I’m going to be boldly honest in this post because I want to speak to the inner silent struggles that some of you deal with or have dealt with. My life used to be a daily taunting of that inner degrading voice. I don’t go there as much but when I do it reminds me of the miraculous healing God has done in my life and also of the debilitating struggle that so many deal with.
The other day I got distracted. OK, I got discouraged!!! I started whining to God about what wasn’t happening in my life instead of praising him for what was happening. I was painting my daughters bedroom and needed desperately to get finished by a certain date. It was my third painting task (laundry room, dining room hutch, and now a bedroom!) and I was worn out! My intention was to complete all three tasks in one week (not too bright). It was my second week and I was tired of it! I was supposed to be done!
I physically and mentally drove myself into a pity-party. This used to be the norm for my life but Praise God, hasn’t been for a long time. This actually made me feel even worse; I felt guilty for even going there!!! With every brush stroke I was thinking about what I wish was going on in my life…wondering why the opportunities weren’t coming through…wondering what was holding me back…wondering why others were having success and I wasn’t—all the places I go when I stray from the heart of trusting God.
Later that night I read in Numbers 13-14 (challenge to read the Bible in 90 days) about the Israelites. God had told Moses to send some men out to explore the land of Canaan. Moses sent out a leader from each ancestral tribe. When the men returned they gave Moses account of what they saw: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. BUT the people who live there are very powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large…..” (13:27-29) Then Calab (from the tribe of Judah) silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Now take in to consideration Calab saw the same thing the other leaders saw. The other leaders jumped in and said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” (13:30-31) So they spread among the Israelite people a great fear of defeat and doom. They said, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (vs.33) Do you ever voice those feelings? Does the feeling of inferiority and defeat ever run through your thoughts?
Well that night all the people wept aloud and grumbled in despair, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? …..Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt? And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”(14:2-4)
OKAY!!! Wow! Have you been there? Have you ever said, “Lord, I don’t know if I can do this anymore. This is too hard! Am I ever going to have it all together? Is this dream/vision ever going to happen? Surely Lord, you didn’t bring me this far for nothing?” When you’ve grown weary of the struggles, when things aren’t going as expected, or from waiting for the next opportunity… do you ever say these words? I have and I’ve heard them said by many others. To be honest I silently thought those words earlier that day. I could see myself in the pages of my Bible right slap in the middle of the crowd, guilty of crying out in defeat and hopelessness!
It gets better, read how God responded to their disbelief: “The Lord said to Moses, How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, In spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?”(Num.14:11) Oh, how easily we forget when our selfish eyes are on what isn’t happening, or what seems impossible, or what others are getting to do. In our “WOE ME” self-pity we forget how far we’ve come. We forget how God has redeemed us and how he has provided above and beyond our comprehension. We forget the promises, the blessings, the answered prayers that He has already bestowed on us. We forget how He sacrificed his Son Jesus Christ so that we wouldn’t have to pay the price for the sins of our disbelief. Oh, how easily we can wonder away from the Truth….from the shepherd. I will confess God got me at “refuse to believe in me!” Oh Lord, I don’t want my actions to speak refusing YOU! Yet, when the TRUTH lies boldly before me and I choose to believe Satan’s lies and live in defeat, then I’m choosing to refuse God and his promises.”
I had a choice that day…but I refused to change my attitude and focus on the truth. Truthfully I had set myself up. I had taken on way too much with high expectations. I had no energy left and it was just easier to go with my emotions.
What are some ways I could have redirected my thoughts and remembered God’s goodness?
Praise Music: I could have set up my ipod and listened to music and sang aloud Praises to GOD! I love to sing! Not only would my thoughts have been focused on the wonders of God but I could have used the time to exercise vocally.
Teaching Tapes: I could have used this time to listen to some Christian teaching tapes or inspirational books. This would have taken my mind off of my thoughts and put them on the Truth and motivational words spoken.
Walk away: Sometimes you just need to walk away and be refreshed. It may seem like a good idea and a necessity to get the job done but if it is driving you crazy…it’s not worth it! It would have been better for me to take a break and go for a walk, meet a friend for a visit, and just mentally be refreshed.
Take a nap: This is important! After I stopped what I was doing and took a nap I was refreshed and less anxious. It was only after taking a nap that I was ready to hear from God and see the Truth. If we are listening…seeking…God always has a way of bringing us back to where our heart is centered on Him.
Take time out with God: Go back to God…to the Truth. Don’t listen to the voice in your head; don’t dwell in your pity party. Seek God; He will bring you back to a place of surrender and renewal.
One of the greatest differences living in the Old Testament and today is that we have forgiveness through Jesus Christ. He paid that price for our sins. He took the punishment so we can live in a full victorious life for God. “Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.” (Heb. 9:15 Message) Mindless degrading thoughts are definitely dead-end efforts!
I hope you will return for my next posting. We will look again at Numbers 13-14 and the power of our words and perception.
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Peggy Reeves is a speaker, writer and life coach. To find out more about Peggy please visit her website and blog at www.peggyreeves.com and http://embracinglifewithpeggy.blogspot.com