I want you to know I am going to take a sabbatical from posting. There are numerous reasons that I will not go into at this time. That being said, I will only write when I feel I am being led to write; therefore, something might just pop up and you will be notified.
Feel free to download any post and use them for your benefit and for other's benefit. I make no claim on any of the posts. I hope you will share and or teach or use in any manner you see fit.
Thank you for your interests over these past seven months. God bless and take care of each of you during these turbulent times.
CHRISTIAN COUNSELOR SHARES PRACTICAL SPIRITUAL AND RELATIONAL DIRECTION
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Today I want to share with you a section from my book Ending the War with Myself. Chapter 1 is entitled "Something is Wrong: Why Don't I Connect with the Love of God" The title implies there are numerous obstacles in our lives that hold us back from actually experiencing in our inner man/woman the love and grace of God.
We all know perpetual willful sin keeps us in a downward spiral of despair. When in this spiral our negative self-talk further keeps us from experiencing God's grace. Additionally we might not recognize other unknown things blocking His Grace. Following are two sequential passages delineating just one of those possible unknowns. Remember, God's grace is ALWAYS available to His children. We often block it unknowingly.
Toxic Lies Guide our Lives
Each of us was wounded in some way during our growing years, some more than others. We experience wounding in smaller or larger events at school, at home, in our neighborhood, in church, on sport teams, and in other groups. Some of the wounds we vividly remember; some are more subtle and we may not remember them at all. These events may cause us to internalize lies about ourselves. These poisonous, toxic lies silently drive our lives.
How a father treats his child is critical. Perhaps he had little personal interaction with you, but you noticed when you excelled he commended you and seemed proud of you. You might say to yourself, “For my father to love me, I must make him proud of me.” This statement gradually becomes, “To be loved, I must be successful in everything,”
We can see how toxic this false statement is when we acknowledge we can not always be successful.What happens when you are not successful? It is the "what happens when you are not successful" that causes us pain. We have a tendency to berate ourselves and when we berate ourselves, we feel emotional distress. We actually feel and believe, "I am not loved." We strive even more for success, fighting feeling unloved. The toxic lie drives our lives.
As a different example, you may have experienced a father who often slapped you, and yelled, “I wish you had never been born!” You come to believe the lie, “I am worthless and deserve to be slapped around.” This toxic lie colors all your relationships with men who continue to wound you.
According to Dr. Ed Smith, “the only authority Satan has in a Christian’s life is based on the lies we believe.” Either an authority figure tells us a lie or we tell ourselves a lie as to regarding who we really are in Christ, God’s love is just a concept in our minds. Healing takes place when the lies are exposed.
The Effects of Childhood Wounds
Accepting God’s grace has roots in these childhood wounds. As children, we learn how to treat ourselves by the ways others treat us. If perfection is expected, we expect we should be perfect. In spite of knowing, we truly cannot be perfect we try diligently anyway. Soon we begin to dislike our "imperfect selves". We try to be strong, but we feel false shame in that imperfection. We try to hide our real selves and earn acceptance so that the false self we show looks perfect.
Under all this working, earning and trying, our wounded self remains.
If the wounds we suffered are not examined and healed, they do not just go away with time. Wounds of our past adversely influence our inner lives and our current relationships.
Recent technology now allows us to understand how the brain functions. Different parts of the brain perform different functions and holds different types of memory. Understanding how our brain holds our past pain gives us reason to go on an inner journey into our hearts with God to heal our childhood wounds.
The front of the brain, called the cerebral cortex, is the area of conscious thought, perception, and logic. The outer layer of the cerebrum is composed of gray matter and forms a cap over the rest of the brain. This cerebral cortex is labeled the thinking cap. It holds and organizes information and facts and works well with numbers, but it has no feelings to go with the logic. Like Mr. Spock, a Vulcan in the television and movie series, Star Trek, who could not feel emotions, some people have so suppressed their emotions they operate almost exclusively out of the cerebral cortex. They operate in a superficial and informational kind of way.Cerebral individuals generally do not have deep intimate relationships because they are too emotionally closed down to connect with others. As an aside, there is a reason they cannot connect.
In the back of the brain, the limbic system holds our emotions, our pain, and our emotional experience memory. Sometimes referred to as the emotional brain the limbic system is the site of emotional states (anger, sadness, fear, etc.) and behavior (what we do with our emotional states). The emotional brain has no words to express its' self and has no understanding of time. Any emotional pain experienced in our growing years is still alive in the emotional brain waiting to be triggered in the present. We can "time travel" back to the pain while in the present.
