Rushing Along While He Takes His Time

Scenery at Deibert Park, Florence, AL
God’s timing sometimes feels like He’s ignoring us when He is, in fact, teaching and preparing us. He doesn’t get into a rush, though we often try to rush Him. Prayers we feel are unanswered are always on His timing, He is not on our timetable. It’s a sad day when we get so much in a rush for an answer to prayer that we decide we have the answer, only to soon find out it wasn’t God’s plan. I’ve done just that on my journey to freedom. 

I don’t normally get into a rush, unless it’s a mental rush which normally ends up just being a head full of jumbled thoughts. Yet I want quick answers from God to my prayers! (I don’t like to be late, so I’ll rush Ole Boy on Sunday morning so we can get to church early and take my favorite back row seat…but I digress.)
I started praying for freedom some fifteen years ago. My understanding of freedom and what it truly means has changed a lot since I began asking Him to free me. I expect it to change again because I have so very much to learn. 
Freedom isn’t a destination, it’s the journey; the daily walking, choosing to stay on the course, learning what He's teaching me.  If losing weight were to remain my focus, it would be such a disappointment to get to my “destination” of being thin to find the only thing that had changed was the number on the scales!   Change won’t be rushed, just like the scales won’t be, as anyone who has tried to lose weight knows full well.
God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, has much better plans for me than a number on the scale. He won’t be rushed. I may as well enjoy the stroll up Freedom Lane, working on getting to know Him instead of waiting for the scales to be a number I like.

Butterfly in my back yard

See more thoughts on rushing:


Seven Steps on the Road to Freedom

I wish I could remember where this was taken,
Probably somewhere in the Great Smoky Mountains.
I’m going to be brutally honest: I do things knowing full well I'm sinning. I’ll attempt to justify my behavior as I’m doing it, knowing there’s no justification. There are times I don’t even fight the temptation, I just cave immediately. God doesn’t like that. I've been trying to change my ways, but the harder I try, the worse I act! I don't have all the answers, but I am taking steps in the right direction.  Some of them are not easy steps...well, not until I start walking.

Salvation:  When I know in my heart I am not where I should be, I remember I must yield to Him. Repent. Let Him mold me into a vessel worthy to receive all He wrote in His book for me. (Psalm 139:16) I must learn to trust in the cleansing power of His blood and His grace for the change that escapes me.

Prayer time:  I try to not give Him only the last worn-out ten minutes of my day. I’m not saying I don’t give Him those minutes, I just don’t let that be the only time I give Him.

Bible reading:  Even if it’s just a few verses that truly speak to me, I read every day.  This is Part B of prayer time. (If you think you're too busy, start making the effort and you will find the time.)  We need to be good stewards of the time He gives us. Get up earlier, give up a lunch hour to Him, put the phone down, don’t watch that TV show…

Watch my intake:  Television…is there anything but garbage on prime time?  No, and there's not much good on social media, either.  When I realize what I'm doing, I stop singing along with songs that promote sin.  I try to be more conscious of what I'm actually listening to (I do not listen to a lot of secular music).  I must remember that if I wouldn’t do with Jesus in front of me, I should not do it with the Holy Spirit inside of me.  (Sometimes those songs get in my head and won't leave!)

Forgiveness: As long as I am watching my intake, I must also deal with the out-takes.  I choose to give people who hurt me to God, along with all the anger and bitterness that attaches so easily to unforgiveness. Which do I want:  Freedom or revenge? Freedom is infinitely sweeter. The best revenge I can have is to be free from all the chains that have me bound, including the angry space I give them in my head and heart. Who the Son sets free is free indeed.  He can’t put freedom in my hand if I am grasping unforgiveness. I choose to let it go!  (Sometimes repeatedly, but I do it.)

Change my focus: I have to stop looking around at the turmoil of the world in which we live.  (Scrolling through the internet can leave me anxious)  I will lift up my head! (Luke 21:28)  I will make my headnoise a “No Negativity” zone.  I'll combat fear with my favorite memorized scriptures, and replace murmuring and complaining the same way.  (Complaining is really hard to give up!)  I can't have peace or a merry heart when I allow negativity to rule my thoughts.  (I don't mean to say that I will bury my head in the sand and not be aware of what's happening in the world.)
Meditate on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, things with virtue, and anything praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
Help others: I'm not a social person...reaching out to strangers or folks I don't know well is really difficult.   But I will endeavor to help when I see the need and can be of aid.  God sees the simple things we do like opening doors, picking up an item in the store that was dropped by someone else and left to be stepped on, and taking my items back where they belong if I change my mind.  Giving money anonymously to a struggling co-worker would be a wonderful blessing to them, checking on  an elderly neighbor regularly…

Outward actions do not change my heart.
God does that.
And I trust Him.

Roaring Forks, Gatlinburg, TN


Forgiving My Past

My first marriage was an abusive one. The relationship was brief, thankfully, and I rarely think about what I experienced at his hands. One memory, however, troubles me from time to time, a night of one of his unexpected explosions.

In case you didn’t know it already, 
unforgiveness is a sneaky evil. 

We lived in a house that had been made into four apartments, two downstairs, two upstairs. This particular night, the yelling, hitting, and kicking went into the wee hours of the morning until he finally fell asleep. I don’t remember if I slept at all. When he woke up a few hours later, he took my car and went to the store, leaving me a few minutes to escape. I didn’t have a phone, so I ran to my upstairs neighbor to call someone to come and get me. She wouldn’t let me in. I knocked and knocked…and begged.

