Growing Where I Am Planted

Limitless Life Photo Cover

 

I started the Limitless Life OBS with Proverbs31 this past week.  I am finding this study is really helping me to think about some of my fears/labels and again bring them before the Lord. It seems to be the theme He has for me this week as last night through His community of believers He has connected me with, He again spoke into the depths of my heart some painful truths about my fears. Which brings me to the Blog Hop topic I will be writing about today:

In the Valley of Sheep ~ It is here David learns to depend on God. Are you here now? Do you feel unnoticed and like your assignment is not important? After reading this chapter of Limitless Life, how has your perspective changed? 

While I know the story of David and Goliath, I’ve never walked through it step by step the way Pastor Gray walks you through it. Taking a step back and seeing how God worked in David’s life from the very beginning struck some cords with me. While I know God works all things together for the good of believers, and have personally experienced in my own life how the Lord has used some difficult times to bring Himself glory, I loved how Pastor Gray pointed out David’s heart.

David knew God. He knew God was bigger than Goliath, and God was faithful to equip David to defeat Goliath. Looking at David, he wouldn’t have been anyone’s first choice to go out and defeat this giant who had been taunting the army. He wasn’t a soldier. He wasn’t experienced in slaying giants. God used David’s life however to prepare him for that moment, and David reveals how prepared he was in 1 Samuel 17:45-47 as he confidently tells Goliath exactly what is about to go down. David didn’t stop and think “Oh, what if I miss” or “What will these soldiers think of me if I say what God is laying on my heart”.

 

 photo limitlesslife3_zps882debd7.jpg

 

David learned to depend on God through His humility before God. I know my heart has labels on it that I need to destroy, labels like “fear” and “inadequate”. 
What the Lord laid on my heart last night was that those labels come from a deeper place.

A place that says “God is not trustworthy, therefore I can’t believe Him when He tells me I belong to Him and through Christ am His. I need to somehow earn His Grace, and since I’m not good enough, I must constantly be trying to earn it.” 
A place that says “I know more than God does. I’m not strong enough, brave enough, I can’t do what He tells me to do because that’s just not who I am.”
A place that says “I need the approval of others to have any worth or value. I need to be accepted by others and to not be accepted means I am worthless. So if I think another person might not accept me, I’ll just be hardened and not even get close to them to begin with. I’ll protect myself until I can be approved of by them.”

Truth: God says “Depend on Me, Trust Me, I Am The One True God. My Grace is Sufficient For You”

I sometimes find myself struggling with contentment. I realize now this discontentment stems from several things. Each of these things point back to one key thing: Pride.
Where am I in life? Where God knew I would be. When I am humble before Him and dependent on Him, He will equip me for whatever His Will is for my life.

Is Where I am right now in my life important? Of value? Absolutely. Why? Because in this season of life, this is where He has planted me. It reminds me of something my own Pastor said awhile back, Grow where you are planted! David did. David didn’t have any idea that he was being equipped to defeat Goliath. Maybe God’s Will for me will be to do something like that, and maybe it will be to just reach out to my neighbors and show them the love of Christ. The reality is, not my will but YOUR WILL BE DONE LORD! The requirement is having a humble heart that says “Lord, I want to Grow right here, right where you have me planted!”

I think that is the KEY to contentment in all things. Because it is purposeful. Our God is a purposeful and intentional God.

That is how my perspective has changed. Realizing that my pride has once again deceived me deeper than I knew. Praising the Lord for revealing it to me, and craving a humble heart like David’s so that I may be content and teachable.

So that I can grow – right where I am planted.

Signature

 

 

 

 

 

Want to see how the Lord using this OBS in the lives of His people?
Check out the Blog Hop at P31OBS! J If you’ve linked up, let me know so I can also leave you some comment love!
P31 OBS Blog Hop

Capturing My Thoughts, Capturing His Truth

Last week was busy, I had no time for blogging! Praise the Lord for all the opportunities He gave to spend with family and friends!
I am taking one more week before writing the next Mark study post because I’m still in the process of completing the study myself and catching up on my One Year reading plan of the Bible.