The emotional brain will override the logical thinking cap every time.
The emotional brain may surprise us by causing us to overreact repeatedly. We may have little to no awareness a dynamic triggered from our childhood wounds have triggered us. These triggers control us and wreak havoc in our relationships. It feels like what is happening in our emotions is our present reality. We believe the person in front of us is intentionally doing something to us when an emotional feeling of the past triggers us. We blame the other person for our overreactions.** In reality, any heightened disproportionate response is born in the emotional memory set from a past event. However, we do not understand any of this; therefore, we judge ourselves and blame others for our bad actions.
Once we are spinning reality by judging ourselves, and blaming others, it is as if we are on automatic pilot to self and relational destruction. This formidable pattern is so pervasive; I believe Satan loves to fan the fire of our self-defeating spiritual and psychological drama. Satan can easily accomplish his objective simply by letting us fly on automatic pilot into the mountainside to crash and burn. Healing comes when the lie is exposed.
Using a mind, will and emotion paradigm, we see how these parts of the brain are centers for different contributions to healing. The mind centers in the thinking cap, holding the facts. Emotions center in the emotional brain, holding experiences as vivid emotional feelings. Our will plays a part as we choose to work or not to work in concert with God toward healing. God desires to heal this destructive cycle within us. When we over react we can choose to cooperate with God and allow Him to expose and then heal our over reactions, toxic lies and wounds.
Without accepting His grace, we will have difficulty experiencing the peace that passes understanding. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you. My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]” (John 14:27)
**You can determine if your wound is in control. You will feel and know when you are over-reacting. Something will happen that pushes you to handle the event in a child like manner. When triggered, yes the other person may have said or done something that was upsetting, but our child like over-reaction says something deep in you is touched. I use a scale of 1-10, 10 measures the strongest over reaction. One person with healthy relational skills will measure a 3-5 while when confronted with an uncomfortable situation, another person who is wounded will register a 8 to 10. This person will experience a 3 of the present event plus the 8 of the wound of the past which equals a 10; over the top.
Posted by Anna "Micky" Land at 9:28 PM
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Each of us has our own relationship with God. It may be a love relationship, an angry relationship, a neutral (neither hot nor cold) relationship or even an "I am not speaking to You, God" relationship. But all in all, we have some sort of unique relationship with God. I remember telling my teenage son, "I don't have any issues with Jesus, as I can see how loving and compassionate He was with the sinners of His day, but God is another story. I don't feel safe with Him." My son piped up and said, "Mooooooooom!!! They are one and the same."
I knew that but that was not how it felt to me. Jesus was safe but God, I was not so sure He was safe. Since then I have settled that issue with God- both are safe for believers. However, back then I had my own skewed relationship with God and His Son Jesus. The amazing thing about our having skewed relationships with God is it is similar to the song sung at the end of every Billy Graham revival. God takes us "Just as I am without one plea." He accepted me confusion and all.
We are all somewhere in life where we might not desire to be. What is crucial for us to knowis it is not where we are that is our focus but Whose we are and where He is taking us that is essential. If I focus on my ability to love God, I will always fall short and when I fall short, I have a tendency to berate myself, which pushes my spirit down into some degree of oppression.
I often say to the students in my classes, "When you and I made a commitment to God through His son Jesus, we made an imperfect commitment to Him, because we are human. What do humans do best? Operate imperfectly. God, on the other hand, made a perfect commitment us; a commitment to make us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ." I find this gives me comfort as the emphasis in on God's work in and through me to perfect me not on my work to perfect myself.
It is like a surgeon who is preparing to operate on you. Your job was to make the appointment, follow up on that appointment and when told you needed surgery, show up for the procedure. The surgeon and his team will do the rest. They will remove that which is keeping you from living a rich, full, healthy life.
So it is with God. He prefers working on us from the inside out and desires we corporate with His expertise. His disciples asked Jesus the same question we seem to ask.
"What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent." John 6:28
We have a "to do". That to do is to believe. Believe God sent Jesus to show us the love of God. God not only loves us but also accepts us with all our idiosyncrasies, inhibitions and neuroses.
We are to believe: Ephesians 1:5-7 (Amplified Bible)
“5For He (God) foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [[a]because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]--
6[So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (favor and mercy), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
7In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor."
Because we are accepted in the Beloved, we can take any condemnation off ourselves for not being all we would like to be in Christ. In so doing, we will align ourselves with God. He says in Romans 8:1,
1THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.
