Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Self talk, soul talk," Chap. 4; Speaking truth to your issues...

On Saturday, before I had read, or even looked at this week’s chapter for our book study, “Self Talk, Soul Talk,” by Jennifer Rothschild, I came across a story in the bible that I have great affinity for. The story of the woman who was bleeding for 12 years.

In the past I have reflected on the length of her suffering, and on the rejection she must have faced from her peers, and the incredible love, joy, and hope she had when she realized she was healed… and so much more.

Saturday, I came across it, looked for it actually to find the longest account of it in the gospels. The verse that stood out to me was the same one that Jennifer pointed out.

“She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.”
Mark 5:26

It made me at the time think of all the pain she was in and the weakness she had. I wrote in my journal,

“I imagine that she was at the end of everything and it took everything she had just to get her hand through the crowd enough to touch the hem of His robe.”

Quiet desperation.
After all those years, that’s where she was living. In quiet desperation.

I wonder how many people around us are living those lives?

I know that I was. I was believing lies that didn’t line up with scripture. I was trying to live a godly life, and failing miserably. I was trying to keep everything together on the outside, so no one could see the mess on the inside.

And then God allowed everything to fall apart, so that every mask I ever had was torn away.
Now that He has been putting me back together, He is pushing me out of the nest a bit more. Since I had felt it was time to end my counseling with Tricia, I really felt pushed out of the nest, and that there was a lot more than I realized that I have to deal with day to day.

I am blessed with an incredible small group, and several close friends that I can go to. I have a large number of people that I can call on to pray for me (many of you who are reading this are some of those!). God set me up with a support network, and a “safety net” to keep me from falling too far if I trip and stumble.

But I have been feeling a bit lost at sea.

I mentioned in my last post, asking for prayer, that I feel that God is really teaching me some things, but at the same time, I am under attack. God is bringing things together, showing me what this life is about, and the suffering that we all face from time to time, but also the joy and victory at the end of it all.

The last thing the enemy wants is for me to have victory and be complete and whole and healthy in Christ. He wants me to believe the lie that I am going backwards, regressing, failing and that I am never going to get out of his grasp and never find freedom from some of the things that hold me back.

Oh has the negative self talk kicked in this week!!!!
Girls, can I tell you, it has been a crazy few weeks!

And this week’s study was just what I needed to hear. I read the chapter yesterday, but was so distracted I could hardly concentrate. All I could feel was the emotional pain I was in. But a few things did register, and as I read back through the chapter a little bit ago, I could see the things that stood out to me, even in the midst of my pain yesterday.

Jennifer said,
“The woman with the hemorrhage lunged forward to touch Jesus, and that is exactly what I did in my mind. In spite of all my dread, my anxieties, and the negative rubble heaped up around me, I wrenched my gaze from my own crowd of problems and focused for a moment completely on God.
And it was enough to bring healing and wellness to my soul.”

Ok, so it wasn’t that easy for me (and probably sounds easier for Jennifer, when we read it, than it was for her in practice). But slowly over the end of the day yesterday, and the beginning hours this morning, I made an effort to give myself some grace. I did the things I needed to, started getting some things done around the house, and accomplishing things made me stop telling myself I was lazy and a loser. Because even if I felt that way, it was a LIE because I was cleaning, and taking care of my daughter and being a good mom. Lazybones and losers don’t do those things.

Then it hit me this morning that more than ever, I needed to take a more active part in this battle I am in. I purposely started focusing on God. Prayed out loud to Him. Prayed through some scripture, and a spiritual warfare prayer. By the end of that, a worship song had come on my computer (that I had playing in the back ground) and I dropped to my knees in my bedroom and just worshiped God for who He is.

Majesty, by Michael W. Smith

“Majesty, Majesty
Your grace has found me just as I am;
Empty handed but alive in your hands.
Majesty, Majesty
Forever I am changed by Your love;
In the presence of Your Majesty.”

As I thought about it later on in the day, I realized I did just what Jennifer had. I forced myself to stop looking at the junk that is weighing me down, and instead focused my gaze on Him. I worshiped, which in and of itself will send the enemy packing.

I also love that Jennifer talked about the role of the Holy Spirit in truth talking to ourselves.

“God’s Spirit is the perfect Counselor. He is safe. He is wise. He is objective. He is absolutely committed to our ultimate good. And we can trust Him never to lead us off course.”

“The Spirit never leads us in ways that oppose Scripture. He won’t; He can’t.”

“God’s Spirit…stamps out ignorance, replacing it with wisdom and discernment light-years beyond our own. He’s a Mentor who teaches and guides with greater understanding that our own. Our minds need mentors… He exposes wrong thinking and enlightens us to the truth.”

Jennifer talked about how her own understanding and thinking ends up leading her the wrong way. She starts to look at something negatively and it really hampers her.

She said,
“I need God’s Spirit to lead me to truth. Leading myself, I don’t always end up at the destination of truth.”

Ever since I stopped counseling with Tricia, I felt bereft. I lost a friend (it still feels that way) but at the same time I felt I lost that objective person, to help counsel and guide me to make the right decisions that were the best for me.

This chapter just refreshed and reminded me that God sent His Spirit to help us… to help me. The Holy Spirit isn’t some after thought, but God’s Spirit, living deep within us, longing to speak wisdom, and give guidance if we will only listen.

Today, I was able to talk to one of my friends, Sandy, about the spiritual attack I have felt I’ve been under. I think, though I didn’t realize it at the time, she picked up on some of my confusion about why this was all happening now. I mean, I know why, but going from head knowledge to really understanding it and trusting God in it, is a bit harder.

She mentioned something that changed my perspective some, and made a difference for me. She said that maybe God was allowing some of this through, to allow me to go through it. To test my faith, refine it, prove it genuine by going through the flames.

It gave me a new perspective. I don’t need to just “sit” here and feel the oppression, and try to deal with the depression and react to it. I can look at this all as a chance to improve my skills. As a test to see how much I have learned this year. This gives me a chance to strengthen my muscles of trust and joy in God. No matter what the circumstances are, is my faith being strengthened enough to really hang on when I have to?

So, in speaking truth to my issues… God is with me. God is more than enough. He has given me His mercy and grace. He has given me His Spirit to guide and counsel me like no one else can. This is the truth. My feelings and immediate emotions may tell me otherwise, from moment to moment, but I will keep speaking truth to my soul, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit leading me.

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