares me half to death! I'm revealing a part of me that I'm uncomfortable showing, and I think the reasoning behind that is because I am insecure about showing my insecurities. That makes sense, right, that someone with insecurities would be hesitant to share them, even with a few?  But with God, we have the ability to bring out into light what was in the dark. Since darkness and light cannot co-exist, His light will fill all the dark places with such intensity that healing is inevitable, and that's where I want to be. It reminds me of the beauty of a sunrise after a cloudy night filled with rain.  

Take a look at these lyrics from a song by Mariah Carey. It's about being someone who is scared to let their true self be known...

You look at me and see the girl
Who lives inside the golden world
But don't believe
That's all there is to see
You'll never know the real me

Hmm
She smiles through a thousand tears
And harbors adolescent fears
She dreams of all
That she can never be
She wades in insecurity, yeah
And hides herself inside of me

Don't say, "She takes it all for granted"
I'm well aware of all I have
Don't think that I am disenchanted
Please understand

It seems as though I've always been
Somebody outside looking in
Well, here I am for all of them to bleed
But they can't take my heart from me
And they can't bring me to my knees
They'll never know the real me

Listen at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXp4xScvIWo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Friday, February 17, 2012

Miss-eyelz

"Do not be afraid;... Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. 22 For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself." (1 Samuel 12:20). 

Last night I turned away from God and concentrated more on how I was feeling, which was sorry for myself. Sometimes I just get into these moods where I am my own worst enemy, and it seems like I can't get out. I heard a guest one time on the Today Show talking about women and how we are leading our daughters into the same lifestyle we live by constantly criticizing ourselves in front of them. The woman said, as if she were speaking to you and me and every other woman listening "Our eyes are missiles" (except that she was from somewhere in Europe and instead of missiles it came out sounding like miss-eyelz, so that how I say it to myself). Last night I just felt ugly and unattractive all over and...just blah. And blast it all, it doesn't help that I'm having major PMS, I dont know why PMS can't contribute to feeling good about myself, but it historically has not, and this time was no different! But it is true that not sometimes, or even most of the time, my eyes are miss-eyelz, razor-sharp and ready to cut to the quick, boring holes into the mirror with all the intensity and power they can muster. Really, I must say it doesn't make one feel so good about oneself! I think there is something I can change...

The power to change can only come from God, and I need to start remembering to ask Him when my "trigger" occurs, and everyone's trigger is different. I think one of mine is clothes. If my mind is already trotting down the path of "Heather-hating", then when I put my clothes on, I immediately feel bad. I need to remember that to "not be afraid; Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. 22 For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself.". 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Worthy Of Success

I've been pondering this thought that's been running around in my head for a couple of days, and I can't quite grasp it yet, so I'll do the best I can to explain.

Sometimes I think so poorly of my own abilities. I think I compare myself too often to other people's talents and abilities. Once the comparisons start, I conclude (to myself) that I don't have anything else to offer. It may be that I believe
this lie about myself, and I have at some point projected that lie onto people that know me well. In other words, I conclude that other people think the same thing about me. And the better they know me the more I believe it is so. I seek affirmation from others, rightly or wrongly. It makes me feel good, which it would anybody, when people compliment me on things that I do well, or my appearance, etc. But as I've discussed in previous posts, it's not anyone else's job to constantly affirm me. However, when people don't, especially people close to me like my sister or my husband, I tend to get
a bit alarmed. In a snap, my mind has got me going down a path of presupposing
that they must also think I have nothing to give, no talents or gifts worth mentioning.

Take my magnificent husband (he is truly awesome!) for example. He is among the few people who knows me the best, and because he has that privileged position ;), he's also present when I make mistakes, which I do plenty of (bless his heart. And he still sticks around!). But somewhere in my head this thought floats around that he must see what I see...that I have no gifts or special abilities.

See, I want so badly to be seen as more than just a mom and a housewife. Not
that those are unimportant jobs, but in my eyes, it's trivial, its just something I do. For example, I want to be seen as a housewife and a superior piano player, a genius, a breathtakingly beautiful woman, or a stupendous artist...you get the picture. But I'm not any or all of these things, and my pride is hurt a bit that I'm not. I said yesterday how dangerous a prideful heart can be. I want to be noticed, and I think that's my pride speaking load and clear. So I concentrate on what I know best - obsessing over the way I look. I think one of my worst fears is fading into the background, being unnoticed, unappreciated, and taken for granted. Or made fun of or disregarded because of what I can't do. That's why I work so hard at filling my heart with false securities like beauty, material possessions and its why I stay busy doing things that sometimes aren't important to me. It's why the way my house is decorated is so important to me (besides the fact that I just like to decorate, it's a fine line), and it's why I take some pride (ouch, it hurts to write this so please don't judge...) in some of the material possessions I have.

