I used to open a new Word document every time I had something to say. Now, I open my blog account. I’m not sure whether this is a positive or a negative evolution (as far as the random web-surfing reader is concerned).
Basically, this blog reads pretty much like my old Word docs (with the addition of the occasional joke or photo). I have every intention of keeping it real.
So, here goes…
Many people in this world have gone through a whole heck of a lot more than I have. Please know that I know this. I’ve never lost a child or even had to watch one suffer severe illness. However, my greatest trials have been magnified by the fact that they are not things one is supposed to openly speak about.
The problem with secrets (especially dark and personal ones) is that when Satan attacks us with the pain of them, we are often too ashamed, embarrassed, or even debilitated to do anything about it. When pain is instantly induced into an otherwise restored life, that’s just Satan shooting an arrow of doubt. But we tend to accept the arrows, believing that we haven’t been healed.
Can I just tell
you myself that this is a lie!
For about three months now, I have been bombarded with painful thoughts and memories. Who have I talked to about this? No one, not even God.
I can hardly explain away my hypocrisy in failing to confess this burdensome trial, but I believe I’m going to share an important lesson with you now.
Once again, God has showed me something extraordinary from my favorite passage of scripture. Isn’t it amazing to read a book that is actually alive!
Philippians 4:4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
It seems that I keep trying, out of my own strength, to obey verses eight and nine. Problem is, that’s the fifth step! I’ve been trying to read the Bible like I read a cookbook (not a good idea for someone who likes to improvise).
Follow the recipe!
God tells us what to do with pain, and fear, and anxiety, because He knows who our enemy is. He knows we will face it, and He loves us too much to watch us go it alone.
When Satan has attacked me with painful memories, I’ve tried to counter with, “No, I will only focus on whatever is lovely and pure!” Well, either that or I’ve just wallowed in self-pity. I think I’ve at least earned an E for effort. Even with my best intentions, I eventually fall flat on my face. This is, of course, entirely my fault, because God has already told me what to do in verses four through seven.
As an example…
The answer to verse four, in my life, should be: Jesus, thank you for redeeming my life from the pit. You truly are an awesome Savior!
Verse 5: I know you are with me.
Verse 6: Help me to just breathe. And I ask you to keep Satan’s thoughts far from mine. He is tormenting me with memories and thoughts that I do not want. Deliver me by your grace!
Verse 7: Thank you for guarding my heart and mind from the enemy! Your peace is indescribable.
Verse 8: Please reveal to me the many blessings in my life, and help me to focus on your glory and grace.
Verse nine really seems like a gimme after all of that, doesn’t it? I mean, of course continued peace would follow such obedience.
Like a child, I do not want to do the very things that would make my life the most pleasant (even things as simple as praying for protection, or confessing weakness). I want to skip ahead and do things in my own, infective, way.
I think I’m just gonna stop there because I’m thoroughly convicted.
What I need is some time before the Lord!