Snot-Sob Praying… Anybody?

Photocred: Dreamstime

I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who finds myself so overwhelmed with emotion when I start praying that before I know it, I’m “snot-sobbing”. The tears flow from my eyes with the same intensity as water gushing from an upcapped fire hydrant. They may be tears from suffering in some manner, be it anxiety, stress, depression, or feeling overwhelmed, but oftentimes they are tears of surrender in pleading to GOD, “Lord, PLEASE take it…take it all. I can’t do this anymore.” Followed by a ton of praise, thanking Him for His eternal faithfulness and every blessing.

Only recently did I realize that “surrendering to GOD” is NOT a “one-and-done” commitment. For the last four and a half years I’ve professed and confessed that I’ve surrendered to Him, but then there’s been this intense back-and-forth. I give it to GOD, then I take a little bit back. “I can handle this…it’s small, I don’t need to bother You with this.” And that “little thing” never seems to be resolved or finished, then I’m right back to surrendering everything to Him. He’s always willing to take it and then I’m on to the next thing until I start thinking that I can do “this” or “that” on my own. Before I realize it, I’m back at the foot of the cross with a tote bag and I’m stuffing some of the small stuff back inside. As I turn away from the cross I’m always thinking, “I just hate to ‘bother’ Him with these annoying little things; I’ve got this”, and I never look back because I’m pretty sure He’d be beckoning me to just “leave it”.

I return to my life, carrying the tote bag of the “small stuff” that I’m not supposed to “sweat”, and yet EVERY SINGLE TIME, I am, indeed, “sweating” it. I make my way back to the cross, overturning my tote bag, giving it all back to Him. This has been exhausting. Surrendering to GOD shouldn’t be so hard because He is ALWAYS in control. Even when I think I’m “controlling it”, I’m not…HE is. I’m pretty sure it’s related to my ego. The definition of “ego” is “a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance”. I’m okay with the “self-esteem” part – everyone should have a good and healthy sense of self, but I’m much less impressed with self-importance. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been living a Christ-centered life for that long and I’m still a “work in progress”. What I DO know is that I TRUST GOD and His Word. What I DON’T TRUST is the world but let’s face it, I lived in the world for fifty-four years before I started living in the Word.

I’m just so thankful that when I do this “back-and-forth” of surrendering, there’s no judgment or condemnation. He’s always there every time I collapse at the foot of the cross and give it all to Him – the big stuff AND the small stuff. Sometimes I think if I could hear His voice, I might hear, “Terri, seriously, I DO want it all…you’re NOT bothering me. You’re my Daughter and I ALWAYS want to help you.” Perhaps it’s not just me typing those words and instead, I’m hearing them in my heart.

I always feel so much lighter after a “snot-sob-praying” fest where I’ve again, dumped everything at the foot of the cross. I’m tired of taking stuff back. I’ve come to realize that surrendering to GOD is absolutely NOT a “one and done”, and if that means I need to surrender to Him on a daily basis, so be it. I want Him to have it all so that I can concentrate on doing what He put me on this earth to do… spread the Gospel, serve others, and glorify Him.

Although I know He loves me with an eternal, unfailing love, I’m sure He’d like to see more from me than just “ugly crying”!

“Give all of your worries and cares to GOD, for he cares for you.” ~1 Peter 5:7

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” ~Romans 8:1

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP

Swing and a Miss!

Photo Cred: Pinterest

I’m one of those “lefties” that’s totally ambidextrous. I only do a handful of things left-handed…holding a fork and spoon, writing, holding a pool cue stick. I do everything else right-handed, except that I do bowl with my right hand with a left-handed stance, so the ball inevitably hits the back of my right leg. I’ve TRIED changing my stance but at the last second, my legs do this little “hippity-skippity-doo-da” hopping thing and my right leg defies me.

It’s one of the reasons why I was never a successful softball player…not that I ever really tried. Sports (other than horseback riding competitions), weren’t my thing. But the few times I did try to play as a kid, swinging the bat right-handed was fine (I couldn’t even attempt it left-handed), but I also wanted to catch AND throw with my right hand because my left hand was weak, compared to my dominant right hand.

