When Life Crushes in on You….Where Do You Go?

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?”….. (Pr 30:9). 

There’s something about the crushing weight of life that keeps us pressing into the Lord.  Have you ever felt it?  The weight of life?  The worries and troubles?  The hardships and burdens that we bear?  They can quickly make us angry, bitter people.  Angry at ourselves, God and others.  I sense this anger towards others and my circumstances burrowing its way into my heart right now.  It’s not peaceful, it brings with it trouble and greater burdens to bear.

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But you see, those burdens are always the ones that I either chose to hold onto or are the ones that I choose to walk away from and let go.  Will I carry this burden of carrying what people think of me or will I live each day to make my Heavenly papa proud?  Will I wear the weight of shame because I messed up before others once again?  When will I give up on trying and start trusting the Lord for my daily bread?

You see, when the heart is trusting, it is in a fruitful place.  When you trust God with your job that seems uncertain, finances that feel scary and your life that seems so out of balance- good fruits on its way.  Our faith is tested not in fruitfulness, but in the fire.  I wish it was the other way around.  I wish that fruitfulness was all I could see in my life, but the thing I’m learning about fruitfulness is that it grows in me, sometimes, without me knowing it.  Through tiny deposits of grace, I can be at peace and at rest in my Father’s love.

Truly, this is good news.  It’s good news, because it’s His news.  It’s His grace, love and forgiveness that sustains me.  Truly, He is the sustenance of my daily bread when life feels like its starting to crush me once again.  In this I have hope, that my Heavenly Father walks with me.  These are the moments in life that keep me trusting and for that, I can be thankful and rejoice.

Father, you are everything.  You hold me close.  You are my joy.  Be my delight today, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.  

Feed The Right Roots

The wicked desire the stronghold of evildoers, 

but the root of the righteous endures…(Proverbs 12:12). 

Pay careful attention to the roots that you’re watering in your life.  Roots of bitterness, resentment, and anger can spring up so quickly in our lives.  They get planted through an unrighteous thought that leads to another unrighteous thought until the valley of your life is covered with dry, dead bones of bitterness, anger, and despair.

Don’t let yourself swim in their misery.  They have nothing to offer you but death.

This life of fighting for right beliefs, pure and lovely thoughts is the real deal.  It’s not for the faint of heart and it certainly isn’t for those who think the Christian life is one easy day lived out after another.

You see, a life rooted in Christ is set on a firm foundation and the enemy of our souls looks for ways to chip away at that firm foundation, rooted in the love of our Savior.  When my mind becomes rooted in Christ, I can have the right thoughts that are not dependent upon me and my abilities to make things right, but upon His wisdom and kindness to make all things new.

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So today, I’m fighting for right beliefs, simply because, I must.  It’s not a matter of just forgetting about them or pushing them aside.  I must, instead, face them head-on.  Truly, this is the only time that I will see God’s truth reign in my heart.  When I am willing to join Him in the battlefield of my mind, with the truth of His word and His grace.

Lord, I surrender every thought to you today.  I need to hear your voice.  I must follow your leading and your peace because if I don’t I’ll start to believe the lies instead of the truth of what you have said.  Father, I don’t want to spin in circles, not knowing how or where you’re leading me.  I want to live in grace, held close by you, in Jesus name, Amen.  

 

Living Under The Crushing Weight of Other People’s Opinions

That day David first appointed Asaph and his associates…(1 Ch 16:7). 

The Lord gave me a visual picture today that I wanted to share.  You see, there’s been this crushing weight that I’ve been living under.  It’s the weight of the opinions of other people.  Especially those opinions that come from people who I believe have power over me.  Power to make my life go really, really bad, so I’ll go about my day with the hopes that what I do next might impress or please them.  This is such a trap and quite frankly, it’s so unhealthy.

It’s unhealthy because it clouds my ability to hear from my Father because I’m not sure if what I’m doing is actually pleasing my Faher or serving my flesh.  I am constantly asking myself, “Heather, what’s motivating you here?  Why are you doing this?” Maybe I’m serving my flesh because I’m afraid of what trusting God and walking in faithfulness to Him might actually mean for my life if I don’t impress all the right people.  That is such a crushing weight to live under.

