Lies.

There have been lies you have believed in your past, and there may be lies you are believing right now.

In her book, Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You, Stasi Eldredge writes about the lies she had to address from her past, that were hindering her in her quest to become better, in her attempts to overcome issues with food and overeating. She recalls a certain idealic childhood but when she prayed for God to help her change, she realized there were parts of her childhood she had forgot to remember. While praying that I’d realize things from my past I failed to remember or to attribute to my current situation, I was a bit frustrated. I looked back and prayed over my memories of my childhood and could not remember many negative things. What am I supposed to be forgiving, then? What am I supposed to be remembering and re-evaluating so that I can move on today and get over these hurdles that hold me back?

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My lies began in high school. I started to believe lies about where I gained my worth – other people, especially men. And men were letting me down left and right. Men were breaking my heart and ending relationships with me, starting in high school, peaking in college and continuing after graduation. Every time a relationship ended subconsciously I was believing I was not good enough for them, that it was all something I did or didn’t do that ended the relationship. I realized, no matter what I thought of them or how much I knew (or didn’t know) I shouldn’t be a part of that relationship, I let their words and their actions dictate my worth.

I am so glad God brought me to that realization. I let go a whole waterfall of tears. I was shocked to realize the extent of the lies I had believed and how they still affect me today, years and years later.

At various times, I think I knew this, I was conscious of the fact that I look to others for my worth. But I don’t know that I was ever aware of exactly how much this spoke to my current worth.

So, I’m on a new journey – going through the painful process of asking God to reveal lies I have believed while also teaching me he Truth.

enemies lies

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lessons from the week [february 2 – february 9]

Last week, one of the lessons I mentioned learning was how the enemy will work you hard when you are growing in Christ. This is the lesson I have been continually learning throughout the past week. Yesterday started out fantastic and as the day went on and I met some unexpected challenges, I became discouraged and frustrated. I could feel the attack full-force. I started noticing myself slipping into ways I had been working so hard to get out of. My weaknesses and my struggles crashing full-force. When this realization hit me on my way home from church, I turned off the radio and prayed out loud. I claimed my position as child of Christ and asked for His help. But I don’t think we should stop at asking for help, we need to do something. All I had to do at that time was worship and change the focus of my thoughts. I spent the next 10 minutes home singing my heart out in praise until I arrived at home. And then, instead of canceling plans and sitting at home all night (which is what I wanted to do because of how I felt) I resolved that I would keep my plans and enjoy time out in public with my friend. And I am so glad I did.

I’d chalk that victory up to Jesus.

I am reminded today of Hebrews 12:4-11:

In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.

God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. (Message)

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I am NOT saying that God gave me the temptations and the heartache and the struggles of yesterday. I am choosing to believe it was an opportunity for me to develop my weapons for the battle and to make the choice to choose Jesus. I am realizing every moment of the day that choosing Jesus has to be conscious in order to grow in the discipline God is giving me as his child.

Lessons from the Week [january 26 – feb 1]

  1. God will bring to mind the lesson he is trying to teach me – over, and over, and over. That is one way to be sure what I am hearing is from God. This past week he has impressed upon me the need for positivity, no matter the circumstances, to speak light into any darkness, truth into every lie, and find the good in every part of this sometimes exceedingly long winter season (metaphorically and literally – silly Punxsutawney Phil).
  2. Family doesn’t just mean blood. Family are those that hold you up when you’re falling down; they are there to cry with you, laugh with you, cook with you, clean with you, fight with you, send you encouragement, allow you into their lives, seek your guidance, ask for your shoulder to cry on, give you theirs when you can’t contain the tears, push you to do better, take you back after huge mistakes, and help bandage the scars and bruises caused by those mistakes. My family has grown over the past 2 years with my 2 incredible roommates and a friend I never expected (that’s you, Megan). And my blood family has become stronger – largely in part to airplanes, Instagram and text messaging!
  3. The enemy surely will come on ever stronger as you work to further your faith. Yesterday was a day filled with joy and hope, positivity and a whole heart. And then, as night fell post-church, I was overwhelmed with guilt and temptation, and sin, and failure. I’ve noticed this pattern in the past. The enemy doesn’t want me to grow stronger in my faith and he will fight harder when I start fighting harder in the opposite direction.

