Saturday, November 8, 2014

Come Break the Chains (2nd stage of Unclogging the Drain)

Stage one of breaking through life-lies has commenced. In stage two I bear witness to these further words of love the Holy God gently used to slaughter the choke hold of untruth in my life:

I don't have what it takes.

Is this such a a bad thing, Leah? When you believe it's all about you or all up to you, aren't you driven by anxiety and stress and frustration? And aren't these the things that cause you to break down, give up and isolate? What if you embraced this truth- that you are not needed to control the universe? What if you came to me, weary one, and simply laid down to rest? Look- I have found green pastures for you and because I am your Good Shepherd, I am making you lie down there. Do not fear that this rest will equal impotence or apathy. Don't look for a shadowy underbelly to the thought of letting go. When you allow Me to guide you- I do. I will speak a word in your ear saying "This is the way, walk in it" whenever you turn to the right or to the left. Leah I am good. So relax, this stuff called life isn't up to you. (Psalm 23:2; Isaiah 30:21; Matthew 11:25-30).

My value is in my appearance (therefore, I am unvaluable).

Define value here, Beloved. If you mean worth or acceptance as a human soul, then you are utterly wrong. Your appearance is but a shell that houses the greater glory. Don't allow the paint to determine the worth of the house. And don't forget- it is I who painted you. I designed and fashioned and tweaked every last part of you and you make Me glow. How much I love you! You are a well created daughter of divinity. No need to cheapen that by over emphasizing (or underplaying for that matter) what I have crafted.
And Beloved, don't get too up-in-arms when others determine value on you from the outside first. It's what man does. It's what
you do. You do look at the appearance, but I am training you to see things my way- to view others' hearts and not their decor.
So, is this about value or about attention? The one does not equate the other, you know. Listen to my song over you, feel the rhythm, and begin to dance. Joyful twirling helps spin off these insecurities.
(Psalm 127:1, I Samuel 16:7; Psalm 139; Isaiah 49:16; 2 Corinthians 4:18; Zephaniah 3:17).

I only have value when I'm needed.

Sparrows aren't needed, especially when they fall, but I see them and I take care of them. You have more value than they. Flowers are not necessary to life, and yet they are loved and adored and nurtured-- but you are so much more precious than these. When did My need for you arise? When I sent My Son to bleed out for you before you were even a thought or your parents' parents even a reality? No, I did not need you; but see- you were loved then. My love for you doesn't even take in anything that you can accomplish, create, diminish or destroy. You are loved as truly as you need oxygen to breathe. You have value in the surest way you know that stars in the night sky burn. It is fact. It is not predicated on any of your past deeds, present abilities, or future plans. You. Are. Loved. And don't allow fleeting stretches of emotion cause you to forget the myriads of gifts, smiles, letters, phone calls, and encouragement you have received from others when you had nothing to offer- only everything to gain. In fact, wasn't the very own studio you are living in given to you in this way? Walk in My truth. Envelop your heart in how much you are fully valued until it settles into your very bones. (Luke 12:6-7, 22-32; Ephesians 1:3-12).

I am my flaws.

Oh dear one, where did you first learn this lie? I have never claimed this for you. Remember- I see things that are not as if they already are. And you- you are perfected in my Son. He covers you and wraps you and heals all these cracks that you consider chasms in your soul. You are not perfect, sweet one, but you are not meant to be apart from Me. I am what makes you, you. Not your mistakes or your fears or your inadequacies. I am. Can you see the hope for yourself? It is there. Can you reach further into the freedom that is before you? It exists. Relationships are about learning and growing. This means that there are the times in between the grasping that you flail. It is because you haven't gained that new understanding yet- but it indicates that you are not stagnant. Failures indicate attempts. And attempting to change is the only way to obtain it.
Oh, and one more thing. Flaws don't equal defects. In my kingdom, they are the rents in the curtain that expose what is eternal. They are the cracks in the lantern that only allow more of the light to pour out. They are trenches dug in the battlefield where you can be lowered in order to be safe from the enemy's arrows. They keep you there, not in degradation, but in covering. They are a gift to you because they can cause you to draw closer to Me, if only you will allow them to.
(2 Corinthians 4:7; Isaiah 46:8-10)

"Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak..." (2. Cor. 4:13)

Unclogging the Drain

Truth can be something so hard to grasp; in all our attempts to have it settle into our hearts, we find it merely sliding around in our minds as something we know should be greater than the lies we live with but still can't fully believe that that is even possible. Knowledge is not enough. Truth has to be seen, embraced, and experienced for it to fully exercise its power to exorcise out the lies.

Over the past few weeks, I have discovered some powerful lies that have been tangled deep inside me--unconsciously shaping my self-identity. Knowing there are false things that I believe about myself was like knowing a sink is clogged, and that you need to reach in to pull out the hair that has stopped the drainage. I was prepared to clear out the surface blockage. What I was unprepared for was the insanely thick wad of God-knows-what that got pulled up instead.

here are just a few of the things I had silently agreed to believing:
1. I can't trust anyone.
2. I'm a victim.
3. I'm superior to others.
4. I don't have what it takes
5. I'm worthless
6. I only have value when I'm needed
7. I am my flaws.
8. My value is in my appearance

in addition to...
whatever i do, it won't be good enough
I'm all alone; no one cares so I have to take care of myself
I am responsible for other people's feelings, problems and behaviors
If people knew the real me, they won't like me- they'll reject me
God doesn't simply "delight" in me; He will rescue me or pay attention if I need it, but not if I just want it
Asking for help will lead to rejection or denial
People will only like me if I'm happy
I want to be happy- to have my desires fulfilled, but that's not my lot in life
I'll never get what I truly want

Told you it was one fat, hairy ball of ugly.