God knows all this already, so it's good to just air my soul out. I hope he honors honesty! I need Him to fill me up so that my significance comes from Him and my confidence comes from Him. We all have special gifts and talents (from Him) just waiting to be discovered and used for His glory, not for our own. All the things I mentioned earlier that I wanted to be or do are things that would glorify me, things that would take me away from finding confidence in my one true God. John 15:16 says "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you".
 
He has given me everything I need to succeed.

"God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all
times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work...you will
be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion,
and...your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." 1 Corinthians 9:8,11

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Pride

The danger of pride...

In 1 Chronicles 32, Hezekiah was king and all was well in the land. He " did
what was good, right, and faithful before the Lord his God.And every work that
he began in the service of the house of God, in keeping with the law and the
commandments to seek his God [inquiring of and yearning for Him], he did with
all his heart, and he prospered"(verse 20-21). When his kingdom came under the
attack of The Assyrian king Sennacherib (there's an idea for a baby name), he
"spoke encouragingly" to his people, "saying, 'Be strong and courageous. Be not
afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with
him, for there is Another with us greater than [all those] with him" (32:7).
It's amazing how much this king trusted his God! God did deliver his kingdom
from the hand of the Assyrians, but as a result Hezekiah got a little puffed up
from all the fame, and deadly pride entered into his heart. Fortunately, he was
able to humble himself (verses 25-26). That pride had snuck into his heart
before he could say "Thanks be to God" and he had to turn around and humble
himself before he went too far. It makes me wonder sometimes if my own pride
stands in my way of true healing...

Things get worse before they get better for these people, and all because of
pride. When Hezekiah dies, his son Manasseh becomes king, "But he did evil in
the Lord's sight, like the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord drove out
before the Israelites" (33:2) by rebuilding all the altars to false gods and
high places that had previously been thrown out. "So Manasseh led Judah and the
inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the heathen whom the Lord had
destroyed before the Israelites" (33:9). This makes me think twice; I need to
pay attention to what I'm doing so I'm not leading someone else astray (like
unwittingly leading my daughter astray to idolizing the false god of beauty...).
Fortunately, he realizes his sin and repents (v12) and-look at this!-throws the
altars outside the city(v17). Bad move, because his son, Amon, becomes king and
also does evil and sacrifices to all the altars his dad had made. Why? Because
they were not destroyed, they were only thrown to the side for awhile, and that
just won't cut it. Since the idols weren't completely destroyed, the people went
back to them. It reminds me of the parable Jesus tells in Matthew 12 about the
spirit who leaves a soul but the person doesn't fill his soul with God and
leaves it empty, giving that spirit a perfect opportunity to come back...43But
when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through dry [arid]
places in search of rest, but it does not find any.44Then it says, I will go
back to my house from which I came out. And when it arrives, it finds the place
unoccupied, swept, put in order, and decorated.45Then it goes and brings with it
seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and make their home
there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So also
shall it be with this wicked generation.


After Amon dies, Josiah becomes king (34:1) and apparently he's the man for the
job because "He did right in the sight of the Lord and walked in the ways of
David his father [forefather] and turned aside neither to the right hand nor to
the left" (v2). He begins the long, but necessary, process of purging Judah and
Jerusalem of their high places and altars. This is pretty amazing, because if
you look back, people were still using the high places, but they were trying to
use them to worship God. That just doesn't work. I don't think you can take an
altar built to a false god and use it to worship the One True God. Josiah had
them ground down to powder and totally destroyed, which is what needs to happen
to those false God's that I keep holding tight to, I guess in the hopes that I
can serve My God and hang onto them, too. I need to ask God to purge and destroy
pride and insecurity in my life so I can truly be free from them. For me, but
also for the little feet pattering behind me. Look at what pride and idol
worship did to just a few generations in Hezekiah's family. It can have lasting,
and devastating, affects for generations to come.





Monday, February 13, 2012

Brownie Points

I ate a brownie last night.

