Tag Archives: anxiety

Works

Do you ever feel like you’re just never good enough? Do you feel like you’re always falling short? I know that I can easily fall into this place if I am not careful. If I don’t hold these thought and feelings captive, I can slip into a place of basing my self-worth, my faith and my title as a child of God, purely on how well I am performing. The problem is that I have very high standards for myself and am also my own worst critic. This can be a nasty combination if allowed to run free. Luckily, we have an amazing Savior that offers us grace and mercy in all things.  We can’t earn it and we should stop trying to.

I have struggled with these things on and off for most of my life I suppose. I definitely see this in others as well. Just last night my husband and I were discussing this issue and how consuming it can become when left unchecked. The Bible tells us to take our thoughts captive because our Creator knows how we are! Thoughts left to their own devices can be used as a weapon against us. We can become consumed with thoughts of our unworthiness, our failures, our lives can become distorted and we no longer feel any satisfaction. The more we hold onto these thoughts, the more we keep them to ourselves, the further we drift from those around us and from Jesus.

This past Sunday’s message was about the importance of true unity in the Body of Christ. We must truly allow ourselves to be open, honest and vulnerable with each other. We are meant to be a support and to help one another find clarity in the midst of storms. We are meant to lean on each other and to seek counsel when our thoughts are seeming to consume us, when we are feeling like we are not good enough or when we are just feeling spiritual separation and are not sure why. We are meant for more.

Christ came and died for each of us. His death was to bring us true freedom. Basing our self-worth on our works only allows us to be held captive once again. There is no list to check off, we never arrive at a place where we are deserving, we are loved no matter what we do. This is such a hard concept to hold onto. Be free in the Grace and the Mercy that is available in all things. Every morning we wake fresh and forgiven, but only if we accept it. Essentially, we are rejecting Christ’s gift when we allow ourselves to become consumed by our negative thoughts. We are getting in the way of ourselves and of the Holy Spirit. We build walls that keep others out and keep ourselves alienated.

I have said this so many times, my personal prayer has been for our Gracious Lord to show me how He sees me. I know that He created me on purpose and He has used me in ways I could never have imagined. He tells me that I am made in His image and that He loves me, so who better to show me what that really means. Who am I to allow myself to become wrapped up in these thoughts of self-loathing? Who am I to say that I am not good enough to be of use in God’s Kingdom? Do I really think that Jesus has made a mistake? That in all the world, our Perfect Creator made this one mistake in me? That is not the Lord I believe in. The God I worship is a God of perfection, patience, kindness, and mercy. My Lord works all things for perfection and beauty. So why do I find it so hard to this see within myself?

I do believe that working to better ourselves, to seek true transformation, and to be true to our callings are important. I also know that we are not meant to beat ourselves up and to drag ourselves down. If we take the time to bring these things before The Living God, He will show us how He sees us. Jesus is ready and willing to bring us all on a path of true freedom, true joy, and true transformation; we only need to get out-of-the-way.

Today I choose to lean on my brothers and sisters in Christ. I seek wise counsel when I am feeling lost and weighed down. I spend time in the presence of our Lord and remember that He is the Creator of all things. He has a plan and it is a privileged to be part of that plan. I will not base my worth on works. I will continue to move forward and follow God’s path, even when I am not seeing results. I know in my heart that I am loved and He has shown me this so many times. Peace is found in Jesus. When I am feeling unsettled and distant, I need to evaluate my thought life and hold captive those that threaten to derail me from my calling. I am a child of God and am free in Him. Thank you, Jesus, for all You have done, for all You are doing, and for that which You continue to do in my life each day.

Day 10 – Steadfast

Seeking counsel and fellowship are important. Seeking God’s face is most important of all.

God is good and that is all that matters.

The walk is long, hard and backbreaking at times. The great thing is that we are never alone.

I lean on You most of all. A war is waging all around me and only You can protect me. All too often we walk around blind to the damage, pain and brokenness that surrounds us on all sides. Jesus is beginning to open my eyes to it and for that I am thankful.

I live in a place that is hardened against Jesus and I must remember that He has put me here for a reason. When God brought me into existence, He did so with a purpose. It is so easy to lose sight of that and just go through the motions.

