Purge, Fast and Reset

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3

Most everyone’s answer to the question, “How are you?” is “Busy!” That may be the cultural norm but I cannot operate that way everyday or I suffer in all the areas that end with “-ally” physically, mentally, spiritually. I seem to have a disorder again clutter and chaos. I cannot operate well when I am in a room that is cluttered or messy. I feel stress and agitation. I feel this same way when my life gets too busy and chaotic.

I remember as a teenager, reading a magazine, I saw an add for Noxzema face cream. (If you grew up in that time, did you just instantly remember the smell of that stuff?) I remember seeing the add and my attention drew to how her room was decorated. Her bookshelf was clutter free and clean. Of course, that was not real life, but it struck me how peaceful I felt. That began a change in me to try to be clutter free and organized. I began to freely donate items and give things away to friends. My best friend, to this day, calls this action, “Going Quaker”. Did I always stay clutter free and organized? No, I still like stuff and wanted to have more. I didn’t curb the desire to want less. So like, many of us, I would realize how messy things are getting again, do a big purge and clean out and donate. I would feel light and free and calm. Then I would see a sale ad and go buy again. This happened not just in the physical but in the psychological. I would hold on to resentment, bad relationships, and eat my feelings. Vicious cycle.

As my relationship with Christ matured, I started putting Him first. It started by taking part in the fast that our church would encourage to do every January. Whether it was food, coffee, t.v., social media, it had to be something that had a hold in your life. Something you were doing too much of. I knew if I wasn’t on Facebook or watching t.v., I would achieve reading the entire Bible. I remember one of the things I chose was fasting from reading or watching anything to do with celebrity gossip. If gossip was wrong to do amongst ourselves, how was this right to care about celebrities? I stayed away from it for the month and it changed my view on watching it forever.

I believe that when things get out of balance, God sends that feeling of conviction to purge out the bad, fast and then reset. It is overwhelming to start with everything. Prayer is what I use to determine what my fast is for. God will tell you what you need to let go of (purge). It may or may not be difficult. He will equip you with instructions on what to do. But with all major changes, it will be hard and the enemy will do everything to tempt you. But like it says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” Then you fast for that time. See what He is trying to show you, why this is not needed in your life at this time or forever. Lastly, you reset. You see where you stand and live your renewed life.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to recognize the areas in my life that need to be removed. Give me the motivation and the desire to live the life you meant for me. Thank you for your instruction and guidance. When I purge something that is not letting me live my best life, fill it up with your promises for me. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Everything is Temporary

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

As you may already now, I do not like going to the dentist. I am managing to get through cleanings and exams without running out of the office. Little victories. Sometimes, there are things that need to be done, that are just difficult. One of these things is getting fitted for a night guard. There is an impression mold one must suffer through, sorry…one must do to in order to have the night guard made. This bite tray is filled with the thickest goop and then I have to let it sit in my mouth as it molds around my teeth. It is the 5 longest minutes ever recorded. My goal is to not gag and cry. Usually both things happen and for the cherry on top, you then have to pay for it and they are not cheap. I had to get one made. I was whining (no other way to put it) to my husband that I have to do this. He said in a very calm voice “Everything is temporary. As much as you don’t want to endure something, it will end at some point. You just have to get through it and it will be over.” I realized, this can apply to anything we go through in life.

When difficult matters arise in our lives, big or small, there are truly temporary. We need to remember this no matter how much it doesn’t seem possible. A traffic jam, the baby won’t stop crying, the long line at the store, back pain, listening to the long winded venter, the flu, one’s fight against cancer, our life…it is all temporary. I am not making light of difficult situations, especially health battles and persecution. Our lives or things in it being temporary isn’t to bring sadness, it should actually bring encouragement. The encouragement that God may reveal something to us, to carry out His will and strengthen our patience. We will get through it, this too shall pass. This temporary life is preparing us for what is eternal.

Prayer:

Dear Heaven Father, when I have to do things that seem uncomfortable or annoying, remind me this is temporary. Forgive me for complaining about the things in this life. I thank you for all the things you have blessed me with that I have taken for granted. Please give me a better attitude. Let your light shine in me and find the positive in all I do in a day. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!”

Circles in the Sand

A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Proverbs 25:28

The book “Boundaries” from Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend is one of the most influential books I have ever read. I never knew what a boundary was when it came to my mental health. As I read this book, I realized my lack of boundaries and how I hated have them put against me. It is a long road to establish them and to continually enforce them. You have success and then you don’t. It can be frustrating and weary. But they are so important to keep.

