Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Banging the Gavel...with no winner...Seeking Him First

When I opened TerKeurst's Uninvited this morning, the title of the chapter slapped me..."Friendship Breakups."



Ok, God, I'm listening...squirming while listening...but listening.

Remember the other day when I wrote about "toxic" people?

Me too.

I once considered this person as a friend.  In our current circumstances, I cannot delete her as a contact yet...but I have plans to do so.  
As a matter of fact, I have said more than once that once our current mutual circumstances are complete, I hope to never hear her name again or for our paths to cross.  

My head is bowed in shame now. 

I have spoken quite cruelly of her...and not just to one or two other people...
but I don't think I've ever prayed for her.  
I could check my prayer journal, but that might just be me trying to build my case a bit more...I'm right and she's wrong.

Yikes.
This chapter really hit home.

She is not my enemy.
And I am not hers.

TerKeurst suggests making a list of 3 things this person does well...so here goes: 

1.  loves dogs
2.  can find money when our organization needs it
3.  jumps into a committed project with vehemence
4.  focused

LOOK!! I NAMED FOUR!!! 

When I was reading this section of the chapter, I thought...there is no way I can come up with 3 positive things about this person who I have many times wished to delete.  
Who has made me FEEL so freaked out (more than a few times) that I wanted to back away from an organization so dear to my heart just so I wouldn't have to be around her anymore.

Before I start listing out things she's done to me, I'll stop right here and remember that this isn't supposed to be easy.  
And that this is one friendship that there is probably not enough balm in Gilead to salvage this relationship.

Even though I realize this is an area of my life that needs healing, that doesn't mean reading and trying to apply this chapter is going to mend this relationship.
That's the reality.

But if, and I feel sure when, we end our friendship and shift to acquaintances...and I feel very strongly that is where we will shift to...my own soul needs to get here.  
I'm not in charge.
God is.  
I have to be obedient to Him and let Him handle the rest. 

I'm not the authority on what's wrong with this person nor what she needs to do to fix her life. 
And she's not the authority on what's wrong with me nor what I need to do to fix my life.

God is.

My job is to be obedient.  
Period.

"Living loved" and "bringing the fullness of God" into any situation is the only way to get to the place where we can have peace in a situation that doesn't have a storybook ending." TerKeurst (72)

My job is to seek Him.
First.
The rest is His.



Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Eating 3 More Slices of Bread

"I sit back as an observer and end my attempts at connecting by eating three more slices of bread."
TerKeurst, Uninvited (44).



The situation yesterday resolved itself...sortof...

One of the most difficult things I do every single day of my life is let go and let stuff resolve itself.  And "resolved itself" is probably the wrong choice of words
Nothing in life "resolves itself."
Amen.

I have known the power of living in the Lord Jesus Christ since I was 15 years old.  
I'm 47.
Letting go is still the hardest thing I do every minute of every day. 
Maybe the phrase "I do" is key here.
When I try to let go, it doesn't work.  
I want it, I need it, here's why I should have it, It's the right thing, here's why it's the right thing, Don't you see, God?  Here's why this thing I want should be what you want for me.  Ok, let's do this together.  

There's no logic.
My brain is not logical. 
My brain is a big ole scatterbox that much of the time is hanging on by a thread. 
There are literally times of the day that I am truly "hanging."

That's anxiety.

Anxiety tries to block God.
But God's not going to be blocked by anxiety or anything else for that matter.
Now, God has created some excellent doctors and excellent meds to help keep my physical brain in check...and I take them.
Lord knows I take them.
But, I still have to do the work.

Another thing about being Wide Awake is the realization that I've wasted a lot of time.
Life isn't easy, and there are no practice runs in life.
I'm not wasting any more time.

Toby Mac running through my brain right now...




See how my brain did that?

Happens all the time.

I cried about the situation at work.  I prayed.  I talked about it.  I contemplated my next steps.  I napped about it. (Another very important strategy.)  I also ate about it...tailgate food at church...and a big old piece of Mississippi Mud cake.  Did I mention this yesterday? 

I ate about it.

While I am not considered overweight...and am somewhat a healthy person who tries to make healthy decisions most of the time, I can get sidetracked in a hurry by stress and grab the nearest bowl (or two) of Froot Loops to help ease the pain.

Sugar and Carbs, yes indeed.

I read TerKeurst's book Made to Crave and was blown away by the similarities of weight problems with addiction and anxiety.



I can't drink. 

I think I've already said that.
And I'm sure I'll say it again.
(It actually helps to see those words in print by the way.)

As I read Made to Crave, I couldn't get over my subconscious propension to substitute the word "alcohol" in for every sentence, every paragraph where TerKeurst talks about food's effects on her life.  

Part of my anxiety right now with this issue at work is that I'm living life "wide awake"...for the first time in about 10 years...on and off.
So every anxious thought feels even worse than it is...which is what anxiety does under normal circumstances.
  But now, I'm actually feeling it instead of numbing it.  

I spent two hours with Jesus yesterday morning.
Because that's what it took to be able to trust and go.
While wide awake.

"Letting go of every single dream...
I lay each one down at your feet..."

Lauren Daigle in the house...


Squirrel ;)

"When You don't move the mountains
I'm needing You to move.
When You don't part the waters
I wish I could walk through. 
When You don't give the answers
As I cry out to you, 
I will Trust
I will Trust
I will Trust in You"

The words of the song are easy to type...easy to say...easy to believe...but not so easy when the world comes crashing in...as it will every single day.