I don’t want to take this life for granted. I don’t want to fall. I don’t want to curl up and fade away. These are the whispers of the enemy. He tells me that I am no good, that all I want to do is not worth it. The darkness creeps in and tries to render me useless. I will not succumb.

The burden is heavy at times, but all I have to do is remember that Jesus us by my side sharing it.

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

I am learning to be ok with being weary and heavy-laden at times. It is alright to acknowledge it so long as I bring it before Christ. In all I have been challenged with, I have seen that it is deepening my understanding and strengthening my faith. I can feel Jesus lifting the burdens off of me and showing me the way to walk.

I am not perfect in the struggle. My emotions have been all over the place as my heart has been tested. I have lashed out and I am not proud of that. The great thing is that I am seeing where it is coming from, I am learning to pull it back and open it up before the throne. I am using this time as a place to be still before the Almighty and to ask Him to heal the places that are ripping apart inside.

Every moment is an opportunity and a lesson. God moves in all things. God uses everything for His greater good if I allow Him to.

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28

This verse reminds me that I have a responsibility in all things. We live in a broken world and in the center of a spiritual war. Bad things will happen. Spiritual attacks will push us to the edge. It’s ok to struggle, it’s ok to fall apart, and it’s ok to not have the answers. I must always remember to turn back and bring it before Jesus so that He can turn it all around. He will bring all things to a place of goodness and love, it’s up to us to allow Him the room He needs to do this work. He will not force Himself into our lives, we must invite Him in.

Day 9 – Beginning and End

Part of a song we have been singing in worship has been on my heart.

You, you are my first, You are my last, You are my future and my past…..

…You are the beginning and the end

I find myself humming and singing these words without even realizing it half the time. This morning it resonated deep within. Jesus, You are the beginning and the end of all things. You were here before the creation of the world and You will continue to be after it is not more. These are facts that I can rest on. This brings me comfort.

More than that, You are the beginning and the end of all things in my life. When I face a trial, I bring it to You first. I lay it before You and ask for Your guidance and protection. Generally, I get lost in the middle somewhere. I being to lose focus of where I am going, I struggle to not allow the anxiety to swallow me up, I cling to You. At the end of it all I know that You were there all along, that You are still there and I give You all the glory. At the end I am falling on my knees in thanksgiving and praise.

You are the first and the last. You surround me. Nothing can get in the way of You, Lord.

Many think that making Jesus your everything diminishes the other relationships in your life, this is not the case. Jesus magnifies and deepens everything, especially relationships.

My life was a shallow one compared to how I live today. Jesus has a way of peeling away layers that you didn’t even know were there. He is faithful, He is transforming and He is beautiful. When You invite Him in, You gain access to all that He is and there are no words to describe the power in that.

Christianity gets a bad wrap and for some good reasons. I would say that you cannot judge all the followers of Jesus based on those that chose to abuse His name. This applies to all cultures and races. I know that I once attacked the Christian faith and am so glad that Jesus loved me through it all. I am so happy that I gave Him a chance, that I walked into that church all those years ago. I am so thankful that I swallowed my pride and embraced His forgiveness.

I am still me and that will never change. I am flawed, I am a wreck and I have a long road ahead of me, but I have a peace that I have never experienced before. Jesus brings such contentment, such love and compassion that it is impossible not to pass that along to the people in your life. As you deepen your walk with our mighty Creator, you automatically deepen your relationship with the world around you. As Jesus transforms your heart, you no longer are capable of indifference and selfishness to the degree you once were. The key is allowing Him in to bring about that transformation. Only you can get in the way.

 

Day 5 – Surrender

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. … Genesis 22:2-14

Can you imagine surrendering to this degree? Am I the only one that reads this and flinches at the thought of out great Creator asking this of me? How would I respond? I am sure I would falter.

How can I have a faith as great as Abraham? How do I get to the point that I follow Him no matter what? How can I get past myself to that point? I know for sure that He always has my best interest at heart. So why do I waiver when I hear Him speak to my heart?

