There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and FOCUS ON THE GOOD. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living. J. N. Harris
Trust in God alone.
Boundaries have been a continuous challenge for me throughout my life. Living by a popular scripture of, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Luke 6:31 (NIV), I must admit that in attempting to adhere to this I did so with great expectation. Let’s read it again. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Nowhere in this direction does it ever promise the same WILL be done to us in return. In this direction from the Lord, through His Word, we are called to obey period. We are called to obey and to expect nothing, that’s right, nothing. Then why was I continuously taken a back in some circumstances when my expectation was not met. Simply put, because I have no right to expect anything in return for my call to obedience except for the Lord’s protection. I must keep my eyes on my side of the fence. I must continually work, strive and even fight for at times, to obey the commandments He has set before me. Falling short daily, in my heart of hearts I desire to treat others the way I want to be treated in return. God knew and knows we will fall short of the Glory of God. This is why He sent His perfect, sinless, blameless only Son to die staked to and hung on a tree, stuck in the ground on Golgotha. He knows we can’t do it under our own strength. We CAN however, harness His power by seeking Him first in ALL things.
When we put a great expectation in other people and an unreasonable expected or wanted behavior we are potentially setting ourselves up for hurt and disappointment in the outcome if it doesn’t go our way. The only one who will never disappoint, fail or leave us is God.
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” Psalm 118:8-9
Hurts, disappointments, suffering and loss can creep up on us swiftly. Before we know it we can be in a pit of depression, bad attitudes, negativity and frankly being the direct cause for more continued hurt by the way we are acting. We can only fix ourselves with the Lord’s help when we fix our eyes on Jesus not on others.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
His first command to us in this scripture is “Come to me”. He does not make us search, decode, unscramble what He has called us to do. It is simple, “Come to me”. This is where we find our rest, in Him. This is where we recharge, reset, refuel, rehydrate in Him. This is where the stress of the monumental burden set before us melts away like hot wax to a candles flame. This is where He wipes the slate clean erasing the hurts, the bloody wounds and the battle scars for a necessary and desired do-over. Unmerited favor, it is by His grace we get do-overs and we get them without Him remembering our daily sins and shortcomings. What a glorious God we serve.
Often times when we read powerful scriptures another person may come to our minds. “Oh, if only _____ (fill in the blank) had this scripture. They so need this one.” Chances are it is the Holy Spirit nudging you, tugging at your heart that this word is us and only us. Receive the scripture and meditate on it. Allow God to reveal all He has for you in, through and by this scripture. We can read the most popular scriptures and have the memory verses written on our hearts but often times we fall short of mastering the direct application of what God is asking from us. We may know them backwards and forwards and can share them with others quoting their address in the most perfect of circumstances. But through the tender, gentle whisper and nudging of the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit He is lovingly speaking to you, to me, to us, in our circumstances. It is a love letter like no other. A love letter that only a Father can write to His son or daughter. A post it note, if you will, written by the hand of God Himself. He wants so much more for us. He wants us to master this in order to promote us into the abundance He has planned for us.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
Through my “bc” journey I have been peeled back layer by layer exposing the most intimate and vulnerable, never before seen or experienced parts of who I am. I have been woken from a deep, worldly sleep with my eyes wide open. I am physically unable to and spiritually unwilling to return to the person I was. Walking through something life threatening has rocked my world and rocked the world of those close to me.
You do not have to walk through cancer to sustain the level of refining that I speak of. You could have experienced the loss of a dream, death of someone close, been at war, suffered with addiction, walked through divorce, gone to prison, suffered betrayal, loss of a job. Whatever your “it” is, that experience most likely, and for any amount of time, has rocked you to your core. Your “it” has challenged your faith and quite possibly made you question God. It would not be out of the realm of possibilities for some to become angry with God and maybe even stop believing in Jesus Christ completely. As only God can do, He will continuously, relentlessly, unwaveringly be pursuant of you.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Matthew10:29 (NIV)
Why any of us undeserving people?
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV)
Our God is so intentional He named the stars in the sky. “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” Psalm 147:4 (NIV)
We are so important to Him that He took the time, and initiative to number the hairs on our head. “.. even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30 (NIV) That’s A LOT!
Why does God pursue us so relentlessly? He is jealous for you. He is jealous for me.
“..for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,” Deuteronomy 5:9 (NIV)
In 2007 we watched and were involved in a fatal car/semi crash causing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in several of us. In the days, weeks, months to come, silently we would replay the events of that fateful afternoon trying to make sense of it all. It was only through therapy that we discovered we were causing more trauma to our brains by reliving the events over and over again. Through therapy we were counseled to take our thoughts captive and stop the images as soon as they entered our thoughts and “shut the book” as soon as it was opened. This would and did allow the pain to heal and the images to come into their proper place.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
Our minds are a battlefield often times leaving the victim and the perpetrator as one in the same. We often times bully, degrade, talk down to and believe the worse of and about ourselves. We beat ourselves up over our looks, body image, economic status, gifts/talents, career, education, relationship status, etc. focusing on all we do not have and/or the many missed opportunities in life. This thinking carves a path of broken or hurting relationship and renders us in some way, shape or form paralyzed in this life. As a direct result, our belief renders us as complete and totally useless to God. We are frozen while time and opportunity continues on. The path the Lord has prepared before us remains untraveled. We are in a holding pattern. We are like the Israelites, taking 40 years to walk out and walk through an 11 day journey.
