Yesterday turned out to be a day of obedience and learning. I told you yesterday I had an interview with our local TV Channel 2. That interview went for 1.5 hrs. I am suppose to hear back from them today or tomorrow regarding the specifics of what they’d like to do for their viewing audience. I am so grateful God awakened me yesterday to see that this is an assignment rather than an event. The assignment of yesterday opened my mind to see more clearly the need to get the message out to people but to not make it a one time event. People need help to know how to move from reacting to abuse to responding to it. The two reporters I met with saw this clearly. The other interesting thing about yesterday was that I was contacted by another person in our area who works for St. Al’s Hospital. She is creating a symposium this fall and wants to talk to me about speaking for it. We are meeting tomorrow afternoon. All this happening in one day really helped me understand God’s message yesterday to me that these are assignments for the day, rather than events. I saw events as something I’d do and never touch again. However, my lens has changed. I want to always see these as assignments God has created for me to fulfill His purposes within them.
One other thing happened in my devotions this morning I want to bring out today. Last night was the step study night for the group of men I co-lead for Celebrate Recovery. A step study is a weekly meeting where the attendees go through 24 assignments over a period of about a year. The assignments walk them through a Christ-centered recovery process addressing their hurts, hang-ups and habits. We are on the lesson of “inventory”. It is a grueling process as one must face the reality of their past and how it is impacting their present. All the details are to be addressed in this and each one worked through with a sponsor. For me, my second step study is what made me know I had to go back to counseling which became the 3 years I talk about in my book. My hurts were buried deeper within me than my conscious Earnie could grasp.
This morning I was journaling about all of last night’s conversations and what others and I were learning from it. God reminded me of the Earnie He’d created originally and now is the time to begin fully trusting that he (being me) could be trusted working with The Holy Spirit God has placed within me. This is the very person He wants on the assignments He is beginning to give me as pointed out in the first paragraph of this blog. I humbly accepted the assignment and look forward to getting much better acquainted with my new creation.
I hope this personal stuff is helpful to any reader. I’d love to hear comments of how this might relate to your own personal journey. Thank you and God’s blessings be upon you.
Today is one where I have a stomach full of angst. April is child abuse prevention month. I was contacted yesterday by a representative from our Channel 2, KBOI, to do a brief interview about my passion for this topic of abuse. I am meeting with the representative this morning so I’ve been pondering and scribbling notes about what wisdom God is placing on my heart to share or to have shared. I reread what I had posted yesterday in the blog and the first thing that screamed at me is–abuse breaks the relationship God intends for us to have with others. It destroys the trust. It also places within the victim many false ideas about who they are as an individual–their identity. I talk about this in my book. In fact it is the reason the title is what it is–The Journey From Error to Heir. The old me was an error all in caps–ERROR. I felt this way particularly with dad and I sure felt that society would think me an error if they knew of my sexual abuse. God has been very diligent helping me find the truth about being His heir.
How does one say in 3-4 minutes what God would want people to hear? I already hear Him telling me that this is a big trusting moment. I need to trust that He will set the stage for this and He will guide the questions as well as my responses for they will be the wisdom His Spirit gives me to share. This takes some of the angst away.
There is one other thing I want to share this morning. When I was having my devotions earlier, full of anxiety for today, I asked God what He wanted me to know. It was quite remarkable, at least to me. He said, “I want you to see today as simply an assignment for today. This event is something that will simply happen today. It is not an end of the journey. It is just an assignment along the path of the journey.”
All my life I have lived hoping to complete some major thing that will end my identity crisis–I will now be worthwhile. (This goes back to my personal identity belief). An “error” thinks this way, not an “heir”. I want to learn this well so that I live more and more as an heir of Christ, completing each day the assignments given to me.
Today I am stepping into something I’ve only done a couple times in my life–fasting. Our church is promoting a time of prayer and fasting for four days with each evening having a prayer time for ones to come and have requests prayed over and anointed as needed. Others will come to pray over requests left on cards yesterday at church. I am writing this because God is continuing to awaken me to the need for building strong relationships–relationships that reflect spiritual definition rather than human.
