Monday, February 27, 2017

My Image Is My Idol


Last night, I was all up in my head.  I was feeling all kinds of anxiety, and I had no idea why.  I was being filled, and I was pumped up on Jesus.  I had just been to a Christian business leaders meeting and to a community prayer breakfast, and they were both amazingly filling and a blessed time, so why was I feeling anxious and less than.  I could not for life of me keep my eyes fixed on Jesus all day. Shower time is when I am most tempted and most attacked, in that quiet space where Satan can invade my thoughts.  It was then that I cried out.  In that moment a passage popped into my head...1 Samuel 5-7.  Initially I was sure it was nothing, I mean it came out of absolutely nowhere. Nevertheless, I hopped right out of the shower and grabbed my phone to look up that is what I found....

"Then Samuel said to all of the people of Israel, "If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth.  Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then He will rescue you from the Philistines."

Much of the passage that popped into my head was about what was happening with the ark of the covenant, but it is also about the people of Israel wanting to be delivered from the Philistines. However, this particular verse really struck me.  Get rid of your gods and images and turn your hearts to God, then He will rescue you.  

What struck me the most was the bit about image, so I started thinking over it. I kept coming back to it over and over again over the next day, and I realized something.  My image and how I look to the world, it has become an idol.  I am far too concerned with how the world views me, and not nearly concerned enough with what God thinks of me.  How backwards is that?  In reality, how God views me should be the only reputation I should be concerned about, and the beauty of it is that what He sees me as never changes.  He loves me, and His love never changes. He calls me forgiven, chosen, and redeemed. He calls me so many things, but I am so much more concerned in my day to day with how I look to the people around me.  Now, I am by far from over this idol, I can't change all the behaviors I have picked up overnight, but I can recognize that it is a problem, and I can acknowledge the idol and repent of it.  

My image is my idol.  The real problem with this is that I am far too concerned with pride to be living my life and my testimony out loud for Jesus.  I am too afraid to own up to my past and tell people about God's saving grace, because I am far too concerned with how it will make me look.  I feel that God has been calling me to be much more vocal about my testimony, but the idea of that freaks me out, I don't want to do it.  So I have been resisting, image could be wrecked.  I like being a 'good Christian'.  It is so much fun isn't it?  I like it when people think I do good things. I like it when people talk about all the good I do.  Thanks a lot stupid pride! Oh how my ego is stroked when people are proud of me.  It's addicting.  It is also people pleasing, and I don't want that to be my reality.  God can do so much more with my story, if I would just sit down my pride and my image and walk towards him.  It isn't comfortable, but it will be worth it.  

It will be worth it...I just need to keep telling myself that....

If only we could wake up every single day keenly aware of the reality of who God says that we are...we would live so much more free wouldn't we?  

...return to the Lord with all your hearts... 

...then He will rescue you....

I sure would like to be rescued wouldn't you?  In order to return to the Lord, I need to lay down my pride and my image. Sacrifice my image to the Lord, and return to Him.  Like any good sacrifice, if I give my image to Him, I know in my heart that He could make it something better than I could ever imagine it being.  Perhaps better than what it is now....

So I will keep waking up every morning and turn my heart to Him....because I believe that I will soon be given an opportunity to lay down my image.  To sacrifice my pride, and step into His identity for me.  

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Running Back To You


"She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, "I will go back to my husband as at first, for                       then I was better off than now" 

I must admit, this post sat in my drafts for a very very long time, or a version of this post anyways.  After IF: Gathering this past weekend, the post changed. It became something that I was proud to post.  Well I wouldn't call it proud...maybe it just finally seemed right.  I must also admit that I am vastly uncomfortable with this level of vulnerability.  This was a hard one to post.  

On my way home from the first night of IF: I was listening to worship music and it suddenly dawned on me something that I had learned that night, but maybe hadn't realized I had learned, or didn't expect to learn anyways.  It wasn't even anything that I suppose was directly spoken of by a speaker.  I suppose that it was a mostly a result of my heart being in a tender, broken place.  This was my first time attending an actual location for IF: and it was so refreshing to watch it with other women. Last year I watched alone on my laptop, and didn't expect there to be much of a difference.  There was.  

