With prayer and faith, I will no longer worry about what others think of me. I will be the best me that I can be and if they don't like it, well, that's their loss. I have come to a point where I'm so tired of wasting my time, energies, and resources on those who could honestly care less about me. There was a chapter in this book about getting connected with the right people. I've struggled so much with wanting to please everyone and be friends with everyone. Tonight I'm feeling better about moving on without those who no longer belong in my circle, and refocusing my energies on those who truly care. Also, I wrote down a quote from the book that I will be meditating on (replaced with the word I), "This is where I overcome my fear of people - godless people, faithless people, and intimidating, self-righteous people." I have been holding so much back, out of fear of what others might think of me. So many things that I wanted to say, and should've said, but didn't. I held my tongue as to not offend someone, while at the same time I was swallowing down words that would've defended my Savior. No more! My eternal soul and your eternal soul matter more to me now. I will preach the gospel and spread His truth with the world. I let go of my fears. Oh so many fears!
I want to cry tonight, but the tears just won't come. Perhaps because I know how hard it will be to stop them from flowing. As I look back over the last few years, I've somehow, ever so slowly, drifted so far away from Jesus compared to where I was. My husband and I had stopped praying together. I can't even remember the last time we prayed together as a family. How embarrassing to admit this to you. I stopped writing. I stopped singing. I stopped serving. How on earth did this happen? Well, I know how it happened. It's exactly how Satan had planned it to happen many years ago. But I have news for him! I'm running back to Jesus and His arms are open wide. I feel His embrace surrounding me now. Angels are rejoicing! Look! There is a flame now, where once there was only the feeling of heat.
Perhaps the drifting away all began when I started out on the quest for more significance. I started searching in other places. I started envying other's lives instead of being content with the wonderful life that God has blessed me with. I wanted more for MY life. Perhaps if I started out asking God what more I could do for HIM, then I wouldn't have gotten so off track.
Tonight I will sleep peacefully knowing that I am making a difference in my boy's lives. We will get back to praying together. We will get back to consistent church services and I won't just be a bystander. I will set the example for my boys. I will make the sacrifices and be a servant for God's kingdom. I trust God to use me in ways that I never imagined. I will get back to writing (starting with this very post). I will finish a book someday. I will use all of the hurt and heartache that I've endured to encourage others and to help bring them out of bondage. I am tired of playing it safe! God has so much more for us and I've gotten in the way. It's like He stepped aside for these few years and said, "OK, have it your way." He was always there with me. When I was searching for more, He had His arms around me, trying to show me that He is the more. He's all I ever needed. When I went through painful trials, He tried to reach out and rescue me, but I wouldn't listen. I prayed to Him, but I couldn't hear Him through all the distractions that Satan had created in my life.
I believe that the turning point (a major shift) for me came when Chuck Balsamo wrote in his book to ask God to point out anything in my life that may be holding me back. Whew! I had to stop and take a close look a that. I prayed about it and then as I continued to read the book, God showed me more. I'm going to share my list with you as a bold step of faith. I feel in my heart that this list may resonate with you. It won't all be the same, but maybe very similar. I'm listing these in order that they came to my mind. See how it starts out looking like pretty minor issues, but then God pointed out deeper issues in my heart.
- Cookie Jam Oh how embarrassed I am to admit this. In case you didn't know, this is a game that I play on my tablet. I'm on level one thousand and something. I've been playing it for less than a year. I've wasted so much time just spacing out and playing this game, when I could've been using that time to draw closer to the Lord. There are so many better uses of my time.
- FaceBook Raise your hand if you're with me on this one. Scroll, scroll, scroll...Wow! How did I just sit here for half an hour looking into everyone else's lives? Meanwhile I'm feeling sorry for myself and feeling like an inadequate mother and wife because Super Mom just posted again about her glorious world that she lives in.
- Anger (deep breath) This is so hard for me to admit. I'm so ashamed to bring it to the surface and share it with you. But I know I'm not alone. I've been working on this for years. I know this has gotten in the way of God moving in my life. Tonight I surrender all anger over to Him. I know I will still have outburst, but I also know that He is alive and working in me. All things are possible and this is one of the mountains that I expect to be moved so God has a straighter path to my heart.
- Bitterness This issue came about during some hurt that I've experienced in the last few years. It's a newer feeling that I hate to carry around. I've tried to let go, but it rises back up and rears it's ugly head at me from time to time. What I've learned is that there is no trying harder here. I've tried, and tried, and tried. What needs to happen is God's transformation in my heart and I believe that I'm on the doorstep of this happening.
- Other's Opinions of me This! This has been a major setback for me in SO many areas of my life. Chuck mentioned in his book that unlike Jesus, we seem to need our world to like us, enjoy us, approve of us, and celebrate us! Did you catch that? Unlike Jesus! We were put on this earth to please our Heavenly Father and to model His example. His opinion should be the only one that truly matters! I'm sharing all of this with you right now because I know that I am doing the work of my Father, so it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. This is a HUGE step for me!
- Fear Fear has held me captive for way too long! Fear of bees, tornadoes, something happening to me, something happening to our children or my husband, fear of going broke, starving, fear of letting people down, fear of what others think, fear that I'm not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. The list goes on and on and on. Why? God's word tells us that worry won't change anything. And this brings me to the last thing that God put on my heart.
- Lack of Trust in God Tonight God showed me that all of my fears are due to a lack of trust in Him. Wow! The one who created the entire universe and keeps it all functioning every single day. The one who made me and you. There's no reason to not give Him my whole heart and fully trust Him. I know He wants to give me complete peace and rest that's only found in Him. All I have to do is let Him!
I'm so sorry God! Help me to trust You more! Break theses heavy chains that have had me bound so tightly. Fan the flame and make it grow! Give me more opportunities to share Your love with others and help me to be bold. Help me and my family to be Your hands and feet. Help us to bring thousands of others to You. Break the chains that bind Your people. Break the mold off of their eyes and make them pause long enough to see how much Satan has been distracting them and slowly making them drift away from You. Help Your people to rise up again. Give them back their backbone and their voices! Draw them out of the dark places and light their souls on fire so that they will be the light to others. In Jesus name I pray! Amen!