Some might look at that and say "Okaaaaay...and?". But those of us who struggle mightily with this will immediately recognize a sister who, through the act of eating a simple brownie (and one I made, no less!) will begin the long process of self-loathing. The process of mentally tabulating all the calories eaten that day vs. how many burned to see if it was really "okay" to eat that brownie. The process of feeling like the exact same pants I had on before I ate said brownie now suddenly feel different, tighter.

This doesn't just affect me on the inside, it affects how I act toward other people, namely my family members, too. As I'm becoming more aware of myself in general, I'm seeing how my own penurious reaction to eating a single brownie makes me short-tempered with my husband and irritable with my kids. And it washes the way I see everything in a negative light. Now, as I'm looking around, the house isn't just in slight disarray, it's a sty and I'm a horrible housekeeper who is not able to keep up. My husband isn't just tired, he's frustrating in general. My kids aren't just excited, they are annoying.

As I think on these things, I'm reminded of a quote I heard in a bible study called "For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhan. She said, and I will never forget this, "SO YOU THINK THEREFORE YOU ACT". I was nearly blinded by the flashing neon sign God had above my head saying, " This is for YOU, Heather!". I've tried to remember that, and generally have done a pretty fair job at turning my thinking around. The power of positive thinking is undeniable. And so is the power of our mighty God! He can take these thoughts, as long as I'm willing to give them to Him, and help me think positively about myself. Of course, there is a huge difference between thinking positively and pride, but since God is now guiding my thoughts, He won't take me down that dangerous path.

Should I have eaten that brownie? Obviously, I must take care of my body and eat healthy foods. But that's not really the point. The point is to take my messed-up mindset, give it to God, and allow Him to give me a healthy mindset.

My daughter read this out of her devotional tonight:

Whenever something is too heavy for us to carry alone, we look around for help. People have long depended on beasts of burden, but unfortunately they can't even carry some of the heaviest burdens we encounter-like illness, anger, sorrow or fear. God does not expect us to shoulder these weights by ourselves. The bible tells us "Give your burdens to the Lord. He will carry them" (Psalm 55:22 TLB). One of the blessings of asking God into your life is the assurance that you will never have to face anything alone ever again. God will be with you whenever you cross a "desert" in your heart, lightening your load with His comfort.*

Brownie points indeed!


Devotion from " The One Year Did You Know Devotions" by Nancy S. Hill on February 9

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Beautiful

I love music! The words usually have some deeper meaning that I love figuring out, and the music just speaks to me. That said, I'll be posting the lyrics to different songs occasionally. As I was listening to my iPod this morning, I really listened to the words of the following song. It's so appropriate for me that I couldn't resist sharing. It may even become the "theme song" for this blog!

Beautiful by MercyMe


Beautiful lyrics

Days will come when you don't have the strength
And all you hear is you're not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart
They'd see too much

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You're beautiful

Praying that you have the heart to fight
Cuz you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you've held inside so long
But they are nothing in the shadow of the cross

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You're beautiful

Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You're the one He madly loves
Enough to die

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
In His eyes

You're beautiful!
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful!
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You're beautiful!
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful!
You are treasured
You are sacred
You are His

Listen at:
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=7GGY7LNX

Friday, February 10, 2012

Frustration!

Ugh.

I'm so frustrated. Mostly with myself.

The past couple of days I have been seemingly obsessed with clothes. I re-discovered a catalogue I thought I had already recycled (recycling it would have been smart of me, 'cause this is what happens when I look through them) and decided at once that I needed (yes absolutely needed) not one or two pieces, but EVERY piece in the catalogue. All this because I feel suddenly like I have zero sense of style, and if I could just order all the complete outfits, well...it would be so easy. And I would look cute!  This would give me what I'm longing for—SECURITY.  At least for a while!  I've been obsessing over it ever since I saw that blasted catalogue, trying to figure out some way to a) copy that look or b) justify just going ahead and ordering my favorites from the catalogue and last resort c) asking God pretty please just go ahead and give me what I want.

I wonder, does God ever get tired of hearing my want list? It goes on and on, and I for one am always happy to keep adding to it. Will my heart never be satisfied with what I already have? I am mainly frustrated with myself because I say I want God in my life, but then I constantly shift around Him to get at what I think I really want, which right now is new clothes. And about another zillion things I saw this week between the 8,000 catalogues I get in the mail.

