God is about to shift some things big time in my life. I can sense it and I can feel it.
I have never been good at resting or doing nothing. I was raised work hard and to serve with all my heart. That’s not bad at all but at the end of last year, I found myself on burnt out, exhausted, overwhelmed and literally on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
I was experiencing panic attacks and shutting myself in my closet sobbing, hoping to escape this brutal cycle I hated being in so much. I had spread myself too thin, I felt trapped. I felt like I couldn’t say no to things that were wearing me down.
I lived in a constant state of chaos and felt like my heart would explode at any moment. I actually feared a heart attack due to the level of stress I was under. Those times in my closet, were way too often. I was wishing things were different, wanting change desperately but saw no way to get better.
In January 2016, Jamie and I started to see a therapist. I needed it, our marriage needed it and my relationship with my kids needed it. I remember the first day – I sat on her couch sobbing. I told her I was on the edge of a cliff barely hanging on by my fingertips.
I told her I could let go at any moment and that would be the end. I was so serious that day; saying those things out loud and admitting I was at my limit, was the day things begin to shift for me.
I was scared, I had moments where mild panic attacks would hit me and I would feel like I was going to have a nervous breakdown. Everything I was doing was ‘part of my job role’ so I didn’t know how to say no or communicate that it was all too much. Over the next several sessions God began to work in my heart and I started to find some peace. In the process of meeting with our Therapist, I realized I needed to start saying no to things.
This was a big challenge for me. I didn’t know how to. I remember being mad at my therapist when she would say “just say no”. I’d say “that’s easy for her personality type but not mine”. The thought of even saying it to my bosses (who were my parents) sent me into a state of panic. They never told me I couldn’t say no but I would feel it by the comments of not attending every church activity. It made me think I have to as part of my job. I began to feel resentful to the church and my job for taking me to a place of no return.
Everyone had an expectation of me and everyone needed me to do something for them; with several job roles in my lap how could I ever say no. Sadly I felt like a failure as I wasn’t doing anything well. My reactions were harsh and often rude, then I’d beat myself up for being that way. I dreaded anytime I had to do anything with church. What was once a joyful thing to do had become a noose around my neck and at any given moment I might fall off the box and hang myself (not literally).
I got to the place that I never stopped working, I never took time to rest and do nothing. I did not know how to sit still and be with my husband or kids without multitasking at same time – after all, there was so much to get done and how could I possibly take time for anything else. I was not a fun person to be around and most people probably avoided me. I had become a person I did not want to be and I felt totally trapped in a cycle I could not get out of.
After one session with our therapists I remember thinking this is such a waste of time – nothing is changing and I will never be able to say no as long as I am in this job. Slowly God had been at work in my heart and step by step He walked me through a process of healing and freedom. I found the courage to pull back a little bit at a time.
I remember the first time I actually said “no” – it was a big deal. I kept apologizing while I was saying – I just can’t take on another thing. It was helping with a woman’s event that my Mom was leading. I was so stressed at the thought of communicating to her that I could not help but I did it! I knew it was not only a victory for my heart but that God wanted to give a confidence to my Mom that she could do it without me too.
We all face seasons where parts of us break and I think it is important to take time to mend. However some of us get stuck in that place and continue to live with a mindset like we’re trapped in some old ugly rental house, when we actually own a gorgeous house full of great things. This was me, I knew I was created for more but I insisted on staying there instead of allowing God to make me new and be fully who He had created me to be.
In serving Church, I got caught up in the ‘doing’ all for the sake of the gospel but at the total expense of myself. It says it so well in the Message in Mark 8:36 “Follow me and I will show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way to saving your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? what could you ever trade your soul for?”
I felt like I had traded my own person relationship with Jesus Christ in order to please others with nothing left to give to the one who matters most in my life – my heavenly Father.
I had to do something or I would be trapped forever. The day I spoke those words out and my counselor gave me the courage to face reality as it was, I began to feel the blinders fall off me eyes. God began to speak to my heart that it was time to strip myself of my brokenness and allow Him to begin to heal my heart, one layer at a time.
He brought me to Ephesians 4:22-24 “Strip Yourselves of your former nature (put off and discard your old un-renewed self) which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts, and desires that spring from delusion; And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind (having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude). And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image. (Godlike) in true righteousness and holiness.”
When the Bible tells us to strip ourselves of our old nature it says to discard your old un-renewed self. When we wear an old stinky t-shirt no matter how we try and disguise it with febreze or perfume it is still an old stinky t-shirt and eventually the nice smelling cover up will go away and we will smell the stench again. You have to get rid of it completely; take if off and throw it away, not cover it up. God says that He has something new for you that is far better than you can imagine!
How do we have a wardrobe change? In verse 23 it says, “and be constantly renewed in your mind” We do this by spending time in His Word, worshipping and being in His presence. When we do this it says we put on a new nature – a whole new self!