I did want to share some thoughts I’ve been having recently, so this morning’s Devotional blog will focus on that. My thoughts? Capturing Thoughts, What and How to Capture for Christ. 

The news in recent weeks has been an emotional driving force I believe for the country as a whole. I think part of the reason for this is because of social media. You can’t cruise Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram at this point without it somehow being present. Opinion columns, editorials, blogs, tweets, and pictures saturate the screen and keep some of us on edge and tense without any release or rest.

I can’t count how many times I’ve started to voice my opinion in a comment, then cleared it and moved on. Sometimes my opinion stemmed from frustration. Sometimes from anger. Neither of which I could honestly say was covered in love and pointing back to Christ. I confess, sometimes I cleared it because I didn’t want to face any backlash from the opposing viewpoint.
I’m praying to the Lord about that one. About having courage submerged in humility and love. Speaking truth with a humble heart that is focused on His Glory, spoken in the way He has taught.

In a world that seems to be growing in hostility towards Christianity (not surprising because Christ told us this would happen, our Father God allowing it) I found myself restless last night trying to sleep. I kept thinking and wondering “How God? How do you want me to respond to things? Do you want my response? What focus do you want me to have? What are you looking for from me? Do I ignore it? Do I engage in it?”

It’s the age old battle of walking with Christ while living surrounded by the world’s culture. To think we walk with Christ without being affected by the culture we live in is to leave ourselves open to subtle yet devastating attacks by the enemy. This morning these were the answers I felt He lead me to.

Philippians_48
Image Credit is holy-bible.org – click picture for original post.

My focused thoughts must be on whatever is true. God’s truths. His Word, His promises, and His commands. In my personal walk, the only way I can keep my main focus on these things is to study them. To submerge myself in His Word every day and meditate on His Truths. To keep my eyes open to seeing His Work in the world, because God is working today, right now, in grand and glorious ways.

It also means protecting my thoughts from becoming consumed by whatever is false, whatever is dishonorable, unjust, impure, not lovely, not commendable, and anything that is not worthy of praise. I think this part is harder. Having discernment to know the difference and to know when I am not balanced appropriately in this area. For myself personally, this isn’t just about the news. It’s deeper than that. It’s the thoughts I entertain about my husband, my children, my friends, my neighbors. It’s having to face my own pride and sinfulness. Needing to bow my head in confession and repentance this morning because my attitude in a conversation with my husband was not submerged in love and humility, yet, stemmed on some level from my own agenda and frustration.

romans-12-2
Photo Credit inspiringgrace.net – Click Picture for Original Post

Maybe this is how discernment is grown. Realizing my conversation this morning did not come from a place of God’s wisdom, yet from a deadly mix of His Word and my own Opinion.
Transformation comes by renewing my mind. Being in His Word and in Prayer as He tests me, learning more about His will versus my own.

l_90b01790-994f-11e1-b67c-2dc1f6000003
Photo Credit found at http://www.juxtapost.com – click picture for original post

Ultimately, I must seek Christ in all things. I must seek eternal truths over temporal lies. Far easier said than done and I’ll never do this in perfection while living in this world, however, that is what will keep me humbled before Christ. Realizing His Glory over my humanity.

james11920
Photo Credit theheavenscall.blogspot.com – click picture for original post

James1_26
Photo Credit motivationalquotes.com – click picture for original post

Being slow to speak, or at times, slow to type, is what I am called to do in the midst of my frustration and anger I believe. To speak my opinion in the deadly combination of my frustration while using His Word is a dangerous testimony to leave people with, both believer and non-believer. It makes my belief worthless.
I need to be on guard against my frustration and anger, constantly checking it against scriptures because my anger can easily be directed at a person I am offended by instead of being focused on the offense it is to God. I get angry at a person, yet do not pray for them. Christ tells me to forgive others that I may be forgiven, and sometimes in my flesh I want to skip over that command entirely and try to take the seat of Judge myself.