Sometimes I feel like I should just stop talking to Him, because I can't seem to get it right. I actually know this isn't the answer, but im scared He's gonna get tired of dealing with me. I know I should crave Him more than I crave anything else. Will I ever get past that shallow part of me that just wants what I want, period?  I can always justify how I feel. I mean, is there anything wrong with wanting to have great style? Or with wanting to be fit and healthy? I guess there is something wrong with it when it overshadows my desire to want to be in relationship with my God, which right now it is. The thing is, I appreciate good style, a healthy lifestyle, a good diet and fitness. I don't want to not care about those things! I've said before that my insecurities feel like they are consuming me, and that feeling hasn't gone away.

I think God probably understands where I am right now, because He came to the earth as a human and faced all the same temptations that I do. I also believe that His mercy and grace are infinitely covering me, even in the midst of what I'll call a major clothing crisis. He desires to have relationship with me, so He will meet me where I am, but I need to do my part, too.  I need to spend time with Him, pray and read scripture. I pray that He will help me get my priorities in order so that these things don't continue to have the same vice-like grip on my heart that they do know. Instead I can walk with God, and look cute doing it!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Excess

I just got home from the grocery store and had to put away an enormous amount of groceries. I had a few items to go back to my bathroom, and as I was putting those things away, I had to push some other things aside so they would fit. It was like I took the entire grocery store home with me! Granted, I don't think I'm an especially efficient shopper, but (I hope) I'm not the only experiencing excess. I passed by the closet on the way out of the bathroom. Another example of excess (although, on any given day I will with absolute conviction tell you that I have nothing cute to wear WHATSOEVER). And even though my closet is full, I still feel the urge to go shopping. Even though my kitchen cabinets are full, I still needed to go shopping for a basket full of items. As I looked at drawers full, cabinets brimming, and closets bursting, it occurred to me that my life is full. Full of busy-ness, full of stuff, full of third grade girl-drama, full of friends, full of church. But I still crave something to fill me up on the inside. Weird, isn't it, how we keep filling up all the nooks and crannies trying to get at what is really eating at us, but it never works?

The world offers so many things that promise to fill our lives so we will be happy. We could all probably sit down and write down a list of at least 10 different things that promise to make us happy, and grant us peace and security. Like money. Position. Power. Beauty. Food. Status. Fame. Is that what the ultimate goal is? Peace, security and happiness? The Lord makes us a bold promise in Galatians 5 that says:

22But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
    23Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [[a]that can bring a charge].

Its so simple I could cry for all the time I've spent trying to fill myself up with other things. So I can step to my Fathers throne, unfraid, and give him all the junk, all the excess, I've been carrying around, and ask for one simple thing in return: the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Promises, Promises


Isaiah 41:9-10
I have chosen you and have not rejected you, so do not fear, do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

You know, at first glance this verse seems like any other verse in the Bible. I like what it has to say, I'll read it with some interest, then I'll close my bible and be on my way. After I pray, of course.

But what if we really were to take a second look at God's Word, starting with this verse? I think that I have become so-I don't know, familiar-with God through church and bible studies, that I tend to overlook some of the seriousness of His promises. Do I really take His promises seriously and trust Him? Or do I read, pray, move on, then do the same thing the following day?  God has made so many promises, if we truly decided to believe even just one of them (and live wholeheartedly by that promise), we would see significant change in our lives.

 "I have chosen you and have not rejected you."

I can't just skim past that. If I did, I'd be doing myself a disservice. I believe God's Word is absolute truth, and that everything else can and should be held up next to it in comparison. Since I believe that, I can also believe that the promises are made to me and for me, not to be taken lightly. Here is where the answers are, here is where I can find the confidence and significance I've been looking for. All I can say is I wish someone had guided me here a long time ago, and maybe some of this heartache could have been avoided.  The heartache comes from believing the lie that says I am not worthy unless I am ( rich, smart, pretty, socially accepted...fill in the blank here with your own insecurity. Mine, obviously, is appearance, so I don't feel "worthy" unless I look perfect.) And I kinda think that sometimes I just take that lie and hold on to it, and after awhile I go on ahead and reject my own self! What a mistake, because as a Christian, I am a child of God, (Galatians 4:7 Therefore, you are no longer a slave (bond servant) but a son; and if a son, then [it follows that you are] an heir by the aid of God, through Christ), adopted into His kingdom and loved as a daughter, a princess. An heiress even!

Since I have the gift of the Holy Spirit living in me, then it doesn't make sense to reject who I am. I'm not suggesting that I not allow myself to be refined by God, but I'm simply suggesting that we not not buy into the lie that we are not worthy. God said it, straight up-

"I have chosen you and have not rejected you".