So I embarked upon a journey where I sat with Jesus and asked Him to move His truth from out of my head and into the deep caverns of my experiential heart where the water has been unable to flow for so long.

Over the next few blogs, I will reveal what has been revealed. Light to vanquish darkness.

I am a victim.
Really, Leah? You, who are bought with the death of God, have no power to change? He who restored life into nothing- this same One lives in you and loves you- and you call yourself STUCK? Unable to grow or change? Behold! You are a NEW creature! Old things have been done away with- new things are beginning! You still assume that you will always be on the losing end of life? NAY! You are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you and gave away His life for you. (Romans 8: 31-32; Romans 8:37; I Corinthians 7:23).

I'm superior to others.
What do you have that you have not been given? Yes, you are gifted, Leah. Uniquely designed to bring joy and hope into the lives of others, but make no mistake- this is not because you are greater than they are. You are a part- a beautiful part of an intricate whole that is the community I am building. I need you to be you- I need you to throb with the vitality you have been given, but do not ever forget that I am the Builder. I bring you to those who need you, and yet, do you not also see how I bring others to you when you need them? This is the beauty of My love. One person is not diminished by the other's giftings-- on the contrary, each is made more whole through the differences they bring. So be you, my love. Not in superiority, enslavement or enablement. Refresh and be refreshed. Here is where you find rest. (I Corinthians 4:7; I Corinthians 12: 14-27).

Friday, January 24, 2014

How to Laugh

Woke up at 5:30 this morning to get coffee with Amanda. I almost canceled due to my exhaustion and the thought I wouldn’t have to go into work for another 2 hours, if I did bail. But I went anyhow, and I’m SO glad I did!

She is such a kindred spirit and I’m so thankful for her life. We had so many things to talk about and work out and encourage each other in. How much I need like- minded spirits in my life! I want to be freed from this place of constant longing and exhausted searching. I long to be content in how I view my life and my Savior. I want Him to be my complete fulfillment and my sacred stability.

How good He is! May my heart and mouth declare this over and over again! He is so good, so kind, so loving, so generous, so abundant, so merciful, so forgiving, so challenging, so inspiring! I want Him to work in one way and He opens myriads of paths. I look for one blessing, and He fills my cup to overflowing! I saw this last night when I found out that Sherry received a full time position at her work. HOW GOOD IS HE??!! Now Sherry has stability in work, consistent hours and days, a steady income, paid vacation with personal days, and insurance just as Tom’s is about to run out. I adore this God who hears our prayers and moves so that His children’s needs and desires are met.

And then I spoke with Liz and she told me about an opportunity to bless Josh and Tim with a potentially free trip to Israel in the fall through Promise Keepers. HOW GOOD IS THE LORD? Finding ways to surprise His faithful servants through connections they can’t see, but that He pulls together.

So often my heart and spirit believes I have to control and plan and manipulate and arrange to have the desires of my heart, and that is not the way of my Beloved. He longs for me to know His peace and to feel His fullness. He longs for me to know that I am loved and accepted and chosen. He strives to display His abundance in front of me for me. He dances in delight when I look His way and He seeks me out when I turn my back. HOW GOOD IS HE??! This is the love that is my foundation. From here is where I can love without expectation and hope with exorbitant dreams. My dreams are not too big for this God—in fact, I don’t dream large enough for Him. He is the most creative, the most ingenious, the greatest weaver of wonders and miracles that the universe has known. His very name is Wonderful. Filled with wonder. Filled with goodness. Filled with kindness. May He be praised above all else—above the shadows, above the fears, above the loneliness and jealousy and pettiness of my heart. May I continue to learn to recognize His sweet and tender hand stamped all over my life.

My Bible reading recently has mentioned laughter, and I’ve been pondering this human reaction to life. Laughter can mean such different things—one can laugh sarcastically, or one can laugh mockingly. One can laugh as a reward or appreciation for something given, and one can laugh in the purest delight when the sweetest of surprises is handed freely. To laugh in this manner is the privilege of the innocent in heart. The birthright of those who are continually delighted by goodness and light and joy—And this is not because their lives are more favored or chosen above another’s…. but simply because there is an intimate recognition of their Beloved in the daily interactions of their life. To see their Love show up in moments unaware to them is the sweetest of treasures. To know that His heart has been planning and storing these things up for them fills them with a humility that knows no other exaltation that abundant praise. Oh enlarge my heart with gratitude, Jesus! There is an overwhelming amount of things to worship You for and to give you the glory over. I refuse to stay small in my spirit, believing You to be stingy or shriveled or dried up. Nay, you are the very Tree of Life, my Vine, my sustenance, refreshment, and my eternal Spring. Refresh my soul this morning. Renew my strength as a youth’s. Let me be energized by the richness of Your love. It is rich my God—it is full and heavy and weighty with its enormous substance. This is what my life consists of… this is how I am seen and valued.

Praise be to You, mighty One! May I not forget Your very own words each time I snicker at Your promises or belittle Your character because You choose to do what is MIRACULOUS. “Why did you [Sarah} laugh? Do you [she} doubt that this can be done despite the passage of time? I AM THE LORD! There is nothing too difficult for me.” (Gen. 18:13-14) Remember, o my soul, that you were meant for the miraculous- for the supernatural. And if you were meant for this, then the regular way of things being done will not be your story. It can’t be, for then God cannot have the greater reputation. Trust Him; Trust His heart. He is POWERFUL; He is KIND; and He is working out a plan for you that will blow away your small desires and cause your bitter, doubting laughter to be redeemed into the delightful music of a soul who has yet again been surprised by the beauty of being fully known and seen. Your dream will come true- He has already declared this to you, so rest. It is yet another of His gifts to you.