Saturday, December 24, 2011
It's Christmas again. My head is spinning with all the rushing...not necessarily my own. Inside everything is more or less in turmoil. There is a battle about integration. Some of us are afraid, some anxious (although I am not sure there is a lot of difference between those emotions.) A few are angry....pretty darn angry, but not necessarily connected with the events my memory tells me that deserve it. So in the stir of doing recovery work...it's Christmas. I'm having a difficult time finding Jesus in all of this. Not that I am not spending some time seeking Him, but not getting very deep. I am quite distracted. I'm not one to be very distracted with “stuff” or shopping, but the emotions I sense, thinking about the people in my life, entertainment, thinking about working on keeping my apartment up....argh. I'm not finding I am being very quiet and listening for His voice. I was dong that frequently for a while but it seems as I started dong some more recovery work that the quiet time with Jesus became shorter and I felt more distracted during that time.
I work in a retail environment by necessity. I work a stressful part time job that God has provided even though it isn't a good fit for me. He has a purpose for it. It is the job I have right now, nothing better has come up for me. I keep looking and applying for better work but nothing has happened yet. I say this to say I am quite stressed out with work...I am on edge and it shows. I am an introvert and having a lot of interaction with people wears me down. My anxiety was out the roof for a quite a while. That changed after I spent some time praying with my pastor about it. God has relieved this but the reasons the anxiety was and is there are still waiting for me to finish the process God has set for my healing. My anger is leaking through quite a lot now. I am acutely aware of things that irritate me or stress me out. I have needed to back out of social situations with friends and family in order to retain my sanity. I skipped the service at church this evening because of it. I also have Seasonal Affective Disorder and that is starting to kick in this week. I need to go to bed earlier, use my special light and eat right. Exercise would be good but it is so difficult to walk since it gets dark by 5 pm right now.
I do feel quite alone right now. I suppose that showing how overwhelmed I can be when I am around people drives them away. (especially anger) They don't want to know about my pain and frustration. I am sure there are various reasons for that, not knowing how to help and self-preservation among them. I know many people are stressed trying to keep up with expectations at this time of year. Many people are spending extra time with family and those who are close to them, shopping and cooking in order to give good things to those they love. All good things. I don't know if they are having problems connecting with Jesus as well. Things have changed for me and I am having a hard time finding good time for my Creator, Savior and Healer. How lame is that?
Now that it is Christmas Eve what am I going to do about it? I have had periods of time when I have had good, intimate times with Jesus. Not necessarily at Christmas or Easter. I am not very consistent with sustaining these times. Not very good at the “Christian walk” or practicing the “Christian disciplines”. I know that He knows what is going on. He knows the conflicts inside and out. He is the answer to my healing. He is gracious...far more than I am. He deserves my time, my self and my system belonging fully to Him. I need to get back to the anticipation of His working in me and through me, anticipation of sensing His love, His affection, and His mercy in my spirit. Taking time to be quiet and ask Him to invade the inner turmoil, the distractions and busyness and wait...and He will do it.
Monday, December 19, 2011
I am starting to read this section in the Freedom 2 manual on page 68...”Six Characteristics of Unity” right, ha ha God...very funny.
The first listed is Motivation. The first sentence: “Our motivation is to honor God, and doing so requires faith.” My first thought is that I can most honor God by allowing Him to complete His intended work in me. That requires trust...and of course the faith. So does trust require faith or does faith require trust? Or both? I have major trust issues...where does that leave me? I say I trust God but what does that really mean? I spend a limited amount of time with Him...there are many distractions, some of them the same ones everyone has. Working is important...sleeping, eating, taking care of my apartment. Others...not so important...like being on twitter and facebook or watching tv or a movie or reading fiction. I think of the song “Fully Surrendered” or the words I sensed God speaking to me....free fall. Those things are from Him...they help me have trust in Him and help my faith in Him to grow. Gee...I haven't made it past the first sentence yet!
“Faith propels agreement and the cleansing of our motivation.” When I hear from God...my sense is that things in my spirit and my mind are clear...like being able to look into the distance on a clear day. There seem to be no obstacles. I know that God has cleared things for me at that point in order for me to be engaged with Him...to hear His voice. Yet I know that others aren't hearing Him, not sure they believe His intent for them is good. They might not even know He is speaking to me. I guess if He wanted to speak so all could hear Him, He could break through. But that doesn't seem to be the case up til now. I guess I am the one that has to move in faith first. Others will follow as I invite Him into my inner being.
There is certainly a lot of fear... “Fear and unbelief hinder unity; they are the opposite of faith.” Wow...how is that wall going to come down? How are they, any one of them even going to move from fear into faith? “Fear seeks to control people, events, and circumstances to avoid whatever we fear.” What do I fear? What do they fear? What will happen if I trust and have faith? “Unbelief keeps us from moving in radical obedience to God.” I am choosing to believe...but I know I will be challenged with trusting more and more. This is where the inner distractions can really grab me and I find that I have done a lot of nothing by the end of the evening. It is where the “no's” being insisted on inside have to be acknowledged and then I set my face toward God, knowing He will walk with me wherever He is beckoning me to follow. That just sounded nice but when the time comes....what will I do? How will I feel? What will they feel?
“Our heart motivation of faith or fear determines whether our unity is true of false.” I need to acknowledge any fear and reticence I feel. I also need to find out why it is there. I need Jesus to come with me inside to ask those questions and hear those stories. I cannot allow them to sink down inside again and pretend those feelings and thoughts aren't there in order to “be good” and appear united. I deceive myself and others and for no good end. I do not want to allow deception on top of the fear and mistrust.
All of the above require an act of my will to choose to take the time, choose to answer questions, choose to lay aside temporal pleasures in order to fulfill my commission here on earth. Choosing to set aside fear in order to conquer it. Choosing faith instead of mistrust in order to move on and not stay stuck. Ultimately it is choosing the eternal over the temporal...putting off feelings of contentment, pleasure and happiness knowing that I will reap even greater contentment In the end. What I choose tonight may have consequences next year or in ten years. It doesn't mean that rest and relaxation aren't important but to be purposeful and mindful of all I need that God is providing for me now and in the future.
The Freedom and Freedom 2 manuals are written by Brian Brennt and Mike Riches and are used in conjunction with the courses by the same name. They are published by City Central Publishing in Tacoma Washington.