Shut The Book and replace the negative thinking with the truth which is the Word of God, scripture. The greatest indicator for whether or not something we are thinking is a lie or the truth is to question whether it lines up with the Word of God. If you can’t find a scripture to back it up then it is clearly a LIE of the enemy. Hit shift + delete and replace it with a promise of God like,
“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 (NIV)
Say it over and over. Commit the verse and address to memory. Write it on your heart so you will forever be able to retrieve it at any moment. The only way to remove a thought from our minds is to replace it with another thought. I learned this from Ps. Jimmy Evans and it is true. We can’t think a negative though and a positive thought at the same time.
Our minds are truly a battlefield, a warzone. This image reminds me of a scene from The Hurt Locker. Produced and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker is an American war film released to the U.S. in 2009. (Disclaimer: Please understand that in no way do I wish to compare our 2007 experience to a war time experience. We are able to understand, even in the smallest of ways, how others may be suffering.) Please allow me to continue. The scene that comes to mind is when the lead character, SSG William James, (JeremyRenner) returns home from Iraq to his ex-wife, Connie James (Evangeline Lilly) and newborn son. They went to the grocery store where Connie sends William to pick out a box of cereal. He stands alone in the breakfast isle, feet planted, looking up and down, seemingly confused by the shelves and shelves of choices. In my thoughts, he must be thinking “Really?” What is really important in this life, just pick one and move on. What is important is NOT cereal. What is important is the salvation of the lost. What is important is our intentional, passionate daily relationship with Jesus Christ so that we come to know Him as the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. What is important is that we come to know Him, love Him and turn our lives completely over to follow Him.
A military term, Hurt Locker directly translated means the place of ultimate pain. Storing up all the hurts and wrongs of the people who did not treat us according to Luke 6:31 yields only one thing, a Hurt Locker. A painful treasure trove of hurts layered, stacked and even crammed only to be opened up to unleash and revisit each hurt and wrong at any time. What is even worse is when we store up the hurts and wrongs in our own mind, whether true or untrue, whether of fact or completely and unequivocally of complete and total fiction, we can unleash them on the ones we love.
Shut The Book!
That’s right, you heard me, shut the book! I am telling you like I tell myself. Close the book that contain the pages of hurts, wrongs, untruths and unbelief. When our thoughts do not line up with the Word of God through scripture, it is a LIE. Don’t believe it. That is our litmus test. When applied, it works every single time.
Through this journey I have been transformed. I no longer can handle what I once thought I could. I desire something different, something better. Maybe it is that I am choosing to NOT handle certain things in my life that fall short of being positive, uplifting, help others, or give back in some way. Is it because of the trauma I have faced, or looking a life threatening disease in the face, or is it simply the fact that I am older and simply not willing to spend another day in acceptance of drama, negativity and blame that is not mine to own. Life is full of ups, downs and let’s face it for some of us, a lot of hard times. My attitude is “Oh well, it’s what God has set before me.” If He didn’t cause it to happen to me He will most certainly turn it around for good. That is His promise. I consider it a challenge and a test of my faith. I want my Father, King Jesus to see my heart through the suffering. I want Him to use me and this testimony for His glory and only His glory. I want to prove faithful. I want to see the glass half full or at the very least be grateful that I have a glass and something to put in it. I want my journey in whatever desert to be 11 days rather than 40 years. I do not want my toes to be dipping in the water and paralyzed in fear that I am unable to cross over into the Promise Land!
I see others suffering before I see my own. This awareness is magnified especially now having walked through this last six months. Above all else, we are called to love others. That is my heart and every intention to do just that. When someone wrongs me I pray for the courage to tell them “in love” and immediately forgive never allowing the relationship to suffer, at least on my part. We can’t control anyone but ourselves.
For any that hoped we would get back to “who” we were before yucky life stuff happened it is quite possibly, what you see is what you get. Personally, I pray others are accepting of what they see, however, my worth is in the Lord and not what others think.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14(NIV)
I am a work in progress. Aren’t we all? My heart hurts now far more for those that are hurting around me. I am in physical pain and cry often for people I know and even that I don’t know understanding just a glimpse of what they are walking through. Daily I fall short of the human standard and if you look for fault in me you will most certainly find it. For any and the many wrongs made by my mind, word or deed only I am accountable for. Walking forward I can sincerely apologize for only my part. The Lord has forgiven me with no memory or recollection. My heart is to love. It is the commandment of our Father God.
“A new command I give you: Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
If ever at an impasse, I pray that no matter the circumstance, topic, or discussion we can agree to disagree. Feelings are important and yours are just as valid as mine. Grateful for everyday the Lord allows me to walk this Earth, I strive for the goal God has for me…
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14(NIV)
If there is a short version to this entry or one simple point to take away it would be this. It will not be IF someone hurts you, it will be a matter of WHEN someone hurts you. Intentional or unintentional it is going to happen. We are human. The enemy loves this flaming fiery dart and will use it as a wild card every time. So, what do you do when this happens?
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
Rather than taking our hurts to social media, let us take our petitions to the Lord on paper, in our journal, the old fashioned way. We can and should gripe to God because He already sees and knows the heart of the people who are hurting and who hurt others. Quickly forgive just as He forgives us. Remind the enemy he LOST! We have a lot of work to do. Strive to be like the Roman soldiers who have spikes on their sandals. They battle up hill and never lose ground. Let’s get going for God and never lose ground.
As God knows the longing desires of your heart and the hurts requiring intercessory prayer, my prayer is that He provide all you need to race toward the goal for His glory. “.. let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) He is faithful and so richly deserving of all the glory, honor and praise. In Jesus name, Amen!
I love y’all!
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