God has been working on me.
On my heart.
As I have been reading "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" by Peter Scazzero, as well as using his "Daily Office" as my devotionals, God has been using them in my life.
What have I been doing?
I have been running.
I have used a myriad of ways. But no matter what I have been doing, I have been running.
These two books have been talking about dealing with inner pain.
Get this quote from "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality."
"Rather than keeping busy to avoid my inner pain and disappointments, I needed space to explore my feelings and wrestle with anger, shame, bitterness, grief, jealousy, fear or depression - in an open contemplative way before God."
I have been keeping busy, I have been using other escapes to keep from feeling my emotions. I have been successfully stuffing them.
Just like I used to do. Just as I have always been well practiced up on.
Stuffing emotions. Don't let them overflow.
Don't allow them out, because if you do:
you can't control them, they control you.Stuffing and running.
Running and stuffing.
Yesterday, I couldn't even identify what I was feeling. I felt numb, for the most part, but I did recognize depression too. We had our small group to our house for a cook out by the fire. We worshiped outside around the fire before the mosquitoes drove us inside. We prayed inside then, and broke up.
Later, one of my girlfriends from the small group and I went back out to the fire and sat and talked. Dave came and joined us for some of the time. We had a really good conversation, and she shared how God was really breaking through some things for her, and helping her into some major healing. It was so good to hear.
There is something about a fire at night, maybe its the warmth of the flames, the feeling of anonymity, I don't know. It prompts being honest and open. I was able to share with my girlfriend the feelings of stuffing my emotions, the questions from my devotional that have set me thinking, and the avoiding I have been doing.
I was able to share that much. I don't know if I have more words now; to describe what is going on.
I don't think I have been feeling I have been going backwards, per se, but I have definitely been having a harder time dealing with my emotions. And my old nature, old habit coping mechanisms come in yet again. I fight them, and sometimes I win, but not all the time.
I have this feeling of emptiness at times, and a disconnect, and this longing to be filled. Sometimes I am able to lean on God for that filling, and He helps me through. Sometimes I pray and ask for that filling and it seems like He isn't listening and doesn't answer. That's when I tend to go to coping mechanisms... and not healthy ones. Sometimes, especially if I am disillusioned, I don't even bother going to Him. Also, not a good, nor recommended choice.
There was a quote from my devotional today;
"As we go back to go forward, we find that it is a never ending process. We go back, breaking some destructive power of the past. The later, on a deeper level, God has us return to the same issue on a more profound level."
And another one talking about how the Holy Spirit investigates our whole life, digging away layer by layer, eventually getting down to the bedrock, our earliest emotional life.
"Hence, as we progress toward the center where God is actually waiting for us, we are naturally going to feel that we are getting worse."
Maybe I am revisiting some old things I thought were done with... or old habits... or old parts of myself that I thought were surrendered.
I believe it is God directed, not self induced. Spirit led, not emotions based on chemical imbalances. Maybe chemical imbalances have something to do with how I am handling the emotions, and the heightened scrutiny of my emotional life, but I believe that this is all held, guided, led by God.
The other day I was sitting, trying to figure out what was going on. I remembered at church this past Sunday, a friend sang special music, talking about Jesus hands being open, reaching out to us. I just got this sense of Him reaching out to me and as I put my hands in His, He pulled me up, and into His embrace. I looked out the window, and across the road was this huge tree. I just got the sense that I was clinging to the trunk of that tree. It swayed in the wind, bent with the storms, but never broke or faltered. It gave shade in the heat, shelter in the rain, and stood through the winters harsh gale, only to bud and flourish the coming spring.
Now I know the analogy breaks down, because trees do die, they do fail, and if the wind and storm is strong enough, they will uproot.
But not only am I clinging to the tree (the cross) He is clinging to me. His arms are wrapped around me. I don't know what that means. I mean I KNOW in my head. But my heart, it just doesn't get it right now. It does to a certain extent, but maybe this is God's move to help my heart understand it on a deeper, more profound level.
God is moving. He is. He gave me just a glimpse into what my marriage could be, if I can break free of my inhibitions, and fears of confrontation, and fears of not being heard or understood... and showed me how freeing, and strengthening it could be. Oh, have I been praying for Him to bless our marriage. How I have been praying for Him to break me free of the past enough to really embrace my present and future.
God is moving. He has used me to help my girlfriend, who has gone through some similar things I have in the past, and done some of the same things I have done. She went through the Steps to Freedom by Neil T. Anderson with a couple in our small group. And the change in her countenance was amazing yesterday.
God is moving. He gave my husband and I a date night. One of the first in a really, really long time. Where it was truly just us out. No kids, no other commitments, no stealing time together when he was working a slide show for a wedding or anything like that. Us, dinner and a movie.
I know in my head God is moving. I can see it with my eyes. I hear the wind of His Spirit sweeping down over me, and I get fearful. Even when I know He is using His cleansing fire to purify me and burn away the dross, it is painful. To die to the old and live for the new is painful, because something DOES have to die!
Maybe when I can sort things out, when I am not so tired, I will be able to write more. I have had more insights today, but right now, this is all I can write.
I am praying that God will give me words. I am praying that God will yet again show Himself glorified through me. I feel frustrated that I am writing again, of struggles and emotional ups and downs. I am frustrated that I am struggling with depression some too.
It's just, well, not what I wanted... not where I planned myself to be, when I am less than 2 months out from going to She Speaks, and needing to have 2 talks prepared. When I am supposed to be getting ready the music for VBS. When I am supposed to be looking for some sort of job. When I am supposed to be enjoying my summer with my husband and kids. When I am supposed to be preparing my son for Kindergarten.
This is not in my plans God!!!!
But it isn't about me or my plans, is it?
This is something that really hit me as I read the book, and as I am out of words, I am going to close with this prayer that Scazzero wrote for the end of Chapter 3, in "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality."
"O Lord, slow me down that I might pay attention to you through this day, that I might meet you even as I read these pages. It is safe to walk with you whether I feel like it today. You are a secure place. Anchor me to you today, O Lord, amidst the storms and trials going on around me. Break me free from all thoughts and ideas about you that are not true. Unleash a spiritual revolution in my interior, Lord Jesus. Set me truly free, O Lord, that I may be a gift to those around me. In Jesus name, amen."