matthew-543-44
Photo Credit – fessicsfavorites.wordpress.com – Click picture for original post
“© 2012, Kimberly Dawn. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.scentoffaith.com.”  - click picture to see original post for this picture.
“© 2012, Kimberly Dawn. All rights reserved. Originally published at http://www.scentoffaith.com.” – click picture to see original post for this picture.
Colossians 3.12-14 Multi
Photo Credit – imemegan.blogspot.com – Click picture for original post

It’s not only about capturing my thoughts to focus on His Will and His Truths, it’s also about asking for His help to clothe myself according to His Will.
It’s the difficult and often painful process of transformation to look more like Him, putting aside myself and the culture and making His Will and His commands my focus.
Confessing to myself it’s not about me and my opinion – it’s about His Truths and His Glory. I step all over my own toes constantly. Thank you Lord Jesus for your continued testing and revealing of my depth of sinfulness. 

At the end of my prayers and thoughts this morning, I found the verse that sums up what I want to strive for this upcoming week. Not only in my online interactions, also in my face to face interactions, especially with my husband and my son.

psalm-119-105
Photo Credit – dailylifeverse.com – click picture for original post

Last week was busy. This week is busy, however, it also has free moments. I can choose to spend those free moments playing games, knitting, or watching TV, or I can choose to use some of those moments to refresh my spirit in His Word and His Teachings. He leaves the choice to me, and I’m praying for His help to choose more time with Him this week. To step on my own toes and the toes of those around me because of my own agenda a little less, and point to His Glory, His Goodness, and His Will a lot more.

If you too have found yourself struggling with discouragement, frustration, worry, confusion, or anger with life or the current events surrounding us, I would like to encourage you to join me this week in making His word a lamp unto our feet and  light unto our path.

In Love & Faith,
RaZella

Thoughtful Thursday: “Your Heart Racing Anxiety Has Run It’s Course” Sayeth The Lord

I’ve had anxiety problems for years.

My anxiety problems have raged to the point I’ve had to seek medical help in the past. In one very dark time in my life I was on multiple medications with a medical diagnosis of PTSD, Anxiety Disorder, and Bipolar II disorder.

In addition to this, I’ve also struggled with being a “perfectionist“. Finding my self worth in my “perfectionism“. Setting for myself unrealistic expectations and then pushing myself to the point of a nervous breakdown trying to uphold them.

I say all this so one may understand what angle I’m coming from as I try to organize the many thoughts that have been rambling in my head the last 48 hours.

To attempt to grasp the severity of how my anxiety has effected my life, let me share just a few examples of what used to be “normal” to me:

  • Driving in the car, thinking about someone I love dying (husband, son, step-daughter, etc.) to the point that I am sobbing, crying uncontrollably and being so caught up in those fears that I lose myself in them completely, to the point that I’m talking out loud, to myself, in the car, as if I’m really in “that moment” of loss.
  • Laying in bed at night, trying to sleep. I start thinking about something that happened earlier in the day, then think about what “could” have happened, then think about my past, painful, hurtful moments in my past. I toss and turn and toss and turn, finally having to physically get out of bed or splash water on my face to try and break the thoughts.
  • The thought of going into a crowd of people, or meeting a crowd of new people, sends my heart racing. Racing to the point that it fills my chest and my ears and then I find myself worrying about my heart and wondering if I’m about to have a heart attack.
  • I’ve had panic attacks just sitting on the couch, when my thoughts have ran away from me.
  • I love going home to visit, however, typically the entire day before, and during the drive down, all I can visualize in my head is my entire family dying in a fiery car crash. So I usually become nearly obnoxious in trying to be “funny” and talk and do anything I can to attempt to distract myself from the visions playing in my head.
  • I want to someday go to a tropical island, however the thought of riding in a plane that far speeds my heart right up. I see it crashing. I see death. The few plane rides I have taken, again, I spend it looking out the window, feeling sick to my stomach and willing myself to not throw up because I’m afraid of the impending plane crash I just know is coming.
  • Every time I go to get on a roller coaster, or any other type of ride, even though I love them on the one hand, on the other, as I wait in line, I see it running off the track. I see something breaking and myself and those I love falling to our deaths.
  • Listening to my son dream about his future, talking about joining the military someday, or being a missionary and traveling the world, I feel my breath quicken and I immediately jump to worrying about his death and how he will die.
  • I have avoided going to places altogether, because of the gripping fear of going there “alone”. Of not knowing anyone. I have avoided involving my son in extra curricular activities because of the fear, the anxiety, of having to take him to and from. There have been times that when my husband and I would go to pick my son up from our church youth group, I would all but beg to stay in the car because I simply did not want to walk into the building. For reasons I don’t even know anxiety would fill up my heart. There have been many times I have lashed out at my husband when we have gone places because I simply did not want to get out of the car.
  • The first time I went skiing with my husband, as we got closer to the mountain, I could feel my heart start to race. Fear seemed to grip me. I don’t even remember what I was afraid of. It was just, happening. I not only got snippy with my husband, however, immediately after being snippy, I cried.
  • Every new freckle is cancer. Every head ache is a possible aneurysm. Every bug bite is a deadly disease. I say it as thought I’m joking about it, however, the truth, the brutal cold truth, is those are my true first thoughts.