I said yesterday that I was looking forward to the 5 grandkids being here with for the day. I did a lot of reflecting on relationships during this time privately as I wanted to see what relationships actually felt and looked like from this human point as I was with my kids and grandkids. I saw bossiness, I saw love and concern, I saw selfishness and I saw sharing–lots of sharing. The thing that is standing out is that there is always the element of human selfishness involved. Humanness is selfish by nature. It is only when our selfishness hurts someone else that we see it within us. And, it is only when we like that other person enough to admit our wrong to them that we address the wrong in our selfishness. We parents step into this with our kids so they learn to repair the damage selfishness causes. When adults do this to one another it is another story. Now we avoid one another.
When I was growing up the relationship I had with my dad was one of avoiding at most any cost, I didn’t want to risk being hurt by him physically or emotionally. Only when a rare moment came that he wanted to talk to me about something important to him did he come to me and I felt safe with him. I always felt safe with my mom, but I also always felt somewhat abandoned by her because she would listen to my pleas about dad and his abuse, but the help ended with the listening. I could talk with my siblings about dad’s abuse because we all understood it and knew it personally. The sexual abuse from my brother taught me avoidance. This I could share with no one so no relationship was safe with this topic.
Now, let me bring all this back to the fasting today through Thursday. Every request I wrote to pray about while at church yesterday was about relationships–broken ones and/or fragile ones. I was stunned to see that this was the case for each burning need. Most of them involve another human and one involves the person and their relationship with Christ. My awakening is that in each case, the relationship is broken or fragile. But, regardless, it is about relationship.
I have avoided relationships all my life even though I have always had them. I just didn’t step into the reflecting side often because there had only been much hurt there in my past. I’ve dealt with the hurt from the childhood ones, but God is awakening me to be much more alert to having strong relationships with Him and others on an intentional level. This is my fasting prayer for the ones on my list which include me. Because we are all human, we must know selfishness will be present. This requires communication to identify it, confession if it hurt someone and forgiveness if it caused pain. This is God’s spiritual definition of keeping relationships strong. I want to be very intentional in this.
The older I get the more I understand and appreciate relationships. For me, there is something about grandkids that teaches the purity of how relationships ought to be. I always wanted to be a parent as I do love children. However, I was so filled with fear by the time I was a parent I often erred on the side of absence in order to not harm them. Now I can easily see the faults in this. My fears were in direct relationship to the bondage of my past. So simply participating in relationships with my grandkids is not only an awakening of God’s intent for them, it is just plain fun. I love the way they run to you, hug you, want to kiss you and play with you. There are no expectations, it’s just pure love at its best. I have 5 grandkids coming today–I’m looking forward to it!
Relationships with adults are not so simple. This seems to be, at least for me, the expectations part. Did I do this right, did I say this wrong–these factors seem to be in the forefront of the relationships. When I was journaling this morning and asking God what He wanted me to know for today, He nicely reminded me to simply focus on my relationship with others. He would take care of His relationship with them and He will nudge me when He wants my assistance. I don’t need to worry about their relationship with Christ. His love and ways will open these doors and He will include me when He wants me included. For some reason this did ease my mind. How often I forget just how Almighty God is as well as how lovingly intimate He also is.
Trust is a word Jesus is often reminding me to put into my daily practice. If someone asked me a few years back about worry/trust I’d tell them I wasn’t much of a worrier. Today, now that I’ve awakened to the truth about me, I confess I often worry. I worry about my kids, my grandkids, the problems others are experiencing in their lives who are connected someway with me or our family and the list goes on. Much of the worry centers on my desire to have healthy relationships (as man would define them).
