Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Peace that Passes Understanding

When I started this blog, it was the first time in my life that truly turned over every single part of my life over to Jesus... and the peace is amazing.

I'm not saying I don't have my issues and my bad days still...

But I KNOW His plan is the best one. I have NO DOUBT that if I stick to His plans, I will have everything I've ever wanted. Because He will give me the desires of my heart when my desires line up with His will for my life.

It was a great revelation to me when I realized today that the peace I am feeling is different than ever before... I don't know how things will turn out in any aspect of my life, but I am making sure to enjoy the journey... and not fret about the future.

God is so good... have I mentioned that lately?

When you totally, 100% give everything over to Him, the peace you gain is nothing short of amazing.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Water Always Wins

Think about it...

Water always wants to escape the space that it has been put in.

It will stay nicely in any container, until it finds a crack or a hole or a split... and the escape will begin. If there is a source for water, it will continue to grow in volume... you can put a pot under the leak in the ceiling... but it won't stop leaking. In fact, the water will continue to grow until the pot is overflowing... and makes a big mess.

A patch or a dam will hold back water temporarily... but it won't last forever. If it would, we would build dams and walk away. But we can't. We have to tend to them and keep them up. It is hard work to keep water in its place! You can put a patch on the hole in the ceiling, but the water will just wear it away until the leak comes through again.

Water molecules are attracted to each other. Think I'm making that one up? I learned it on Mr Wizard when I was a kid. Fill a glass with water and add more, a drop at a time... the water will make a dome over the top of the cup until it can't be held back any longer and eventually spills over the edges. 

Recently I realized... Anger is like water.

It's crazy how something that seems so manipulable at times... so easy to smoosh down into a small, dark place inside of us so that nobody can see it... will eventually overflow from that place... and we will be helpless to stop it or hide it.

As long as there is anger inside, it will attract more anger. Negative feelings of any kind will collect with the anger and fuel the anger.

We can patch over the anger... pretend it doesn't exist... but it isn't permanent.

Don't get me wrong... Anger is an emotion that Jesus felt. Being angry isn't wrong.

"The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” John 2:13-16

It isn't bad to get angry... the problems come when we harbor that anger. Problems for us, problems for others, problems for our spirit...

"Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!  Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.Psalms 37:8

or, I like this one too... 

"For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife." Proverbs 30:33

Just like there is no easy maintenance-free way to keep water from winning, there is no easy maintenance free way to keep anger from winning... You have to be willing to get rid of it... to let it go.

Ha! I said "you have to be willing..." as if I'm writing this for someone else. In reality, this is for me just as much as anyone. I used to instantly "forgive" people who hurt me... without truly understanding what that meant. I would let them right back into my life... whether they apologized or not in some cases. 
What I didn't realize for a long time was that I wasn't really forgiving anyone... I was taking that anger and shoving it down deep inside and pretending it didn't exist... and we know how that works with water... in the mean time, the anger inside was attracting other anger... little things would cause me to explode... which was weird because... I didn't think I was angry.

I have learned a lot about how to truly forgive and still guard myself from being hurt again... My anger issues are infinitely better than they used to be... but I don't think I know anyone who doesn't struggle with anger one way or another.

Thank goodness we have a God who understands and helps us rid our lives of things that aren't good for us... including anger.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

He Didn't Even Entertain the Thought...

I am committed to my promise not to date unless the person I am dating can handle the commitment that I have made to putting off a sex until marriage... and taking the steps before that to keep sex from being too big of a temptation to handle... I don't take promises made to God lightly.

Still, I really miss being in a relationship. I miss holding hands. I miss late night phone calls about what things happened during the day. I miss an arm around me while we watch a movie on the couch. I miss kissing... and other stuff.

So, of course, I'm still human... I still notice good looking guys. Sometimes I see them at church, other times out in public and I wonder what his relationship with God is like (Yes, I seriously wonder that about every man I see). One may smile at me. One may catch my eye across the room. Another gives me a friendly hug when he sees me. In my mind I instantly think, "Is it him?"

If my quest is to be Christ-like, then I should be thinking about what Jesus himself did on earth and following that example. I'm sure in big ways we are all good at that... I haven't killed anyone lately... you? In the more subtle ways though, I know I am not.

When Jesus was being tempted by Satan, he had already been fasting for 40 days and nights. Satan told Jesus to turn the stones into bread if He was the Son of God.

Jesus could have said, "Yes, I am hungry. Yes, I could turn them into bread. Yes, that would satisfy my hunger at the moment, but No... I better not. It is written..." and gone on with what He was is quoted as saying in the Bible.

He doesn't though. He starts right in at "It is written..." and tells Satan where He stands and that nobody is going to trick Him because He knows the Word of the Lord. He didn't even entertain the thought of doing what He knew he shouldn't. He just went straight for the Word.

I have been fasting... for way more than 40 days too... But when I feel temptation rising? I entertain the thought. Does that guy know how good he smelled when he helped me that one day? Does this one wonder what it would be like to kiss me the way I wonder that about him? If I ever dated that guy, would we stick to my promise or would he try to convince me to forget about it... and would I?

Usually I come to the conclusion that whoever he is, he isn't interested in a woman who has four kids... and then I am sad, and lonely, and depressed, and I start to wonder if I am pretty enough or smart enough or too smart...

It's amazing how one thought leads to another like that. When I start letting my mind rest on thoughts that I shouldn't be entertaining AT ALL, I end up sad and depressed and writing in this blog.

I guess a good start would be for me to focus on the Word.

For now I am going to sleep. In my bed. All alone. Probably forever. :-/
     Oh Lord I hope that is not true... because I don't think I could take forever.
              But I also don't want to "tap out" now... when there is so much to be won and lost.