Friday, December 26, 2014

A colony of poisonous spiders?

So I have to wonder if I'm the only one that has had things in their past that effects you in the here & now all these many years later? Ya, I didn't think so. 

It's been part of your life for so long that in some ways, although the memories are very painful at least they are yours and they're familiar? It's a crazy feeling to have. Who would willingly hold onto a colony of poisonous spiders, bare-handed? It serves no purpose but to hurt you!! Yet that is what we often do. Those things have helped mold 'who you are' yet they will in the long run also be holding you back.

The scriptures tell us to 'take every thought captive to obey Christ" 2 Cor. 10:5  I am reminded of a saying that goes something like, "emotions are like waves, we just have to decide which ones to surf." Hmmm.

Revisiting the past, or more pointedly, letting IT be a large part of your present (which can manifest in our emotions), is a choice we have. 

Past hurts & abuse from decades ago can ever so subtly eat away at your insides. So slyly that you don't even realize it's happening much less have a choice in the matter. For myself the mere mention of a person's name can put that knot in my stomach & a tightness in my chest. For 35 years I have had the same nightmare that has left me gasping for air & crying that ugly cry.

But it doesn't even have to be something as drastic as all that...there have been times that the anxiety & stresses of life have given me those same kind of feelings. The feelings that any minute now the bottom may fall out of my life & in those times, I try to do my best to prepare mentally for it.  But upon closer inspection, that doesn't really help me and quite honestly it just steals my joy and keeps me from living & appreciating the present!!

In Matthew 6:25-34 it tells us about God caring for the lilies of the field. He takes care of their every need even though they do nothing & their lives are short....they don't even 'labor & spin.' Some translations say 'to toil' which means to weary oneself.  It all kind of reminds me of watching a dog chase it's tail. Putting out a lot of energy but never catching it. When he gets exhausted, he quits no better off than when he started.

Is this what we do? Chasing our tails? Riding on our sit-n-spins, going nowhere? Trying to figure it all out on our own?  Do we forget that God loves us so much more than all of those disposable lilies of the field? He has counted every hair on our heads, you know. (Matt. 10:30) Not only do we not have to do things alone we can give it all over to the one that knows what's best to begin with!!

What's the underlying truth, the bottom line if you will, when it comes to the negative feelings we let over take us?  Trust. Trust is the obvious indication that we truly believe God and his promises...I didn't realize when I would let my anxious thoughts overtake & overwhelm me that ultimately I was saying, God I don't trust you to see me through whatever this day brings. I find it very offensive that that kind of thinking, lumped me into a group of unbelievers that is described in Matt.6:32.

 I have this scripture taped above my kitchen sink so I can remind myself of it daily...Philippians 4:5-9 Do not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understand, will GUARD your hearts & minds...think about these things. What you have learned & received and heard and seen in me-practice these things and the God of peace will be with you. (see, God knows me so well, that he says 'practice' because he knows I still won't always get it right. He will give me the do-over I need!)

So what does this all mean in my year of H.O.P.E.(Hang On Pain Ends) with a side of Serenity?  I have realized that just like with the lilies of the field, when the winds of hurt, pain. anxiety or stress come blowing through, He has made me to bend not break. I have also learned that my roots go deep to keep me anchored securely. And I know in whom I am rooted!!

It doesn't matter that I will never know if the one responsible for so much pain ever felt regret or maybe even wanted to say sorry but ran out of time.  And in my world (and I would venture to guess yours too) there is bound to be things that will try sneak in to cause me anxiety. My circumstances haven't changed but God has changed me in how I will handle it. I will take my thoughts captive!

 So for the first time in 35 years instead of a nightmare it's been replaced by good dreams as if in confirmation that I finally got it right!..And in the midst of total chaos and family dramas we also found 'a side of serenity' that was in front of us all the time. We just had to surrender it to God & acknowledge the freedom we received from doing so.


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