You can ask anyone in my family to confirm this but I am not the same girl I was 6 months ago. I am allowing God to come in and do a work in my heart. Do I get in my flesh sometimes and try and put on that stinky t-shirt sometimes… absolutely and man it smells bad – everyone knows when I am wearing it.
My husband has said to me many times over the last few months how different I am – you have such a calmness about you and so much more peace. This is because I stopped living broken and I am allowing God to make me new.
We just wrote a song with my nephew last month that expresses this very thought. “You took a broken me and you made a masterpiece, You fill my heart with perfect love.” His heart for us is so much bigger then our most difficult seasons. He will use any season of brokenness to shape and mold us but don’t get stuck there, allow Him to transform you completely.
A few weeks back my daughter went to a worship night and God spoke this to her heart, when she shared it with my I began to cry but this so accurately fit where I have been and where I am going.
Here is what she wrote: Jesus loves us so much and unconditionally. It’s almost as if He’s sitting there saying, “I Love you, you know why? Because you are made in my image. You are deserving. You are my child. You’re not broken, you know why? Because I love you and I have made you new. You know why? Because you are worth it. You know why? Because you were created by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
He has made you with a plan and purpose, full of life and destiny. Let Him make you new today.
SCRIPTURE TO STUDY
- Psalm 16
- 2 Corinthians 5:17
- Colossians 3
I started weight loss journey at the beginning of the year which has been impacting my life in the most amazing kind of way. Like any journey it has come with some bumps and challenges along the way. I came to the place a few weeks ago where I hit a mental block and lost my sight for the end goal.
I was having a rough week making several bad choices in a row. I began to look in the mirror and all I could see was the old overweight me. I looked at photos people were taking at me and my heart sank because I couldn’t see any difference even though there was a 50 pound difference. Hello! That is amazing and I should be thrilled but instead all I could see was through my old lens of insecurity and shame. My filter was completely blocking my view of what God is doing in my life and How He sees me.
So many times we allow life’s challenges to color our view and change the way we see. The problem with this is; we don’t get to see real beauty for what it is.
For me, making bad choices and having a few bad days sent me into a spiral of negativity. I began to say this will take forever – I will never get to my goal. All this work and I can’t see progress. On and on the lies went swirling in my head fighting to win first place in my thoughts.
In the midst of it all a heavenly Father who loves me, is calling me higher to see things from His perspective and not mine. His gentle words reminding me to speak life over my situation and begin to change my view of this whole picture. I began saying I am going to do this – it’s only 3 or 4 more months on this plan – that’s not such a big deal for a great result! I began to look past the “now” and see the me that God created me to be.
When you can’t see beyond now run to His truths and let His words speak over your life. He NEVER lies and He will always speak life to your heart.
When I think I can’t win – He gently pulls me close and speaks victory to my heart. It won’t be easy but I can do it with His help. I daily ask the Lord to help me to see from His point of view not mine. I pray He will remove the filters that cause me to stumble into false accusations and lies about who I really am not.
I’m a daughter of the King, made in His image to shine forth His love and glory to those around. I’m not a wounded warrior who can’t ever get it right and who seems to only wear shame and remorse.
His truth is the only view we need to have. His Words of life and love that He so graciously speaks to our hearts!!
Scripture For Additional Study
- Ephesians 2:10
- Jeremiah 29:11
- Isaiah 43:1
- Psalm 23:5
This week has been a bit of a challenge. I was presented with the opportunity to choose life or death in my words, thoughts and actions. Many times! Even though I knew what choice should be made – I struggled to embrace what I knew was right. I really wanted to wallow in self pity, or frustration. I would justify my feeling and convince myself I deserved to feel this way.
You ever feel that way?
When life throws us a curve ball we have a choice as to how we respond. We will always have opportunity to be misunderstood, disappointed, or to be stretched beyond what’s comfortable. Our spouses, kids and friends will not always meet our personal expectations and we will be let down. At some point, we will face the choice to either believe the best or the worst. It’s up to us.
Whatever you expect, you’ll most likely experience so choose wisely!
My husband and I are very close and talk about anything and everything – nothing is off the table in our relationship but this week we had a situation where He did something that had a profound impact on me.
For years he has wanted another tattoo and we have talked about it many times. He’s spent a lot of time thinking it about it, researching meanings, significance and carefully thought about what He wants.
Last Christmas I decided to give him some cash towards this little venture even though it was a stretch on me. I see nothing wrong with tattoos but I don’t prefer them so it was a big step to give money towards this! He finally decided the timing was right and set up a consultation to get started. I have not always been positive in my communication about him getting it and really left him feeling like I did not want to be a part of the process. So, he did not make me a part of the process….deep inside I did want to be and was hoping He would choose not to go through with it.
