Saturday, March 7, 2009

Nip it in the bud...

Thursday night, I hosted our small group.

After the formal gathering had broken up, I was in the kitchen talking with our leader, Peter, and his wife Donna. I shared with them earlier, in an email, some of my struggles from earlier in the week.

I shared with them how I had to deal with some unwanted thoughts that dredged up old lies and junk from the past… but that I wasn’t able to catch them until quite a bit after the fact.

Peter talked to me about needing to nip those thoughts in the bud, so that they didn’t take me down a path, and attach to old memories and draw all those things to the surface again. Because if I don’t nip those things in the bud, I end up having to take out a chain saw and do major surgery (if I can mix metaphors like that… forgive me…) to extract the lies and unwanted thoughts.

He is right. There are still things I dealt with at the end of counseling I need to be much more aware of. Especially how they affect me in daily life. With some of the earlier things in counseling, as things happened that made those same feelings re-occur, I was able to reprocess them with Tricia. The later things, well, I don’t have that opportunity to reprocess with Tricia, so I have to learn to do it on my own.

That’s fine by me. It’s just an awareness of something I need to work on.

While we were talking, Peter said that I needed to make the Lord my strength. To turn to Him for strength and support.

I agree with that 100%.

But he said that I go from person to person, whether that be Cindy, or our small group, or his wife Donna, or Sandy (the gal who just finished with chemo) to get strength and support from them. He said that I need to go to God for that strength.

I agree with him.

However, my mind was struggling with what he was saying and it was hard to keep on focus.

At the time I didn’t really realize why.
Now I think I do.

When he said that, the enemy came in with many feelings of condemnation. (Yeah, I know, obviously God wouldn’t condemn, only convict and encourage me with hope and a way out…)
I felt Peter was saying that I still do that now; that I go from person to person for strength. I felt I had probably spent too much time with Cindy the past weekend on the phone and by email. I felt probably I was being too needy and too dependent on her, rather than on God.

I found myself thinking I just needed to pull back from her some, give her some breathing room. I felt probably I was just vying for her attention, and using little things in my life to keep her “concerned for me” or whatever, rather than our relationship being a two way street. I found myself thinking I should just pull back from everyone so I don’t risk getting called dependent, yet again, by someone else. (Hmm, dredging up the past, anyone?!)


Pretty much everything I just said there is based on lies. And I know it.

First of all, I wasn’t just going to Cindy to get attention. I was seeking help in discerning where the depression I was feeling was coming from. I didn’t feel at the time I was leaning on her… but that she was helping me to focus on God and hear His voice, and to remember His truth when I was having trouble re-focusing myself on my own.

Second of all, yes, I did send several emails to her. I was on the phone with her a couple of times, and sat with her at church. We were in contact with each other pretty much every day.

But I also know Cindy enough to know she would tell me if she needed some time alone. I know she would have not answered an email that I sent, if she wanted some space. I know she didn’t have to open up time for us to talk on the phone. I know she wouldn’t have spent her last evening, before her husband came home from a mission trip, with me unless she wanted to.

I really had to work through some of that stuff today.

Because again, the enemy slipped into a crack in my armor and told me that I was too dependent on people. He told me I have a dependent personality and that I will always end up driving people away because I am too “needy.”

What a pack of lies!!!!

The enemy even brought in my counseling relationship with Tricia and told me I was too dependent on her. Well, duh!! Of course I was! That was what it was all about. I needed to depend on her as she helped me sort things out. I needed to lean on her till I was strong enough to stand on my own, outside of counseling.

Before I left counseling I read to Tricia something I had written. Somewhere in there I wrote about knowing I had a dependent personality. Tricia stopped me and told me she didn’t agree with that. She said I had a tendency towards dependence on others. To me, there was a difference between the two. I felt like I had a less “severe” case of dependency. Does that make any sense at all?

Though it doesn’t seem big, it made a huge difference to me. It made me feel like dependence, or should I say, over dependence on others could be managed, and dealt with, and conquered.
Because aren’t we all supposed to depend on one another?

I mean if we were all “independent” we wouldn’t be working together very well as the body of Christ. We wouldn’t be real with each other, we wouldn’t be transparent with each other. We wouldn’t share prayer requests or admit to our fears or failures with each other. We would never be authentic with each other.

God put us together because we need each other, to encourage one another on in the faith.
We are brothers and sisters on the journey together.

God designed us that way.

As long as we continually point one another to Christ as our ultimate source of strength, peace, love, joy… aren’t we doing the right thing? Aren’t we trusting in God and leaning fully on Him, but also lifting up, encouraging and helping to comfort and heal one another?
All of this ran through my head today. Last night, and again this morning when I had time to really think through it, I was tempted to just pull away. Then I couldn’t be accused of being too “dependent” on anyone.

But, if I did that, the enemy would have what he wanted. I would be isolated and alone and easy pickings. I would be rendered ineffective, because I can only be effective and have an impact on the kingdom of God through relationships and being connected to the body of Christ.

I have to nip these lies in the bud, or I will become isolated again. God has given me many people I can turn to for prayer and support, I don’t want to lose them by pushing them away.

I have to ask God if there is a grain of truth in there somewhere, something I need to keep in mind, keep an eye on, then throw out the rest.

The enemy just wants to use the rest to hold me in bondage, to recapture me, and keep me muzzled.

All I have to say is, with God’s help, that IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

It doesn’t matter how tired I get. When I am tired, I have people to come alongside me and hold up my arms until I have strength to do it myself again.

I have been incredibly blessed by people here in bloggy land who love me and pray for me. I have been blessed by people in my church family who love me and pray for me… who can be physical arms to hug me and hold me when I need it.

I am loved by God and by others.
God will lead me in His paths of righteousness.
If He has taken hold of me and led me this far, He won’t let me fall now.

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