Imagine that, no condemnation for the believer! So were does that condemnation we feel so intensely come from? It comes from us, which by default commissions Satan to fan the fires of disbelief into a wedge between God and ourselves. Satan longs to build up hundreds, even thousands, of wedges between you and God until they become an impenetrable wall. When God says I love you, I accept you, I forgive you past, present and future, I do not condemned you; it is then our job to agree with Him. If we are not in agreement with Him then we are choosing to be in agreement with Satan. What would that look like? We would live and express life through our lies. "I am not loved. I am not accepted. I am not forgiven and I am condemned by God."
We can know what the Bible says yet until we can know because we know in our "inner man/woman" that what the Bible says is true for me, our lives will be as James 1:6 declares,
"For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind like a wave tossed upon the sea.”
I find my best approach at this Christian faith as a human is to remind myself Jesus came for the sick and He uses small, seemingly weak things. By sick I mean all the way from our having neuroses, to lack of faith, to addictions, both good and bad ones, to relational issues, to anger issues, and I could go on.
A father asked Jesus a tentative question regarding his sick son. He asked,
"If you can do anything have pity on me and my son."
And Jesus said, “[You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes!”
24At once the father of the boy gave [an eager, piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, “Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith!”
This verse speaks to me. Even if my faith is weak and my "believer" seems to be set on barely audible, God can and will work with our authenticity about our lack of belief.
I find the most difficult requirement from God is for us to admit we have a problem. Yet we see this father confess his faith as muted. Jesus honors the father's integrity to admit that he may not have enough faith. God acts for those who see they are the problem and they desire to be changed.
As an aside, I hope this helps you understand why we have so much hate and pain in this world inflicted by humans. There are millions of people who do not stop to consider God's existence, who will not admit they have problems that need healing and do not desire God to change them. God will not cross our boundaries. Being real with God is immense to Him. If you are where this father was, then that is where you need to begin. Know it is "a ok" with God. He takes us wherever we are and loves on us.
In closing, we have four to do's as Christians. These "to do's" minister to our Father.
2.Believe in the Son and all the good He has for you, even if the faith is the size of a mustard seed.
3.Agree with God as to who I am to Him.
4.Be authentic with God regarding your weaknesses and "can't do’s."
One last verse to remember is 1Peter 5:10b:
"The God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you." Your job is to believe this.
A great Grace site is Steve Brown's site at www.Keylife.org
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I must confess today's blog expresses my frustration with where we are as Americans. I just want you to be aware of this before you read.
I am confused by our churches (the abundant numbers of churches in America). Where might God's spokesperson(s) be? I hope the reason why the church is not visible is because it’s on its knees praying. But given what I know, it seems most of the churches have not yet put 2 and 2 together in order to notice that the events outside the church are relevant to the people inside the church.
Thank goodness for the few pastors who are addressing the issues of our time. (Links below) My pastor happens to be one of them. Born an Egyptian and raised a Christian he has a depth of understanding living with radical Islam that most of us hopefully will never experience. He teaches the whole counsel of God and stands up for what the Bible says. As he says about himself, "You might not want to mess with me regarding the faith, because I tell it like it is no matter who you are or what the consequences." I admire him greatly.
His son once commented while in the pulpit, "Dad, isn't it bizarre that early in your life you had to flee Egypt for fear of imprisonment. Now, if things keep going the way they are going in America, you may once again have to fear either for your very life or for imprisonment. How ironic."
Many of our grand old churches that use to protect and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ are gone. Like most of our prestigious universities, founded for the glory of God, such as Harvard, Princeton and Yale, they all seem to follow a pattern I see repeated in other realms of life. Churches, para-church organizations, secular organizations, non-profits, and governments mostly begin with integrity, truth, morality and good intentions if you will. As time and new owners/pastors/presidents come and go each begins to slide downward. The organizations go from integrity and the preeminence of God, into hypocrisy (pretending they are adherents of the faith fooling the people) to out and out apostasy (the renunciation of a religious or political belief or allegiance). In so doing they lead unsuspecting supporters into a way of thinking and being that ultimately leads them into apostatcy and permissiveness.
Take for instance our school systems. I am old enough to have seen the decline personally. When did this all begin? I believe it was when the government ushered God out of the schools. Confusion, emotional pain, unruliness and disorder permeate our schools. Our ranking in the world among developed nations has dropped severely.