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Breaking Down

Have you ever had a day of emotional crisis? Where no matter what you did, your worries consumed you to the point of breaking down? Welcome to my Friday night.

It started out a completely fine day, no real stresses, nothing bad happened. I was actually looking forward to our weekly "Pizza-Movie Night" with our kids and just being able to unwind from the week. Then It happened. Are you ready for this, because true confession starts now. I put on a pair of formerly very well-fitting jeans...and...they were too tight (for me). Yes, they still fit, but to a person like me, it was very near the end of the world. I could hardly believe it, my mind just didn't accept truth for what it was, and that where it all started.

God has given us tools and resources to deal with this very thing. In a perfect world, when things in your head (and yes, most likely, its in your head) start to go south, you turn to Him, meditate on Scripture (which is why we should all be memorizing it!), pray, read a book like "So Long Insecurity..."-something! But, alas, my poor head was so full of self-deprecating thoughts that there was no room for anything else. I feebly tried to pull myself up on my own, but if you've been there and tried that you know it doesn't work! I allowed it to get to me to the point that A) the rest of my day, all the way to bed time, was completely ruined, B) the time I could have happily spent enjoying my family was yes, spent with my family, but not happily. C) it took me to a dark place where all I could do was sit in my dark bathroom and cry.  I had one thing on my mind, and I was in a bad place with it. It was taking over my thoughts and behavior.   I thought, "Am I depressed? Do I need intervention?"  Actually, the answer is yes, I needed intervention, but I wasn't going to God to get the healing I needed. I was turning inward, and I just don't have what it takes to pick myself back up.

 You are probably thinking by now, "What a head case!". I kinda think that myself! It seems ridiculous to get that upset over a pair of ill-fitting jeans! But see, I've bought into the lie, I've taken the bait- hook, line and sinker. I believe that if I'm not at what I believe to be is my very best, perfect, we'll call it, then I'm nothing. I have nothing else to offer, nothing else to give. And that is what our enemy intends for us to believe, because we are rendered useless under this kind of duress. I wasn't a light for Jesus! I was sitting in a dark room feeling (very) sorry for myself!

God wants us to live life abundantly, yes! It should be fun and adventure-filled, not sad and dark-but here's the caveat-it's a life abundantly lived IN HIM. Any thing else, and we are trying to fill ourselves with the equivalent of water vapor. It simply will never fill us, no matter how hard we try, or how much we take in.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Just Plain Silly

I went up to the track to walk while my son played basketball on the courts below. During his practice, some parents stay to watch, so I felt a little self-conscious up there all by myself. I was having a hard time getting my heart rate up to what I felt was satisfactory, so I decided to go for a light jog.  I was watching my handsome husband as he sat below, hoping he was thinking I was hot. Or at least kinda pretty. He was paying me no attention whatsoever, so I let my hair down. In my mind, I was one of those beautiful Brooke Burke-types who look as beautiful working out as they do just existing. I look down. He's still chatting it up with his co-worker, so I take off my long sleeve top (no worries, I had on my workout top!!). Still nothing.  During all this jogging, though, I also started remembering how much I hate jogging.  About the time I had jogged, oh, 4 or 5 laps, I was ready to stop trying to be so cool. I felt so insecure, however, that I didn't want to just stop running. What's a girl to do? Well, desperate time call for desperate measures. I may have acted like my foot was hurt and I couldn't possibly run on it, of course! Walking? Not an issue! In my defense, I do have to be careful because I had a stress fracture in that foot. (really, what would you do???)

The only reason I shame myself by telling this little adventure is to show an example of how silly insecurity can make us look when we are trying so hard to look quite the opposite! There is no way that my husband could possibly fill up that hole in my soul that is crying out for attention and security. It's a God-shaped hole that only He can fill, and besides, it's not my husbands job (or anyone else's job for that matter) to totally affirm me daily. Can you imagine how exhausting it would be to have to be the one to totally affirm someone else DAILY? Of course, I want him to think I'm cute, I hope most people do, but to look to others to affirm that in me is a mistake, and a costly one. They simply can't keep up, it's too much pressure to place on someone. And besides, all of humanity can be extremely fickle. What if that one person you're depending on to fill you up (say its your best friend ever, who really does think you are beautiful)  is having a bad day herself? What is SHE needs YOU to fill her up?

