|360 Degrees of Transformation||
Confession time: I've been struggling. I reached a place of apathy. The struggles of being a single parent got to me. The struggles of my special needs daughter got to me. The struggles of finances got to me. The frustration and anger of feeling stuck got to me. I was so tired and overwhelmed that I didn't care anymore about anything. What a dangerous place to be. I was retreating backwards, not to the safety of my God's arms, but to the survival mode that I've spent most of my life in. Survival mode is a hard habit to break.
You hear it all the time. 21 days to form a habit. It takes longer, however, if you have spent most of your life in the wrong habit. 21 days is a good start, but if you don't pay attention to what is happening around you, you will fail. Pay attention to what is going on in your life. Pay attention to what you are feeling. Pay attention to what is taking up your time, and what is taking your time away from the things that are important for you, but not necessarily what the world deems important.
Here are three important things to put into your life:
1. daily conversations with God
2. a group of God-lovers who follow Jesus' command to love
3. unstoppable truth
We live in this world, but it is not meant to live in us. If you find that you have been letting the world control your life, you need to change things fast! The world will use you, and throw you away. We are created by God, designed with a spot inside us where the Holy Spirit resides. When we reject the Holy Spirit, or neglect to spend time filling up with His Presence, then we begin filling that hole up with the world's activities. The more of the world we fill up with, the more our senses are numbed. Do you want to really feel alive, to feel a rush? Chase after God, let Him fill you up, and you will experience something you have never experienced before. Experiencing God requires a commitment. Not only does He chase us, but He expects that we make time to come meet with Him. That time includes a quiet time spent talking with Him, listening, reading His Words. EVERY DAY! Your daily, life-sustaining bread.
Consider the life of Jesus. What did He do before He laid Himself down as a sacrifice for you? He loved the unloved. The people who were considered unworthy and unclean by the experts of the religious law were the ones who Jesus sought. The ones who knew what they had done.
Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: Love others as well as you love yourself. These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them." Matthew 22:37-40 The Message.
If you do not love yourself, if you are kicking yourself for picking up the world's habits, for filling up that hole with the offerings of the world, consider Jesus' life, and what He has to offer you. Even if you have slipped away, ran away, fallen away, whatever, God doesn't hold that against you. Even my simple human mind cannot completely understand the depth of the love God has for me and for other people. I know that by the world's standards I am unworthy, unimportant, unloveable, insignificant, guilty. Gratefully, I don't live by the world's standards. I live by God's standard of grace. God's opinion is the one that matters. He says I am worthy, I am important, I am loveable, I am significant, and I am innocent. And as much as He says I am all these things and more, He also says you are just as much. You and I are equal in our deserving of love. What do you think about that?
When you are stuck in apathy, stuck on the hamster wheel of the world, just stuck and can't get out, start chasing God. If you haven't gotten into the habit of it, it will seem weird and strange and awkward. I have felt it too, but keep doing it. If there is anything you need to persevere in, it is your pursuit of God. Your relationship with God is what everything else in your life flows from. We can't do this on our own. We have tried, and we have failed. And no matter how many times we try, it will never work because it isn't possible on our own.
Gather around yourself a group of people who seek God and express His love like Jesus commands. Then when you fall down, or get stuck, they can help you up and back to chasing after God. If you don't have the right group of people as your support, they just might use you as a step to keep from muddying their feet when you are stuck. Imagine yourself stuck, unable to move, feeling desperate, sad, alone, apathetic. Do you want people who will support and help you, or do you want someone who scoffs at your trouble? I recently made an appointment with a friend, because I knew I was stuck and needed help out. I knew she would help me out, supporting me, tough loving me, whatever it was I needed to get unstuck. But I had to ask her, even though I knew the process would be uncomfortable and painful. The discomfort and pain from that process, though, is a lot better than the pain and discomfort that I know I live in when I'm in survival mode, and when I'm relying on myself.
This brings me to truth. I have been looking at my past. Where I came from. What I have done and what has been done to me have caused much pain, anger, frustration, and hurt. I've been sliced to pieces. I've been used and discarded like trash. It has affected my emotions, my ability to form relationships, my social skills, my memory, my day-to-day life. I have gotten to a place where daily I struggle to be out in the world and live. Some days its easier than others. Some days I miss my time with God. Sometimes I don't, but it isn't as life-filling as I would like. And sometimes I do have my time with God, and the experience is supernatural. Sometimes I go out in the world and I am hurt again. Sometimes my trust is shaken, and sometimes I slip back into survival mode.
The point of truth is to look at everything that you have been through and where you are going, and apply the truth to that. What are the results of your actions, and what are the results of the actions against you? What can you do to move forward? Going even deeper are the truths of how you see yourself, your limitations, your weaknesses, how you respond to certain situations and what you need to keep from drowning. What do you need to pull you back to chasing God? Look at what you think about yourself, then apply God's truth to that. This is hard work, and it won't be easy. It will be painful, but only so much pain as it takes to be healed and whole. Which pain is worse? The pain of survival, that ends in death? Or the pain of healing, resulting in life? Consider it.
The truth is that life is messy. People hurt us, people love us. Relationships are difficult and require sacrifice, time, and energy. We make mistakes, and our actions have consequences, good and bad. But the ultimate truth which is the filter for everything is God's truth about us, and what He offers us.
Please consider letting me walk with you. Let me know if you have trouble understanding what you have read. My intent is to help, not hinder.
I love you.
We might be in different places, but all of us are on a journey.
Leah's Life Verses