While attending another church I often wondered when something tragic happened in the community or to Americans why no reference or prayers were offered on behalf of the families. It was as if upon entering church, all the reality going on outside the church becomes irrelevant. We are here to teach the Bible. What have we to do with that? What is disconcerting outside the church is still disconcerting when inside the church. Nothing is irrelevant to God. We are to bring everything to Him for help and comfort. I often ask myself, "Are most of the churches just playing church?"
Recently I watched a five hour special highlighting the German populace during World War II. I have seen numerous history programs regarding hitler (I cannot give his name a capitol H); however, this documentary was completely created from letters, diaries, pictures and even what we once called moving pictures. All was told from hitler's early years in office to his bitter end regarding the lives of the German people. It focused on what they were thinking and experiencing during this time. Early on hitler brought them out of a deep depression into a life style similar to our American lifestyle. They were content and enjoying the privileges of money. Hitler began slowly taking away their freedom until the government manipulated the people into being dependent.
Most of the civilians did not know for quite a while what was happening to the Jews. Neighbors began noticing their neighbors were disappearing. They wondered and whispered to each other, "It seems to be only the Jews. They are taking them somewhere." Others noticed when the Jews were herded into the train cars while their belongings were put into the last few cars. What began to give them some idea that something malevolent was occurring was when the train pulled out of the station the cars with their belongings were not coupled to the train. The Jews left, yet their belongings stayed. Something was wrong.
When the civilians did know what was happening only a few tried to do something about it. I did not know, and you might be interested, when the Allies came to release those still alive in the concentration camps, the Allies forced the citizens of Germany to go into the concentration camps. There they saw the thin emaciated Jews still alive along with the bodies of their fellow Jews cast away into large piles of human "garbage.” The Allies made the citizens not only look at them but pick up, carry and bury each and every one of the bodies.
Why do I bring this up? I wonder," What could I have done? What would I have done?" I am not sure. I would like to think I would work with the underground rescuing Christians and Jews. At heart I am a, "Let's keep the peace. Let's not rock the boat" person. Giving most of the German civilians the benefit of the doubt, they too probably felt the way I do, thinking, "I don't know what I can do. I am afraid of going against the Nazis. They will seek me out and kill me. I have children to care for. I cannot and will not face this reality so I will force myself to get up tomorrow and live life as normal as possible."
As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I can understand why the German civilians learned to live either in denial or in suppression. Suppression is a method we use to protect ourselves from some truth that we believe will devastate us and our way of life. We do know the truth but will not allow it to come into our consciousness. We do have the capacity to push down potentially harmful information. As we get older, it gets harder to do this and as therapists say, "We start leaking."
Denial is also a way of protection, yet ensconced so deep within the person that they do not see the reality of what others see clearly. A friend of mine once said, "I am going to open an office right next to yours to help people stay in denial." We laughed. Although staying in denial or suppression seems to be a good alternative to reality; however, the outcome of that denial as it works its truth deep into the person is it "always" has tragic outcomes. I highlight the word always because I try not to use all or nothing terms, as there are generally some exceptions. Regarding God's principles however: there are no exceptions when it comes to living as an antagonist against God and His principles. If we are not honest with ourselves, with God and with others the devastation "will" come. Count on it.
Galatians 6:7 Amplified Bible states:
Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.) [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap.
I sense the apostate churches, the liberal universities along with the general populace and our leaders live in suppression and/or denial; suppressing the reality that we do have enemies and we do have overwhelming financial issues. First, Islam practiced as outlined in the Koran is conflicting and irreconcilable with Christianity. Secondly, pretending America is not in a financial free fall comes under the category of denial and suppression. I sense our populace in general does not see that the bridge is out.
Regarding our financial issues: It seems over the years congress did not want to rock the boat and upset the seemingly radiant system of prosperity. Money makes the people feel happy and secure. Secondly, facing the problem would most likely be too emotionally volatile for the people and the economy. So, "let's keep putting off reality. Let's not address that today. Let someone else deal with it down the line."
Thirdly, the congressional representatives would be booted, losing their power, prestige, jobs and our money. Therefore, not unlike us, they ignored the problem of their overspending and massive debt putting off dealing with the issue repeatedly. This too is a pattern with individual people. It is for me. We wait to the last minute when the pain hits to have that tooth fixed We decide not to think about the lump in the breast and do not go to the doctor until it is too late. We use our many charge cards until we are at our limit and it's time to pay back and spend no more. Yet we find ways to borrow more money and go further into debt until the loss of our house, our car and bankruptcy looms over us.
