Sunday, March 17, 2013

Today I...

...have been reading "Choose Joy" by Kay Warren (married to Pastor Rick Warren) and loving it.   In the book she espouses the theory that joy is a choice, something we CHOOSE. It is not just a by-product of the nice things that happen to us or when all of the circumstances in our lives line up but something we can (and should) experience even in the midst of the calamaties of life.  She says that choosing "joy" in any situation is the sign of a deep trust in God.  It's an acknowledgement that he knows what he's doing with our lives and nothing that happens to us is a surprise to him, or something that he cannot use to benefit us and to bring glory to himself through our experience.   There is nothing that happens to us that does not come through his hand and that we cannot trust Him to take us through.

Here is a quote from Chapter 3 that struck a chord... and made me think about my own weapons of choice...

"...When will we figure it out?  Our children are not here to meet our need for appreciation.  They were not born to meet our expectations for their lives.  They are here to fulfill God’s purpose for them…     Yet day after day, we look to our children - or our husbands or our friends or our co-workers to fulfill us.  When they don’t we get angry. They owe us.  

That’s when most of us pick up our weapons of choice.  I’m not proud of the weapons I have been known to use when I’m wounded.  But I will be honest and share my weapons with you as long as you will think truthfully about yours.

My favourite weapon  when I’m disappointed in someone is either the cold shoulder -the not so subtle way of turning away from the offending person - or a sarcastic comment that cuts like a knife.  As we hold our weapon of choice, we justify our attitude.  We decide that if the other person would just change, we would have joy. 

Why is this?

Because we are expecting the people in our lives to meet needs they cannot meet.  They were never supposed to..."

From:  Choose Joy:  Because Happiness Isn't Enough - by Kay Warren

Friday, March 1, 2013

Today I...

...saw an old friend - who brought medicine to my soul.

Jan is going through a tough time in life, but it looks like the worst of it might be behind her now.  I hope.  We haven't seen each other for years - maybe 10?   She was on her way to the East coast to start life over again but didn't want to leave without stopping to say goodbye, and to make SURE I stopped in if I was ever out that way again.

We talked about the present, filled with more pain that she could almost bear.  But we talked alot about the past too - the path that brought us both "here".

I felt so honoured to have been singled out like that in the middle of such pain.  "You were always there for me," she said.  "You never judged.  Such an example of God's love..."

Well, I don't remember it that way - being "such an example of God's love" - but I'm glad she does.  It could only be the love of Jesus shining through...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Today I learned...   ...a LOT!

I learned once again - but in a deeper and clearer way - that when you see clearly of your need to forsake your own ways (ways which harm yourself and others) and ask for the wisdom you need from God to walk in HIS ways, that he is a lavish and liberal giver of gifts...

I learned a little bit more of how HE sees me, which makes it a whole lot easier to love myself and to walk in a state of forgiveness toward "me" in just the same way as I do with those I love and care deeply for.  Though I'm broken, I'm loveable!  (Me and the Velveteen Rabbit.)

I experienced once again what matters most is what God thinks of me..  that He is the only one who can be depended upon to truly "get you" and the only one that should!

And I think that's quite enough for one day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Today I...   ...saw something I've never seen before.

I have had a very poor image of myself.  They are referred to as "the formative years" - and when the experiences of childhood, which in my case included some very negative experiences, the formation of who you are and how you view and relate to the world can become very skewed.  I have had a very difficult time seeing myself as anything but "no good".  As recently as a few months ago, I shared with someone that I thought that this was something I would always have to live with - my poor self image was my "thorn in the side".

Well, today, as I was doing my daily readings, a bit of a light went on.  Ephesians 3: 16-19 reads

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom [l]every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

 Suddenly I'm seeing things differently.  If Christ is to "dwell in your hearts through faith" and we are to be "rooted and grounded in love", and thereby able "to comprehend...  what is the breadth and length and height and dept and to know the love of Christ..." even to the point that it "surpasses all knowledge" and "that you maybe be filled up to all the fullness of God"... well, how can that co-exist with self hatred and self deprecation?  Is it not actually a command to be "filled with love"?  And can one be "filled with love" yet hate one's own self?


So it is a matter of obedience.  If I cannot accept my "loveliness" in Christ's eyes, than it is because I choose not to.  And if I choose not to, doesn't that give me every reason in the world, every excuse, not to have to "change" or to conform to his image?  To indulge any sin I want?  To stay stuck in my puddle of mud at the bottom of this horrible pit? (When I could be up there dancing in glorious light?)

You bet.