Why all of this, you ask?! It’s because Satan has been coming at me, HARD, for weeks! Nah, make that months! I feel like I’ve been trying to beat him off with a Louisville Slugger – both lefty and righty, but to no avail – I keep swinging and missing! I’m so frustrated! What’s the motive here? Does he think that just because I really haven’t been myself for the last several months – anxious, a little depressed (truth-to-tell), uncertain; that he can waltz right in and steal my joy? Fahgedaboudit! I may be struggling, but that’s between me and God. HE is my rock, my fortress, my protector. I need to get out of my own head and lean harder into Him. HE will always make a way for me. I just need to rely on Him and His promises. Although I know and believe all of this, I still feel vulnerable…like all of a sudden I’m naked in public with nothing to cover up with (an infrequent but recurring nightmare, unfortunately).

A fleeting thought entered my scrambled-eggs-brain recently as to whether or not there is anyone or anything that could ever make me turn from God. I’m ashamed that the thought even entered my head, but I knew the answer immediately…it was an emphatic “NO”. There’s no one, nothing – no circumstance – that would ever make me turn from Him. That thought was so comforting and convicting, knowing that no matter what I’m going through, especially difficult seasons and trials, I will never deny or forsake Him.

God knows what I need, when I need it. The issue is “me”…it’s “all me”. Psalm 46:10 is one of my favorite verses and I’m always chastising myself to, “Shut up! Sit still and you’ll hear what God’s trying to tell you”. That lasts for what seems like a millisecond and then the anxiety and uncertainty of “whatever”, takes up the majority of space in my head. :::Sigh:::

I think what I need to do is put the bat down and refrain from giving Satan another fraction of my time. Okay, maybe just ONE more good, solid, swing – with my feet firmly planted in my faith, and then I’ll lay my bat down and start digging deeper into God’s Word and His Faithfulness.

“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” ~Isaiah 26:4

“The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” ~Exodus 14:14

“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” ~1 Chronicles 16:11

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. GOD is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” ~1 Corinthians 10:13

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP

Overcoming Fear with Faith

Overcoming-fear[Photo Cred:  Wildwood Health]

 

It’s no coincidence as I sit here, drinking my third cup of coffee in my “Psalm 46:10″ mug, that I was moved to write about “overcoming fear”.  Honestly, that thought incites even more fear in my mind.  That mole hill inevitably becomes a mountain that I DON’T want to climb.  As I look up at the enormous, anxiety- and fear-filled mountain before me, I’m thinking, “How can I overcome my fears?  My fear of failure, of not being good enough, worthy enough, dedicated enough, kind enough, loving enough?  How can I quiet my heart and mind in a way that assures my shaky-self that “I’m fine” (really fine)?”

Most often my mind is filled with thoughts of humility, gratitude and thankfulness, but sometimes it’s like a junkyard… filled with treasures of yesteryears that are now rusty and unusable, but were once pristine and fully-functional.

For those of us who suffer from anxiety and/or depression, we curse our brains for betraying us with fear-filled thoughts.  We certainly don’t want to be anxious, riddled with worry and angst, but those thoughts and feelings invade our thinking, nonetheless.  When I begin to feel “less than” myself, I know where to turn.  Four years ago, I didn’t know where to turn and I suffered a lot of the time; most of the time, but now, thankfully, Christ lives in me.  I have the eternal love of God and His faithful promises, knowing that He’s “got this”.  And when I begin to suffer, I turn to Him and lean into His Word.  It’s right there, in black and white, that I belong to him and He will never forsake me.  That promise, alone, is enough to drive away thoughts of fear and anxiety, and as I dig deeper into His Word, I am blessed with the comfort and healing that only He can provide.

phil4v13

[Photo Cred:  Bible Go To Verses]

 

Overcoming fear with faith leaves me feeling empowered, resolute, determined to not let my fear become bigger than my faith.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your GOD; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~Isaiah 41:10

“For GOD gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”  ~2 Timothy 1:7

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  ~John 14:27

God’s promises are amazing and eternal.  His faithfulness endures.  When those anxious thoughts seep into those imperceptible cracks in my mind, I remember Who I belong to… Who has my back… and Who will always be for me; never against me.  I gain comfort, strength and wisdom when I surrender to God and let Him be in control.  FAITH > fear.

~ ♦ ~

Of note:  I’ve developed a Bible Reading Plan on “Overcoming Fear” for the month of September in my FB Bible Journaling Group, and I invite anyone who’s interested to join.  If you’d like to see examples of bible verse mapping, journaling, etc., check out my Instagram – Peaceful_Planning.  I also have a Podcast – “Walk In Faith”  where I talk about anxiety in Episode 3.  You can also access any of these through My Linktr.ee

Prayer:  Father God, please take away any fearful or anxious thoughts that are clouding my mind today.  Replace them with your love, peace, comfort, strength and wisdom.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP