The Journey Continues: Nov. 30, 2016

This journey of today has me squared away in the middle of the week I dreaded only a few days ago.  God was very clear when He told me to persevere so I could see what surrender and trust looked like.  Now that I’m into the week and into the deeper part of the work of the week I can see just how faithful God is.  All the anxiety I was sensing last week is gone.  Of course I have my moments when I have to find a hotel where I’m staying, a district office where I’m to meet, etc.  But as I take each of them one at a time and use the tools I know to use (mapquest & google maps) I find each place well ahead of schedule.

I am out of town for a couple days so may be a little sporadic about the daily entries until I get home on Friday.  The musical this weekend still has me on edge if I dwell on it too much but God is faithful in reminding me it is His work and not mine.  I don’t have to earn anything but to be obedient and trust.  That’s what I want to end this week and weekend being able to say–I was obedient and trusted God instead of worrying and being anxious.

Yesterday one of the guys I check in with daily said he was anxious about several items.  I asked him to check in with God and see what He has to say about it.  His reply was, “Wow, I think I just got a reminder to live in my new creation.  I had forgotten this piece for a moment.”  This comment is one I find myself using every so often.  However, the more I do it the more I find that it isn’t just some cute saying, God truly means it when He tells us to live in the new creation Jesus Christ gave us.  It is transforming when we actually give God’s work a chance in our own personal life.  Thank you Father God!

The Journey Continues: Nov. 29, 2016

The journey of living in this human flesh is a continuous learning and awakening opportunity–learning to not lean on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) and instead, to fully trust in the One I can’t see but I can still know.  As this becomes more real to me I begin to understand what living as the “new creation” Jesus gave me when He died for me on the cross.  It was in the dying that my old self was crucified and in His rising from the grave that my new creation was formed just as He demonstrated with Himself.  It has taken me all these years to more fully comprehend this.

I’ve mentioned before about synergy–taking what we know and combining it with what we haven’t known and the outcome is something far more mighty (powerful) than anyone would have imagined.  An educational researcher by the name of Bloom, created a hierarchy of learning called Bloom’s Taxonomy.  At the base of learning is knowledge.  At the top of the taxonomy is synergy and evaluation.  If the synergy results in something spectacular the evaluation concludes you want to repeat it.  If the synergy creates an opposite to this our evaluation is that we won’t want to continue with the work.  I tell all of this because God has been wanting me to take what I have known for so many years and apply it to what I believe.  If I know God is Almighty, All-loving and full of Grace, why wouldn’t this be true for me?  I just couldn’t believe it as I couldn’t believe I was worth it.  Add to this knowledge that Jesus came to replace our unworthiness with His worthiness and then apply it to what I believe.  This is synergy in spiritual terms.  All of a sudden I have within me the new creation God had promised all along.  I’m trying to explain what has transpired within me in the last couple days.  The synergy of combining what I know with what I believe has given me a humbling assurance that has a power to sustain and stabilize.  I never need to vacillate about who or what I am.

This morning God told me I had been listening all my life to the voices in my head that fed me lies of worthiness.  The voice of God feeds truth, grace, strength and focus on Him–God Almighty.  This will be the voice I listen to throughout my day each day as I live one day at a time, one moment at a time as my new creation.  Please join me in this if this has been a struggle for you as it has for me.  God’s Almighty Army is waiting for us to put on the armor He gave us in Ephesians 6:10-18.  I am now ready to fight the good fight–I Timothy 6:12.

The Journey Continues: Nov. 28, 2016

Today’s journey has already led me right to God my Father.  Yesterday I told you about the step study lesson and coming face to face with the hurt of my past.  During the lesson and sharing with the men while I also listened to them, I found the root I’ve never wanted to address–HURT.  Somehow in my mind, I had developed a mindset that became a severe character defect.  This defect of character was that I needed to be strong so the hurt of my brother and dad would NEVER win over me.  I could DO GOOD and this would replace the hurt.  Well, 66 years later I guess you know the outcome of this defective thinking.

In today’s devotions I was being shown that God wants me to now surrender this hurt fully to Him.  His upgrade for me is the Power to Tell that this crippling hurt of abuse is gone.  The power is now in the telling of it.  I never need to be ashamed of my story because my story is one of God’s redeeming love and grace through His Son Jesus Christ. The empowerment is God’s infilling Holy Spirit. My story is now their story. I’ve known all of this for years but finally this morning I was able to receive this message without the anxiety of–“but God, this is me, the one who is only this….”  That defect of thinking is finally obliterated by the blood of Jesus on the Cross.

I am presently reading the Amplified Version of the Bible with feature notes and commentary by Joyce Meyer.  It just so happened that in today’s Bible reading she tells her own experience of God giving her the choice of being pitiful or powerful.  She says she was raised in a home of dysfunction where she was sexually abused for almost 15 years.  She had wallowed in the self-pity long enough and God had brought her to this point of decision.  She chose God’s power and with this decision He has built a mighty ministry.  My journey today needed me to have the same experience.  I no longer need to fall into moments of self-pity.  God has been wanting me to receive His Power–His very Holy Spirit.  Today I welcomed this gift and thanked God for it.  No one knows any better than me the unworthiness within ourselves, but I now am able to fully recognize that I am worthy because Christ is my worthiness.  Because of this I received The Holy Spirit with open arms ready to do His bidding for this day.  To God be all glory!

The Journey Continues: Nov. 27, 2016

Have you ever been hit by an emotional mack truck?  Well, this morning, I have been.  I hadn’t done my step study lesson until early this am.  It is addressing TRUTH.  The truth it is addressing is, of course, about yourself.  I’ve recently been faced with multiple situations where I’ve needed to hear someone talk about my value.  I’ve also had numerous times when God has brought this to the forefront.  Well, the synergistic moment of all these times hit this morning and it is an internal explosion of emotions wanting to make me RUN to my cave.

The first question of today’s step study asks how I feel about doing another inventory of myself?  I wrote I felt sick and half nauseous.  It was odd to even face this because the first time I did an inventory I simply felt numb.  It was about a year after doing the inventory that I went back to my 3 years of counseling/therapy where I had to be awakened to the emotional memories of my past.  In doing that I had to connect to them.  Even though God has used these memories in multiple ways to help me see truth about what those events did to my self worth, I haven’t had to come face to face with the demon of self-worth.  This morning’s lesson brought me right in front of it.  I know that my self-worth is a belief, not a truth.  I also know that it impacts me but doesn’t define me.  Well, these are things I know but when it comes to living one day at a time and one moment at a time, I usually fall into the old self becoming very fearful and anxious just as I’ve said several times the past couple weeks even facing this coming week.

I write this blog very raw this morning.  I’m taking all of this to my step study men and will have to share it there.  I know God will use it to help me move forward and through this.  In all my therapy sessions God never failed to lift the burden of the memory from me and to replace it with how He uses it.  Somehow I know (or at least want to believe I know) that God will use this miracle of crucifying this old belief today.  Each one of us has to come to the point of knowing that we are “precious in His sight”.  Precious isn’t defined by what we do, it is defined by who God created–us (me).

I go into this day with fear and trembling.  However, I am going into it–trusting.  This day God is doing something He knows I’ve needed to face.  I face this demon with Him and know He will be the victor.  I’ll be glad when the battle is done.  To God be the glory–great things He has done (will soon be doing).

The Journey Continues: Nov. 26, 2016

A few days ago I told you about the anxiousness I was sensing with all the tasks conflicting with one another and my desire to step out of a couple of them.  Well, most of them have come and gone and the anxiety is still present.  I’ve known all along the big one is the choir production on Dec. 4.  It requires most of the songs to be memorized.  This one item–memorizing, has always brought out the worst in me regarding anxiety.  I would suppose it lies deep within my need to do things perfectly so I don’t fail yet again in trying to please my dad.  It is good for me to write this here because it takes the anxiety and places it into a sphere in which I can see it for what it is–fear.  All the prep work I’ve needed to do in order to prepare for next week is done except for this production.  I’m working on it this morning and the fear makes me want to run rather than tackle it.  God had told me to persevere at these times which I’m going to do.

This morning as I was having my devotions I asked God what He wanted me to know from Him today.  He reminded me that he never places situations in front of us (me) to cause fear.  He does it to bring glory to Himself.  I selfishly want to run so I don’t look silly or stupid as I would often feel from dad’s comments while I was growing up.  I can step away from this by thanking Him for the opportunity to bring Glory to Him in the situations He has provided for me.  As I thanked Him this morning the anxiety lifted.  This is truly a lesson where I need to persevere over and over again.  The water runs deep with this character defect of mine.  To reroute my thinking I will need to thank God and continue this as a daily practice.  He also told me to thank Him for the blessings others and I will get by being obedient to surrender.  So, for right now, I’m not anxious but surrendered and I’m thankful.  I need prayer to stay here and reminders to come back to this discipline as the temptation to fear returns.

