Letting {that thought} Go

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” -Proverbs 23:7

I confess.  I am a control freak.

Maybe not in the ways typically attributed to those more dominating, loud, dynamic people who can control a room just by walking in.  But in my personal little world, I freak out when things fall beyond the bounds of what I consider to be within my control.

Parenting is a great example.  Have you ever noticed that being a control freak in the parenting arena doesn’t exactly promote a good marital relationship?

I have!  I get downright anxious when my children, and husband for that matter, behave in ways that go beyond my control, or contradict what I believe I should be able to control.  Sound like a control freak?  It does to me.

A trusted friend gently brought this up.  She was honest and compassionate, but wasn’t about to let us off the hook.

The thing is, control is a total facade.  It is a form of mental comfort that is a complete lie and can leave us in shattered pieces when reality evaporates it’s foggy walls.  Control comes in many shades of freakishness, some more subtle than others.  However, the truth about control is that the only thing we have complete control over is how we think, and thus, respond, to the course of life.

An uglier truth about control is that unless we learn to release control, it is a mental state with a slow death sentence.

Have you noticed lately that anxiety attacks seem to be an epidemic in our culture?  And have you counted all the physical side effects that anxiety induced by stress causes?  It floored me when I took the time to learn something about this topic.

I have been experiencing an anomaly lately:  The wide open freedom of releasing control.  As well as the contrast of the suffocating anxiety that returns when I panic and try to regain some of that control. {which was never lost to me because it was never really mine}

For me, realizing that I truly do not lack a thing has catapulted me into this anomaly. When it comes right down to it, the budget may be tight, but I have experienced first hand the miraculous provision Christ promises us,(Phl 4:19).  My husband may let me down, and my kids may act out, but I have a perfect defender in Christ, to deflect all accusations my enemy whispers or speaks through well intentioned people,(Psalm32:10).  I will fall very short of my own standard, let-alone others who hold higher standards, but I have been made perfect through the sacrifice of Christ, and that is how He views me, treats me and loves me,(Ephesians 2:8). I am not going to know how to react in all circumstances, but Christ has promised that He will never leave me, will place words in my mouth at the right time, and will guard and protect my life in Him,(Psalm 5:11).

Letting these truths sink in and become center stage in my thought life has given me a new view on life – on what I can and cannot control.  I may still be a freak… but as His Truth works its way into my thought life I will no longer be a control freak.

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Healthy Rest

“When things get hard, spend more time with Him, lean more on Him and receive more grace from Him.” (Hebrews 4:16) ~Joyce Meyer

Amazing how ministry so quickly blurs the lines of healthy boundaries, isn’t it?  How a lot of good so easily becomes the alter on which we sacrifice what is best?  And when we find ourselves depleted, drained, weary and even burnt out, we wonder how we’ve gotten to that point, doing what we’ve thought to be the work of the Lord.

The enemy is hard at work to keep us in this state. This cycle of doing lots of good, of ministering in Jesus name, to the point of so completely depleting ourselves that we crumble.  The enemy even has a lot of us believing that it is our lack of faith that has caused us to become weary of doing good.

Two questions I’ve been taught to ask.  How often are you in His Word during the day?  How disciplined are you about your times of rest and sleep?

Why these two questions?

If you are only reading your Bible once or twice a day it is like taking one or two breaths, eating once or twice or taking a couple sips of water for the day and calling it good.  Even if it’s only a few verses here and there, getting the Word into your head continuously while you’re awake will sync up your thoughts, which direct your emotions, which influence your choices, which dictate your relationships, which determine your ministry’s effectiveness.  (Romans 12:2/ 2 Corinthians 4:16/Ephesians 4:22-24 & 5:15-17)

If you are not getting rest or enough sleep, you are not unplugging your mind & emotions, which will decrease your productivity.  If you don’t unplug your head and heart from daily life, you cannot replug it into the Source of your life – you’ll be too tired, you probably won’t even realize there is a difference.  Also, if you are getting enough of the Word throughout the day, then sleep is crucial time for the Holy Spirit to work the Truth of the Word through your head, heart and soul without you questioning Him with your perspectives and smarts.  Rest and sleep are His gifts of grace to us for effortless transformation from the inside out if we are filling our minds with His Word while awake.  (Psalm 23:1-3/Psalm 61:4/Matt. 11:28-30)

Only when we are in sync with His Word are any of us truly effective in any form of ministry.

Do you define your life with boundaries that set you up for health and keep what is best from being sacrificed to all the good there is to do?

“Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart’s desires.” ~ Psalm 37:4

Identity & Love

A tweet from a friend: “RT@GregoryDickow: Identity + security = destiny.  Understanding your Identity in Christ & security in God’s love propels you into your destiny.”

No matter what has happened to you or what choices you have made, your identity in the love of the God who created you is steadfast, secure and unshakeable.  There isn’t anything you can do or have done that keeps you from His love.  There isn’t anything that has happened to you that removes His love from you.

It is your soul’s enemy who works tireless to to keep you from experiencing this love, and from understanding your identity, thus preventing you from claiming the destiny that is yours.

