“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 New International Version
I apologize for the lack of communication in the last couple of weeks. As always, God has been taking me through another trip to the woodshed. In other words, my learning curve continues to be not so much a curve, but more like a vertical line stretching upward, and teaching me to be less fearful. Or at least reminding me again through the learning process of Grace.
In my family dynamics when I was growing up (that remains a constant work of God), our circumstances felt like a constant “walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” I bought into the lie there were things which were never going to change. On the short list are beliefs that there would never be financial security for any of my family, I would always be the one who didn’t fit, I had no practical reason to be alive, pain would come from those who claimed they loved me, and those who were supposed to protect me would always sell me out. This is a partial list of the issues I have allowed to define my reality.
I have felt like there would not be a time when finally I would be accepted in love and grace. I believed and had accepted that as fact. The fear of rejection has defined most of my life. It has been as if my family of origin was cursed to the point of being Less Than forever.
The truth is we are cursed by the rebellion that defines us when we lose sight of God’s faithfulness. Long ago I came to the understanding that our jobs, our work, the talents He gives that allow us to earn an income, are not about earning to provide for our needs. God promises to meet every need we have no matter how small or large.
Why then does God give us work as venues of ministry which become defined as our calling to discipleship? If working is not about an income, what is it about? Quite simply, the answer is obeying the command of Jesus to reveal His gospel to those He leads into our lives. According to Ken Sande, developer of Peacemakers Ministry (teaching Christ’s method for dealing with conflict), the definition of success is faithful obedience to God. In other words, doing what God has asked you and me to do in His name allows Him to place His faithfulness in our hearts and minds. In this transformation, He warns us to “Guard our Hearts”.
I believe this guarding of the heart has to do with how we see ourselves, what we say about ourselves, how our self-talk can be a mirage of lies. The life tapes we listen to must be replaced by the MP3 player that is God’s voice. God is upgrading the antique tape player in our minds. He is working to destroy the lies that have been defining us and those we influence.
“Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.” Proverbs 4:23 Easy-to-Read Version
I have tried to be authentic, transparent, real, vulnerable, and as honest as I am able. I just learned my responses to the circumstances in my life at this moment have often been seen as anger. I’ve been seen as lashing out at life when I could have been waiting and watching to see how God would meet our every need – as He has always done.
Being unable to work or fit the definition of my responsibility of a husband and father, having my integrity attacked, feeling like I have been betrayed by those who were supposed to love me and protect me has been coloring my life in black, in darkness, and way too often in fear. All of which lead into depression. It has not been caused by some chemical imbalance; its origin is in fear. And in that fear I am assaulted by “… the fiery darts…” of the enemy, leaving me so locked up I have not been able to write on the blog or anywhere else.
I apologize for my inability to hear and listen to the still, small voice of My Creator, Loving Father, and yes, the author and finisher of me, of my faith, and the Grace in my process. Thank you all for your patience and prayers as once more I am in the process of being transformed.
This I know, God has never left me or forsaken me no matter how crazy I was. I know and understand my faith is, as described by Jesus, a very small thing. However when the mustard seed of my faith is placed in the Faith of Jesus, it becomes a real and vital part of who I am and who I am becoming – of who we are and who we are becoming.
I am grateful and glad you have chosen to accompany me on this amazing journey of God’s Grace as it is revealed in my circumstances. Even when I get twisted up in the lies the enemy is using to knock me off track!
Once more, thank you for the prayers and encouragement as I endeavor to remain open, honest, vulnerable, authentic, and transparent in how Grace in Process is a reality being played out in all our lives.
Now it is time to allow the Holy Spirit to remove my tapes and hurl them into the deepest parts of the ocean, replacing them with the MP3 players of His Love and Grace. He impacts how I choose to believe and respond to the daily circumstances God uses as ministry opportunities.
I pray you will receive a deeper understanding of God’s Grace in your process. And as always, let’s move onward and upward my Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
“Where is another God like you,
who pardons the guilt of the remnant,
overlooking the sins of his special people?
You will not stay angry with your people forever,
because you delight in showing unfailing love.
Once again you will have compassion on us.
You will trample our sins under your feet
and throw them into the depths of the ocean!
You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love
as you promised…” Micah 7:18-20 New Living Translation