I am weak, I am emotional, I am so very human. This world blinds me, I am so easily distracted. The funny part is that so many will look at me and tell me how spiritual I am. Sure, I am always looking to deepen my relationship with Jesus, this does not take the challenges away.

The further I travel on the road Jesus lays before me, the harder and easier it becomes. It’s easier for me to know that He is with me always, it is easier to release the chains I have allowed for so long and it is easier to turn to Him in all things. The challenges are always right there too. I struggle moving forward at times. I struggle with the unknown and uncertainties when He is silent. I fight with my emotions as the cloud my sight and prevent me from hearing the Truth.

Surrender, oh how I want to surrender all.

Our Lord did not walk with the well respected of the times. He did not choose to teach those that had it all together. He chose to be side by side with those that fell short often. He looked past all that and looked right into their hearts. That is key. The heart is what He wants.

I lay it all out. I want to stop hiding when I struggle. I want to let it all out and not feel ashamed and self-conscious. My God knows my heart and that is all that matters. I cannot hold onto regret and shame, that only gets in the way of the work Jesus is doing in me. I must put my pride aside and care not what judgments man could bring. It matters not.

I surrender this life, this heart, this foolish girl turns it all over to You and You alone. I pray that the Holy Spirit fill me and to bring healing in the broken places. We all fall short and we all must extend the grace that is extended to us.

Day 4 – That Girl

That little girl still sits within. She is often silent, but always right under the surface. There are times when I believe that I am no longer her, and there are times when I feel like I am only her.

The girl that struggles with her parents abandoning, her choices to use sex, drugs and alcohol to numb the pain, the girl that wants to curl up and disappear. The girl that wonders why she was even born.

The woman forgets that she is loved and cherished by the almighty Creator and was brought to this world with a purpose. She slips into that place of insecurity and wonders why it’s so hard to move forward. The emotions threaten to engulf her.

How do we heal those deepest places? Why must it always be a process? If Jesus healed a woman who just reached out to touch his garment, then He can certainly heal me. Do I not believe deeply enough? Is my trust not complete? Does my pride get in the way? I am sure it is all these things.

Anxiety, guilt and shame have no place in this life. They are so heavy to carry, why can’t I just put them down and walk away forever? The space they use up in me is precious space that could be filled with love, peace and hope. I don’t want to carry this baggage around anymore.

Instead of dropping the baggage that weighs me down, I choose to pretend it’s not there at all. Can everyone see it? Why do I turn a blind eye? It takes it’s toll. It is exhausting.

Instead, I feel as though I remove one thing at a time out. I rest a moment, sit before my Jesus and we go through together. He tells me to leave it all there, I want to so badly. Instead I  pour it all out before Him and slowly begin to pack them back away. Maybe I leave one or two things behind, maybe I allow Him to free me a little. I can see how sad He is as I repack all that baggage and take that burden on again. I know it’s not mine to carry, I know how His heart aches as I walk away.

He loves me despite it all. His love never changes. I wish I could love myself the way He loves me. Maybe one day I will. To me it seems we have a lot to go through and that it will never be done, but it is done. Jesus has told us that it is done. He came and saved our very souls. He came so that these burdens would be no more. He offers for me to walk in freedom. I only need to be willing to leave it all behind.

Jesus, today I ask that You show me why I insist on carrying these burdens when You have already forgiven me. Show me how I can love myself the way You love me. Show me how You see me. Let me see through Your eyes today. Thank You for being so gentle, so kind and so very patient with me. Thank You for coming into my deepest and darkest places to show me how You heal all things. Thank You for being so faithful and never leaving my side. You are amazing.

It is Time

I must allow myself to cry, as much as I hate to. This is part of the release that must take place. I must let go, I must feel, I must allow You into those secret places. Those secret places that were never truly secret. You were there, You are there, You know those places better than I.

Tears are cleansing, my sobs are those of a woman giving up her control. Control that I never had.

You are so kind to me. You were there when the wounds were inflicted. You were there when I sealed those places shut, vowing to never go there again. You told me that I needed to allow them to heal, I chose to walk away instead. I fooled myself into thinking that I was alright the way I was.