For the most part I have hidden this side of me fairly well. I used to think the best way to confront my anxiety was simply to force myself  to do things. So while there were many times I did not do and avoided altogether, there are many times I’ve forced myself to do things with anxiety eating away at my insides.

I now see the danger in this.

I’ve learned how to fake a smile like a pro in public.
I’ve learned how to fake a laugh like a pro.
I’ve learned how to pretend, to not be authentic, to lie on some very deep personal level to myself and those around me.

In other words, I did not address the anxiety problem.
I was simply covering it up even more. Burying my secret even deeper, allowing it to gnaw away at my insides in ways I cannot explain.

And who took the brunt force of that pain, frustration, fear, anger, and sadness that the gnawing left exposed and raw and hurting? My husband. At times, my son. At times, my step-daughter. Mostly, my husband.

Oh the realization of that, the complete honesty of really “saying it” out loud brings tears  to my eyes.

I became a homemaker in July. It was something my family needed desperately, however, I had no idea just how much I may have needed it on a personal level. What it has allowed me to see, is the extent of my anxiety. The brutal truth of how devastating my fears and anxiety have been. The brutal truth how unreal I was being with myself. The brutal truth of how much stress, worry, fear,  and anxiety I was filling up my mind, my heart, and my soul with.

Slowly, over the course of summer, I found some peace in serving my family. I found more time to talk with my son, with my husband. More time for us to be relaxed without worrying about the never ending to-do list. Blessings. Then I found more time to read. To study. To be discipled. To pray. More blessings.

Then I realized I wasn’t thinking about death every day. I had days, whole, entire days, where I didn’t think about death. I had whole, entire days, where my heart was not consumed with fear.

And that thought, immediately, put fear into me. I was having anxiety about not having anxiety.

More prayer. More reading. More studying. More blessings.

Which brings us to today.

The two books I’m currently reading, both hit me in the last 48 hours with a message I felt the Lord was delivering to me. I felt as though He was holding my hand and saying, “My daughter, it is time for you to come to me, and let me heal your fears, let me take your anxiety, let me transform what you’ve known, and give you my peace.

In other words, it’s time to let go of the bondage of anxiety. 

Out of “Humility: True Greatness“, I read the following on Tuesday:

“Where there’s worry, where there’s anxiousness, pride is at the root of it. When I am experiencing anxiety, the root issue is that I’m trying to be self-sufficient. I’m acting independent of God.”

“The issue isn’t God. It’s my pride that resists trusting in Him through depending upon Him.”

“Sin – including especially the sin of pride – is active, not passive. Sin doesn’t wake up tired, because it hasn’t been sleeping. When you wake up in the morning, sin is right there, fully awake, ready to attack. So rather than be attacked by sin in the morning, I’ve chosen to go on the offensive. I’ve chosen to announce to sin, “I’m at war with you. I know you’re there, and I’m after you.” From the moment I awake, I’ve learned to make statements to God about my dependence upon God, and in this way I’m humbling myself before God.