The Journey Continues: Nov. 25, 2016

Today’s journey started quite early with my 13 year old grandson staying overnight so he and I could black Friday shop early this morning.  We were up at 4:30 am and with his hot chocolate and my Folgers, off we went.  By 9:00 am we were headed home having successfully finishing a fairly healthy list of gifts for all the grandsons, and a few extra ones for his help and a couple essentials for me–house slippers!  This particular grandson lived with us for his first couple years of life and we have been bonded since.  He’s my 2nd oldest one.  When my oldest grandson caught on, at about the age of 5, that this one was spending a lot more time with me than he was, he asked one day which grandson was my favorite?  I told him my favorite was whichever grandson was with me at the time.  He wrinkled his forehead for a minute and then started grinning.  He said, “I get it–if I’m with you I’m the favorite and if Hayden is with you he is the favorite.”  I told him that was exactly right.  There has been no problem since then.

Somehow I think God is a lot like this.  His exception is that He is omnipresent–always with everyone of us equally all the time.  That makes each one of us His favorite any anytime and at any day.  I love that!  Hold onto to that thought whenever Satan tries to rob you or me of God’s great promises.

The Journey Continues: Nov. 24, 2016

This journey has brought me to knees this morning–not in sorrow, but in true Thanksgiving.  My scripture reading had me reading in Luke about Christ’s betrayal and crucifixion.  As I was reading it I found myself relating to the disciples’ responses to Christ.  I can just hear myself saying that I’d NEVER betray you!  Little do we know about our fickle humanness.  It is so much easier to understand Christ’s words to his disciples when we are reading them 2000 years later!

Today I am most grateful for the persistence of God, His Son Jesus and His Gift–The Holy Spirit.  More and more I am awakening in this journey to my need to live in this world, but, as best possible, stay awake to the spiritual side of it.  God’s Holy Spirit is our greatest gift, but we are only awake to His presence when we surrender to His leadership.  Each morning I surrender my will to God, but I find I need to do this often throughout the day.  The events within a day often have me stepping right into my old self for a moment.  Today, I am so grateful for God’s ever present help and His faithfulness.

The other thing I’m most grateful for is my family.  My earthly family is one and my spiritual family is the other.  The older I get the more I realize that life is above all about family and our relationship within the family.  We all have influence whether we like it or not.  I so easily look at my own family and instantly see those who had that loving influence and those with quite the opposite.

Have a wonderful day of Thanksgiving today!  Our God is magnificent.  Let Him know this along with all those you love.

The Journey Continues: Nov. 23, 2016

It is so amazing to see what takes place when one is fully surrendered to letting God take the lead.  What I confessed in yesterday’s blog is my example of this.  The men all came who are doing the flooring.  It will be finished this morning in time to get furniture moved out of the dining room so we can host Thanksgiving.  The work of the federal review got a good start with me being able to go through more than a hundred electronic files.  The lesson for Conquer was ready in time, the lesson for Celebrate Recovery tonight was reviewed and I even got the leaves raked and the lawn mowed for the last time.  My yard is an acre in size so that’s no small task.  I only chronicle all of this because when God is in the lead for the journey of the day and I am fully submitted to His leadership, I can celebrate a day well spent instead of frustrating over what still isn’t done.

The Conquer series I’m presently participating in tells me that in our old selves we have created pathways in our brain about beliefs which are self-destructive.  In Celebrate Recovery these beliefs are called character defects.  When I choose to rely on the habits of the old self thinking I would have contacted someone and backed away from some event or two knowing I just couldn’t do them well and please find someone who could.  God was needing for me to see all of this in the new person He created.  In so doing yesterday I not only saw the work being done, but I also had the experience of enjoying doing it.  The day didn’t end with me telling myself–good grief, I still have this and this and this left to do–being so anxious.  Instead, last night when I got home from Conquer I sat down and took a moment of giving thanks to God for helping me truly experience a day of enjoyment completing many tasks I never thought I would complete.  With God all things are possible and this applies to our daily living when we allow God to take charge.