You blew it all away. You showed me just how hurt I am. You showed me that it is ok to be me. You held me close while I faced those horrors from long ago. You are so kind and gentle.

I thought You would look away. I thought You would turn from me. I forget who You are.

You are the Creator of this world. You knew me before You created me in my mother’s womb. You knew who I would be and the errors I would make, yet You gave me this gift of life anyway.

I hear the lies inside my head, the whispers that tell me that You will never love me the same once You know. Yet You know, You always knew. You are nothing like me. You never waiver, You never change, You ARE Love and Grace.

Why did it take me so long to bring this before You? Why did I hold on to this poison so tightly? Why would I choose this pain and suffering over You?

Let this guilt subside, let this pain be felt in it’s fullest, let the healing begin. It is time.

Thank You Jesus.

Willingness

Willingness to let go is key in transformation.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

– John 3:16-17

If god did not send Jesus to condemn us, than why would we spend so much time condemning ourselves? I ask myself this question today. Why do I have such a long list of failures? Why do I carry these with me when I am free in Christ? There is no security in the baggage I choose to carry with me each day. There is a choice I make when I decide to strap on these heavy burdens. Pride comes through when I look to Jesus and tell Him that “it’s ok, I got it, I can carry this all by myself. Thank You anyway.” Take this pride and break it Lord!

Why? Why do I turn from the outreached hand of Jesus each morning and choose to walk the hard road? What will happen when I look at the heavy load I have packed and decide to leave it behind? I am sure it will feel quite strange at first, as I have become so used to the weight. I would walk differently, talk differently, smile more.

Change is hard, accepting love and grace can be too. We have a choice every moment of every day. Will I choose to burden myself or will I choose to give it all over to Jesus?

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

– John 8:32

I don’t want to look to myself or to the world for approval, I will never find it there. I know the truth and I choose to let it set me free. God’s word is true and He tells us to walk in it.

How do you feel after bringing your guilt, shame and pain before God? Do you feel like you have left it all there? Do you know that when you do, He will allow it all to fade away and to no longer burden us? Do you accept what God tells us to be truth? Will you rely on Him in all things? Accept the gift being handed to you, unwrap it, open it up and use it every day. It is meant to be used, not to just sit on a mantel collecting dust. Break these chains Jesus!

Lay it all down

Last week I wrote about where I believe the Lord is bringing me in terms of places to grow. We talked a bit about the guilt and shame we can all carry around with us and how we are not meant to do so. Jesus loves us more than we could ever imagine. Even when we are in a place of finally accepting that love, we still are not able to fathom the depths of it.

Did you take the time to write out all your failures, your guilt, your shortcomings? I would encourage you all to do so. Write them all out and bring them before the throne. Let our Mighty Yahweh wipe that slate clean.

When I choose to hold onto the baggage from past pains, I am stifling the Holy Spirit’s power in my life. I want all that Jesus has for me in the life He has granted me. I want the power of our Creator to shine through each day. I deeply desire for His love and compassion to pour out of me.

I want these desires to outweigh and overcome anything that gets in the way of that happening.

Lord, as I look over this list created, I ask You to show me how to let it all go. I give them all to You, they are Yours. I don’t need any of this. Wash them away, cleans me and free me. Break these chains Lord. You are might to save and I live for You. There are parts of me that I closed off long ago and today I ask You to break down those walls and to allow me to become whole again. Let me be as You created me to be. Shine Your precious light into those dark places that scare me so. You are stronger than anything. You spoke our entire universe into creation, how much more can You do in me when I give up control!

Where do you find it most difficult to go? Are you willing to allow Jesus into those places? Have you felt a release as you bring these desires before God’s throne?

Where do you come from guilt?

As I begin to delve into this guilt I deal with, I wonder where it comes from. My feelings of inadequacy certainly play a part. Past pains I have endured and caused. Feeling like I have to be everything to everybody. Generally speaking, I believe my high standards play a significant role in my guilt.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

So I take this before Jesus and ask Him what his standard is. How do I measure up Lord? How do I please You, for that is truly all that matters. When I am focused on pleasing Yahweh, the rest follows and my burden is lifted. This I can testify to and long to do more.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

When I allow myself to be consumed by guilt and anxiety, I am to confess it to Jesus. He forgives me and cleanses me. This is permanent! He does not keep a list of past failures to remind me of. So why do I?

