Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coming Clean

My last two posts have alluded to the fact that something in my life is not quite on track and that is true. I feel like I need to come clean about what that is.  At the beginning of the year when I embarked on reading the Bible in 90 days I was excited to see what God would teach me. 9 months later I am still trying to learn and apply the lessons God began during that process.  God is graciously teaching me how to trust Him and to let go of the bondage I so often choose to live in.

I am currently working through (quite slowly I might add) Breaking Free by Beth Moore.  In the first week she described bondage as being preoccupied by destructive thought processes.  When I hear that definition I resonate with it because I know I am living in bondage.  The question you may have is what am I in bondage to? One word won't really answer your question but I feel the need to confess I have an eating disorder.  For most of my adult life I easily have said "I HAD an eating disorder" and I walked in security that it was indeed behind me.  Over the last year and maybe more, my preoccupation with food has become very destructive.  It is so easy for me to hide, justify or dismiss but I feel that I just need to come clean about it.  Shame, guilt, fear, self-condemnation and all those other negative emotions have kept me down and I am sick of it! I want FREEDOM! The same freedom that Christ died to give me, I want it.  I mean, I really want it. I want it so bad that I can no longer stay where I am at and be satisfied. 

When I went through postpartum depression I know that the single most helpful thing I did was to admit that I was struggling.  By confessing, seeking help and sharing my struggle I was able to begin the healing process and find the freedom that God desired in my life.  I believe this confession will do much the same for me.  I don't want to hide and I know that I am not alone in my struggles even if you don't struggle with the exact same issues. I don't want to reinvent this part of my life.  I want to fall face down before my God and become the new creation I know He has already made me.  Christ's death on the cross has already provided everything I need and He is more than able to lead me into freedom I just need to be obedient and follow hard after Him. 

There is a lot of work God wants to do in my life and I need to be obedient to cooperate with His work.  That is what is going on in my life.  I know it is raw, ugly and maybe a bit to much for you to take in (if you are still reading) but it is where I am at. I want freedom and conventional ways have not worked for me, I can only cling to my Savior and follow Him. This really is a journey to freedom and though there are many parts of my life that are going great this is where I need to camp out for awhile.  I know that God has much in store for not only my life but for yours as well.  Blessings!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Kindness

"Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?" Romans 2:4 NLT

God is so incredibly kind to me. His kindness and faithfulness to me surpasses anything I can comprehend. He is more gracious and patient with me than I deserve. I truly believe God has me in a sweet spot right now, though I have to admit that sweet spot is proving very painful for me. I feel I have reached the point where continuing on would be more painful than staying where I am but that doesn't mean I want to face the pain right now. Still somehow I know God wants me to grow through the pain.

In my last post I talked about how I am pretty good at reinventing myself. If I just try hard enough and apply the right principles it seems as if everything will fall into place. This is a lie. No amount of effort on my own behalf will ever be enough to give me the results I long for. I want to experience real freedom, just as God desires me to have yet I often feel I sabotage myself and stop short of experiencing the kind of freedom Christ died to give me.

This morning our church started a series about being Courageous. The 3 key questions were: 1. Will we be strong and very courageous? 2. Will we put our trust in God? 3. Will we live out our convictions? I was particularly challenged by the second question, will I put my trust in God? It may seem unusual that as a professing believer who desires to see all people to place their faith in the saving work Jesus Christ did on the cross would not have trust issues herself but God keeps bringing to the forefront of my mind that I do indeed have trust issues. If I trust God with 99% of my life but do not release that last 1% then I obviously have trust issues.

It is hard to admit but I am still trying to cling and grasp control in one particular area in my life. Truth is, it isn't working. For all my grasping and trying to control I am out of control and less at peace than I should be or want to be. That is what leads me here. To this point. The place where true freedom and peace are on the horizon. But I need to trust, believe, give up control. I need to leap and allow God to catch me. I want freedom so bad I can taste it. I want to get outside of my own head in order to worship and serve God with a higher degree of surrender and purpose. God is so kind to bring me to this point and I am writing about it for anyone who reads to know about it. Keeping it to myself, journaling to myself, and all the other ways that I have tried to reinvent myself in this area ARE NOT WORKING! When Christ was on earth He was anything but conventional in the company He kept and the methods He used to teach, heal and draw people to Himself. Conventional isn't working for me therefore I am proceeding in the unconventional.

I am sharing myself and my struggles with you so that together we can celebrate the glorious way He makes all things new and how trustworthy He really is. I will share more specifics as time goes on but to those handful of regular readers I have I want you to know things are going to be different for a little while. It's just where I am at right now.

And as a side note for anyone who has been reading for a really, really long time (THANKS!) during communion today the song being played in the background was I Surrender All. Truly God is good and I am praying that I have ears to hear and a heart to apply what He wants to teach me. Blessings!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Reinventing of Self

Overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, tired, striving, failure...all these words have one thing in common, they often describe how I feel. No matter what title I may use to define myself (woman, pastor's wife, Christ follower, Bible study teacher, mother, friend, etc.) these words easily find themselves into any crack or crevice I have. Now don't get me wrong, these words do not define me nor do they define every area of my life all at the same time but too often they make an unwelcome appearance and are not dealt with very easily or willingly.

God is gently, and at times not so gently, teaching me why these behaviors, emotions and thought patterns are common in my life. I've already admitted on this blog that I am a perfectionist and I struggle regularly with control and pride issues. That being said I am going to add to the list, when faced with the ugliest sins in my life I often recognize the problem, confess it and then proceed to reinvent myself to eliminate the unwanted problem area from my life. Whether I reinvent myself through a new spiritual discipline, an accountability relationship, charts, schedules, and other such practices, the truth is that I am trying and striving to bring about my own freedom. I try to reinvent and manufacture the results and become the me I want to be. God can and does use all of those practices to bring about His work in my life but only when my attitudes and thoughts are focused on Him alone.

As I work through the Breaking Free Bible study by Beth Moore I am realizing just how much I want and need real freedom in my life. I want to experience peace, joy and God's presence in my life in new ways that I have not yet experienced. There are areas in my life that have never experienced continual freedom and victory the way God intends. I want to release my grasp on those areas and know that God is working. He WILL work but if I jump into auto pilot and just try to reinvent myself in that area it just wont work.

The idea of reinventing self is pretty popular and common. Self help books, seminars, various internet resources make it possible to reinvent yourself in any area of life. Diet, exercise, organization, homemaking, business, education, etc. You name it and you can find a support group or online forum to reinvent yourself in this area. I see 2 reasons I (as well as many others) do this, 1. belonging 2. necessity. I often desire to reinvent myself and quickly find help in this because I realize I don't want to be alone on this journey of life. Belonging and finding out you are not alone in any given struggle is encouraging and helpful. People can offer an invaulable amount of expereinece and help in the area of struggle. I am also led to reinvent myself because where I am currently at is causing too much pain so it seems necessary to make a change. The reality of it however is that it is easier for me to set goals, discuss strategies and get advice than it is for me to just SURRENDER. To listen to the voice of The One Who knows and wants what is best for me should be my first and only priority but often I get in the way of that most important thing with my own way of digging myself out.

I have so much more to write about what God is teaching me on this journey to understand and live in freedom but that will have to be written in several other posts. It is my goal not to make you wait another 4 months for that! Whether you can relate to anything I wrote here or not I pray that you are in the process of understanding and living in the freedom Christ died and rose again to give you. Blessings!