“All the cares coming my way are actually provided by God specifically for the purpose of cultivating humility in my life.”

Out of “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World“, I read the following yesterday/this morning:

“When God tells us in the Bible not to worry, it isn’t a suggestion. It’s a command. Worry and/or anxiety is specifically mentioned twenty-five times in the New Testament along as something we should avoid.”

“If my God isn’t bigger than life, then my life is bigger than God – and that’s when anxiety takes over.”

“What we put in our minds affects our hearts. And out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouths speak.”

“We cannot underestimate the effect of what we think about. The war of worry, as well as the trial of temptation, is won and lost on the battlefield of our minds.”

“Will we pray? Or will we worry? We really can’t do both.”

The Bible Verses Brought to my attention in the last two days are:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s might hand, that he may life you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” ~1 Peter 5:6-7

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11: 28-30

“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way that are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” ~Luke 8:14

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:33

“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 9:5

“Finally, brothers, whatever 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

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:19

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

The thoughts that have been planted as seeds in my mind, and today, are beginning to take root:

  • I need must acknowledge that I need God. The amount of “respect” the world has placed on self-sufficiency is simply the worlds view. It is simply pride trying to hide in yet another facet of my life. God calls us to come before Him with a humble heart. He hates pride. Because with pride, we don’t need Him. We don’t want Him. With self-sufficiency, we look inward instead of Godward. Instead of Christward. I’m tired of being self-sufficient. I’m tired of being prideful.
  • I need must acknowledge that Jesus paid my ransom. He paid a price that was because of me. He suffered a death, a death that was not because of His sins, because He is sinless. It was because of mine. I must humble myself at His cross, to truly accept what He has done for me, to go to Him for my needs.
  • I need must pray about ALL things. I must capture these thoughts that have been binding me for years, and give them to God. I must cast my cares on Him, and take His yoke. I will have trials. I will have problems that I am faced with. God has told me that again and again in His word. Yet my trials, will draw me nearer to Him. My trials will grow my spirit in Him. My trials will grow my love in Him, that I may better reflect His love to my husband, my children, the world.
  • I need must be active about this. I cannot sit idly by. Satan will attack me. Again and again and again. As I lay down, as I first wake up, those last thoughts, those first thoughts, Satan will do whatever he can to attempt to capture those thoughts so that my mind falls into the trap of fear, worry, and anxiety. I must actively pray. I must actively humble myself before my all powerful, all loving, all amazing, all great, all able-to-transform-me-and-free-me-from-this-prison-of -anxiety God. To be faithful. To trust Him, completely, to trust Him with my worries, my fears, my problems. To trust Him who always has my best interest at heart. To trust Him who always only wants the best for me because of His perfect love for me.

I feel like I’ve heard the Lord’s message to me. I feel like I’m finally reaching up, to take His hand, bow my head, admit, confess, and repent of my pride, and start following.

My plan: To wake up every day, and acknowledge my need for Him first thing every morning. To acknowledge my need for Him as I lay down every night to sleep. Throughout the day, as soon as a thought of fear, worry, or anxiety comes to fill my mind, I will capture that thought and pray. I will cast it upon Him, so that I may be free to instead take His yoke. I know that there are some thoughts that are so deeply ingrained that I may give them to Him, and then attempt to take them back again. I will just keep giving them to Him, over and over, actively fighting against allowing those thoughts to fill my heart. Because I know, deep down, He is truly my only way to freedom.

In closing of my rambling spiderweb of thoughts here, I’ll share this. I created this fairly quickly yesterday after reading Chapter five in “Humility: True Greatness“. I put it in a frame, and hung it up in our bathroom. Why the bathroom? Because this is the first room we go into after we wake up, and last room we go into before going to bed. Simply as a reminder to me, first and last thing every day, and throughout the day.

For anyone else out there who suffers from anxiety, fear, stress, and worry, my prayer for us all is that we will be able to put our faith in our Lord and Savior, because He can handle it, He wants to handle it, that we may be free in Him and filled with His peace.

In Love & Faith,
RaZella