“For my sins have flooded over my head; they are a burden too heavy for me to bear.” Psalm 38:4 HCSB
When there is an area of your life that you know is lacking and around every turn there are words of warning or caution – that is where I feel the Lord has had me the last few weeks.
I will say that I am a perceptive person. I am tuned to my heart often and I can often sense areas that are needing some fine tuning. Over the last month I have been feeling a tugging at my heart and I have felt apathetic to it to say the least. Sometimes the burden feels to heavy to dare look at it! It is like the closet or drawer in our homes that is the collect all. The one that keeps getting miscellaneous items tossed in for the “some day” clean out and purge.
Well, I am afraid to say that the “some day” has come for my heart! I am a stuffer by nature… not of possessions – I am a purger in that area, I am talking about emotions – stuff it all away! I started reading A Fierce Love. This book was one that I had heard about through many of the podcasts as it released this summer. The content of the book is the telling of how “one woman’s courageous journey to save her marriage”. However it is so much more than that! It is a story of one woman’s journey back to her first love – Jesus Christ. It is story of remembering from where she was saved. A story of courage to fight the outside world’s perceptions and do according to the calling of God.
The author Shauna Shanks, like me was raised in the church. Went on missions trips as a teen. Was passionate about so much, then life got busy and those passions and pursuits became a thing of the past. The fire of Christ, became a flicker in the daily grind of doing good; of volunteering, working at church, and motherhood. Until on a work trip, as the children’s ministry director at her church she was torn down to her knees and cried out to God, quite literally. Little did she know that the very next day her husband was going to drop an atomic bomb on their marriage.
I have read through the kindle version of A Fierce Love and just purchased the hard bound book because I know there are truths in there that my heart needs to see with pen marks, highlighting and personal notes! I am saddened by the state of my heart! I am transparently stating here that I have let my passion of sitting in the scriptures become not that important to me. I have come with my prayers to the feet of God more as a laundry list of things that should be done, rather than with an eager heart ready to listen and meditate. I have allowed my service to become a task to be checked off the list. I am deeply crushed by this statement but it is the truth.
In the same vein as the above statements, there are physical areas of my life that I have neglected. When I sit long enough I can very easily make excuses to stay sitting. My body although I know is the temple of Christ Jesus (See 1Cor.6:19), I have become careless. I for a season was working out, being watchful of what foods I was putting in and as of late I have been indifferent. For me this has only created a downward spiral – easier to sit in complacency than to stand up dust myself off and trudge on. Maybe because the word “trudge” is what is coming to mind?
Along with the words that the Lord has been using in the book, A Fierce Love; this weekend at church our pastor began a new sermon series on Prayer. I know that they Lord will work in a multitude of ways to bring attention to areas of our lives and this sermon was as if a megaphone was aimed directly to my heart! As tears streamed down my cheeks I was a note taking fool. As I sit at look at my scribbles this morning the tears are fresh. Questions of how I have been living my life are surfacing and I sit realizing that my life has been more of a “hypocritical and gentile” manner rather than that of calling on Christ as “Father and Hallowed”.
When I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior it was through my step dad and he simply explained that I have a Heavenly Father that will never leave me, never forsake me, a Father that is fully present with a boundless love. I know these truths in my mind but I have “forgotten” them to be true in my heart. I have a journey ahead of me, one that will have pit falls, one that is not easy; one that may bring about some changes. But if I am “called according to His purpose” I can “KNOW” “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.” (See Romans 8:28.) And for this reason I can live in confidence. No matter what is done to me, I am loved “with an everlasting love.” God will redeem that, which the enemy of my faith tries to do against me.
So what is the take away…
What is meant by “forgetting what is behind” is that you aren’t to camp there or live there. You aren’t to keep dwelling on that, which will hold you back from going forward with the future God has for you. You see what you were, and what WAS. But you are to PRESS ON to take hold of that, which Christ Jesus has for you. At times it is a real battle to get to that place, but it is worth it!
Hebrews 12 says, “Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Don’t lose heart and allow yourself to give up fighting. Keep in mind that the enemy of our faith does not want any of us to live victoriously —to be an instrument in helping God draw others to Himself. There is a spiritual warfare involved in trying to get us to think that we are worthless and that even our Heavenly Father doesn’t see any value in us. But that is a lie handed to us from the father of lies, the evil one himself.
With all this in mind, I know that I am going to press forward, I also want to be an encouragement to anyone that may feel in this same place – I do not know the answers but I do know the ONE who does!
The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity!” (Dr Neil Anderson)
(Yes, I realize the pictures have nothing to do with my heart pour out, but sometimes a little pretty just makes everything better!)