From the recent devastation in Napal to our own personal devastations, it's hard to know how to stay steady. How do we proceed to live a life of steadfastness when calamity is hitting us from all sides?
As I reflect on this past week I am constantly shocked at all the heartbreak that goes on around me as people struggle with their own pain.
*A young friend contemplating suicide,
*A young boy fighting for his life after recovering from minor surgery,
*Families running to be by the bedside of ailing parents,
*A young father struggling with a drug addiction hoping to make it into a treatment center before he brings more devastation to his family,
and on and on it goes.
Is this the New Normal?
Yes, this is the norm when you are working in ministry but even if you aren't, it is always all around us on a daily basis. God never promised us a problem free life but He did promise us we could find peace in the middle of it.
How Does That Even Look?
I for one, in my early years never understood how that could even be possible. I was the best codependent you would ever meet. Sucked into everyone else's crisis and always seemed to have one of my own. Why couldn't I walk in that peace? How does this look? I had no answer except to try not to care at all and I certainly was not wired that way.
So I started studying boundaries, codependency, and read every self help book out there. I knew the Word of God taught to be anxious for nothing (Phil 4:6) but I didn't know how to do that. What was I missing ?
I felt it was something I was doing wrong. I felt disobedient and guilty for not having the peace of God that passes all understanding? I was being tossed to and fro by the waves and hated that about myself. I prayed daily, studied, loved my Lord, so what was wrong.
What I didn't realize was how controlling I was. I wanted everything fixed and felt I had a pretty good idea about Gods plans and strategies. Except I was leaving a few things out of the equation.
I knew I was to "surrender all", like the old hymn stated, but I realized I didn't know the first thing about surrender. It was an oxy-moron for me, how does one work on it with God to fix it and surrender it at the same time?
Checking the Definition of Surrender
I realized after reading Paul's meaning of surrender that I wasn't even close to having the correct understanding.
Actually, this is what Paul means when he talks about surrendering. It is giving ourselves to God as a living sacrifice
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:1,2 MSG Bible
This tapped into something deeper for me. I realized I was letting the issues of the world drag me down and not staying centered and grounded in my inner man. Eph.3:16
My 5 Steps:
Letting Go required knowing and trusting God's love for me and what concerned me. But it also meant being obedient to His loving guidance on a daily basis.
The following are my 5 simple (but not easy) steps.
1.Prayer, meditation on His word.
2.Staying grateful and thankful that He is working,
3.Keeping my resentment slate clean,
4.Staying in a continual spirit of forgiveness,
5.And most of all having the faith that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9.
Did this happen overnight? Not at all! But as each new issue of surrender required a deeper level of sacrifice and trust, so did His love and faithfulness strengthen me at deeper levels of believing.
To date, I now know not to trust myself at all and that no matter how long it takes, His love will be made perfect.
This gives me the peace I have always desired, keeps me calm when the seas are rough, and the courage to continue on the path He is calling me.
Now He can pour His love and wisdom into me for the people and situations around me and I'm no longer in His way.
Is this a daily discipline of laying down my life (I call it the false self or ego)? Yes, but His love has never failed me and I know it never will.
What are you having a hard time letting go of?
What is it you might be afraid of sacrificing?
Love and Blessings to you all
I don't know about you, but all my life I had what I call "monkey chatter" constantly chattering away in my mind to the point of exhaustion. Did I realize at the time I was exhausted? No, I thought I was just a little stressed. Well, if I'm going to get really honest with you, I didn't even know I was stressed. I blamed my inability to focus on my self diagnosed ADD. You get to do that when you're a counselor, you know.
Not being able to find a resting place for my mind caused me to do a lot of searching in areas where I thought I could find the rest and peace I desperately needed.
I was having chronic sinus infections that were so constant the Doctors were afraid of giving me more antibiotics because of the frequency which I was using them. Little did I know this was all tied together.
Keeping busy was one way to distract myself. This was productive, but didn't really quiet the noise.
The elliptical, which was very productive, put me in a good mood so I could rise above all the chatter, for at least a little while.
My addiction to reading, which seemed to work best, helped, once I could find a good book.
