As I had finished writing yesterday’s blog entry I knew I needed to see my prayer warrior. I went to see her mid morning and had a wonderful time sharing this new need of awakening to emotions and seeing them as a part of me rather than a threat to me. She quickly admitted she did not relate to the threat of emotions as she’d not been raised as I had. However, she was also able to show me why I would want to keep emotions alive within and use them as tools rather than threats. She also reminded me to praise God in advance for what He is going to be doing with this new awakening.
As we went into our counseling sessions later afternoon and evening, I arrived at the church ahead of time to unlock our rooms. One of the other two also arrived early so I opened to her about this topic of emotions. Her first counselee was a man who she has been seeing and I had been observing through the summer. He and I know one another well. When he arrived he saw us talking and I invited him to join the topic knowing his own struggles. He quickly admitted his needs here so the counselor began to have him open up. (I was able to stay in this session because my person had cancelled his appointment for yesterday). The session became one of those God-moments where the counselee and I were given Godly wisdom and I could sense God’s Spirit removing fear and replacing it with trust.
When I got home later in the evening the counselee had text me thanking me for the excellent session. I reminded him that it was a God moment and he agreed.
When I started this blog 6 years ago I did so because I found that my journey to find freedom didn’t end with the writing of my autobiography. About 9 months afterwards I knew I needed to keep myself open and honest about my recovery. I couldn’t hide any longer the fact that freedom was on the horizon, but not anchored in me. The solidity of freedom in Christ is now secure. But, what is brand spanking new is this arena of being open to my “feelings”/”emotions”. I’ve always known I have them, but recognizing them and giving them attention is something I’ve never wanted to do or admit I should do.
These past few days have been abundant with feelings–most of them in the area of being overwhelmed. I’m at a good place with the counseling and not often sensing any overwhelming with it. There are moments, but they tie to things I need to release and simply let The Holy Spirit do His Work. There are other things like the Christmas program I’m in, some items with family, etc. which dominate this overwhelming. I’ve always shoved these items down in the past and muscled my way through them. Today I want to allow TRUSTING in God and letting Him awaken in me anything I’m needing to learn from this. It is an area of very new learning. I’ve always been scared of strong emotions from my childhood with dad and I know God is wanting me to grow beyond this now that I know I’m a new creation.
OK, I’ve admitted this and I release it to God trusting in His Almighty Power to awaken me to what I’m needing to know and learn (and apply if needed).
God has really been focusing me on this topic of emotions lately. Before I began to read the Psalms I’d already anticipated my need for this focus, yet I had no idea God would be so intentional on His part. My devotional hit it squarely today. The title is: “Process Your Emotions with Me”. Here is a portion of the message. “…I never asked you to push down your feelings when things go painfully wrong. I’ve never said that it’s an error to experience a gamut of emotions. In fact, I gave them to you, so you’ll know what’s going on inside of you. So that you can step into communication with me and get my perspective and discover areas of mistrust, incorrect mindsets and wounds that need healing.” I allow you to feel. I actually invite you to become aware of your deepest emotions….”
Yesterday had a moment where things went “painfully wrong”. These feelings were still with me this morning and then I read this devotional. The reality that I can “step into communication with God and get His perspective in order to discover areas of mistrust, incorrect mindsets and wounds that need healing, just hadn’t hit me before. Starting today I want to take time to let God do His Work in this arena while I trust. I won’t push the emotions down, I’ll let God clarify in His timing and obey His nudges.
I’ve written before and I’m writing it now that reading through the Psalms as a new creation is a totally new experience. Instead of being a compilation of complaints and worries along with some praises, it has become a testament of man’s heart yearning to know his Lord and Savior, thanking Him for being his God no matter what he’s dealing with.
Jesus Christ is the bridge for us to access all that God Almighty has for us. I’ve always blocked out of my mind the hundreds of times I’ve pled with Jesus to take away the haunting memories of my past and the temptations connected to it. Never did I realize no matter who the individual is, he has battles to face simply because he is human/flesh/sinful. Living in my shell kept me from seeing and knowing this. I just knew mine and did my best to keep this under check (hidden from others). Now that I’m no longer a slave to this past, I see the glorious beauty God has in the Psalms.
There is an entirely new world to live in once we take the step of salvation and believe all that Christ has done for mankind is genuinely real for yourself. Passing this truth along will forever be a goal for living for me from this point forward.
Over and over and over again I’m reminded just how striking it is to have my devotionals all resound with the same message. Today has been just that again. As I began this time with my journal I wrote that I loved Jesus for being my Savior and equally so for being my Lord. However, it seemed that I just can never hold fast to allowing Him to be Lord 24/7. My selfish, prideful me wants to have my way at moments. It’s subtle too how this happens. Nonetheless, it happens. As I was journaling this to Jesus He simply reminded me of His faithfulness and His love for my desire to be faithful. As I read the two devotionals I found that one was entitled: Faith Is Your Victory, and the other’s message was Leading a Victorious Life. Both emphasized how the struggles of the flesh build our dependence on Christ as Lord. So, “Count it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3.
Our God is so wonderfully faithful and encouraging. I love being a new creation!
I am constantly amazed at the way our God works. I write about this often I know, but I suppose when our goal in life is to daily live for God, the more we will continuously awaken to His remarkable, joyous ways.
