Saturday, April 29, 2017

Speaking truth to myself...

Lately God has been convicting me about my words. More specifically,  He has been convicting me about the words I say to myself, inside my heart and my head. I am so rough on myself! When things aren't perfect, I am vicious in my blame of myself. And in Jamiland everything that happens in this world can somehow be traced back to my fault. The Lord doesn't want me stewing in condemnation. "Godly conviction leads to repentance..." anything more than this is the devil trying to slow me down!

So for some weeks now God has been convicting me about the way that I talk to my own SELF. I have realized I would NEVER be that harsh with someone I love. I would never even treat a coworker or acquaintance that roughly.  Yet everyday, I beat myself up with accusations, negative judgements,  and harassing thoughts. I have been doing this so long that the thoughts just naturally rage against my heart, almost of their own accord.

The first step God gave me for battling this problem was TRUTH. Most, if not ALL, of the ammunition I throw at myself isn't even TRUE. "I'm worthless." "I'm a terrible mom." "I'm a horrible employee." "I hate my life." "I can't DO this!" God has convicted me to start fighting off those lies with the truth.  When my head throws, "I'm worthless." at my heart, I will my spirit to shout back, "I am worth enough that Christ DIED for me!" When I think,  "I'm a terrible mom." My spirit counters, "There are three young men and one little princess who would beg to differ." I'm NOT a horrible employee just because I made a mistake.  I don't HATE my life; I just don't want to be walking down this current path of suffering.  And I CAN do this because I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me.

The other day I saw a pin. (yes Pinterest is my new addiction... it's currently filing the void left when I quit Facebook last year.) It said basically... tell the negative committee that meets in your head to sit down and HUSH UP! #exactly

I'm sure the things you tell yourself aren't the same as the things I tell myself.  You might not be so mean to yourself, or heck maybe you're even meaner.  But regardless, maybe you to should hold the thoughts you think about yourself up to the mirror of truth too.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Choose the bright side

The devil screams his lies so loudly. Critics spew their hate so easily. The negative,  the errors, the fails, the mistakes, they all stand out so blatantly.

We have to WORK to be positive, to speak and believe the truth. We have to bite back the negative retorts. We have to use love to cover the shortfalls.

I remember a teaching conference I went to decades ago.  The speaker said, "It takes ten positive comments to make up for just one negative comment." Just because of the numbers, we should choose positivity! The sheer volume of work required to makeup for being negative should deter us from choosing that option.

But Jami... sometimes people or things are WRONG! Sometimes a job is not done correctly.  Sometimes someone says or does something that I need to critique.  Take it from this perfectionist with OCD tendencies,  "I get you!" I truly do! But still I think there are better options.

1. Find something good instead of something bad. Did your child spill a glass of milk on the ground? Well at least the glass didn't break. Did the glass break too? At least no one got hurt. No matter WHAT you can find one thing to be grateful for. Even if it's,  "Well I'm not dead."  There is ALWAYS a silver lining if you look hard enough.

2. Say nothing at all. I'm sure your momma taught you, "If you don't have something nice to say,  say nothing at all." Just bite your tongue.  Let it go. Refuse to contribute negativity.

I realize these things are way easier said than done. But like anything, with practice,  choosing to be positive will come easier and easier to you.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8

Sunday, April 23, 2017

I will trust in You

Lauren Daigle.... SO young but SO wise.  The words that pour out of her MAKE A DIFFERENCE in my life.  There have been MANY days when her song Trust in You has been my lifeline... my angry retort to Satan's jabs... my SCREAMING pledge to my God. I.Love.This.Song. I woke up singing it... so I figured I'd blog about it. 

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet

Have you ever had to lay your dreams at His feet? Your dreams of healing... your dreams of rescue... your dreams of restoration... it is GUT-WRENCHINGLY hard.  When I hear this lyric I think of Abraham lying Isaac on the altar.  Having traveled all the way up the mountain I'm sure all the way thinking and praying "SURELY God you will rescue me from this,  right???" Still having to place him on the altar... even grabbing his knife... before God said "STOP!" I know... I know... I know.... my dreams are safer at God's feet than they are in my hands.... but letting go of them is so hard. Lying them on the altar... picking up my knife... Oh Lord! rescue me instead!

Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face You're by my side

But see He is the King of every fight I am in. He holds my future.  He controls the outcome.  Even in loss... huge soul-shaking defeat... even in death... He has this fight in His hands. And NO MATTER what I face... the terrible... the joyful... the unimaginable... HE.IS.BY.MY.SIDE!

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

Ahhhhh... but here's the crux of it all... here's the meat of this song... see sometimes He doesn't move the mountain in front of us... sometimes He doesn't part the waters... sometimes the answers He gives are as bitter as gall.. confusing... hard to fathom... (His ways are not like our ways)... that is when we come to the choice... that is when we show our true colors... will we trust? can we POSSIBLY trust? Can we trust Him when we don't get our way?

Truth is you know what tomorrow brings
There's not a day ahead you have not seen

See He knew this day was coming.  He knew this answer would be handed down.  There is not one second ahead of you that He doesn't already know.  He HASN'T lost control! He HASN'T deserted you! He isn't sitting up in Heaven throwing up His holy hands and saying,  "Wow! I didn't see that one coming!" He saw this!  He knew this!  And He is still working!

