Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard;
He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.
Two days ago I wrote about my struggles with accepting that I am not condemned and that I do not need to feel guilty for absolutely everything I do and don’t do in a day. I wrote about taking everything one day at a time and focusing on TODAY because “each day has enough trouble of its own” and I need to “let tomorrow worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34).
I am active in this practice of focusing on today and living in the freedom of Christ. I am focusing on not feeling guilty for absolutely everything (it is an honest struggle!!) I am taking one step forward at a time with active thoughts on what I can and can’t do in a day. If topic A gets done, but topic B doesn’t, will I really believe that I am no less of a beloved daughter of God, a precious wife, or a capable, beautiful person? I can honestly answer yes.
I was able to answer yes yesterday and I am able to today.
I will wrestle with tomorrow when tomorrow comes.
Now, of course, that does not mean that I have been sin-free either over these two days.
I have acted selfishly (offering my husband the blueberry instead of the last vanilla yogurt because I wanted it), let my emotions get the better end of me (not expressing patience or kindness when I asked my brother to empty the dryer with his clean clothes).. among other stuff I am sure.
CHA DUDE. I am still a sinful person. Surprise, surprise!
But here is the difference…
- I recognize the mistake.
- I face it.
- Then I turn away from it.
- And won’t look back at it.
The only time to look back at it EVER AGAIN is for the sake of growth. It is a quick look back to step forward, not to stop, stare, and sink. To dwell in the past is to sink into quicksand. Believe me, I know.
This act of the glance back (note, glance), is to be able to say, “you know, I’ve made a mistake similar to this one before, and I wasn’t pleased with the results… so I won’t be doing this again. I learned my lesson. And I am forgiven for that past time. I don’t need to dwell on it and I am choosing today to not do it again.”
And then, move on!
What a concept!
It is SO GREAT!!!!!!!!
It is so liberating and wonderful.
Yesterday I got my toes wet on what I am learning. And, let me tell you, I had a fantastic day.
It wasn’t a flawless day, but it was a great one!
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
He is helping me keep that helmet on tight as I let my hair fly free in the wind.
This morning, I was talking to my husband as he was getting ready for work about it. I told him that I slept really well (which is not a very common thing to begin with…). But I, to my surprise, fell asleep quickly and peacefully and slept all the way until our morning alarms went off.
I was able to do so many things yesterday! Including going to the DMV for about 2 hours (name officially changed!!! Right on!!!! It’s official!!!!), started reading a new book (which I am going to recommend to you all.. wow!!! I would be a liar if I said it isn’t helping my growth right now!), scrubbed our shower, and did three loads of laundry. Sure, small stuff in the grand scale of life, nothing too awesome.
But it really was awesome.
I did it all with a whole different attitude.
Instead of beating myself up for scrubbing our shower instead of doing something else, I thought of my husband when he takes his morning shower and how much better that will feel for him. I thought of myself when I want to lay in a bathtub at the end of a long day to relax, and it made me smile to have a clean tub. I enjoyed the task I was doing and couldn’t find anything to beat myself up for, which so often before, it was a rare occurrence.
But, I decided that I don’t want it to be a rare occurrence, so it won’t be anymore.
I just have to keep truckin at this change one day, one step, one moment at a time.
And you know what, with the help of Jesus Christ, His great and powerful name that has the power to demolish strongholds.
I CAN & I WILL.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:4
What further is my weapon?
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
I want to expand on this great set of verses in Ephesians at a later time, but right now I am going to elaborate on what is nailing me in this journey of growth.
I love the part about STANDING FIRM.
It is like it is saying, “hey, if you are going to stand, great, but stand FIRM when you stand!”
In other words, DO NOT GIVE UP OR GIVE IN!!!!
I have to remember this as I am seeking growth and change.
I must stand firm, even when it feels like my knees are going to buckle down.
“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand firm at all.”
(this verse has quite literally become my calling.)
And the other thing that is particularly nailing me in this set of verses from Ephesians is that part of the armor called THE HELMET OF SALVATION.
THE HELMET OF SALVATION! this is what I am remembering as I get into that dark abyss in my mind about guilt, shame, confusion, the whole “I’m not good enough” spiel. (Insert Charlie Brown’s schoolteacher’s “wah wah… wah wah wah…” here)
With this helmet on, I choose to block out thoughts of those corrupting thoughts of sorrow, self-pity, worthlessness, pride, guilt, shame…. the whole ugly slew of attacks that seek to rob me of my sunshine.
I choose to dwell on thoughts of my salvation.
I choose these truths to reign in my mind:
- He has my name written in the Lamb’s book of life, (Revelation 13:8 & Luke 10:20),
- He will never stop loving me no matter WHAT I do (Romans 8:38),
- He has a plan for me that is GOOD (Romans 8:28 & Jeremiah 29:11),
- He truly cares about every aspect of me and my life, (1 Peter 5:7, Luke 12:7, Matthew 10:30, & Psalm 38:9)
- and He is not giving up on me! (Philippians 1:6).
All these thoughts are TRUE.
And did you notice?
they all start with HIM.
The thoughts that point a finger in my face and laugh at me, the fears that kick me even as I am in midair tripping, the lies that make it nearly impossible to breathe….
These TRUE thoughts vanquish them.
Lies are what cannot stand firm, ever. But Truth always does.
- Truth sends Lies crying home to a place where there is no loving mother to embrace them.
- Truth sends Lies packing empty bags to a lonely, deserted island.
- Truth makes Lies illiterate fools in a foreign land.
THEY HAVE NO HOLD ON ME.
They have no hold on my thoughts.
& you know what,
I am finding joy.
I AM FINDING JOY.
Just the thing I wanted to find.
What a beautiful day it is today.
I am living.
I am changing.
I am growing and not giving up.
Let’s let our hair fly free together today!