Last night our quartet was singing for a church group we hadn’t been with before. I knew of the church and knew it was one reaching out to the community and thriving. Now I know why. Our purpose was to join them in their harvest celebration and provide for them a concert. Our quartet leader had asked that I tie my testimony to one of our closing songs. I’ve done this many times now but I’m always touched deeply by the follow-up responses. This church has a new Celebrate Recovery program so the supporting couple introduced themselves to me. A couple of different folks introduced themselves to me as my sisters in Christ. Many others just wanted to say thank you. One said she was so proud to call me her spiritual brother.
I’m always taken back by the intimate way God uses our past mess to create His Message. What an honor it is to serve Him!
In a counseling session yesterday, I was going to use my blog from two days ago to give the client a viewpoint different from his own. In so doing I found I’d labeled two days as Nov. 2. Sorry–it’s updated now.
In the counseling session something took place which bought about a very tender experience I’d had while I was in my own personal counseling about 12 years ago. It was when I encountered the emotional connection with my “little Earnie”. In the session for me, I recalled a moment of me giggling/laughing as a small child–4ish. The client yesterday had a similar experience and marveled with tears. His abuse mirrored my own as a young boy. He’d never had until yesterday, any emotional connection to his childhood memories. The tears came and we had to allow time for this joyous connection to take hold. In my autobiography I write about this experience of my own. It turned into a pathway of healing for me which I needed to walk in order for me to heal and replace lies I’d believed about myself. I know this is going to be similar for this client.
Tonight our quartet is singing for a Harvest Banquet at a church in a neighboring town. I’m asked to give my testimony tying it to a song entitled: God Doesn’t Care. God doesn’t care how awful the sins are that we are needing to bring to Him. He is waiting with open arms to embrace us and offer us His forgiveness and surround us with His tender loving care. I’ve learned this over and over and today rejoice in His Transforming Love and celebrate with another when they find a step of healing for themselves.
There really is something amazing about being a new creation. Instead of reading the bible as a book God gave each of us to read and obey, it has become a book which describes God’s heart for you and me. Instead of the bible being a book to obey, it has become the book of inspiration and motivation. It tells how to bring joy to our Heavenly Father through the modeling of His Son Jesus. He’s even given us His Holy Spirit within us to nudge us when we are to take a step or to not take this particular step. (There’s so much more The Holy Spirit does but these are two examples of Him within us.)
There is such peace and joy that comes from growing in my relationship with God, His Son Jesus and The Holy Spirit now knowing I’m a new creation. It has taken me a lifetime of experiences to come to this place and it has been worth all of it as I live within God’s transforming love.
This opportunity is available for each one of us. Don’t believe the lies Satan puts in your mind as I did for so long. Replace them with God’s Words of Truth for He created you and me in His likeness, not that of Satan.
The last couple of days I’ve written about stepping into God’s transforming love and residing there throughout the day. Today is not going to be any different. Last night I had a Christmas program rehearsal. In it I have a small speaking part and a small singing part. Along with this we all have to take part in a couple of scenes where square dancing takes place and there are a number of songs we all need to memorize. Each year I say I won’t put myself in this setting again. It brings too much anxiety. But, when I’m asked personally by our director if I’d consider taking a part, I say, “yes”. At the moment I’m asked I think I can do that little bit. Well, when the reality hits, the assignment turns into a mountain my emotions say I can’t climb.
This morning I was journaling telling Jesus I know I shouldn’t be feeling this way but I don’t know what to do with it. In so doing, I was instantly reminded of “stepping into God’s transforming love”. By practice time last night I’d totally forgotten about this, my anxiety had taken over. Actually, when I was journaling Jesus reminded me that when I step into His Love, the Love transforms me–that’s what transforming love will do. Just writing this and pondering on it a moment I find a peace I’ve never found with something like this. I can do this assignment because I’m no longer the boy dad criticized so much. I’m the new creation God has made me to be. I’d just never allowed myself to realize this during a practice like last night. The voices of past take over at those times.
I’m putting a post-it note on my binder reminding me that when I go to practice next time I’m going to be present already in God’s transforming love and be the new creation God made me to be.
There is something about growing close to God. For me it is best described by the word expectation. It’s somewhat like hope, but expectation for me has roots where hope is looking for roots. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but for me I’ve grown into knowing that our God wants us expecting. I know not to plan out what I expect, God is far better at knowing what outcome is needed. I just know that God is going to address whatever need is given to Him. The other thing too is that I can thank Him in advance for what He is already doing and what He is going to be doing.
Before this year of working on being present each day in the belief that I’m a new creation, I had great faith in God’s work for each person I knew and prayed for. My own weaknesses and struggles, well, I pushed them aside most of the time. If I spent time on the topic of why God didn’t address them, I’d get discouraged and didn’t want to live there in that mindset. That’s not ok any longer.
This reality of stepping into God’s transforming love, which I wrote about yesterday, is incredible. I can truly see myself doing this each morning as I come to Him during my devotional time. Staying in that presence during the day is an actual reality too. In this reality God is showing me that my weaknesses and struggles and no longer my responsibility to overcome. He has already provided this overcoming through His Son Jesus and His Gift of The Holy Spirit. My job is to believe and respond to Their nudges. He wants me expecting. Boy do I love this Glorious Savior and Lord we get to serve!