She later told a mutual friend she was afraid to let me in, even though she knew he was gone.  She had heard everything the night before, every person in that quad-plexed house heard it. No one called the police…

When I find myself thinking about that night, I find the one I haven’t forgiven is the girl upstairs. Not my tormentor. Her. I’ve had to forgive her many times over the years.
Then there are times like my morning drive to work, when I realize that I just wasted precious God time dwelling on bad experiences.   Yesterday, it was my first-grade teacher, who made my introduction to school a nightmare. Though she died years ago, she is another person I’ve had to forgive many times over the years.  These days, I really don't know if I'm just remembering, or still harboring resentment; either way, when these moments happen, I ask God to forgive me, and I say "I forgive you, Mrs. Moore."

Other people have treated me worse than these two women, and I can’t explain why these two experiences still rear their ugly heads these many years later while other bad memories never bother me.  Just as people have offended me, I am certain that I’ve offended others. And just as my two antagonists never thought of me again after our brief encounters, I’m sure I don't remember every person I’ve hurt.

Unforgiveness stops me from moving forward…
to forgiving my present.

I never took the time to map out my life. I’ve made no plans to accomplish some great feat by the time I reached a certain age, or within so many years. Except to lose weight; that’s always been my goal. I call it “Living in the Future” because my planning has always been centered around “Next summer, when I lose “this much” weight, I will…” but such a next summer never arrived.

With my Christian walk, I'm sad to admit that I can’t say I’m 100% sure what God’s plans for me are.  I think it's writing until I sit down to write but find mind is too unfocused, and I convince myself that no one wants to read what I write. I think maybe He wants me to tell others about freedom, until I realize I’m not yet free.  (I will be, in Jesus' name.)   I think my calling is teaching until someone actually asks me to teach one little ladies class, and my immediate response is, “Nooo!”

It's easy to fall into a trap of unforgiveness toward myself for being everything I don't want to be and nothing that I dream of being.  In order to move into the future He has planned for me (Psalm 139:16), I have to come to a place of acceptance of where I am today...I'm not quite there yet!   I have to forgive my inabilities and remember that He doesn’t expect perfection of me!  I am so thankful that His mercies are new each day. 

It doesn’t matter what I’ve never been. 
Lord, mold me into what You want me to be.


Monday Musings: Blacking My Own Eye

Don’t you love it when what you’ve been saying hits you right in the eye?

Me either. 

I spend a lot of time pondering truth and seeking answers for a book I am writing.  It’s a “living in His freedom” daily devotional because so many of God’s children live in chains, and that is not the life He intends for us.  My chains happen to be food-related, but the promise of His freedom covers any chain that has us bound. 

Back to my mental black eye…earlier in the week, I wrote in my book notes: 
We do need personal goals.  If your first thought when thinking of goals is, “I want to lose 100 pounds by this time next year,” you probably need to change your focus.   
On another day, I wrote:
Weighing every day may be indicative of weight loss being more important than His freedom.  If we find ourselves upset because of fluctuations…a gain, I mean, which we will see occasionally no matter what we are doing…then we are placing the importance of weight loss over walking in the freedom He wants us to do.  It’s not about the weight.  It’s about Him.  It’s always about Him.
I confess:  I’ve been getting on the scales every day. 
I’ve lost 14 pounds.  But…

…on Saturday, I went to a birthday party for my husband’s one-year-old granddaughter.   I knew we were having the regular cake and cookies type party foods, plus pizza.  I made up my mind beforehand that I would have one slice of pizza, and that’s what I did.  Ole Boy, who is trying to lose weight, and that is his focus, ate pizza, chips, dip, cake and ice cream (his focus was a little off Saturday).

For dinner, I had Mexican food without cheese dip or rice, and without stuffing myself.   Sunday morning, we found that he maintained his weight loss.  I gained a pound.    

So, I whined, “If I was going to gain weight, I should have had the cake.”  And that’s not all I said.  I was murmuring and complaining!  God doesn't like that.  Getting into the shower, I remembered the words I’d written.  :::BAM!:::

I do not want to slip back into it being about the weight.
That has never, ever worked in the past.  
Old habits die hard.

I don’t claim to have all the answers…but I do know the One who does, and by seeking Him first, I will find the answers.  I’m probably going to be writing a lot about this in the next few months.  

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
John 8:36 NLT


God's Love is Intrusive

Image from Pixabay
Have you ever fallen head-first into The Pit, that very real and dark place where one sinks in the mire of hopelessness and despair?   It can be easy to slip into The Pit, but never so easy, if not impossible, to get out without help.  Perhaps we find ourselves there because of our own choices, disobedience, or unforgiveness...and we slide in slowly, not realizing we were sinking in quicksand until it’s too late.

Whatever the reason we find ourselves in a pit, it's here where our identities are stolen and we believe every lie the enemy tells us about ourselves.  When a person has been stripped of the awareness that he or she is the child of a living and forgiving Father, they tend to recoil from anyone trying to lead them back to God.  

There are times when the choices we’ve made are so bad and the lies we believe are so great that we feel unworthy to call out to Him, no matter how willing He is to forgive us, and it’s easier to stay in the pit than fight to get out.

It is here where God’s love is intrusive.  If we walk away from Him, He comes after us and rejoices greatly when we return to Him (Matthew 18:12-14).  God said, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.” (Ezekiel 34:11)   

His hand is already outstretched and ready to bring us up from this horrible pit, out of the miry clay; He wants to set our feet upon a rock and establish our steps (Psalm 40:2).  When we ignore His hand, He comes closer, intruding on those lies we have believed, calling us until we stop wallowing and start listening.  He is patiently and jealously waiting to forgive us when we’ve finally had enough of pit-living, and are sick and tired of repeating the bad choices that got us there.  

All we need is faith as small as a mustard seed that God will meet us right where we are…to believe anything else would be one more lie.  Remaining in the pit one more day is your choice.  But Jesus died to set you free, and His blood is intrusive.  

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

Psalm 139:8-12

Blogger Template by pipdig