The trouble with all that was nothing was permanent. It felt like a losing battle.
I think I believed that if I had to handle all that was going on in my life in any sane way, then I better go over it continually in my mind. Maybe I felt I had some sort of control over it that way.
Journaling also helped if I was struggling with any issues. That way I could settle them on paper and I felt some sort of release dumping everything out. I have since thrown out the journals. Why, you ask? Because they just sounded like the chatter it was.
An Absurd Suggestion
One day, about twenty five years ago, a client brought me a book as a gift saying she felt "led" to give it to me.
That's "Christianese" lingo for being obedient to the Holy Spirit's intuitive direction.
This book was on Christian meditation, called Contemplative Prayer. What a joke, I laughed. Thinking to myself, you sure missed hearing God this time lady.
Can you imagine an extrovert being a contemplative? Ummm, No! That's a paradox if I ever heard one.
But, just because I really liked this lady, and wanted to show her I was open to new things, I read the book. I even tried the training exercises for a few minutes.
Hooked and addicted
I was so amazed at what happened within me, at the peace I felt, even for just a few minutes, I found myself totally hooked. I read every book I could get my hands on and "practiced His presence" daily. I couldn't get enough of this new thing. I was addicted.
A new side of the brain.
You see I had tapped into a new side of me that had gone unexplored for most of my adult life. My spiritual intuitive side.
Today I teach and train people how to tell their left side of the brain ( the monkey chatter) to "Be Still" and how to take a breath and "Drop Down" into that secret place within.
I have had such a life changing experience I decided to write my own book;
"The Inward Journey to Healing and Wholeness"
which you can find on Amazon. I don't know if I'm supposed to self-promote on a blog, so forgive me if I broke any rules, I'll study more as I go along.
In fact my new favorite thing is to teach young children how to find their calm peaceful place within.
One of favorite tools for entering in to my quiet place within is to take the words from one of my favorite scriptures and picture them running like a ticker tape across the forefront of my mind.
Be still and know that I am God.
Each time you read it picture the last word dropping off and following your breath all the way down to your heart. When you are down to the final word "Be" you will be able to experience His word for yourself.
it will look like this:
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that I
Be still and know that
Be still and know
Be still and
Be Blessed and Be Still, oh my soul.
Have a peaceful day.
I have decided to keep trying to learn something new every day. Whether it is memorizing a scripture, (the hardest thing for me, but I have found a new way for right brained people. Later for more about that).
So today's new thing is : Blogging.
First of all I'm soon to be 72 years old and love reading other peoples blogs but didn't have a clue or understand why I should even have one. Much less, wonder why people would even want to read it. Several "young friends" have encouraged me so here goes. Show grace for me ok, as I'm just a newbee.
You gotta love young people, I do, and I love surrounding myself with them.
So today I am going to talk about them more than myself.
They are exciting, adventurous, open and so up to date in everything. If I want to know anything that has to do with fashion, makeup, holistic clean eating and living, technology, or the latest good music cd out there, I just ask one my my gal or guy friends and I'm set up in a flash. They are amazing. "So what do I have to offer them?" I asked. Well for some reason they want to know what I learned by this age, I guess. I'm still not sure.
This younger generation that I hang out with are so on fire for the Lord I am blown away with their strong faith and committment. I was just getting my footing back then, but they are teaching and preaching with all the passion of an older evangelist on tv.
I love it and if I can add anything to them, then yes, I will write and add my two cents. They are so open to God's love and ready to receive what He has for them and so unafraid to be vulnerable and honest, they make any mentoring I could possibly do an exciting adventure for me. I want to share so much of Gods love and joy and freedom that He has for them. Hopefully it will help make their path a little smoother and with less potholes to fall into.
Life has enough bumps so even though my vision is failing my hindsight is great, so maybe a little probiotic help will smooth their journey.
In the future I will be touching on things like Intimacy being our biggest fear, Your true self, our ego and how we all struggle with dying to that daily, and any other issue that might be the flavor of the day.
I would love to have you tell me what you would like to hear about and I will continue forward in my journey on this thing called a blog.
I'm actually really looking forward to this new adventure with you.
Love and Blessings to you all.