There is no magic formula.
And just because I live a life with Jesus, doesn't mean I won't have problems and I won't get rocked by the world...again almost every single day.

But if I'm rooted in Jesus, when the world rocks, I will sway, I can cling, I might lose some leaves...or even branches...but I will stand.  
I will hold on.  
Not of my own strength...but of His.
Wide awake.

Thank you, Lord...for hanging on with me. I don't have to live in fear of rejection.
I can step forward in life, knowing you are always with me.


Galatians 5:22-25
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.


























Thursday, September 15, 2016

Living Loved



Chapter 3 of Lysa TerKeurst's book Uninvited was written for me, y'all.

I'm not even playin'

I had a situation at work yesterday that rocked me. 
I left work feeling rejected and even described myself as the stepchild.  
By the time I got in my car, I had imagined all kinds of scenarios where the entire campus was conspiring against me. 
As if.

I cried in my car and sent a long text to my husband...who didn't reply right away because...well...he never does. 
So at least I don't take that personally.
Sometimes.

My question to him at the end of that text was something to the effect of "How do I know what God wants me to do?" 
When he responded, his response was simple, strong, sure, and comforting.
Not long, drawn out, overanalyzing every nook and cranny, every facet of the situation...
just simple...
and true.
Just like him. 
God sent him to me, you know. 

As tiredness seeped in, those feelings of rejection returned.
Why me.
I've been trying so hard.
I've been killing myself trying hard.
Why don't they like me?
Why am I being punished?

Guess what? 
Not only am I probably imagining all the conspiracy against me and "feelings" about me, but could it be that I'm not being punished?
Could it be that God putting on the breaks FOR me is His way of pulling me back to Him even more. 
Could it be Him nudging me toward something else?

Is it possible that things we perceive as "bad" aren't really that bad after all?  
Could "bad" things possibly be used for our good?  If only we look at them through God's eyes?

Step back, Patti.  This change.  
This change is in the world.
He wants me more with Him than with the world.  
This change gives me more opportunity with Him instead of the world.  

How does He always know what we need?
And why do I always fight Him when I know He knows what I need?

It took me 2 hours in quiet time this morning to come to that resolution...that I already knew.  

The Lord your God is in your midst, 
a mighty one who will save; 
he will rejoice over you with gladness; 
he will quiet you by his love; 
he will exult over you with loud singing
Zephaniah 3:17

He will quiet me by His love, y'all.
Me. 
Quiet.

"It's settling in my soul, I was created by God, who formed me because He so much loved the very thought of me.  When I was nothing, He saw something and declared it good.  Very good. And very loved."
Lysa TerKeurst (40)






Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Managing

God and I are managing this monster pretty well together so far. 
Actually He's managing; I'm just hanging on for the journey. 
And I mean that in the most positive way. 
Why is it so hard for us to just let go?

He's the King of the World, for goodness sake.


I love this song...love it. 
It helps me renew each day why I follow Jesus. 
I've tried it on my own. 
It doesn't work. 
I can't be good enough.
I can't follow the rules enough.
I can't earn Grace.
It doesn't work that way. 
Grace.
Not earned.
Given.
Freely.

We are called to return that Grace.
We are to love as we have been loved and to extend Grace even to those who do not deserve it. 
To the most aggravating, spiteful, mean spirited, folks in the world...you know, the ones who just plain get on our nerves just by their existence. 

We don't have to be best friends with them.
But, we have been instructed to love them. 
Just as we have been loved. 

It's not our way.  It's His.

I'm not afraid. 
I'm grateful.
My life is saved.
Jesus never gives up on us. 
And we are to extend that same Grace in return. 

I like to use a capital G for Grace.  
Because it's a capital kind of word.

Lord knows I've needed it time and time again.
And will still need it. 
But God and me...
We got this.

With Him in the lead.




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Toxicity

I know toxic people.

Do you?

I allowed one of these toxic people to affect just about the entire last month.  

I had just returned from a beach trip with my mom where we sat on the deck reading our Bibles and devotional books and enjoying God's creation around us.

My first day back, with a full spirit, I attended a meeting with this person. 

Only to be verbally attacked.  
In front of a group of my peers whose respect I covet.

I had the breath knocked out of me, y'all.



I saw stars, my breathing increased, my heart was racing, and at one point of the "conversation," I pushed my chair back to get up and walk out of the room.

And, then I stopped.  

I put my head down and gave in.  
Whatever.
I'm not going to fight you.
You win.
I lose.
You're right.
I'm wrong.

But, then, something else unexpected happened.
The rest of the group agreed with me.  
They realized the toxicity of this person as well.
And that her points were not intended for the good of our cause.  

I still didn't win.
I still wasn't right. 
because
My brain was scrambled.
For a month.

How ridiculous is that?
Do you think the meeting even crossed her mind again?
Probably not. 

But, I allowed this incident, with this woman, get in the way of my happiness 
For. A. Month.

I'm reading Lysa Terkeurst's book Unglued.



There's so much truth there.

So much truth.

I am the epitome of someone who comes unglued.

The fact that I'm still thinking and writing about this confrontation over a month later is proof positive of my unglued status.

Terkeurst reminds me that God doesn't expect me to be perfect (thank goodness).

He expects me to trust Him and strive each day to be an example of the love, grace, and mercy that he bestows upon me.

That's hard to do sometimes.

Especially for someone like me.

I'm fully able to accept His grace, so I should give that same energy back to others in my life who may or may not deserve it.

I don't deserve it.

But, He gives it freely to me anyway.

Amen.



Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:6-9