Struggling to Survive

At the root of sin and degradation is pride and rebellion. These often stem from unresolved conflicts in our past. We hide our pain behind a veneer of self-reliance in order to avoid further injury.

We do not want to take a chance on being vulnerable again. Struggling to survive, we choose self-absorption and arrogance instead of living a life of humility and self-sacrifice.

We live within the parameters of our sinful nature and set our mind on what our flesh desires (Romans 8:5). Our spirit is dead in sin and we cannot help our self (Ephesians 2:1).

Even church attendees who claim Christ as their savior play along with worldly culture, advice and popular demands. They came under conviction at one point, but their life was never converted.

Political correctness, religious pluralism, humanism and other new age lies color our concept of holiness. We take the path of least resistance and follow the crowd.

We lack discernment, spiritual understanding and perception. Caving in to the struggles, strain and stress of everyday life, we turn away from Biblical wisdom, God’s love and devotion.

Jesus is the perfect example of a humble, yet powerful life. He said that no one could take His life until He was ready to lay it down (John 10:18). By following Jesus’ example we truly convert from hedonism to holiness.

Jesus illustrates for us that the Lord is our portion, provider and protector as we obey His Word. We seek His face with our whole heart and God is gracious to us according to His promises (Psalm 119:57-58).

Prayer:
Father God, we invite Your Holy Spirit to cleanse our thoughts, heal our memory, calm our fears, and direct our goals and plans. We trust that in our pain and suffering, You are working out Your will and purpose for our life, giving us opportunities to share Your love and to bear fruit for Your Kingdom.

Teach us discernment through our life experiences; heal our raw emotions of discontentment, loneliness and anxiety; give us hope to overcome anger, unforgiveness and bitterness; and help us to walk in Your will with faith for each moment of our day.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit wants to direct the details of our day, so let’s step aside, stop obsessing and trust and obey; there is no better way to enjoy the joy of the Lord.

Facing the Challenges of Life

Since life happens without any warning, I got into the habit, at a very young age, of breathing in shallow breaths. This is detrimental, because my body does not receive all of the oxygen it needs. My blood pressure went up, since I was hyperventilating all of the time. My mind kept my body in high alert. My soul does not react well to the uncertainty of life.

Inwardly, I felt fearful and insecure all the time. The environment in which I lived was unreliable and unpredictable. In my childhood, I grew up with emotional distance, unpredictable anger and physical aggression, which caused dread and instability. Throughout my life, I lived with repeated unsettling circumstances and unexpected changes.

For instance, I moved way too often in my early married life, and had to start over too many times. Eventually, my former husband decided he needed to move on without me, so I lived through divorce. I also experienced two car crashes in which I totaled both cars. The first accident left me with emotional turmoil and the second inflicted extensive physical trauma.

All of my life, I tried to control life to keep it manageable and safe. Of course, I failed miserably at this endeavor. We cannot harness life no matter how many safety valves we provide. I still do not like surprises and I have to remind myself to be more flexible, but I have learned some valuable life lessons.

Over my years as a Believer, I learned to keep my focus on God, to surrender everything to Him in prayer, to have faith in God’s faithfulness and to be more in tune to His Spirit (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Romans 8:14). God taught me to cast my cares on Him, because He really does care about me.

Walking in the Spirit moment by moment keeps me prepared for the unexpected (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 77:14; Romans 8:28; Galatians 5:15-21). God also taught me that He places a seed for a miracle within every trial. With each lesson I learned, I started breathing more deeply because the feeling of impending doom disappeared.

Prayer:
Father God, You have a perfect plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10). Remind us to seek Your direction for each task You planned for our day, and then to seek Your face for guidance on how to do what You instruct us to do. Consumed by Your Spirit, there is no room for negative emotions. As we face new situations in life, which cause us injury, unrest and indecision, we can wait on You and face the circumstance with Your courage from within us. You strengthen us from the inside out to meet every new challenge (Psalm 27:14).

Thought for the Day:
Trusting totally in God and surrendering to His will for my life gives me His joy and serenity, which trying to control life never did.

Help for Hurting People

Hurting people go in one of three directions: they clam up and become a loner, hoping to avoid any more pain; or they strike out like a bully, injuring others as badly as they are hurting inside; or they hate the pain they are inflicted with, and they never want anyone else to hurt as much as they do, so they help to carry someone else’s burden.

I have no idea what causes people to react in such different ways. Maybe their personality, or their inability to bear any more pain, or the example of others in their life, or an instinctive desire to help someone else will fuel their behavior. Regardless of their reaction, however, they all have one thing in common. They are wounded beyond the ability of their soul to handle any more pain.

Sometimes our anguish is so intense, that we do not want to admit it, even to our self; pain that we are afraid to verbalize, in fear that we will feel the ache all over again, or even more intensely than we felt it the first time. We may not even know or remember the incident, which inflicted this trauma. We may have disassociated from the event, so that we can forget it in the hopes of stopping the pain.

A good method of releasing this pent-up torment is to write about it on a piece of paper – to keep a journal in which we write truthfully and often. We allow our soul to express the cause of our pain and the profound feelings we keep buried deeply within our soul. There is no need to write a whole paragraph, a phrase or a sentence will do.

Reading it to someone else is your option, but not a necessity. Just one sentence is all we need, in order to diffuse the terrifying emotion, which is keeping us in bondage. If you do not remember the incident, then just list the negative emotions rampant in your soul right now: anger, bitterness, revenge, brokenness, depression, discouragement, hopelessness, etc.

Then, ask God to disclose the source of these emotions; to reveal the lies, which Satan planted in this experience; and then to express His truth about this hidden pain. God knows the end of our life from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He was there when we experienced this pain. He wants us to lay our pain at the Cross, and to ask Jesus to make us a new creation; so that He can care for us (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22).

Prayer:
Father God, it takes courage for us to go hunting in the recesses of the jungle of our mind. Weeds, vines and underbrush wall in our pain; and we will have to break through these barriers in order to expose the anguish all over again. Pour out Your love upon us as we embark on this journey. Pull out the splinters of pain that have festered over the years from neglect. Renew a right spirit within us and give us Your joy as our strength (Psalm 28:7, 51:10, 71:26, 94:19; Nehemiah 8:10). Then help us to help other hurting people to find freedom in Your love as well.

Thought for the Day:
As we draw nearer to God, we can resist the devil and he will have to run from us. – James 4:7-8
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