This morning, in my devotions, I was journaling and praying about some issues surrounding my family and the families of the Celebrate Recovery ministry for which I’m involved. A couple of the cases are seemingly severe and I wanted to get myself involved knowing my involvement could help a great deal–see where that ego comes in. Jesus quickly reminded me about TRUST. In fact he quite bluntly said: “I am glorified through your trust. When you trust you stay out of the way and I am able to do the work I want done. You know when I involve you as I nudge you. Today I’m nudging you to trust in me. There is a song for which some of the lyrics are: “I will trust in you, I will trust in you….” I wish I could remember the rest of the words but the tune and just those 5 words keep repeating in my mind. I want this lesson to be one I let the roots grow deep. I actually hate worry and I love trust so for today, I WILL TRUST IN YOU.
It may be April Fool’s Day but I don’t intend to write anything that will be an April Fool’s type message. Yesterday I exposed a part of me I have never liked–that selfish need to feel worthwhile and meaningful as man would define. You know, I’ve sought this all my life but I’ve also buried the feelings because they reminded me of my dad who was a very egotistical, emotional man. I never wanted to be self-centered as I saw him to be. Yesterday I mentioned the brilliant thinking from Graham Cook. God showed me His brilliance for a moment yesterday in a human way. Not only did a few of you send affirmation but I also happened to find out that I can see how many log into the message each day. I hadn’t given any of this a thought when I started this, but my selfishness began to creep in–my ego needed to be stroked I guess. Anyway, God used this incident to awaken me to Him and His Ways. For a moment I could see that my vulnerability is indeed His tool when used for His glory. I don’t want to lessen it to becoming a human reward only. The purpose is of eternal value and meaning. I commit to continuing this until God removes the nudge to do so.
So I’m learning about my new nature in Christ. This new nature is the actual presence of The Holy Spirit within me replacing my old nature. I just tear up writing this as it is so humbling to know this is true for me. The tarnished vessel I was in my eyes overshadowed any value I could be for the Holy Spirit. The ugliness of the sexual abuse and the resulting, ongoing thoughts I’d have left me “knowing” I was of no value unless I did valuable things for God. God is now wanting this thinking GONE. It is not brilliant thinking. Being in education all my life, I’ve experienced countless times the aha moments when a learner gets it. Their face brightens, the eyebrows go up and their verbal response is something like: “YES!” That’s the way I feel about yesterday’s lesson. I get it! In my new nature I do all things for the glory of my God. I will never know that confirmation of “YES” if I try to do this just for me.
Thanks everyone for being part of God’s lesson for me yesterday.
Yesterday I wrote that I’d been listening to Graham Cook’s CDs regarding “Brilliant Thinking”. The brilliant is reflecting God’s thinking which The Holy Spirit helps us do once we’ve given our life to Jesus. So, I’m going to get personal here. In my heart I’ve always wanted my life to be a reflection of Christ and for Christ. However, Earnie wants that to be recognized once in a while by man so his ego can feel good about “being a reflection for Christ.” I have been really challenged the last couple days by this and here’s why. In starting this blog I thought I was taking a “next big step” in doing what God is placing on my heart to do. I’d written my autobiography and finally, 8 months later, I started this blog site to continue to write about what God is teaching me regarding the topic of being an “heir” to Him.
In the first two weeks of the blog there were a few who made comments and a few who began to follow it. That stroked the ego. In the last few days there haven’t been any comments or new followers so I began to question whether I should even be spending time with this. There isn’t anyway to know if someone simply reads it. What was sad for me is seeing myself as the selfish man I am when my eyes are on the “outcome of my work through man’s recognition” rather than through sheer obedience of God’s nudging. My eyes had shifted to man rather than being kept on God and His purposes for my time.
There is a freshness in spirit knowing I’m doing something for Christ and out of sheet obedience to Him. However, it sure is easy to let my old self creep in. I want to be better at recognizing this in my days ahead. So, not for selfish reasons stroking my ego, but for true learning about being obedient of Christ, I’d like to hear from anyone who is willing to share their own experiences along this line. Thanks and God bless!