 The ONLY one we should be looking to for our affirmation, security and confidence is God-and God alone. He's the One who made us, and He's the One who will fill us, all we have to do is ask. You can count on that!

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders (Deuteronomy 33:12)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Don't Know Where To Start!

I don't even know where to start today. After having a revelation, the idea of starting a blog to reach other women who struggle with issues of insecurity, starting a new bible study, deciding last minute to go on the women's retreat, and some other things, I feel spiritually dried out today. I feel tired!  I don't know where to start today, other than to complain because I'm frustrated that I'm still in my robe, not having accomplished anything but drinking a diet pepsi (at 8:30 a.m. no less. Shameful!) and completing a health assessment for insurance-which, as an aside, I will have to to be weighed for and as soon as I saw that I felt anxious!  It's silly to feel anxious over the prospect of being weighed at the doctors office sometime in the near future, but I felt that ugly feeling of dread and anxiety come over me. I don't want to get dressed right now because I feel bloated (thanks to you, diet pepsi), and I don't like it when my pants feel tight. Last night I was feeling good, today, back to square one. I need to be filled by the Holy Spirit so these things don't bother me, or at least when they do, I know where to turn, because they will all day unless I have His strength to fill my weakness.  1 Corinthians 12:9 would be the perfect place to start looking for fulfillment in an otherwise empty world, to fill an otherwise empty heart today.

9But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [a]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [b]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

I pray that God will fill me with His strength, as I feel completely wiped out.  I pray for His grace and mercy because I am continuing to struggle with this weight issue, and it's all consuming. I think about it more than anything else, and I know that's not healthy. I don't feel like sitting here and spending time with Him, but he continues to remind me of my sacrifice, right now being time, and how important it is to Him, to our relationship, that I give Him back some of what He have given to me. I want my day to go smoothly, and the only way to accomplish that is to offer it to Him, so He can fill it in and make it glorious.

 How can I do that today? Honor Him with my time, my body, my mind, my day? I need His help to concentrate, to keep me creative and beautiful, focused on what I need to do to care for my family and myself, and how I can give glory to Him through it all. I want to be fit for being His daughter, the apple of His eye, the royal crown jewel in His kingdom. What can I do?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Losing Control

I've been thinking a lot about losing control, something I really hate to do. When I'm "in control" of my circumstances, I feel certain, safe, satisfied, calm. But am I really in control or do I just think I am? I think about how I have controlled my circumstances in my life to the point that I have become weary and tired, discouraged, depressed even. I've become that way because there is no way to control all the circumstances in my life.  I've tried to mostly control my diet, exercise, the house and the appearance of both. I've tried to appear to God  and others that I am perfectly in control, or calm, cool and collected one might say. How could I possibly have tried to fool God and myself for so long?  He has helped me realize that although I gave my life to Him a while ago, I only gave Him bits and pieces because I have not trusted that He would take care of certain things like I would. I have thought foolishly that I can and could do a better job, but it's a lot of pressure to try to do that. I haven't offered myself as a living sacrifice because I didn't see the point, nor did I see why He really cared. I actually thought He would make me gain weight because I shouldn't care so much about how I look in the first place. I haven't given up control in the least, but have certainly asked for His intervention on plenty of things that I knew I couldn't handle because they are out of my control, simply put.

I have controlled my diet and exercise regimen for years, not giving it up for anything or anybody. I take care of myself in the hopes of attaining two main goals: looking better and not getting sick, cancer or otherwise. To honor God has never been a thought, never a consideration, not even for a second. I do it for me, period. It's largely fear and even more so vanity, and I'm not even sure I can tell the difference anymore. I have fear and vanity issues because I'm insecure. I've never (before now) investigated why I'm insecure or even that I am insecure, I have just accepted it as part of who I am. How does a child of God co-exist with an insecure woman? How does one not knock the other out of the picture? There is a major battle that I can't even see going on right now for my very soul, because I can feel it. If I do not give God everything I've got, then the battle will continue because I will always have something that is up for grabs.