So, today is not too much different from yesterday but I started a lesson yesterday I want to continue into today and from living in the lesson, help create a new pathway in my brain that knows to trust God, surrender all things for the day to Him, and rejoice in Him and His leadership.

The Journey Continues: Nov. 22, 2016

Synergy is an interesting word.  I learned many years ago in an educational conference that we need to create opportunities for our thinking to meet up with other thinking.  If we do this in such a way that we aren’t trying to win but to see if our own thinking needs a fuller picture, we can have a synergistic outcome–an opportunity where something greater happens as a result of bringing two or more sources together.

I woke in the middle of the night unable to sleep due to so many things I’m presently involved in conflicting at the moment.  The week after Thanksgiving is when the conflicting moment hits.  During next week our choir has 4 major rehearsals for its production on Dec. 4.  I am conducting a federal programs review in North Idaho during two of these rehearsal dates.  I’m also missing a day with my commitment to Kuna School Dist. at this time.  I’ve still got songs to memorize for the production, a host of files to review for the federal program work, a lesson to teach tomorrow night for Celebrate Recovery and go through Conquer’s lesson I’m leading tonight.  With all this our flooring is finally being installed today with all of them coming at the same time which was not to happen.

I got up and took all of this to God this morning thinking I’ve just got to back away from some things.  His first response was a reminder that one doesn’t quit in the midst of crisis.  One perseveres and learns while doing so.  I was sorting all these things I do into categories like:  ones done for selfish pleasure like singing, ones done for financial reasons, ones done for ministry, etc.  I was at a point of sorting them out when God reminded me to take a look at these as my new self in Him.  As I was writing down what I was hearing Him say I realized that these things I do are not new things.  The new thing is that all of them are coming to a head during next week.  It doesn’t need to be a crisis at all because I’ve already talked with everyone involved and there’s no conflict for them.  God told me to see what His brilliant light looks like when I walk through this as a new creation.  This moment brought the synergistic moment I mentioned at the start.  I was ready to call and cancel something or somethings.  God said to listen to Him and act on His leading which was to persevere and learn.  So, I’ve always loved being a learner and still do.  I’ll take today and see what it brings in preparation for next week.

PS–I also have a yard full of leaves I wanted to rake today–it’s actually what I selfishly want to do–its a pretty day today once the sun is out fully.

The Journey Continues: Nov. 21, 2016

Well, it happened, we had our step study yesterday during second service and God revealed much.  The lesson was on “sponsorship”.  I said yesterday that I needed to ponder this some more.  There is much to be said about the way the Holy Spirit speaks to us as we listen to others process about their responses to the questions and listening to our own response when it is our turn to share.  I was touched that the one I mentioned yesterday that I do daily accountability with called me his sponsor.  This affirmation was when the Holy Spirit nudged me saying he was to be my sponsor also.  I can open up to him fully and he always has wisdom from God to share.  Our struggles don’t need to be alike.  God’s help in working through struggles is what is the same.

This morning I was journaling to God about the disarray in our home.  We are having some flooring redone and the installation keeps getting delayed.  Several weeks ago the delays were about Kathy needing to be sure about the product we were putting down.  Now that this is finally settled for her, the installers are having trouble with sickness, etc.  With Thanksgiving on Thursday and us hosting it, I stew.  Kathy told me yesterday that she was at peace about it and I would have to settle this on my own–smart lady.  This morning I took it to God and He reminded me of The Serenity Prayer.  In its first paragraph it states, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  In thinking this through it became very apparent that I was struggling about things I shouldn’t be changing or trying to–using the “wisdom to know the difference”.  It takes Kathy quite a while to anchor a decision about many things.  I don’t bother about this because it is her way.  However, when our own bedroom and bath are totally disrupted for this long, I want to take charge.  So, God was reminding me that I can find peace easily once this work is done.  Kathy, on the other hand, needs her time and space to find the same peace for herself.  My patience with this is worth years of peace for Kathy.  As soon as this was settled in my mind, I was at peace.  I don’t like pushing up against deadlines, well, this time I will let it go because this deadline isn’t about me unless I make it that way.  I will anchor into the “wisdom that knows the difference” and thank God for showing it to me.

The other thing that God pointed out this morning was that my old self was the one who struggled with butting up against deadlines.  My new self still does when its up to me.  However, this new self has the ability to use God’s wisdom more fully.  It does take some time to stay in my new self.  Daily surrender and listening to the Holy Spirit is always critical and so worth it!  To God be the glory!