We as individuals and as a country have broken God's principles regarding money. We are to balance our own private budgets, pay off our debts, give a least a tenth to the church, and not lend to others unless we are willing to lose the money. Jesus spoke of money more than any other topic while with us. He even said, "The LOVE of money is the ROOT of all evil." Money is not the root of evil. Many Godly believers over the centuries and in the present are wealthy. It is the love of money that leads to deception, manipulation and embezzlement.
Put off way to long by our congress, this possible devastation and chaos seems to be staring us in the face. The scenario is like a battered woman who lives in denial until she ends up in the ICU in a comma with broken bones and a small chance of surviving. This malevolent behavior should have been dealt with years ago. Now it has escalated into a tragic end. As a nation we are backed into that proverbial corner and the crisis we have put off, I fear is here.
Many Christians are saying God is punishing us for our life style. As a Christian, I have a particular belief system that may differ from yours. God gave everyone the gift, and often the curse, of free will. If we choose to go into debt, we are sinning against God and ourselves. If others who have authority over us allow us to go into deep dept, they are sinning against us and against God. As I said earlier, the consequences of going against God's principles will eventually take place. My belief is God is not punishing us. We are punishing ourselves as God allows our free wills to have its way.
Unfortunately, I have no concrete solutions. Nevertheless, I do have a sense of urgency. I would hope churches would do two things. The most important one is prayer, prayer for revival outside our churches and within our churches. The second thing for church members is to begin organizing and sharing plans with its people regarding what to do and how to prepare in case the worst does happen financialy.
I do know God wants us to bring everything of concern to Him. What we cannot do He can do. Those over us seem to ignore God. Since God has no authority to help them against their free wills, we are outnumbered. Nevertheless, God is at his best with small numbers of believers. He uses the weak things of the world to confound the world. He uses small numbers to mystify the majority. This is what our faith is about: if we think, we cannot do xyz and turn to God for help He works for us. Let's ask the God of this Universe for help.
•Check out revival in Hungary and what God can do. You will be inspired. http://www.leadingtheway.org/site/PageServer?pagename=sto_videos
When on website scroll down to the forth video. The gentleman holding the flag.
•Joel Rosenberg: http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/
•Dr. Michael Youssef: http://www.michaelyoussef.com/
•Sign up to pray at Worldrevival.org
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
It has been said, and I find it to be true, that Christianity is opposite in its fundamentals from the world system. Let me explain. The world system is best observed in our media, be it television with its soap operas, or news media with its conjuring up what they think the Republicans meant when so and so said xyz or what the Democrats meant when they said the opposite. Almost all seem to be trying to mind read the heart and intentions of each group and impugning motives to each as if they can indeed read their minds. All of this speculation then becomes fact and we, with me included, can get drawn in with a sort of addiction taking place. We have to hear more. We can’t turn it off.
Additionally, the world system appears to be composed of judging people by race, religion, beauty, money, popularity, station in life etc. It seems to be about envy and judgment. When we envy something we have a tendency to want it. If we cannot get it, we judge and put it down. We discredit it. If we do set out minds to get it, whatever it is, most often we lower our standards to climb, manipulate, and deceive in order to get what we believe will make us happy.
Before, and even after becoming a Christian, I operated out of the world system. I wanted to be in the popular group, I wanted to be pretty, and I wanted cute boyfriends. I wanted people to see me and think, "she is really something special." Our family was a member of a country club. I loved to go there to see and be seen. As I think about this, I actually got a bit of a high "being something."However, underneath all of that there was a driveness to be accepted. According to my view, I was not acceptable to people unless I projected all the attributes of the world system.
Everyone probably has some American Dream scenario in their hearts for their life. By the time I was 30 I had reached my own personal American Dream. I wanted to marry a lawyer, not a doctor, because that would take too long struggling while he was in medical school. So when a "handsome" young lawyer to be asked me out and we began dating,I thought,"he meets the career and looks criteria for a husband." After marriage we were able to build a brand new house in a beautiful neighborhood that I had admired from childhood. We were twenty-five and twenty-six when we moved in.
After about a year living in my lovely new home,I began to be aware of a pattern in my life that was starting all over again. The pattern went something like this: I would long for something but upon receiving it I would only be happy for a short amount of time and when, poof, I was back to being unhappy and longing for something else. This happened with little things like Christmas presents and with big things like getting in a sorority at college or getting this big new "impressive" home so young. The newness wore off and I was back where I started- longing for something else.