Today I will take the time to sit down and make the list of failures I still hold onto. Once I feel like I am done, I will bring them before Jesus and ask Him to wash them away. I must repent and allow Jesus to cleanse me of these burdens I am not meant to bare. I must release these to our Lord so that He can break the chains. I must give them up in order for Him to take them away. I need to be willing to release and to accept the healing that Jesus offers. If I don’t take the first step, if I don’t allow the space, I will be stuck right where I am.

Our God is a wonderful God. He will not force anything and waits for us to go before Him with our messes. Today I will pour out all the guilt and shame I carry each day. Today I accept the promise of Jesus and lay it all down before Him. Today I ask Him to replace the guilt withe the joy, peace and love that He offers. I beg for the exchange to take place in the deepest parts of me.

Will you allow him to work in your hearts today? Will you dare to lay it all down for Him to take away? Will you give God the space to work miracles in you?

Let’s walk in this together.

Certainty in the midst of uncertainty

So many people have shared with me that they see strength, certainty and self-confidence in me, especially when in the midst of troubled times. I think I laugh every single time I hear that. I am glad that I can come off as someone who “has it all together” as it comes in handy in my professional life. I am more than happy to share with everyone that I am quite uncertain all the time! I question my decisions, my motives and my abilities every day! I do not necessarily dwell on them. If I have been looking to the Holy Spirit for guidance, I can rest on that. If I have been moving in my flesh, then I need to seek forgiveness and then let it go. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?

When I was younger, I had a false sense of confidence that I portrayed in order to hide my vulnerable side. I would put on a very tough exterior in order to keep people out and to keep from having to face my wounds. Today, I have a certainty that I wish for all, a foundation that has literally changed my life. I am confident in the fact that I am a child of God and that He is working such amazing miracles in my life each and every day. This is NOT an exaggeration.

Since I have come to know Jesus, He has brought me to places within me that I locked away long ago. There are so many experiences in my short time here on earth, that have damaged me deeply and have brought me such shame. As I have learned to allow Him access to these places, He has shown me just how much He loves me and has brought such healing. This is a testament to the power our Lord has, this is something I can stand on in moments of uncertainty.

As my path takes me into new and uncharted areas, I am most definitely terrified, uncertain and stepping out in pure faith. This does not necessarily make it easier to do, but I do know that no matter what, my God is on my side. I mean, how can I question the Creator of the very ground I stand on? He has shown me that He loves me, He has met me in my hour of need every time. He has taken care of my emotional, spiritual and physical needs beyond what I could have ever imagined.

I am a child of God. I am here for a reason, He has a purpose for this life. I have found that I can trust Him and that is what allows me to step out in places unknown, despite the anxieties that try to keep me from doing so. My spirit longs to be used by our Living God and that is something I have to remind my flesh of often. I have to make an effort to rest in Him and to know that He is God. He is for me. Who can be against me when He is by my side? These words ring so true in my heart.

I know I have a long journey ahead of me and have so much more to learn. I know that I am not even close to having a clue! The thing is, that I don’t have to. I am learning that I don’t always need to know the long term plan, I just need to know that this is where God has me going right now. There are people in my life right now that are there for a reason. Maybe I am to learn from them, maybe they are learning from me, maybe it goes both ways. All I can do and want to do, is to seek His face in all I do. I want to know that no matter how far off I am, He is right there. No matter how many times I fall, He is there to pick me up. No matter how insignificant I feel, He knows me and cares more for me than I could even begin to understand. That is a certainty that I can stand on, even when I don’t feel it in the moment.

I am so thankful that Jesus has been breaking down my false self-confidence and has been replacing it with the knowledge that He will always equip me for any journey He asks me to embark upon. The key is to wait on Him and to allow Him to lead the way. I cannot forge ahead on my own just as I cannot procrastinate in my insecurities. I must seek our Lord in all things and let Him show me the steps I need to take, that is when the miracles happen. Take it before the cross and you will be amazed at the outcome!