From Dungeon to Deliverance

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

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I used to live in the dungeon of envy. You know the place? It was nested deeply in the root of insecurity and slithered around my lack of worth. It would rise up uninvited just long enough to awaken doubt and nudge fear to join in. Envy took root on my wishbone and tried to launch a weak attempt at celebration for the person or thing that awoke this whole mess. This green-eyed monster wanted to take up permanent residence, it was comfortable in my dungeon. As I started to realize the more Christ was my identity, I saw how jealousy was robbing me of my destiny.

Envy – a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc. (dictionary.com)

Escape into contentedness and out of the dungeon needs to be rooted in who we are in Christ. What does this mean you might say? It requires these things;

  1. Acceptance of His forgiveness
  2. Thankfulness
  3. Aligning yourself with God’s truth
  4. Childlike Faith
  5. Repentance – Agree with God that you have sinned and turn away from it
  6. Interrupting thoughts and deliberately taking them captive to Jesus
  7. Peace – with yourself, others and circumstances

I realize these aren’t all easy places to get to but it is part of the process to get free from this entanglement and hindrance in your walk with God. I hear a lot of teaching lately about taking our thoughts captive and how we need to be aware of the thoughts that pop in to our head. We do not need to entertain every single one of them. It really is a re-training and in some cases unlearning of old patterns of thinking. Audrey Meisner taught it this way, that our old thinking is like a well paved highway that has created a neurological pathway or wrong thinking. Be intentional about interrupting those thoughts.

The renewing of your mind really needs to happen in God’s strength, it does take our cooperation but we cannot do it just by willing away the negative things. Only God can do this. We need to take them and say this does not line up with truth, this is the truth and ask Jesus to take them and as they go to do as the Word says, “Finally brothers and sisters, what is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.’ Philippians 4:8

Our circumstances may not immediately change but how we think about them will. God often transitions our heart before outside change happens. After all His desire is for our heart. He wants all of us. He is relentless in His love for us and that we know Him.

Changing our patterns begins with our recognizing that we need His help. My heart transition about envy, jealousy and their sister comparison has been happening for some time. Seeing it was killing my creativity was more recent and gave me a new urgency to be free from this spirit. God showed me that I wasn’t made to do what others are doing because I am uniquely made for His purposes. It is a new freedom place to celebrate others genuinely from the depths of me. People long for authenticity and the true heart of God is to love others right where they are at. An even greater challenge from Bill Johnson is to love people where they are at even if the mess they are in is self-inflicted.(Soak in that a while)

Sometimes our healing surprises us. Recently I was able to sit and listen to a dear amazing friend share how God worked in and through her and I spoke how honoured I was to listen to her. It never struck me until she thanked me that I truly realized God has done an incredible work in my heart. His love in me for people continues to deepen and I want to share it and remind them how special He has made all of us and there is a purpose for their life. We were made to celebrate each other and cheer them on and we cannot do this if we are pressed down with envy or comparing apples to oranges. Healthy community needs to be rooted in holding each others’ arms up because navigating this life is a hard enough journey.

Now will those thoughts pop in and try to get me to go down that well grooved highway of envy again? Probably, the enemy doesn’t really have new tricks, just ones that have worked before. I am learning as the thoughts come to bless the person that I am comparing to or wishing I was like or had what they had. I bless and pray and bless and pray, sometimes sending a note to encourage them and submitting my thoughts and feelings to Jesus. It sometimes still is an acrobatic workout to keep my mind stayed on Jesus but it used be like a marathon, so we are making progress God and I. Please join me in changing this world upside down like Jesus did by joining hands and seeing ourselves as we are in Him. Through this lens we can do what we were created to do, as we are.

 

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Shamelessly Myself

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this.” Psalm 37:5

At about the time I published my last post with the Proverbs verse from above, a sweet woman I just met sent me the same verse telling me this was a time of new beginnings in my life. As I studied this verse a bit more and read Proverbs 2 and 4 which surround this chapter, I see that trust is banked by wisdom. Solomon tells us in Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Trust is a choice to accept the gift of wisdom that He gives us. I listened to Bob Hazlett this morning tell us we need to live toward who God says we are. Part of that process is to lose our mind. I know some of you may relate to this in the way that you feel like you already have, haha I have been there and believe me perimenopause does not help the cause! He meant as it says in proverbs, lean NOT on your understanding. His thoughts are not our thoughts and neither are His ways our ways. We go to the Father and seek for His thoughts and ways. In this wisdom we can commit, submit and trust All of our ways to Him. Take note that these are all action words and will not just happen without our participation.

