Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Lesson.

More and more I feel like the only thing this blog may be accomplishing is to confirm to the people around me that I am in fact very strange and quite insane. It seems I have some lesson God has taught me to write about every day. Either I am quite strange, or God talks to all of us each and every day in both ordinary and extraordinary situations. The real issue here, then, is do we stop and listen or do we ignore. I think, if we are seeking and open, God wants to speak to us all day every day and teach us in every situation we find ourselves in. So I will, non the less, be faithful to write, as often as I can. I will write in a small part b/c God asked me to and I find that it is always easier to do what He asks in the first place. If we choose not to obey, it just doesn't usually go well, or at least it doesn't for me; I end up doing what He asked anyway; it just ends up being a little more painful when I disobey first. It's kind of like when we were kids; we can obey in the first place and things go smooth, or we can disobey, get spanked and then do what we were asked to do in the first place. The other reason I will continue to write is that the things I am to say continue to bubble up and multiply inside of me whether I choose to let them out or not. The pressure of the build is uncomfortable, though, and the only way to let the pressure out is to release it here.

So, the Christmas lessons. This will probably not be exactly what you are expecting, but here they are.

First lets deal with the physical and its manifestations.

Yesterday, we ate junk, junk and more junk. It is our family Christmas tradition to basically feast on horsdevors all day long. We start of the morning with sausage balls, which were a little less damaging due to my suggestion to use turkey sausage as opposed to pork sausage in them. We also cook canned cinnamon rolls, orange and plain. I woke up knowing that the choice of food would cause me to be miserable, and sleep all day. The dull head ache began after breakfast and continued all day. I felt like my eyes and head were full of cotton. I was also almost immediately overwhelmed with the need to go to sleep. I ate at least a dozen cinnamon rolls and probably a dozen sausage balls. After a movie and nap, lunch followed. Lunch was actually more like dunch, it was pretty close to dinner time. We watched another movie and feasted on what would have seemed pretty innocuous to the normal person. I am not the normal person. My body is very picky and reacts pretty violently to food that is deemed unacceptable (not by me, but literally by my body). It seems the better I eat and the less often I feed myself junk the less willing my body is to tolerate it. I get more and more sensitive to food and add more and more to my list of no no foods. Sometimes I wonder if I am just allergic to all food and if the day will come when I can not longer tolerate any food. Will I be forced to live on a feeding tube? (not really, but it does seem my body is less and less tolerant, and reacts more violently.) I lay on the couch almost all day, sleeping and watching movies and feeling sick and terrible. It's like my body said, "I don't know how to handle what you have fed me so I have not choice but to shut down and be comatose for the day." We ate mini egg rolls, fried dinner shrimp, mini quiches, bagel bites, spinach dip, and chips. That is not great food, but not like the worst. My body treated it like toxic waste. The symptoms my body gave me to let me know it was not happy were, pain in my joints, lethargy, headache, and being very cranky.

I woke up this morning knowing that running might be a challenge, but determined to run and try to sweat some of the toxicity out. I had taken Christmas off from running and hated it. I missed the time with God, the endorphins and the feeling of being centered all day. I knew that I would not be able to tolerate a second day off, but wondered how bad it would really be. Well, I did have some pain with a lesson to learn. I was so thirsty that I literally drank 3- 33.9 oz bottles of water during the 2 hours I worked out. That is the next lesson. I was so dehydrated that my skin and lips are literally chapped. I keep putting lip balm and lotion on them. They feel like they are going to crack off. And I drank a lot of water yesterday.

As I ran the first lesson that came to me was before the pain or water lesson. As I prayed for some of the situation and people on my heart, I began to see a picture in my mind. I find that I pray a lot for God to wake our hearts up and help us to be fully alive in Him. I read an amazing book called Waking the Dead by John Eldredge. It was amazing and I recommend it to every one, especially those who are followers of Christ. We, as a church, have been so guilty of killing our hearts, b/c we don't know any other way to deal with the hurt we have endured and are enduring. We have been convinced by the enemy that our hearts are evil, that desire is wrong, that we are supposed to buck up and just "do the right thing" whether our hearts are in it or not. I don't think I am even beginning to do justice to the book, but it was life changing for me and really impacted my walk. After reading that book, I began to pray for people that God would help them see that their hearts are good (b/c Jesus dwells there, how can our hearts be evil if He lives in them) and that God values and loves our hearts more than we can even comprehend. Proverbs says, "Guard your hearts, for out of it spring the issues of life." Jesus says the rivers of living water will flow out of our hearts. Romans says "if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." How can they, then , be evil? Jewish tradition makes the heart a much bigger thing than we make it. Since the Word was written within Jewish traditions and framework, then understanding some of that framework would give us a deeper understanding of the Word. The heart is the mind, will, emotions. Our hearts are the dwelling place of God; from our hearts we dream and love. We cannot find God externally. Sometimes we run around from place to place, church to church, experience to experience, trying to find God. Some of us try to fill that longing for God in alcohol, relationships, stuff, family, or accomplishments. We cannot be fulfilled with anything, but God. That hole will only be filled when it is filled with God and we cannot find God externally, we have to look inside in our hearts to find Him. I am not trying to negate church, community, service, or family; all of these things are important when they are are in their proper place, but they cannot fill the hole and we cannot truly find God in any of these if we have not found Him in our hearts. He is quiet and gentle and loving always waiting inside for us to listen.
So I pray that God shows everyone the goodness and value of their hearts. I pray that God would work in each of us to remove those things in our hearts that would keep us from knowing Him and making Him fully known. I pray for God to remove the anesthetic that deadens our hearts, and that he would resuscitate our hearts. He needs to heal, restore, redeem and change our hearts. Some of us have been so hurt and have walked in denial for so long that there is a thick crust covering it. Some of us cannot even begin to live and feel and dream, b/c there is so much concrete over our hearts. As I began to pray for our hearts and especially for the hearts that have been so devastated and crushed that they despair ever being whole, I saw a picture in my mind. I saw that the process God goes through in our hearts is kind of like digging a well. I have seen a lot of video of well digging b/c the millions who are without clean drinking water in the world concerns me and moves my heart. What I have seen in the digging of wells is that it takes a lot of digging to even get to liquid. Once they get to the liquid, it comes out muddy at first. Then, as they continue to dig, the water begins to run clear. I saw how much this parallels God dealing with our hearts. He begins to drill, deeper and deeper, sometimes it takes a really long time to get anywhere. The crust can be thick and very dense. When He breaks through there is water, but it is muddy. It is like His word and goodness, mixed with the debree, and corruption that dwells in our hearts. When we continue to seek Him and let him drill, eventually the water begins to come our clear and clean.