A word to the wise – when you don’t communicate what you need, it’s not fair to expect others to know what you need!
Even though we had talked about it along the way; size was very vaguely communicated. The day came and it was time. I asked for a picture of the transfer they had just put on His arm. I had no idea this would spin me into a melt down and literally throw my off my reality for a whole week.
I was in the middle of shoe store with my kids when the picture came in I burst into tears, I reacted and my reaction to him wasn’t exactly life giving. I had an expectation that he would respect my wishes (the ones I hadn’t communicated) and in that moment I realized that was not at all his reality. He did what he wanted and definitely not what I wanted.
This tattoo was 5 times the size I was expecting and it broke my heart. The thought that I would have to look at his arm covered in that much “ink” for the rest of our lives was more than my heart or mind could bear and over the next few days I had nothing nice to say. My words and actions reflected my feelings of being totally disappointed in His choice.
In Deuteronomy 30:19 it says, “Today I am giving you a choice of two ways. And I ask heaven and earth to be witnesses of your choice. You can choose life or death. The fist choice will bring a blessing. The other choice will bring a curse. So choose Life! Then you and your children will live!
When we have a thought that is not based on truth it will affect the way we feel, which will affect the way we behave. This create a cycle, that can spin out of control. It is dangerous and will lead to mistreating people around us.
In the moment, I believed that he didn’t value me as his spouse, which of course was not true. He believed I wasn’t a fan and didn’t care to know the details. I’d showed no real interest and he didn’t know that I did actually value being a part of the whole process and the size was important to me.
With this false truth I felt betrayed, excluded and hurt. In return my behavior towards him reflected that. I become very toxic to others and myself. I lost my sense of value and self control.
There is something extra special about this verse in Deuteronomy that has caught my attention.
We as mom’s and wives have an opportunity to set up our family to win by choosing life! We have the opportunity to set the atmosphere in our home, shift negative thinking and to encourage our kids to do the same.
I have been reading a book that is transforming the way I think. In the book, “Switch on Your Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf, she talks about the link between scientific proof and God’s Word. We have the ability to literally shape not only our future but the future or our kids and generations to come, simply by how and what we think right now!
One of the chapters refers to the Law of Entanglement where it states that; relationship is the defining characteristic of everything in space and time. What we say, think and do has a direct impact to those around us. She goes on to say, “We are so entangled that our intentions alter not only our own DNA molecules, but the DNA molecules of others as well.
An ingenuous experiment set up by the HeartMath Foundation determined that genuine positive emotion, as reflected by a measure called ‘heart rate variability’ directed with intentionality toward someone actually changed the way the double-helix DNA strand coil and uncoils. And this goes for both positive and negative emotions and intentions. Other research shows that heartfelt intention will cumulatively alter not only your own destiny but impact the lives of others in this generation and the next three generations at least”
Whoa…..do you get the magnitude of this? We have been empowered to choose life or choose death. How often I find myself uttering grumblings or frustrations at my children or husband. Essentially I have spoke death over their hearts, destiny and future. Lord, Help me to speak life over them, to learn to let the non-essentials go and literally shape their future for greatness!
In Proverbs 4:20-27 we see God’s plan laid out for us to help us choose life and life in His divine health and life. “My son, pay attention to what I say. Listen closely to my words. Don’t let them out of your sight. Never stop thinking about them. These words are the secret of life and health to all who discover them. Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. Don’t bend the truth or say things that you know are right. Keep your eyes on the path, and look straight ahead. Make sure you are going the right way, and nothing will make you fall.Don’t go to the right or to the left, and you will stay away from evil.”
I am learning that the choice is in my hands and with the power of the Holy Spirit I have the ability to choose life. Do I like my husbands tattoo….not really. Am I going to choose to speak life over him and not make him feel bad for His choices…..well I am working on that! I keep asking myself will I allow this to keep a wedge between us or will I choose to let it be a non-essential in our relationship. Will I allow my heart to ache everytime I look at his arm or will I choose to not let it phase me? Working on this one too and I know that God will give the strength to choose life not only in this situation but in my relationships with my children, in everyday situations and even in my own thinking!
UPDATE: since writing this, I love his tattoo now, he gets lots of compliments and questions about it and I think he’s pretty hot with it. Also, he has since got another that I was totally a part of the decision making process, size and location.
Let me leave you with this verse in Romans 12:2 “Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God want for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect.
Let’s commit to choose life – to be atmosphere changers with our words. Let’s choose to shape the future and destiny of our families by the words that we speak! With His help – ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
SCRIPTURE TO HELP YOU CHOOSE LIFE:
- John 8:44
- Romans 12:5
- 1 Corinthians 2:11
- Matthew 6:25-33
- Proverbs 3:5-6