There are many things that I will struggle with giving God, and two main ones are my TIME and my PHYSICAL BODY. I still don't see the big picture quite yet, and maybe never will, but I want to trust Him with everything. How does one trust Him with their body, or even give it to Him? It seems like a really strange concept. I will begin with what I eat. Right now I have one goal in deciding what goes in my mouth: if it will help me lose weight. In deciding to trust and honor God instead of only honoring me, I will eat with the goal of honoring Him and trust that He will guide me. To honor Him with my body instead of honoring me will be hard. I've gotten compliments on how I look, and I'm fearful of losing that. But to find my confidence in Him is what I want, because I know that is lasting and exceptional, and just maybe I won't care so much what other people might think. He has told me in His Word that I am beautiful, that I have captivated His heart, and that I am the apple of His eye. Can I totally lose control with Him and be on my way to being the happiest I've ever been in my life? I need guidance from Him and need to remember His promise that He will never let me go(Deuteronomy 31:8), because I'm trying to let go of my life in order to live.

What honors God?
What dishonors God? I know some of those: gluttony, craving anything more than I crave Him, greed, pride...

Deuteronomy 31:8
Amplified Bible (AMP)
8It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will [march] with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; [let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not, neither become broken [in spirit--depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm].

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

No Need for Fear

Psalm 91

My Refuge and My Fortress

 1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say[a] to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.”
 3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
   and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
   nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
   nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

 7 A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
   and see the recompense of the wicked.

 9 Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
   the Most High, who is my refuge[b]—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
   no plague come near your tent.

 11 For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
   lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
   the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

 14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
   I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
   I will be with him in trouble;
   I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
   and show him my salvation.”

As I read Psalms 91, I am again reminded of how much God absolutely loves and protects me, and I feel like I can breath a sigh of relief. Sometimes I feel like I've been holding my breath, and I don't even know how long I've been doing it. Verse 11 is the verse that caught my attention at first. Although my head is reading and saying, oh, good, finally some solace in an unpredictable and scary world, my heart has a hard time catching up. I want to believe, and I'm choosing to believe, but I still have questions like "am I really protected from all evil?". I have to chastise myself and tell myself that in the whole big picture, on the whole earth, there is no person or thing I can trust in, no group or community. Nothing except Gods Word, which is the holiest item I have and one of the only ways I have to really understand what he's trying to get across to me. So when I read it in Gods Word...comparing it to everything in the entire world, and that's a lot of stuff-then I must believe that it is so.

In reality, I really do need to breath easier and enjoy life. Isn't that what Jesus promised in John 10:10? He says "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." It doesnt say anything about an easy life, but an abundant life is mine in Christ, so why do I continue to stand in my own way? I'm in a sense contributing to my own misery, but fighting it all the same, and it's enough to leave a girl exhausted at the end of the day. I want my eyes opened to the beauty that I possess, and I'm not talking about the physical kind. I'm talking about the kind that only Christ can bring, that shines through even on my most hormonal days. The kind that can never be taken away, the kind where I find my security. Jesus is called Yahweh Tsuri, The Lord My Rock, for several reasons, and one of them is because I can build my trust on Him. He is secure, and I don't have to worry about Him deciding to move or change His mind about me.

I want Gods truth to eclipse every other emotion and false security I depend so heavily on so that I can clearly see the treasure that I already have in me. Then I will be able to see that I am His treasure, and His beauty will rest on me (Isaiah 62:3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God).

It is now time for bed and my mind is totally reeling from-who else-Beth Moore. To say that she is incredibly gifted is an understatement. Anyway, the topic was the inheritance we will receive from God, but she got into living, really living, life, which has been a subject I have also been drawn to quite a bit lately. She said that in order to abundantly live life and stop being bored, we have to let go and let God, that we get in the way of living life abundantly because we are squeezing every ounce of control out. How did she word it...? She said something like "you can't have a wild ride if you're the one driving" (presumably because you always know where you are going).  I don't have a clue what that looks like in my life, but it really got me thinking. I've talked about losing control, and how scary that is. But is the fact that I constantly try to control my own life down to every bite, every minute,standing in my way?

Also, it's been rolling around in my head all night about how much I crave (or think about) God versus how much I crave being thin and pretty. It's a pretty staggering difference if I'm completely honest with myself. But is it right? Well, it says pretty simply to have no god before God, and if I'm thinking about it that much, then it must be pretty far up there on my list of "Priorities and Worries List". To really crave God, and time with God, more than I crave being thin and pretty would be a very significant change. How does one go about changing that? For starters, I think I need to meditate on the Word more so that I have Scripture in my head if I start. I also need a trigger, something that says my mind is headed in the wrong direction. How much should I crave God? Putting food in front of Him is certainly not what I expected of myself, but it's how I am.