The next lesson was the pain lesson. I knew when I got up to run, (as a matter of fact I knew when I went to bed last night) there would be pain. I have also learned that, most of the time, if I run through the pain, it eventually stops and I get to enjoy my run. Now if I wanted an excuse not to exercise, I really would have one. I could get up and try, when the pain hit me I could just stop and not work out and be okay with the excuse that my legs were hurting very badly so I could not work out that day. I could write a whole page on what God showed me about excuses, maybe another day. I do not, however, want an excuse b/c I love running. My morning run with God is my favorite most treasured time of the day. I am usually pretty annoyed if there is a reason I cannot run. As I spoke to myself and God about the pain and knowing that if I pushed through it I would reach the place of enjoying my morning run, another parallel crystallized in my mind. God just seems to speak to me in everything. When we walk with God there are different seasons of that walk. Sometimes there are painful seasons. We may lose someone we love; we become ill; we may lose economic stability; there are endless possible sources of pain for us.

On a side note, all pain is relative. We have to come to a place where we stop comparing pain to others. We are all different and react different to pain. What may not hurt much to me, could be devastating to you and vise versa. It is especially true during childhood. Being laughed at can be just a painful or worse than being hit. Never being good enough is just as damaging to a person as my sexual abuse was to me. If we could learn to acknowledge and validate one an other's pain for what it is instead of trying to one up each other, humanity would be making a huge leap forward.

When we experience pain in our walk, it can be very difficult. We have to push forward, though. We are running a race; we have to finish. We cannot give up and stop running. Fortunately, Jesus is the "Author and finisher of our faith". He doesn't let us give up and stop running. He will let us slow down or even get distracted, but He never "leaves or forsakes us". We do have a choice through the pain, though, we can run from Him or we can run to Him. The only thing I know to do when pain hits is to cry out to Him, to ask for His help, and ask Him to give me the strength to keep running and not give up. He is faithful to help us keep running through the pain and then suddenly we realize that it doesn't hurt anymore and we are enjoying the race again.

Lastly, I want to cover the water lesson. As I drank water and drank water, I was quite astounded at the amount I drank while I worked out. I wasn't forcing myself to drink; I was just that thirsty. God showed me that, as my body was requiring a lot of water to help it process the toxic waste that I had dumped into it, so we require a lot of the water of the Word to combat and process spiritual toxic waste. That toxic waste can be in the form of bad doctrine (which I did have a lot to combat at one point in my walk). It can be addictions, such as pornography, drugs, self destructive patterns, unhealthy beliefs about ourselves or identity issues. The more toxicity inside of us, the more of the Word we need to pour in to be able to combat it. I was so full of toxicity, when I came to know Jesus. I think that may be why He gave me such a hunger for His word and such a drive to consume it. The first couple years, I read and read and read that Bible. I was starving for it and as He illuminated it to me, it was like a banquet filling me, satisfying me, and transforming me. I must have read the Bible cover to cover at least 3 times the first 5 years. I slowed down for a number of years. I still read it, but just not so voraciously. It has picked up again over the last 2 years. Those first few years really gave me a strong foundation and made me able to find my way around the Bible pretty well. Reading over and over has committed so many scriptures to my heart and mind. Many of them I did not set out necessarily to memorize; I just read them enough that they stuck in my head, kind of like songs do.

These are the Christmas lessons God taught me. I actually learned them the day after Christmas b/c I was comatose most of Christmas. Next year we are going to have to change the plan to something a little less destructive to my body.

God is so good all the time. He is so faithful to me. His love is better than wine. I am so glad that He is willing to walk with me and teach me every day. I am so glad He gives me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to believe.

Proverbs 27:7 says, "A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

When we are satisfied with what this world has to give us and full of self satisfaction even the beauty of Gods word is something we don't really desire, but when we are hungry for God and desperate for all He has to offer us, even the bitterness of pain, struggle, persecution, and loss is sweet to us b/c He is there in it speaking and working and comforting.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoedy reading your lessons that you have learned. And yes, you are quite strange. You don't need a blog to prove it. But, that's how God made you, and one of the reasons I love there. =)

    But, to speak on how you realized the lessons God had for you...about how your body feels like most things are this, I am envious. My body takes in absolutely everything [except for spicey foods]. I can go days without drinking water before I finally feel like I am going to crack. I hate that I get to the point, but my body doesn't let me know until I am to that point. Basically what I am saying, is that yes, you can't enjoy a lot of foods that others can, but that is not a bad thing. My body doesn't tell me, it just gets worse over time.
    I find it absolutely amazing how you can translate every day things into God. I can to an extent, but not in the ways you can.
    You are a blessing.