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Posts Tagged ‘comfort’

It’s been a long time since I have visited Solitude with the Father. Deep down I have longed to be here, but God has had different ideas. Which brings me to the word for my year; Hope.

 

In today’s world the word hope has strayed from its original meaning.  It’s usually associate with a “maybe” connotation.

 

The true meaning of hope is “expectation, expect with confidence.” As I have been studying this word, I found a hard saying by Paul in his letter to the Romans.

 

“…but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character and proven character, hope;” (Romans 5:3-4 NASB)

 

Here it comes.

 

“and hope does not disappoint…”

 

The first time I saw this I froze, tears welled up and a little anger welled up with the tears.  If hope (anticipation and expectation) doesn’t disappoint, then where was the transformation I prayed for last year?  Where is the totally changed person I expected?

 

The only transformation that came was a deep depression, where I would do anything to go to a far away place and be alone.

 

I was praying and in the Word daily, yet nothing changed except the dusk turned to darkness without even a flicker of one star. It was terrifying.  I have fought bouts of depression before, but nothing like this.

 

The last part of verse five says

 

“…because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

 

How could this be because of God’s love? The Holy Spirit whispered to my heart. “Christine, hope is expectation without your expectations to be fulfilled. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open — not set and stubborn. Hope doesn’t disappoint because transformation springs from the love of God. In trials, hope is the expectation of how God is going to refine you.”

 

What I realized, God is going to transform, and grow me in any way He sees fit.  The depression was allowed, why? To show me, now is the time.  The time to take care of deep seated issues, fears, anxieties. I was going to need help with it.

 

It’s been a process.  And it isn’t over yet.  But one thing I do know, because I belong to God as His beloved child, I have hope that healing will come. Transformation will come. Experiencing God in ways I never thought possible will come. Experiencing stillness and knowing He is God will come.  I also know that it may not be in ways I think, but they will come.

 

It’s exciting and scary at the same time. With my eyes, ears and heart open to Him I wait in expectation with exuberant anticipation of what He will do. I have seen glimpses of Him through the dark. In fact, there are little holes He has punctured to let streams of light in.  He will continue to work through the trials to grow me.

 

That is the best kind of hope.

 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts. Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So My ways higher than your ways. And My thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55: 8-9

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If we were sitting face to face and I asked, “What do you think God considers idols?” My guess is that you would say things like cars, money, work, and hobbies.

You would be correct, what about affirmation, worry, significance, perfection, or children? Each one of these can take their place above God.

When I become anxious, I am putting the situation above God. In a sense, I’m telling Him “You can’t deal with this situation; if I worry enough the result will turn out better”.

I believe that many people have facebook accounts to gain as many friends as possible in order to feel popular. They check hundreds of times a day to see how many “likes” they get on a picture or comment.

How do I know? I am one, and it’s not just facebook.
Two years ago, God impressed on my heart to write a blog. Without my knowing, it too, turned into an idol

One day I checked the stats of my blog and saw there were only 1,034 hits in two years.

Depressed I called a friend.

“I guess I need to chuck it all in. Good bloggers and writers have thousands of hits monthly, not a thousand in two years.” I stated, “I know the numbers shouldn’t matter, but I guess people don’t like it, and I’m not being an encouragement to anyone except the same people over and over again.”

She responded, “Why does it matter so much to you that people like it or not?”

“Because, it’s the a way I know I’m doing what God wants of me.”

“Why?”

“Because when people like it, I know I’m loved by God.”

“Christine,” she paused, “Go deeper. Why do you have to have people’s approval more than God’s approval?”

I couldn’t answer right away. “Well, because when people affirm, to me it’s God’s way of affirming me.”

“Why?”

“I’ll have to think and pray about it.”

I pictured her grinning on the other end of phone line.

That Sunday we started a new series in our Sunday school god’s at War by Kyle Idleman. Coincidence?

Kyle’s definition of an idol:

“Anything or anyone I live for other than God is an idol.”*

So the deeper was revealed.  Subconsciously, I was saying, “God you aren’t good enough or big enough to meet these desires or needs.”

These aren’t the only things in my life that I was placing above God. My middle daughter, anxiety, and worry were all placed ahead of God. These are about situations out of my control and were taking the place of God. I trusted myself to control situations, when trust needed to be placed in the more capable hands of God.

The next morning during my devotional time, the realization of the idols in my life overwhelmed like a tidal wave crashing on shore and the tears flowed. Now that I knew the deeper issue, I desired change. I had to:

“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served…” Joshua 24:15 (NIV1984)

It’s a moment by moment, situation by situation choice. I’m not going to be perfect; eventually, I will worry again. The journey to change will be long and hard.

What about you? Here are seven questions Kyle asked in his video:

1. What disappoints you? Ex: not having spouses/bosses respect.
2. What do you sacrifice money and time to?
3. What worries you? Ex: children, finances.
4. Where do you go when you need comfort? God or man?
5. What makes you angry? Ex: when someone embarrasses you.
6. What are your dreams?*

The final question he presented this way:

“God is a jealous God and will put Himself in direct competition with that idol and say to you ’_______ (insert your name) you have a choice between me or _______ (insert your idol), who do you choose?’”*

I can’t tell you how many times the last question has popped into my head during a day. I never realized how automatic it has been to go straight to the idols of affirmation or worry.

What is getting in the way of your relationship with God? Like a husband who loves his wife so much he doesn’t want another man to come between them, so God loves us so much and wants to be our one and only.

Who do you choose?

http://www.amazon.com/Gods-War-Defeating-Idols-Battle/dp/031031884X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409532167&sr=1-1&keywords=god%27s+at+war

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