Happiest of Sundays to you!

Kara

Lessons in Waiting…

I know when God is trying to teach me something specific when the premise of the lesson keeps showing up in my life.

Sometimes, that is a very real and exciting thing to see, but in this case it is just difficult.

He is teaching me to wait. I don’t even know what exactly I am waiting for, I just know I am not who I want to be or where I want to be (somewhat literally, somewhat figuratively). I want to grow, I want to do exciting things. Many are my plans, but God has me seemingly stuck riiiiight here.

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I have been listening to the podcasts of Elevation Church. I started listening to the sermon series titled, “God’s Will is Whatever,” and it hit me hard. The basis of this series is that God has his greater will but also has His ways. The more we strive to be like Him, the more in tune with His will we become. The question of what God’s will is for my life rolls through my mind at least once a day. I think many things sound exciting – being a baker, a personal trainer, owning a coffee shop, and my most favorite being a mother and a wife. But, I am here today as a mental health therapist and single. So I always am praying for God to lead me to His will for my life. The sermon series however made me realize that the only focus I need to have is being more like God and doing everything I do to offer Him praise and bring glory to His name.

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I then listened to the sermon series titled, “Times and Seasons,” which really hit me hard about enjoying the life I am living right now. Not the life I want or the life I had, nor the life someone else has. Pastor Steven Furtick discussed how our seasons become what we speak of them. That hit me hard, much like when I felt God was smacking me in the face. Furtick prompted us to speak positive things about the life we are living right now. For example, I want children so bad, I always have had a longing to be a mom. But while I was listening to this podcast it was about 7pm on a Tuesday night and I was in the middle of an hour run. If I had babies, there is little chance that is what I’d be doing at 7pm on a weeknight.

All of that to say these things:

  1. Listen/watch the Elevation Church sermons. There are good things being taught.
  2. Speak positively about whatever situation you are in RIGHT NOW.
  3. Keep waiting. Keep seeking God in the wait. He is faithful, He has so much good planned for you.
  4. Do something while you waiting. Do things to further His kingdom, do things to further your growth, and do things to help others.

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Gray Days

Today is tough. Wishes and hopes crushed are becoming reality. I know (in my mind but not in my heart) that this is what God has called me to. He is asking me to trust, to believe He works all things for the glory of His kingdom, and ultimately for my good.

But trusting takes work. It takes practice. It takes faith.

And, my faith cup is feeling depleted.

It is a gray day. It seems hopeless. Funny, because the past two days seemed hopeful. Is this how the enemy works? Or is this a lesson in faith-building.

Maybe both. Maybe God can use the schemes of the enemy to teach us lessons; maybe when we are following Him He really does protect us by using things meant to cause us harm to make us stronger, to build our faith, and to bring us closer to Him.

Today, I am trusting that this is true.

When I am having a hard time trusting God’s good will for my life, I often find it helpful to read His word and the stories told about those who trusted. Like Abraham giving up his son Isaac. When I think about what is going on in my life right now, and then I read what Abraham is going through – who am I to complain?

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 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. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

—Genesis 22:1-14

It also helps to think about all else going on in the world. There’s a new KLove app for your phone where you can read others’ prayer requests. It sounds a little morbid, but when I go read and pray for those requests I am reminded that I don’t have it so bad. It also takes the focus off of my current problem and onto God and praying for others.

I also like to remind myself of promises found in scripture.

Psalms 37:3-6 says,

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

 Psalms 118:6-9 reminds us we have no need to fear if we trust in the Lord:

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.

Friends, He is good. He desires good things for us. Trust in His plan for you, trust that he is trying to teach you things to strengthen you and your faith.

If you don’t read God Calling, you should. Here is an excerpt from today’s devotional that I just know God needed me to hear:

“Be not afraid. I am your God, your Deliverer. From all evil, I will deliver you. Trust Me. Fear not.

Never forget your “Thank you.” Do you not see it is a lesson? You MUST say “Thank You” on the grayest days. You MUST do it. All cannot be light unless you do. There is gray-day practice. It is absolutely necessary.”