Lightening the Load

th-6This morning as I read my morning devotion in Jesus Calling I was struck with the stark realization that my “backpack of life” has been getting very heavy.  I have gotten very good at stuffing it full of moments that I will refer to as “Not Being My Best Self.”  Those moments consist of poor decisions I have made, memories of the times that I have hurt people both intentionally and unintentionally, times when my vocabulary has been filled with venomous words that were designed to bring people down and not to build them up, times of selfishness, times when I neglected those that I love, things that I should have done and things that I did not do.  Each of those moments adding weight to my journey of life. Each of those moments an epic failure in my thinking that “I” can do better. “I” can be better.  “I“can think better.

th-2Oh, THAT DEVIL!!!  He sure is tricky.  Look at how he has encouraged me to fill my backpack with memories and ideas that    place focus on me and what have or haven’t done and distracted me from taking those “”Not Being My Best Self” moments to my Savior and laying my weighted load at His feet and leaving it there, focusing on what He has done.When our sinful nature leads us to focus on ourself instead of our Savior and His forgiveness we are robbed the peace that His grace and forgiveness provide us. Our load is not lite and there is no peace.

How much weight do you carry? Is your “backpack of life” filled with past sins that you can not forgive yourself for?  Is it filled with thoughts, looking back and wishing you could undo decisions or actions you wished you could change?  How much energy do you spend in the past or worrying about the future?  How heavy is your load?

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,  because we are sinful humans we will continue to make mistakes.  To think that we could live an error-free life is faulty thinking. (In the mental health world we would call that maladaptive thinking)   Our God is able to take even our worst mistakes and bring good out of them.  Our mistakes, regrets, and poor decisions can be a blessing reminding us of our dependence on our Lord and teaching us how to better love those around us.

Worries, hurts, and regrets are heavy when we try to bear the burden on our own and place our focus on ourself.  Trust your Savior.  Talk to your Savior.  Take your burdens to Him.  Let Him carry the load and don’t pick your load back up after giving it to Jesus. Leave your load with Him.  He tells us in Mathew 11:28-29,  28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

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Unpack your “backpack of life” lay your heavy worries, regrets, and hurts at Jesus’ feet.  Lay in His presence with your lightened load and rest.  Feel His peace.  Feel His love. Feel His Grace.

Blessings my friends,

Terri

 

 

Learning to Walk with Jesus through the “Why”

Why is this happening to me?  WHY is this happening to me?  Why is THIS happening to me?  Why is this happening TO ME?  When painful things happen we are often left questioning “WHY?.”

Why does tragedy exist if God is a loving God? Why did this happen to me?  Why does God allow me to suffer? Why am I not able to move on from bad decisions of my past?  Why do people hurt me?  Why do I hurt people? Why am I selfish? Why are others selfish? Why do I hurt? Why?

Often this type of thinking leaves us looking for a response to questions that a human being can not completely answer.

When God created the world, He created it perfect and in His image.  When Adam and Eve sinned God was very clear as to what that would look like for mankind on earth from that point forward.

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God said to Eve:

“I will greatly increase your pains in child bearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16)

God said to Adam:

  • “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and dust you will return. “(Genesis 3:17-19)

Tragedy, pain and suffering are the result of evil (sin)

Evil/sin summarize the trauma, pain, death, crux, loss, and hurt of all of our earthly suffering and pain

God tells us that we will never be able to fully explain or understand the reason of our specific trails.

  • “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

God allows suffering in our lives to expose the fullness of His character.  His love and mercy, His compassion and concern, His forgiveness and redemption, HIS GRACE.

John 16:33  We hear Jesus’ words of encouragement and comfort.  He says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus tells us that our peace for all of the suffering and pain that this world may throw our way is found in HIM.  He also tells us point blank and straight forward, ” In this world you will have trouble.”  He did not say “may have trouble”, “with any luck you will have a trouble free life”, or based on your good actions and intentions you will have less suffering and pain.”  Jesus tells us that indeed we will have trouble, but he does not stop there.  He tells us the good news of what he has done through HIS suffering and HIS painand HIS death.  “TAKE HEART!!!!!  I have overcome the world. ”  Oh what comfort and joy those words bring to a suffering heart.  Our Jesus has conquered our earthly strife and promises us the joys of ETERNAL LIFE through HIM.

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God allows suffering to bring us to the feet of Jesus our Savior

Today I spent some time reading about Hannah.  In Samuel 1:1-18, God tells us that Hannah was married to a man who had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah.  Peninnah was able to have children but the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb.  Not only did the inability to have children grieve Hannah but to make maters worse Peninnah would provoke and irritate Hannah.  Can you imagine,  not only having to share your husband but to have “the other woman”  give birth to the children which you so badly desired but where unable to have? Can you imagine, having your rival make fun, taunt, ridicule, provoke, brag, and be little you to the point of dispare.  The Bible tells us that this went on for years.  YEARS!!!!  Even Hannah’s husband became concerned with Hannah.  He asked, “Hannah why are you weeping?  Why don’t you eat?  Why are you downhearted?”  Hannah was in deep dispair.  Hannah suffered from depression.  Hannah was bullied.  Hannah had to share her husband.  Hannah was unable to have the childen she so desparately desired.  Hannah grieved.  It is evident that Hannah suffered loss, pain, and sorrow.

You see even people in the Bible experienced the same types trials, tribuation, pain and suffering  that we do today.  Are you struggeling with “WHY”?

Asking “why” creates an empty cycle of frustration and often leads to dead end answers.  “WHY” is the wrong question altogether and can lead you down the path into deeper into the pit you are screaming to exit.

The focus should not be on looking at the tragedy that happened, but on how to have a healthy response to tragedy. If tragedy consumes us then two tragedies result; not only will tragedy be an event, but it will also have the power to destroy us.  Not asking “why” something has happened allows us to move through suffering and come back stronger.

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Let’s look at how Hannah moved through her pain and suffering.  God tells us that Hannah went to the temple where Eli was the priest.  God says that Hannah, “In bitterness of soul wept much and prayed to the Lord.” We are told that Hannah was praying in her heart, that her lips where moving but no sound was coming out.   Eli the priest questioned Hannah and questioned her behavior.  Hannah told Eli about her pain, anguish and sorrow, and she explained to Eli that she was praying to the Lord.  Eli listened to Hannah and blessed her as she left the temple.  We are told that Hannah left the temple and was no longer deeply troubled.

Hannah acknowldeged her grief.  She took her troubled heart to the Lord.  She knew that the Lord knew her heart even if the words escaped her. She shared her grief with someone she trusted and Hannah looked forward.  Hannah chose not to focus on the diffulties of what was, but insted focused on what was to be.  Hannah did not focus on the “why”.

Moving through suffering requires that we do not get stuck on the “why”.  Why is there pain and suffering…………because we live in a fallen world.  Jesus tells us that indeed we will have trouble, but he does not stop there. He tells us that our peace for all of the suffering and pain that this world may throw our way is found in HIM.

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My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ if you are struggling, look to your Jesus.  DO NOT GET STUCK IN “WHY”.  Take your hurt to HIM in prayer.  Find someone that you can trust, seek professional counseling, and be patient and gentle with yourself.  “TAKE HEART!!!!!  I have overcome the world. ”  Oh what comfort and joy those words bring to a suffering heart.  Our Jesus has conquered our earthly strife and promises us the joys of ETERNAL LIFE through HIM.

Blessings,

Terri

Adapted from: Becoming Resilient How to Move Through Suffering and Come Back Stronger by Donna Gibbs