As I was praying and processing through this realty, the Lord showed me myself, being crushing by the weight and opinion of others.  He showed me that in order to be free, I had to get out from under those opinions, stand on top of them and simply reach up like a little child.  He then would hold me in His embrace, far away from the opinions of others as I was held deeply in His love.

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I’m not sure where life brings you today.  Maybe you’ve to have been weighed down by the opinions of others and in doing so it makes it hard for you to lead.  You feel crippled by fear so you don’t lead well in your home, work or other areas of life.  You’re fearful you might not look like a good parent, sister, friend or co-worker, so instead of trusting in your Father’s love, you live under the crushing weight of all the opinions you think people have of you.  All of this circles back to a misunderstanding of your identity.  At least, that’s what I’m learning.

You see, I am not the best me when I am living under the weight of what I think people expect of me or what I fear they will say of me.  I am my best self when I am reaching up, being embrace by my Father as I am held by Him and His love.

Father, I long to be held in your love and embraced by your grace.  Lead me now beside those quiet waters.  Thank you for your love.  Empower me by it, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.  

Just Me and My Father

his kingdom had been highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel….(1 Chronicles 14:2)

There’s this humbling journey that God has been taking me on the past few days.  He’s been unmasking years of insecurity that I’m starting to see for the first time.  Quite frankly, I thought that I was living in a healthy place, not out of fear, but in humility.  However, the more I’m allowing God to dig into the true motivations of my heart, the more I’m finding that my intentions, really have been led more by my insecurity than my freedom in Christ.

It’s hard work to let God dig deep into the true intentions and motivations of our hearts.  I had no idea how messages I told myself as a child could play themselves out so strongly now as an adult.  I’ve always been a performance junkie, wrongfully finding my worth and value in what I produce for people, so that I might receive their approval and praise.  This had made me constantly make life about me.

When I see others succeed, all think to myself, “Yeah, but what about me?”  When I produce something of worth and value I’ll feed like I’m doing something right.  Simply sitting in stillness with the Father doesn’t feel like I’m producing much, so in order to feel valuable I’ll create something like a blog post to feel like what I have to offer now has value because I can share it with others.

Therefore, I’m not going to be writing as often.  I’m going to work on spending time, alone with just me and God, so that I don’t keep feeding this unhealthy part of my life that I have clung to for so long.

I’m hopeful that God will do a good work, so that I might find myself not in what I do, but in simply being His child.

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Father, I want to live in my confidence in you.  I have lived many years for the praise of man.  Now, I want to live differently.  Keep showing me those hidden sins, those insecurities I’ve clung to and please, make me more like Jesus, Amen.  

A Good and Gracious God

We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy…. (Dan 9:18). 

God is immensely gracious.  He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  His mercies are new every morning and He does not turn His face away from us when we have done wrong.  That’s because He is an ever-pursuing, unconditional loving Heavenly Father.  That is good news for people like me who don’t always get it right.

Sometimes the enemy wants to convince me that God could never redeem my situation, but that’s just not true.  Then, there are other moments when the enemy wants to convince me that God isn’t fair, but mean and unjust.  I have learned, in the season, that the reason I don’t always press into truth, is because I have a problem with my own personal ego . I’m recognizing that I have become a master at making situations all about me.  It’s that hidden pride that is the worst, for truly, it infects us in ways that we cannot see, but that everyone else sees and experiences around us.

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Therefore, today I’m taking very seriously the person that I am apart from Christ.  The one that still needs His light to shine the darkness that I sometimes cling to and have clung to.  I’m asking Him to go into the hard places of my heart to reveal His truth, so that I might be met with mercy as I walk in repentance.