If you are heartbroken, healing, recovering, flailing in uncertainty, feeling lost, lonely, helpless…  my prayer is that you come to know exactly how loved and how secure you are in Christ.  I pray that you come to understand that all the pain and all the guilt is not His design, plan or desire for you.  I pray that you know how deep His longing is to restore, recover and comfort you.

His love is not what this world calls Love.  He does not impose Himself; He waits for your invitation.  He does not demand; He respects you.  He does not insist; He waits patiently for your timing.  He does not require you to earn His love; He declared it before you were born, giving Himself up for you just to have the hope, the chance, that you might desire Him, know Him, accept His love.  That by the knowledge and acceptance of His love for you, you would discover your secure identity in Him and be fulfilled in the life He has established for you.

Your destiny.

Miraculous Strain

Miracles need room to grow.

When you receive a miracle there is a kind of stretching and straining as it develops within your life.   The stretching expands and the straining grows, to increases you, so that you acquire the capacity to maintain life within your miracle.  And, miracles make way for more miracles… if you learn to increase and allow yourself to grow, until pretty soon you no longer see the constraints of the life you used to live.

The life you had before you got your first miracle.

If you are still waiting for your miracle, hang in there and keep believing – it’s coming.

If you wonder how to receive a miracle, check your belief…

Are you preparing to receive what you are believing for?  Do you take active steps toward the miraculous?  Are the words you speak breathing life into your beliefs or shackling you to a life of wishful longing?   And, are your expectations of the miraculous in line with the One who establishes all miracles?

If you think you are exempt from miracles, I challenge you to rethink that thought ;)!

What Forgiveness Is And Is Not

http://www.elevationchurch.org/sermons

This is a wonderful view on forgiveness and on what it is and isn’t.  In light of all I have grown up believing, and still hear preached regarding forgiveness, I love the freedom and truth that this message enlightens that word with.

Truly life-breathing words spoken at Elevation, I hope you are able to take the time to hear them.

A Miracle

Have you ever lived a day where at the end of it you sit down completely in shock that you experienced all you did?  Bone weary and emotionally numb, yet somehow fragile; when tears are on the brink but hysterical laughter is rising in your gut?

That was my day recently.

When God works through your faith to inspire another’s it is a miraculous thing.  I was given this privilege with a front row seat in the lives the people closest to me when my Father planted a vision in my heart and mind.

As I shared this with my husband, and repeated what I believed God to be speaking to me, he lit up like I hadn’t seen in a long time. Years before being battered by disappointment and discouragement, my husband was a passionate visionary with some pretty incredible visions of his own.  The look in his eye while I was sharing the vision that had been pressed into me reminded me of those years long ago.  He ran with it.

While things started to shape up and timing seemed to be perfect, it felt like we were completely inline with God’s desire for our lives.  But soon after we got ourselves past the point of no return we began to experience random glitches.  As we went through these things, totally confused and somewhat helpless as to immediate fixes, I could hear certain peoples’ voices saying, “oops, maybe you ran ahead of God,” or “I guess you didn’t get that vision from God after all {wink, wink},” or “That’s okay, we all get it wrong sometimes,” or “Well, seems like God is closing the door!

Except, we were already on the other side of the threshold… if the door was closing it was closing behind us because we were already through it.  And, as I went through the different scenarios of what outcomes we may face I felt a certain stilling peace form in the center of my gut.  My husband, however, didn’t so much.  He felt fear.  He saw a history that told a very different story.  He saw impossibility, and he saw his inability to make it different.

I quietly stood my ground.  It was outrageous, what I was convinced God would do for us.  And while I fully believed He could, and that He was whispering to me that He would, the honest question of whether or not He was going to do it now hovered over our household as we waited.  And waited.  And encountered still more setbacks and glitches.

Then, when we were completely on empty – I mean literally, out of options and at a $0 – He moved.  We got a call.  A call so out of the blue and unexpected that after my husband shared it with me we just stood together, tears seeping down our cheeks.

It was unexpected, over the top, outrageous, and wild kindness.  A complete gift.

Then another call.  Another solution that hit us from left-field, smack between the eyes, and right in the guts of our hearts.  A provision randomly provided in exactly the right time and amount.

Suddenly, what was a total and complete impossibility was actually going to happen. 

Before my eyes my husband became a new man.  He completely transformed as he absorbed the incredible miracle we were experiencing together.  God didn’t let him down this time, He came through and in a powerful way.  And He came through even though my husband didn’t feel like he had done anything to earn it – and actually he felt the exact opposite, he was afraid he’d lost favor because he had a recent string of random “failures.”  {his view on it all, not mine}

Along side of us, our children had joined in prayer and in believing for what we envisioned, with us.  When they heard that we were in jeopardy of loosing it, they spoke out innocent belief and prayed deeply insightful prayers over their mommy and daddy in childish words.  When their prayers were answered, they were almost more excited over that, then the realization of what we were about to encounter.

I believe that sometimes God leads us in a direction that allows us to squirm a bit as He sets the stage to reveal the incomprehensible depths of His love and ability to provide, not just our needs but also our dreams and desires.  Taking what is impossible and transforming it into reality.

I believe this because I am living it.