I wrote this post in my series, “Daily Lessons Learned”. “It is so important to make sure your mental health is well, healthy. It is OKAY to seek help. Recently, I have been dealing with someone who has never asked for help in this area. They think everyone is at fault except for them. I know their past has haunted them and this is why they are the way, they are. While it hurts my feelings with the words they spew, I have to make sure my boundaries are keeping me safe. The most important thing is asking God, what to do. It sounds so cliche, but if you remove yourself from all the noise this world puts out and just listen, you will hear the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit instruct you in what do do. I am always trying to fix things and make things happen. But it hasn’t always worked out. Simply ask, “Lord what is it you want me to do”…trust me, something will be said. It may not be what you want, but it is what is right.” I will expound on this particular situation.

I was very hurt in the conversation I had with this particular person. I called a dear friend and she listened and said, “well let’s pray about it.” So we did. I don’t always hear a word at first, I get a vision. I saw many circles in the sand. I would see a wave of water come across them and some of the circles would wash away. Then there were the circles that remained. The water seeped into the line of the circle but never went into the center, similar to a moat. I asked God, “What do you mean by this?” I heard, “Strengthen your boundaries and the size of them depend on your current state of your relationship with this person. Sometimes, you have to stand your ground and other times, you can listen and compromise.” I took the next 2 weeks, to wait to call the person. I felt I would be too emotional to talk to them. I called and calmly spoke to them, stated my thoughts and offered a solution. There was a sense of calm, we both explained ourselves and arrived to a solution. Thank you Jesus!

Sometimes it takes years to be able to deal with difficult people. It is okay. We learn things in the process and got will redeem lost time and pain!

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray a hedge of protection around me when I am dealing with difficult people and situations. Holy Spirit, I ask that you show me what I need to do and what I need to say. I thank you for redeeming lost time and pain in all that I have encountered. Help me accept other people’s boundaries and have your supernatural peace in life. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

The Prayers for My Husband Changed Me

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” I Corinthians 13:4-8

Those bible verses are spoken at most weddings. It was spoken at mine. I have been guilty of doing the opposite of what these verses are teaching us to do. At the beginning of my marriage, I received and bought the books about praying for your spouse and having a Godly marriage. I tried to be that good little wife that all the Christian wives aspire to be. A lot of the times, I just couldn’t muster the strength to work towards a solid marriage. My marriage wasn’t bad or dramatic, it just wasn’t what I had envisioned it to be. I was too busy trying to fix myself that I zoned out on my relationship with my husband. Then you add a child and more of life’s stress, you feel like roommates instead of soul mates.

My educator husband was trying to transfer to another school for several years. He finally was given an opportunity to go to another school. He began a new chapter in his teaching career. He was nervous and excited. I always prayed for his career. I never had a problem remembering to do that. I prayed for his protection and giving him stamina and patience over the entire school year and favor with the administration. At this time, we had celebrated 11 years of marriage. I honestly felt like I didn’t like him anymore. I was too tired to even want to make things better. When his new school year started, I prayed my usual prayer of “hope he has a great school year”. I asked the Lord, what else did He want me to pray for. I felt a prompting from the Lord to pray for my marriage. I began to prayed for the following things: I would fall in love again with my husband, I would see all that I take for granted of what he does for me and our child and what a great man he really is. God answered that prayer rather quickly.

In that same year, our child started at the same school for Kindergarten. I took the opportunity to volunteer in the classroom. I saw what a teacher goes through nowadays. I was exhausted with all that has to be accomplished and taken care of in one day. I got a glimpse of what my husband goes through and he teaches middle school math. Double yikes! No wonder why he would come home and not want to talk and just fall asleep. Also, I had many different staff members in the school tell me how much they appreciate my husband and all he does for the school. I would have parents tell me either their child now likes math because of him or he was their child’s favorite teacher. The compliments for him were abundant. It opened my eyes to what I had all along. So when he came home that day, I couldn’t wait to see him and I hugged him wouldn’t let go of him when he walked in the door. He thought something was wrong with me. I told him, I loved and appreciated everything he did. In his usually dry humor he said, “well it is about time you noticed.”

If you have a relationship that has solvable issues, please pray for them. Don’t ever give up on something you know God has promised you. God wants our relationships to thrive and be beautiful.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray over any relationship I have that is currently under distress. I pray that you reveal what I may be doing to contribute to the mess and how I can change. Show me the way you want me to see them. Eliminate distractions and help me to focus on what is necessary. Let me see all the good they possess and how we can work together to make things change for the better. Create an open dialogue and communication in my relationships. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!”