I want what you want Lord and nothing less

I do want what you want, Lord. I may not always appear to want it.  Sometimes I might sing this part with tears and snot coursing down my face.  Sometimes it might come out sounding like a petulant 3-year old who still wants her way. Sometimes I do not LIKE what you want.  But I will always WANT what you want.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Psalm 20:7 NIV

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Love letters from God

I woke up this morning and opened my Bible app. The verse of the day:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord , plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

It's my life verse. But more than that, it's the promise I was speaking aloud all day yesterday. It's the verse I was using to fight off the attacks of the enemy.  Every time I felt afraid yesterday... every time I felt despair... every time I wavered a lil bit.... I said to the enemy of my soul,  "He has plans! Plans for hope! Plans for a future!" Then this morning,  before I even wiped the sleep crud out of my eyes,  God spoke that promise back to me.

He's SUCH a good, GOOD God. He loves us SO much.  He not only loves us enough to have plans, hope,  and a future for us,  He loves us enough to whisper little ily's to remind us.

Friday, April 21, 2017

When life hurts

Sometimes life hurts. BAD. Sometimes you are left in a crumpled puddle of tears and snot wondering where the heck THAT came from and HOW the heck you will ever get back up. I never want to suffer through those times in vain.  If I'm going to have to cry, scream, and scratch my way through a painful situation then by golly it better mean something in the end! That's kinda the whole point of this entire blog.  If I can teach even one person the lesson I learned through something, then my suffering wasn't in vain.

Yet in the past I've been too quick to forward to the lesson part.  I think one lesson I've learned from those this-hurts-so-much-I-can't-even-MOVE situations is that you can't always fast forward to the lesson. Some hurts cut so deep they demand to be felt. I've been learning a lot about this buzz word "self- care," and I think it is JUST what you need when pain leaves you dazed and confused. Here are a few of my self-care ideas for when your heart has been rubbed raw by life.

1. Protection... everybody has those well meaning people in their lives who instead of pouring well-needed balm on our wound accidentally grab the salt shaker and give a few shakes right in there.  Pull yourself back from those people.  They don't have to be a part of your healing team. It's okay not to share EVERYTHING you're going through with everyone you love.  It's also okay to tell your details and then firmly ask someone NOT to comment.

2. Company.... but don't keep everyone outside that barrier.  You need some company to walk you through this. You need someone you can lean on. You don't need advice.  You don't need judgement.  You just need someone to be present in your suffering. Find them!

3. Permission... you need to give yourself permission to feel,  to grieve, to hurt.  Cry if you need to. Scream until your throat hurts. Admit to every.single.thing. you are feeling and allow yourself to FEEL it. (Just be careful not to pitch a tent and start living there.)

4. Tenderness... you must be gentle with yourself. Point yourself towards the sweatpants section of your closet.  Find your fuzzy slippers. Invest in some essential oils. Pull out the noodles and cheese. (Again be careful about not living in this place, but...) Handle yourself with kid-gloves. Now is not the time for berating yourself. Now is not the time for analyzing.  It's not yet time glean wisdom. Don't push yourself. Don't judge yourself. Cut yourself some slack.

5. Faith... this one might he the most important one.  No matter how bad it gets.  No matter how dark your valley.  You must have FAITH. Believe that God is right there with you. Believe that His grace is sufficient. Believe that He will carry you through this. BELIEVE.

As long as we are here on this planet,  life is going to hurt.  Sometimes so badly it shakes you to the core. But you WILL get through it. I saw this pin the other day... "You've survived 100% of everything in your life so far, so there's a pretty good chance you'll survive whatever is next."

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Myth debunking

In the pit of deep, dark suffering there are so many misunderstandings of God, His will,  His ways. I've been in pits... deep, dark, stinky, TERRIFYING pits... more times than one. I've felt that pain and agony that is so deep you literally aren't sure you will survive.  And I've learned that a lot of the things we Christians tell ourselves when we're in the pit of suffering are wrong... dead wrong.

God will never give you more than you can handle. Negatory! Completely FALSE! In fact, the pits of suffering we reside in are almost always more than we can handle.  If we could handle everything on our own,  what need would we have for God? And for that matter.. what about growth? If we never got more than we could handle, how would we ever grow? So I scream FALSE to that myth.  Sometimes, often times,  our suffering IS more then we can handle.

One day you'll look back on this and understand why. Not necessarily.  God NEVER promises us a why this side of Heaven. Some things years, heck decades, later will still be puzzling. Some things will never, ever make sense. The Bible says "now we see dimly" and it promises that in Heaven we'll see clearly.... but God never promises any clarity while we're here on this earth.

Just don't stop believing. God will bring victory in the end. Sometimes.  But not always.  Sometimes God says, "No." Somtimes we lose.  Sometimes we are not healed.  Sometimes we are not rescued.

If you do God's will, you will be blessed. Where is that example in the Bible? I don't see it.  I see Job losing everything.  I see disciples being martyred. I see Joseph in a pit. I actually find the opposite to be true. In my experience,  the more I do for God, the harder Satan rails against me. And I find that God cares very little about my comfort and a whole lot about my character. He wants to make me like Himself. And that most definitely is NOT going to be comfortable.

So what is true? When we're down there, in that pit of despair.  What can we believe? When the pain is so great we're quite sure we won't survive? His Grace is sufficient.  That's the one I'm not able to debunk.  In the midst of suffering.... His Grace is sufficient. When we've got "more than we can handle"... His Grace is sufficient. When we just don't get WHY all this is happening... His Grace is sufficient. When He does not rescue us from our situation... His Grace is sufficient. The one thing that rings true... the one thing we can cling to... His Grace is sufficient.

I don't know what you're going through today.  I don't know the details of your pit. But I do know this, His Grace is sufficient.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

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