This day of all days it will be the most difficult for me to begin to walk this out.  Having been taken apart at the seams, and being fully cognizant of how my foolish belief system has affected and hurt others, how can I suddenly see myself as "loveable".

But I am highly motivated.  (If DON'T want to die in this mess, in the middle of this "stinkin' thinkin'" then I HAVE to change.  I want to go out " a trophy of His grace", bringing glory to HIM,  not just a product of my own silly clinging to an old way of life...)  God helping me, I will.

No more self deprecatory remarks from me.

I also read this morning (in the Daily Light) that whatever we ask, believing, that God will give it to us and it also says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault (thank you Lord especially for that "not finding fault" part) and it will be given to him..."

So I'm asking in faith... for the wisdom I need to walk this out.  For the wisdom to grasp the hand of the One who wants to deliver (instead of saying, "no thank you, I quite like my pit.  It's comfortable here.")  and to open my eyes to see His truth about me and about how to relate to others.  Send me your Truth, Lord, and grant me the grace to walk in it.

Today I think
this just might be
the first day of the rest of my life.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Today I   ...died.

So to speak.

I am in the worst place, I think I've ever been.

I realize (and am trying - with God's help - to fully accept) the reality that I have been living all of my life with a "victim mentality".

Someone told me that very thing about fifteen years ago.  I took it as an affront.  I was so offended.  I was so blind...

It took being pierced to the core of my being and being torn wide open to clearly see my sin, how I have been hurting others, and myself, not to mention my relationship with God.

I've always known somehow that there was a pit (even though I tried as hard as I possibly could to believe otherwise) but I've never been able to figure it out - it was like sensing it - seeing through a glass darkly -- never able to see it clearly before - and thereby never able to identify it.  I have been so blind.  (Probably choosing to be blind.)

I'm afraid now of bleeding to death before I can learn a new way to "be".  Of losing relationships because I opened my eyes too late.  That I'm too old to change sixty years of firmly entrenched pathways in my brain and in my heart.  Of drifting back into blindness because this is no small thing - this asking me to change sixty years of a way of "being" to something else.  How can I possibly do it?

But God...

I can't say there's even a glimmer of hope.  It's too miniscule to call it even that.  but there is the tiniest speck of a glow - not because of anything in me - but only because I know God is faithful.  I am trusting him to lead me out of this.  I have to.  What other choice do I have?  What other hope do I have?

And I'm thanking him that it's not too late.  If I had died last night I would have died never knowing...  at least not knowing before the great white throne of judgment...  If I die tonight, I at least will have died repentant.  For that I am grateful.

And grateful for the circumstances that brought me here to this place of being able to "see".  (I blame no one but myself.)

I'm afraid of what tomorrow may bring.  I don't think I can stand another painful shred of "truth". No, not even a shred.

But God...  I know.  But God...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Early Morning Investments

Today I...

...was very glad I'd started my day in the living room with my small basket of books and my journal on my lap.

"I'll get the tea," I said out loud to God, as I headed down the hallway to the bathroom and the kitchen (in that order).  I looked over at the blue chair that was waiting for me and realized that I am finished with trying to plow through life without that few moments of restoration that I've been able to grab every single morning for the last two weeks. And they say it takes six weeks to start a habit...

I've spent time in devotions before, though it's always been sporadic. They have always been "hit and miss" with me int he past, and admittedly, more "miss" that "hit".  (But we are "free in Christ, right?  It's not a religion!  :) )

 But this year as I approached my birthday (just before Christmas) I began to sense God doing something "new" in me.  Through a series of events, which included listening particularly hard to the last few sermons of the year, and responding particularly attentively to the yearnings of my own hungry heart, I heard God calling me back.  Back to meeting with him, but not just hit and miss this time.

What made the difference?  What convinced me?  Well, I stopped looking at this time spent with God as a religious activity, or an obligation, or a "rule to be followed", and started rather to see it as a wise "investment" of time.

"Do you want to end up," Pastor Rick asked intently, "in exactly the same place next year that you are in this year?"

I knew that my answer to that question was a resounding "no".  And I knew that if I wanted to really see something "more" next year than I was seeing this year, I would have to invest my time accordingly.

So just before Christmas I purposed in my heart to go straight to the living room first thing in the morning.  No matter what.  Yes, even if I was late for work.  

And I'm not sorry.  In fact, I'm loving this time with God every morning so much that it's hard to think about ever quitting...   He has not disappointed me one iota.  And I'm noticing some changes.  But more about that later.  (Maybe tomorrow!)