Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Great Destroyer

“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer
is too small to be made into a burden.”
~Corrie ten Boom,
Clippings from My Notebook

Just looking at the word brings on a bit of anxiety in me.

And yet, I know from experience that worrying about things does NO GOOD what-so-ever!  Not for myself, and certainly not for others in my life.  Excessive worry in my own life has produced an unhealthy mind, an unhealthy body and an unhealthy soul.  And it is the root cause of the loss of a relationship that couldn’t bear up under the weight of it.

“Worry weighs a person down;
an encouraging word cheers a person up.”
Proverbs 12:25

Worry is a burden not only to ourselves, but to the ones that love us as well.  It’s bad enough that we cause this trouble within ourselves, but to put that kind of pressure onto others is, to say the very least, unfair and, more importantly, unloving.

My own worrisome nature stems from a long time ago when, as a child, I never knew what was going on.  I was thrown into situations that were scary and uncomfortable, with little or no preparation or instruction on how to handle them.  I was told to just do it, and then if the outcome was not pleasing I was ridiculed for it.  That caused a cycle of worry in my life, never knowing what would happen and then worrying that I wouldn’t get it right.  Over and over and over.

Most of my adult life, I have been nearly insistent on knowing the who, what, where, when and why (and at least some idea of the ultimate outcome) of everything before I take even one step.  I like to call it “being prepared”, and often in my head it is being prepared for the worst, without thought of how things just MIGHT turn out to be just fine.

It all comes down to trust really.
Or, more accurately, lack of trust.

As a child, I wasn’t taught to trust and stand on the promises of God.  We didn’t attend church for most of my growing up years, and the only scripture I heard was used in “discussions” with my wonderful, Christian grandfather, by family members trying to twist it to fit the ungodly lives they were living.  In my house, “God” was my mother, and what she said was “gospel” – what she told me to do were the commandments of my life.  And all too often, I was lead into painful situations where I finally figured out that I couldn’t trust people.

I’m not bashing my mother.  She was a human being.  She had faults, she had “stuff” from her past, and she acted out in the ways that she was raised in, or in the ways that gave her the self-preservation she needed.  It took me a long time to realize this, but when I did I was able to let go of the anger, bitterness and sadness and fully forgive her.

What I have learned on the long road since her death is this:  I may not ever be able to fully trust people, but I can always – ALWAYS – trust God.  When He says not to worry, he isn’t asking me.  He is telling me.

And as an adult, who is currently entering into a life-saving transformation, I must make that choice every day.  Every hour.  Sometimes even every minute.  If I do not trust Him – if I continually worry – what am I saying about God?  That He is not trust-worthy?  That He is a liar?  That He doesn’t love me?  That He doesn’t mean what he says?

Those are all lies directly from the enemy of my soul.
And yours.

Take a minute to think back on your life and the many things you have worried about.  How many of them came to fruition?  And if any of them DID come true, were they as horrifying as your mind made them out to be?

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
And why worry about your clothing?
Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow.
They don't work or make their clothing,
yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed
as beautifully as they are.”
Matthew 6:27-29

I know in my own life, very few of my worries have come true.  And the time I spent worrying is time wasted, energy wasted, and often has destroyed my own happiness, but worse yet the peace of others around me.  I unrightly invaded their lives with strife that wasn’t theirs.

So, do I still worry?  Of course I do.  I’m human.  I’m weak on my own.

Do I have a better way of dealing with that worry now?  Yes, I do.

“And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers
that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow,
he will certainly care for you. Why do you have
so little faith?”
Matthew 6:30

My new way is called faith and trust.  I choose to have faith.  I choose to trust.   Trust in God’s word, not only in the Bible, but those loving words that He has whispered into my heart.  Through those actions where time and time again, He protected me, loved me, and put me back on my feet because He knows my path, and He knows the outcome.  And it’s all good.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Cliché?  Maybe to some.  Truth? Definitely to me.
What will you choose today?

“This day I call the heavens and the earth
as witnesses against you that I have set before you
life and death, blessings and curses.
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
and that you may love the LORD your God,
listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.
For the LORD is your life…”
Deut 30:19-20

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Standing on the Edge of Darkness

When you come to the edge of all the light you know
and are about to step into the darkness of the unknown,
faith is knowing that one of two things will happen:
there will be solid ground to stand
on or you will be taught to fly. 
--Author Unknown

In my “feeling” heart, it feels like all light has gone out.  I feel rejected; lonely; completely discarded and unwanted.

Behind me is a small glimmer of light; of what used to be.  Before me looms the darkness of all that is unknown.  My eyes search desperately into the depths for something…anything that looks like the slightest ray of light, of hope.

I bow my head in great sadness, with tears that stream down my face and fall at my feet, the sound in my head like shattered glass.

It’s when I open my eyes, in this bowed posture, that I see the light at my feet.  I look up and around and find myself immediately enveloped in soft light.  Just enough for one step.  That’s all that is required.


Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

So even though my "feeling" heart senses that all is lost, my "faith-filled" heart knows there is something better. 

As I move forward into this life that is not what I had hoped for – not what I had dreamed about for so many recent years – I know this light will wrap around me like a blanket, warm and protective.  It will comfort me amidst the darkness and it will guide me through it.

I don’t expect it to be easy; I don’t expect the pain to go away immediately.  But I know there will come a day, when little by little as I grow stronger, more light will be given to me and the path will be made clearer, and I will fly like an eagle in freedom.

Until that day, my walk will be slow – it will become more sure and steady and strong with each small step I take forward.

What darkness are you walking through?  Won't you allow the light to surround and comfort you as well?

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