I guess for the first time in my life I began to think about what was going on. A friend invited me to a small group of women led by a therapist in her home. It had sort of a "who am I"agenda. I only remember two things; one, I did not have a clue who I was. The second thing I remember was a girl who shared her homework assignment with the group. We were to write our obituaries. Hers went something like this: Susie Q was found deceased in her kitchen having baked two dozen brownies for her child's class party.
I got the point of my life. It was not much better than Susie Q's. This really got me thinking. Who am I? Who do I want to be? What do I like and dislike? I had zero answers. I remember my first trip alone, driving my two boys to a ski resort in North Carolina. I did not ski, they did. The plan was to drop them off at the ski lodge and pick them back up later in the day. I was too intimidated to sit alone at the ski lodge. What would all those people think? No date? No husband? No friends? Therefore, I went back to the hotel and sat in my room wrestling with "what do I want to do?” Anxiety rose as nothing came to mind. Now I can think of a 100 things I can do alone, but not back then. This is just another example of my not even knowing what I liked to do and didn't like to do. I felt like a chameleon. Let's just do what you like to do!
This was about the time a friend invited me to a prayer breakfast. I had no idea what a prayer breakfast was, BUT it was going to be at a prestigious country club and the ones sponsoring the event were members of a social club I wanted to join. Of course my answer was, yes,I'll go!
God knew He would not catch me in a church. Little did I know this was a "set up" from God. The woman who spoke had a theme that ran throughout her story. Every time she told us about her accomplishments she would say, upon getting what she so desired, the bubble would burst and she would find herself back in despondency. I so identified with her. She told us that she eventually recognized her life was empty and discovered the only thing that would fill her permanently was Jesus Christ. So when she prayed and asked all of those who wanted to pray with her, I prayed and asked Jesus Christ to come into my life and give my life meaning and purpose.
I must report that I did have an experience with the Lord in that moment. A driving force, if you will, of joy settled into my being that some thirty-six years later has not subsided and I don't expect that it ever will subside. I have up and down days like everyone else but the driveness to connect with God and His Son Jesus remains. Experiencing His lovestill remains.
Now back to my original premises that Christianity is directly opposite in its everyday operational fundamentals as compared to the world system. Jesus said He came for the sick and not the well. Now sick can mean many different dysfunctional ways we try to function and survive on this planet. My particular method of survival was to try to climb the social ladder. I never could find just that one right ladder. There were many ladders or organizations that would make you think you had arrived until you were at the top. You then discovered you either had to play the game and stay in denial about your life or change the direction of your life.
In Christianity I found I had no ladders to climb. I could come out from playing games with people and myself. I could be authentic about my struggles, disappointments, and fears of rejection. I discovered that God uses people who know and can admit they are weak. That was a sigh of relief for me, no more impression management. He even said, "when you are weak I will be strong on your behalf."
I even received purpose in life: people. I am called by God to love Him, to love others as I do myself, and to love myself the way God loves me. There is an old saying that you can't take it with you when you die. Of course, they are referring to all the things we gain through the world system. However, there is one thing we can take to heaven with us and that is people.
The Bible tells us God is love. If you reverse that you get love is God. Now love has many different meanings to people. In English, we use only one word. With just one word I can say I love hot dogs, I love Girl Scout cookies, I love you and I love God. However, in Greek there are numerous words for the different types of love. A boy may tell a girl, "I love you." When in reality his heart is saying "I lust for you." God's love is an unconditional love. You do not have to be somebody for Him to love you. You do not have to have money for Him to love you or good looks or be popular. None of the requirements of the world system are needed. In fact, you can hate Him or ignore His existence and He still will love you.
Oh, but to enjoy His presence and get to know this kind of supernatural love you must desire to have a relationship with Him and His Son. Both parties must want this. This connection with Him is what makes life here on earth worth living. God does not want you to work for Him. He desires to work through you. God loves you in spite of your weaknesses, in spite of your sins. He loves you just because you are His child. The way you become His child is by accepting the reality that Jesus took all of your sins past, present and future onto Himself and in return gave you all of His righteousness. That's a deal. Jesus gets our sins and we get His righteousness. Once we are clothed in Jesus' righteousness we can go boldly to God's throne of grace day and night to find grace and mercy in times of need and trouble.
Thirty- six years ago I laid down my inabilities for God's abilities in me. I laid down my good works because Grace is based on God's performance on our behalf not my performance on His behalf. I invite you to rest with me in God's system for living.