Tag Archive | feelings

Known

I apologize in advance if this post seems a little poorly put together. Rest assured- it’s real. Me…in real-time. Sometimes getting these thoughts out helps me bring things back into perspective. Not mine…but, GOD’s. If you look at many of the Psalms they kinda flow the same way. Nope. I am not David- but, I MAN do I relate to him. Anyways…

I woke up this morning trying to get a grip on my “feelings”. I put that word in quotes because, while God gave us feelings….they often lie. They can be a little abstract, overwhelming, stubborn, and unruly and they certainly don’t think.

Stupid feelings.

How is it that I can be surrounded and feel alone? I suspect that I am not the only one, but it seems to be a perpetual thing here. (Especially when I dwell on it. Hmm. Maybe there’s something to that.) I think God has been using those same lonely feelings to move me toward lonely people and minister to them and I am thankful for that opportunity. THAT is a positive thing. However, I am keenly aware that Satan would love to keep me in a lonely place and make me ineffective for Christ. It’s a constant battle between truth and feeling.

Last night I was at a school function. This will be our family’s third year at this school and my second year working part-time there. It’s a super small school – so how is it that even some of the teachers don’t know that I work there? Why don’t the parents know who I am? I spend many hours in that building each week and feel invisible. It’s the same thing at church. As a matter of fact, on one particular evening someone needed help in the nursery. The woman I was speaking with introduced herself and proceeded to give me a tour of the nursery and give me a rundown of the procedures. She thought I was a new member. She was completely oblivious to the fact that I had not only taught her son for a few years in a children’s class at that church – but, worked in the nursery for three years and have been attending for eight years. Invisible. I could go on, but I would not allow my kids to wallow in mud like that so I will refrain and move on.

The truth is – I want to be known. Not like KNOWN with lights and a stage, because that is SO not my comfort zone. Not even a “look at me” known with recognition or props. (Hmm…a certain Francesca Battistelli song is coming to mind.)  Just…known. My name. The real one. Not “hey, girl!” or Joanna or Joan, but Joanne. That’s Jo..anne. Yep, just like that. I want someone to know that I have 2 kids and have lived here for 15 years. (My neighbor around the corner saw me out for a walk and asked when I moved in. Seriously.) I want people to see me and look in my eyes and acknowledge that I breathe in the same spaces they do sometimes. A little more than a smile and a nod would be nice.  Uggh…guilty and convicted… I have to be better at doing that as well.

The truth is – people don’t look up often enough. Myself included. And I am not just talking about “looking up” as in making eye contact with others but, “looking UP”…like, UP…UP. We get so wrapped up in the temporal things; the things we see, taste, touch, hear and smell.  This loneliness thing STINKS- I can smell that! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in Me, myself and I.

The truth is –  if I let those “feelings” govern me instead of God’s truth, my sinful self will end up in pretty bad shape. This morning when I Googled “What does the Bible say about feelings?”, the word FOOL was prevalent among the scriptural results. There was even one scripture in Proverbs that made me wonder if I should delete this post…”A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in til afterward.” (Proverbs 29:11). Yikes. I guess it technically IS “afterward” because I waited til morning, right?

The truth is- I am known…

Known by God (Galatians 4:9, 1 Corinthians 3:8)

And HE knows me well…

Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Oh, Lord….Help me to remember whose I am. And to focus on all You are and not how short I fall. When I FEEL lonely help me to lift my eyes and see others and look higher to see You. Lord, I take comfort in knowing that YOU know me and loved me so much that You sent Your son to die for me. I am known by name and You see my heart and not my outward appearance. I am known by You, LORD, and need to let YOUR light so shine before men so that they may know You, too.  

So there…take that, Stupid Feelings.

 

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Juror #99…perspective from a room without a view

Well, it’s Thursday morning and I am sitting in the basement room of the courthouse again. There are no windows or natural light, but there is perspective to be gained from where I am sitting. So, Yes! There is a view-and I pray that God will change that view for me.

Earlier this week I prayed that God would change my attitude toward my week on the hook as a juror. I didn’t want to do this begrudgingly even though I had the potential to miss a lot of great things in the lives of my kids this week. On MY docket this week were a field trip to the dairy farm with my daughter, field day with my son and the preschool commencement and concert on the last day of school for my daughter. I didn’t want to miss any of these things, but prayed that God would use me and help me to bloom where I was planted. Monday, I was in the courthouse but was sent home early. Tuesday and Wednesday I did get to go on the field trip and to field day…then there’s today. God planted me in the basement of that courthouse and I am missing my daughters commencement concert. My heart sank when I heard my number on the recording last night. I started praying again, “God, change my heart.”

Perspective. I can choose to have my perspective in the flesh, or I can choose to filter out the muck of feelings and negativity through the silt pan of God’s Word and look for the gold nuggets that remain.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing. Philippians 2:14

This morning, I am missing her concert and it’s not fair. Hubby has to go to work before her program and I hope he isn’t late for it. I went out to pick roses from the garden for her teacher and the beatles have eaten through most of the leaves and I found some worms feasting too. The breakfast dishes are still in the sink and I didn’t get to the laundry before I left. The bus was early and we almost missed it. My hands-free ear piece broke when I put it on. And there is so signal in this basement room so I don’t even know if this blog will post. I want to go home- this is such a waste of time.

Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Lord, thank you for waking me up early and giving me time with my daughter. Helping her with her favorite dress and placing each ponytail with care was a blessing. The roses that you created are a beautiful gift that she will be proud to give her teacher this morning. Thank you for a hubby who suggested that he video the event so I can hear her sing and see her joy on this last day of school celebration. Thank you for getting us to the bus in time and for the opportunity to serve in the community as I fulfill my civic duty. Thank you for neighbors who can help with our children as the need arises. Lord, you have blessed me this week as I got to particiate in my kids activities…now, change my heart so I can bloom where you have planted me today. Amen.

Perspective.

God’s view…or mine? I like the gold nuggets that were left after all of those feelings were sifted out. I think I’ll keep them.

This week I have been reading in Jeremiah 29. I am going to paraphase because my signal isn’t strong enough for my online Bible. God told the people that they were going to be in captivity inder Babylonian rule for a while. He told them to make the most of it…build houses, plant gardens, marry and live. If they tried to shake off the yolk or even falsely proclaim that God was going to liberate them soon, they would trade that wooden yolk for one of steel. Chill…bloom…live…don’t fight it. That mesage this morning couldn’t have been more timely.

Let go of the offense…start to de-fence

wpid-Fence2.jpg

Let’s start with a fence. What is a fence? It’s a structure that surrounds the perimeter of an area. Whether it be around a home, a dog kennel, a business, a pool, an area of danger, or an area to be preserved. A fence can do one of two things: keep someone or something out, or keep someone or something in. Or maybe it’s really a combination of both.

Now, let’s look at another kind of fence…offense.

of·fense

1. a violation or breaking of a social or moral rule; transgression; sin.
2. a transgression of the law; misdemeanor.
3. a cause of transgression or wrong.
4. something that offends or displeases.
5. the act of offending or displeasing.
~
~
Two different words…two different things.
But, without a doubt-both are restrictive barriers that can impair vision,
block passage and cause division.
~

For the past two weeks, the sermons have been centered around “offense”, being offended or being the offender. Unfortunately, this is subject matter that I have had personal experience with and can say first hand how detrimental it can be to a persons relationship- not only with people, but with God. You see, one weekend I came home from college and went to church. Not just any church – this was the church I grew up in. This was the church I called home. The friends and families I grew up surrounded by were there; it was special to me. That particular weekend, I was met at the door of the Sunday School class by a woman. I had no idea who she was and she didn’t know me from Eve. She asked that I sign a petition before I went into class that morning. I can honestly tell you that I have no idea what the petition was for…and though it was likely not a condition to enter the classroom, I took it that way. I remember thinking “Who are you …in my church…to tell me…what to do?!” I was furious. I was offended. Therefore, aside from holidays, I didn’t go back. I had already started a slow fade- but this was the kick in the pants that got me all the way out the door.

This was two years into what would be about 18 years of wandering.  I had already started building the fence…but this offense was the final section of fence between me and God. Yet, the particular offense had nothing do to with God. So there I was-offended at my church and out on my own. Satan is slick like that.

Last week, the pastor gave the congregation homework. We were asked to make a list of anyone who offended us in any way- and what they did to offend us. After that was accomplished, we were to pray over each and give each to God. Just let them go. I thought I had already covered this ground a few years ago, and really didn’t think I needed to do this assignment. When I recommitted my life to Christ, I had to wade through the muck and let a lot of stuff go. As a matter of fact, one of the verses that I held dear during that time was Ephesians 4:31-32.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

As the pastor was reading through Matthew 18, I could see the parallel to my testimony and situations that had come to pass in my life. I was the sheep that left the flock (v 12-14) that He came looking for…and He rejoiced when I came home. Then, not even three months later, I would have to turn around and offer the same kind of forgiveness God extended to me…to someone else. (v 21-35) Yes, it was hard. But, it was a lesson in forgiveness that I needed in order to fully comprehend true forgiveness and mercy– and fully appreciate both as a gift to be thankfully given as well as received. Also, in Matthew 18:13-19, there are guidelines on how to handle a matter when a brother or sister offends you. After you follow those steps, if forgiveness and reconciliation are not achieved, verse 17 says to “treat him as if you would a pagan or tax collector.” Lets remember something…that doesn’t mean to shun them; but rather to love your neighbor as yourself. Do not be offended or carry around a grudge. Harboring ill feelings and offense- puts up a fence between you and God.

Then, Sunday night I opened Facebook (which is a perpetual offender) and saw a post that immediately ruffled my feathers. It was a picture and comment regarding a group of people who had hurt me deeply. After years of letting their sharp jabs and misdeeds just “roll off”…a final blow was delivered and I immediately put up fences around myself to keep them out. But, being offended and hanging on to that hurt has me on the other side of that fence, surrounded- locked in. It’s that verse in Proverbs that keeps speaking to me over and over again…

Fear of man will prove to be a snare; but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Proverbs 29:25

I didn’t trust the Lord to deal with this situation or these people. I handled it myself…one fence post at a time. It’s a TALL fence too! I think I even put barbed wire at the top of that one. God made it clear to me that all of my fences of offense were not down. Far from it.

Anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement…Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:22-24

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their wicked ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret- it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

Psalm 37:7-9

This is a big fence to tear down, it’s pretty solid. But, nothing is too big for my God. I just have to surrender my feelings, my hurt, the grudge(s) that I am harboring, the anger and feelings of betrayal. It all has to go. I have changed. I am a new creature. And, while I don’t think it’s appropriate to build a bridge to reconcile in this situation, I truly need to let it go.

wpid-Longfence.jpg

I have an offense….and I need to de-fence.