Yesterday I left home to work today in Leadore, Idaho. It is a tiny town of 105 people in the mountains of Eastern Idaho. On the way I listened to a CD from the evangelist I like so well–Graham Cook. The topic was relationships–the relationship between myself and God. Graham Cook points out that the new nature given to us when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior replaces our old sin nature. I’ve not heard this explained the way he does. The key for me is that the old nature is now gone. However, the habits of sinfulness will still be present if we allow them to come into the new nature. Scripture in the New Testament is filled with guidance about living in the new nature, but I’ve always applied it to the old nature rather than learning my new one. I don’t know if this is awakening for you, but if so, I’d sure like to hear from anyone about how they are doing at living in the new nature. There is much for all of us to learn here.
I was actually going to skip this blog today, but I couldn’t get this topic off my mind so I’m planting the seed for responses. Let me know your thoughts and what you’ve been learning here.
This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms. 118:24 NKJV. Yesterday I wrote about self-control and my focus on self being the power of the control. I stated I wanted to learn Christ’s reason for making self-control one of the fruits of the Spirit. In doing this I’m learning that the power of self-control comes from my human surrender for the real power is not a human kind of power. The power to surrender is the only power I need to exert. I had a chance to do this twice yesterday. I was in Boise in the morning having the oil changed on my car. As I left I was prompted to go to the Christian Book Store and leave a copy of my book. Any other day I would have bypassed this thought as something too intimidating to do. However, having had my wake up yesterday morning about surrender, I stopped by and talked with a sales person who then talked with the manager. The manager couldn’t see me at the time but wanted my information and a copy of the book. So, I did it. Later in the day I was getting filled with anxiety and temptation so I texted my accountability and within a minute he responded and all was better. Two simple surrenders allowing God to have His way in my life. Well, I am learning.
This morning I awoke filled with anxiety again. I got up and started my devotions. My Bible reading was the book of James. I love his honest, direct approach to living the life Christ intended for us. To put faith into action is a driver along with knowing and using wisdom. I love the fact that God tells me to take one day at a time and live only in the present day. I need to be reminded of this frequently. I also need to have “the worry” I often carry hidden inside me be my reminder to shift my thinking into living in the present. This morning I was able to do this.
One speaker I enjoy listening to says we are in for an upgrade when we find ourselves up against obstacles that seem insurmountable. So, this morning I thanked Jesus for the ability to give my anxiety to Him and for the upgrade in store which I know nothing about at this point. I’m simply going to trust Him this day while I rejoice and be glad in it as I’m told to do in the Psalms quoted above.
I’m perplexed this morning as I begin to write this. I got up feeling very weighed down. During my devotions I was reminded that it is not what we know that makes the difference in our lives, it is what we do with what we know. Christ has given us a new creation as we accept Him as Savior and Lord. It was obvious to me that I was needing to pay attention to the fruits of the Spirit with self-control being the one standing out. In my Bible reading this was stated and in two devotionals it was the focus. However, my whole life has been with the emphasis of self-control on the first word–self. I was to control my self so I lived rightly for Jesus. I’m new in this learning about self-control being centered on surrender to the battle being won by Jesus Christ’s work on the cross.
My response to self-control is not trying to take on the battle, but to remind Satan of His loss to Christ and, if I still struggle, call my accountability team. I made a commitment to Christ this morning to do this. I contact twice daily my accountability but it’s at set times. I’m not changing that but I’m simply adding that if the battle seems to rage within, as Satan often tries to do, I will then contact in obedience to the scripture. James 4:10 says to: “Humble yourself before the Lord and he will lift you up.” Man is so egotistical that in this case of scripture, humble means surrendering to call in the team rather than trying to fight alone. Humble is the right word because I do need to humble my pride to do this. Humble is a new kind of strength I want to learn and learn well.
If you are interested in joining me in this new strength–Humility–I’d like to hear about it.