This past weekend I had the privilege to attend a women’s conference with one of my sweet soul sisters. We both sensed that God had something significant for us there and He did not disappoint. Audrey Meisner from Mynewday.tv ministries was the keynote speaker. She was one of the most engaging speakers that I have had the pleasure of listening to and empowered many women over the weekend to live as overcomers and already approved as God has made us to be. She shared a story of a time when she searched relentlessly for her cell phone making herself late for an appointment when it was tucked into her bra strap all along. She felt God say to her that you have been looking for something this whole time that you have had all along!

He sees us approved through the eyes of Jesus who gave up His life for us. Here is the tie in; are you ready? I had a time of ministry with Audrey after the event and one line she spoke that resonated with me was someone she knew had told her that he wants to marry someone who is shamelessly herself.This is my deepest heart desire to be shamelessly myself! Unapologetically!

We Can be this when we know we are loved and approved! I have looked ALL of my life for an elusive approval from people, the approval only God could give me. And I mean All the people. God has given it to me all along. Audrey asked what path are we on? The one of pleasing or of trusting. We can never please God enough but when we trust, His pleasure comes. Trust as a verb – firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.  The only way we will establish this kind of trust is by knowing God. What does His word say? What does it say about you? biblepic

If we don’t dig into this truth we can forget where we are, We are seated with Christ in heavenly places with access to the presence of heaven and when we forget where we are, we forget who we are. (Bob Hazlett) We are sons and daughters of God, we are free from the power of sin, a slave to righteousness, a new creation, more than a conqueror, a joint heir with Jesus, accepted in the Beloved, at peace with God. Need I go on? Probably, but I encourage you to dig into the scripture references below and ask God how He sees you. What is your identity rooted in? What lies do you need to counter with God’s truth to become shamelessly yourself?

Ephesians 2:6,7; Romans 8:17; Romans 6:14; Romans 6:18; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Romans 8:37; Ephesians 1:6; Romans 5:1

 

 

Riding the Pine

This is an old post I did for a guest blog which for some reason didn’t get published. So I am trusting in God’s hand for that and thought I would share it now.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6

Trust – firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something

Submit – accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another

I laughed at a cartoon about tough love that showed a Mama bird literally kicking the baby bird out of the nest with the caption, Fly! Sometimes trusting feels like that doesn’t it? This reminded me of how a Mother Eagle prepares her eaglets to leave the nest and fly by slowly taking the soft down out of the nest and leaving thorns. Eventually they become too uncomfortable to stay.

Our son Owen made his high school basketball team and part of that dream for him was to actually play the game. Initially he knew the possibility of him playing a lot was slim because he wasn’t the best or the strongest player but he eventually submitted to that. He put in the same 3 hour practices as everyone else, showed up for every game and still ‘rode the pine’ as they say for most of the games.

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THIS IS LIFE!

God allowed Owen to make the team and he still was very much a part of the team but how he participated wasn’t necessarily how he imagined it to be. There was definitely disappointment along the way for him but by the end of the season he was defending the reasons he often warmed the bench. I am learning so much lately that things are often not as they appear. The picture is far bigger and the purposes much greater than our ideas or our expectations.

‘God doesn’t want to change everything around you. He just wants to change you.’ Joyce Meyer

So what does this have to do with trusting God and the verse above? Often our circumstances are orchestrated to develop something in our character and our only job is to trust and submit. Submission is our heart position once we make the decision to trust.

Our son learned the art of discipline and perseverance and to find joy even in the midst of doing the opposite of what he expected. As we submit in All our ways to Him, He will make our paths straight. This is a promise from God  that can stand alone and if we all learned to do just these things to trust and submit, imagine what God could do in and through us.

Like the Mother Eagle, sometimes God allows things to become uncomfortable in order for us to move. His heart is always for us and we allow our flesh to become too complacent but His goal is for us to be like Jesus. These processes can sometimes be painful if we fight against them as life in real time can be messy. I understand that most circumstances are far weightier than sitting on the bench for a season, our struggles are real.

Submission doesn’t have to be painful.

Have you considered that before? Have you thought about the fact that if we just believed God and agreed with what He was saying, without struggling to see the end, that submitting to His ways wouldn’t have to hurt so much. Have you thought about how much more difficult you are making things by leaning on your own understanding?  Spread your wings my friend, this is the time to fly.

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In what ways is God calling you to trust and submit? Don’t wait until all the cushion is gone. Agree with His plans for you.