If you aren't familiar with the conference, at the end of the night, they took communion. Now, I have taken communion countless times, but this time was somehow different.  It felt sacred.  Before we look communion, we were asked to pray and repent of any sin, and to cleanse our heart before Him.  Now, here is where it gets interesting.  

I confessed my self-injury.  Now, I have confessed of this countless times, every time I did it, which is unfortunately more times than I could ever count.  This time was different though.  Suddenly, God whispered into my soul why it was so broken.  

Why are you not running to me? 


It hit me like a ton of bricks, bringing me immediately into tears and an overwhelming guilt.  I suddenly realized the real reason why what I was doing was so wrong.  When I was lacking, I didn't run to Him, I ran to a blade.  If I am being honest, up until this point I didn't really see a problem with what I was doing.  Yes, it wasn't healthy, but it just didn't seem wrong to me.  It helped me to get by.  When I crumbled, that was where I ran, I didn't run into His arms.  That was where the comfort and safety was all along.  The temporary comfort that I felt had become an idol to me.  It was a slavery that I didn't even know I was trapped in.  Now I do.  

So as I sat there in my seat, I felt all of these things and more...and I repented.  Maybe this means nothing, maybe the next time I struggle, I won't immediately run to him. Maybe next time I will run to one of my many temporary idols that promise comfort.  None of our idols provide the comfort that the enemy promises they will.  We all have that thing, that thing that soothes our soul and calms our spirit, but there is a reason that we have to keep running back to them.  We run back for more and every time we run back to it the more that we will need.  I want to continue to run to the One that can provide comfort. Who can take me in my broken moment and wrap His arms around me and speak into my brokenness.  Each time we drift away, may we always run back, to open arms waiting to redeem us. 

Lord, forgive me for running to anything that isn't you 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Be Still

Something you should know about me, I am a chronic over sleeper.  Like it's a real problem for me.  I am late all of the time.  I am working on it, but it is definitely a work in progress. I am a work in progress.  People often tell me things start before they actually do in an effort to combat this, and sometimes I am still late even with the false start time.  I say all of this to show that I am really really excellent at rest.  It's a gift and I take my responsibility to use my "gift" very seriously.  What I am terrible at is holy rest.  Sabbath.  To be still.

Be Still....two little words with such big meaning. Two little words...that I have been seeing everywhere. In many different ways I have encountered these two little words or I have encountered books, podcasts, and posts that carry the same theme.  Themes such as be still, rest, Sabbath, and other such similar topics.  After a certain amount of times, I started to think to myself, perhaps I am supposed to be learning something here.  *sometimes it takes me awhile to get the message 

One of the ways that be still came up was in my bible study and bible reading.  I am doing the rhythm and grace study from Amen Paper Company and Psalms 46:10 was one of the verses.

"Be Still, and know that I am God"  

....seems pretty self explanatory to me, but oh how difficult it is to get this right in practice.  I mean what does it even mean to Be Still?

To figure out what this meant for me and my current walk, it took a bit more reading *and a few more reminders from God*  

I was listening to several podcasts a few days ago while I was sewing, one from Annie Downs and the other from Jess Connolly, both of them mentioned the ideas of Sabbath and a holy rest.  This is something that I personally am terrible at.  With anxiety, it is hard to shut myself down and to just be.  I am pretty terrible at it actually.  I don't mean just sitting around doing mindless instagram scrolling, I am great at that.  I am talking about sitting there and just being with Jesus.  Hearing what He has to say.  I am fantastic at rest, it's the holy rest I need to work on. So I decided to look into it, and try actually practicing a soul rest.

I am going to be working on what a soul rest actually looks like for me, and what the Bible says about it.  I am looking forward to delving into a holy rest, and growing even deeper in love with Jesus.