You see, God can do very little with a prideful heart, but He can take the humble and use them for great Kingdom work if they are willing to head His voice and rise to the challenge of walking an even greater path of humbling.  You see, for a long time I thought that if I was humble God would call me UP to do great things and my stage would increase, but what I’m learning through this journey is that when God calls us up, He gives us a shovel to start digging, not to build a bigger stage, but to create a place for people to join with us as we allow God to uproot all the junk of our past and the present sins surrounding us.  It’s that inner transformation that we need and that’s only found as we trust in His mercy to make us new.

So friends, I pray that today would be the day that you press into His mercy for your life. Remember, it’s not about you.  It never has been.  That’s a truth I have to remind myself of daily.  When we do recognize this, we can start making others a greater priority then ourselves and when we experience this in it’s fullness, we become the aroma of Christ to those around us because they experience Him within us.

Father, I want to live differently.  Help me to give up myself, so that I might take up more of Christ and His character.  May my thoughts be pleasing to you.  May my actions bring your glory, in Jesus name, Amen.  

Meet Fear Head On

When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went out to meet them…(1 Chron 14:8). 

What do you do when your enemy starts to put the pressure on?  I’ll be honest, sometimes I shrink in size and stature and bow to its power.  Other times I’ll let the enemy run around in my head trying to convince me of things that just aren’t true.

Then there are days when I do rise for battle, take up the shield of faith and stand strong and firm in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Those are my best days.  The days when I don’t beat myself up or allow fear to swallow me up.  The day when I don’t take for granted the spiritual power that lives inside of me through the resurrected Jesus.  That is the boldness I can take with me to meet the enemy on the battle lines, knowing that I will stand victorious as I trust in the name of Jesus to fight for me.

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I’m not sure where life meets you today, but this issue of fear within our world is pressing in on us from all around.  What will we do as Christians as we fight against it?  Will we shrink back and give up all of our personal freedoms because it feels safer to do so, or will we walk forward in the confidence that we have in Christ, allowing His Spirit to guide and lead us?

Fear is something we must meet everyday and we must know that we stand victorious over it.  It cannot crush us nor defeat us because of Jesus.  For in that we can have hope, an everlasting hope that will never disappoint us.  In that, we can rejoice.

Father, today I want to meet fear on the battle lines.  I can stand victorious over it, because of your love.  That is a beautiful truth today.  Because of you, I have everything that I need.  I have all the promises of God.  I have what I need in you, in Jesus name, Amen.  

Make Me Feel Important

And David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel….(1 Chronicles 14:2). 

Positions and titles have made me feel important.  Yet, any title of authority that we are given is simply an opportunity to serve those who are with us.  It should never be looked at as a chance to now control or live above someone.  We should never seek to be seen by others so that we might be praised by them.  But, that’s what our sinful hearts want sometimes, isn’t it?  We want people to see us and think that we’re great.  Being a servant requires hard work, letting go of ourselves and a willingness to sit with people, instead of rising above them.

That’s the interesting thing about Jesus.  Whenever someone tried to make him King, he never took the bait.  He kept living with the people, walking with them, meeting them on their level and creating opportunities to have fellowship with them.  That’s what a servant does.  They set aside their own desires to be someone to attend to those around them.  The greatest servants make Christ and His Kingdom their most treasured pursuit.

I struggle with this reality.  I find myself asking myself, OK, what can I do today that will help generate more interest in some projects I have been working on?  Essentially, I’m wondering who I can use to help me get ahead….ouch.

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Now, there’s nothing wrong with have friends who support us in our gifts, but if the only time we check in with them is because we’re looking for them to do something for us, we have a problem.  You see, people will rally around who you are because you’ve made them feel as though they matter.  People rarely, if ever, rally around what you do, but they will rally around who you are and how you’ve made them feel.

Therefore, as leaders we must look to serve people, not to gain something from them, but to simply be something for them, so that we might be a true servant of Christ.  So that the world might see Christ on display in our lives, not in what we do or in the titles we hold, but in who we are through the risen and resurrected Lord.

Jesus, I want to be a true servant.  Please help me to do that.  I know how selfish I can be. I know that it doesn’t please you.  Please help me to see the depth of my sin in this so that I might turn towards you and be healed, in Jesus name, Amen.