Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Temper Temper

“You’re telling me that faith is all I need, but fear is all that I can find in me.” – Lindsay McCaul

One of the things I love about Spotify is being introduced to artists I would not have heard of otherwise. This is how I discovered the amazing words of Lindsay McCaul. So many of the words of her songs could have been taken right off the pages of my mind. When I read the line above, I realized something that I had not recognized before. Yes, I am fearful, but I am acting in faith at the same time. I am not all fear and no faith. Many of the things I am doing scare me, BUT I’m doing them!

It’s not easy to open up and let people see the unedited version of you, the one that isn’t airbrushed to perfection. I want to be real, even when that means looking ugly. And aren’t we all ugly at some point? I know I was yesterday. I lost my temper not just once, but twice. And I didn’t even feel the least bit better for the least little bit of time. There was no release or relief in it. Instead I felt worse than I did before exploding. Turns out in addition to fearful, I’m angry. I want to backspace and take that out, but it is true and it is real. I have such a need to control my circumstances and letting God take charge has left me scared and easily angered.

So – what do you do in a case like that? The same thing you do when you encounter any other problem. You look to God and see what He has to say. I looked up several verses on anger, and when I got to this one, I knew it was THE one God wanted me to see. Proverbs 19:11 says “A person’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense.” I was immediately convicted upon reading this because in the particular situation I am in, I know what thoughts and feelings are going through this person’s mind. I have been in their shoes, and felt their turmoil myself. I remember those days so clearly…except when it comes to this person offending me in the midst of their turmoil. Lord, help me to remember the pain they are in. Help me to be patient with them and to forgive quickly and completely. Help me not strike back, but rather “overlook an offense”. Let your love shine through me, drawing them to you. Help me to love them as you do.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No Pain No Gain

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”  ― C.S. Lewis

I first read this quote years ago and even then it resonated with me, long before I knew what REAL trials were, lol. I know that everything that God does is for my ultimate good. I know it will bring Him glory. I know one day I'll look back and be thankful for every single moment, no matter how painful. But I haven't figured out how to make that help me right now. I have such a hard time handling the unknown, wondering how long the painful parts will last. Then I feel guilty for having a hard time handling it, because I feel if I had more faith or read my Bible more or prayed more, or just did something more, I wouldn't feel that way.

Why do I view God as someone from whom I must earn favor? Does anyone else have this problem? He loves me. Just as I am. He loved me before I ever loved Him. He knows me better than I know myself. My fear does not take Him by surprise. When I cry out to Him asking "Why, God?" or "How long, God, will this last?" He knows the ache inside prompting the questions. He does not leave me comfortless, but so many times I initially reject the comfort because I am so fixated on wanting answers and wanting resolution. I know that this trial will last just as long as it needs to and not one second more to bring to pass what God wants to accomplish. And I know it will be a beautiful thing on the other side.

If I'm honest, I will admit that I'm not ready for the trial to be over from a spiritual standpoint. I know that I have not yet gotten everything out of this that I need to. I still have learning to do. Although I want the pain to go away, I don't want to continue living life in my own strength. I need to cultivate this intimate relationship with the lover of my soul, and to truly have it take precedence in my life. I guess this is definitely one of those cases where the saying "no pain no gain" is apropos. So, even though it hurts more than anything I've ever known, and even though I don't know when the end will come, Jesus, continue stirring my love for you, until I yearn for you above all else. Hold me close when the tears just won't stop, and soothe me with your promises.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fear Factor

It was what felt like an earth shaking revelation, but it came to me in a quiet whisper as I sat swinging with raindrops falling around me one by one. My marriage is not the problem. My fear is. Sounds simplistic, but it shook me to my core to realize I'd been looking at the wrong thing for all this time. Fear told me my marriage was in trouble. This same fear took isolated events (well, maybe not so isolated, there are a lot of them) and used them as negative reinforcement of that fear, causing even more distress, anxiety and heartache. Even as I write this I am deluged with thoughts about the issues and trials that do exist in my marriage. But things that would normally seem small and sometimes even trivial are blown into these seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Then the things that are already kind of big and truly important just cause me to shut down. I become a basket case. However, at the true heart of the issue lies one thing....fear.

Realizing that fear is the root of the issue has empowered me to attack this problem in a whole new light. I was spending so much time and energy trying to fix my marriage but even if everything had suddenly become perfect, the true problem would still be there, because I never addressed the root of it all. Fear magnifies every negative and belittles every positive. But I know where the fear and the magnification of these thoughts is coming from. I know Who to give it to. I fail to do that so often and end up suffering needlessly.

Jesus, give me strength to lay my fears at your feet and leave them there. Allow me to experience the peace of surrendering myself to the One who is and has always been in control. Help me to stop trying to control everything out of fear. Help me to be still and rest in Your peace. Help me to find wholeness and healing in You alone. Help me to be a light to others who feel the darkness closing in on them and feel that hope is gone. And help me to be the friend that my husband needs me to be, even when I long to be so much more. Use me God. For your glory. Not mine