Facing My Giants

 I recently re-read the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). I know David had to have been scared to death as he went out, by himself, to face that giant who taunted him and blasphemed God, but he knew God was with him and that's all he needed. His confidence was with God and he succeeded. I feel like I'm facing a huge giant called insecurity right now, and I need to trust God to get me through this. It's tough, but He already know this. I'm so insecure and unsure of myself that I feel like Gideon, needing reassurance from God that He is there and will take care of me.

The giants I'm facing are taunting me, but you know, they didn't taunt at first. At first, they gave me confidence, assurance, joy even. I had nothing to fear, nothing to need. I was good. Then, slowly, those giants have turned into beasts, taunting me because they are close but far out of reach. I've lost the confidence I had, I've lost my fearless bravado, and my need for their "joy" grows daily but can never be satisfied. Yesterday, as I faced a lethargic afternoon because I'm on a low-carb diet to lose those 10 pounds I've gained, I couldn't think straight. I felt flaky, like I couldn't concentrate on anything, and overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. Questions kept popping into my head. How am I supposed to keep my kids homework under my supervision when I've got to cook dinner too? How am I supposed to cook dinner and supervise homework when my son's room is a mess? Where am I going to put all his toys? Things that weren't a big deal were becoming mountains in my head, and I began snapping at my children, biting there heads off with every response I had. Even if I had no response, I was not warm and fuzzy, but cool and standoffish. Then Anna had a meltdown, just as I was feeling the same way. I began to wonder if I was going about things the right way, and I began talking to God, finally.

 I recalled a conversation I had with my doctor about my daughter, who has begun to have less meltdowns as I have come loser to knowing true joy in the Lord. It was quite a parallel: I'm having a mental meltdown, which I don't hide very well. She's having a physical meltdown, over eating vegetables. I don't have patience for it, or with her, she gets worse. She is like a mirror of me. She reflects what I'm feeling in a 9 year old way, and last night there was no joy, no love, no peace here. It occurred to me somewhere in there how I had put off my devotion earlier and had planned on spending time with God "later", but unfortunately, later came too late.

As the kids went to bed, I did finally open His word to my desperate eyes and heart. My soul, which I had been trying to feed all day, was empty and it showed. How stupid, I think now, when the solution is easy and obvious. I read about David and Goliath. Facing your giants is never easy, but I need to. The first thing I need to do is spend time with God, no matter what. I said yesterday that time was one of the things that I am ultimately selfish with, and I don't even share it well with my friends and family. My kids get my time in pieces, and I'm always distracted. My husband gets my time when I'm ready, but I've always got something else to do. My workouts and this house get the majority of my time, and that is the truth. But God? He's right there in the middle, and that's how I know my priorities are a little out of whack.

To give of my time is a big, big deal to me. But I realized that He gave me time, and plenty of it, so I could give it back. Giving it back to Him first is how I know I'm going to make it through the day sane.
I have tried self-preservation over and over again, protecting my self against those things I perceive to be dangerous and giving myself to those things I perceive to be helpful: being the perfect size, having the perfect house, and being perfectly organized. Those are my giants, those things that were once a "blessing" but are now my mortal enemies as they are sucking the life out of me. I am consumed with these things to the point that I take no time for anything or anyone else unless I have to. I need God's help, because " you [God] created us for so much more than self-preservation or self-promotion. When we follow our natural inclination to preserve or promote ourselves or perform for others, we eventually end up in a place of darkness and doubt. It's just too much pressure. Even if we achieve success or have a few good days, eventually it won't be enough because we can't maintain it." (Rene Swope, A Confident Heart).

That is so important. We cannot maintain it. Total dependance on God is the only thing I can maintain right now. It is scary, and I feel out of control. What-ifs constantly pop into my thoughts. The only way to fight these is with His word, meditating on what He thinks of me, contrasting those ugly "against me" thoughts with "for me" thoughts from His Holy Word. This is my sacrifice to Him today: my time. I've got lots to do (which He knows) and time seems to slip away. I need His help to balance my time, accomplish important tasks and spend the rest of my time on what is important. I know He will guide me because I trust Him and seek His will. I don't like feeling out of control, but my body, my mind and my soul are all His.

 Over the years, it's like I've given Him parts of me, like my soul, where I knew I didn't have anything to lose. And then I figured the rest of me was still mine to deal with, like I've done what I was supposed to and given Him a small piece of me that I thought I could trust Him with. But as I'm sitting here, I'm realizing that he asks for all of me, even the parts I'm not sure I can trust Him with.