Do You Listen When Your Heart Speaks?

I heard an interesting statement by Danny Silk of Bethel in his podcast “Expectancy”.  that we need to break off the vow with ourselves that we won’t be OK because “fill in the blank” has happened. 

It raises a question from my last post. If we are tapped into this river of life and it flows up from our roots/core/heart, what happens when we don’t want to listen to our heart because we are afraid of what we might hear?  

Literally a "cross-roads" in front of my house.  To listen or not to listen?

Literally a “cross-roads” in front of my house. To listen or not to listen?

So frightened that if we listen, all we will hear is the pain of loss, grief, hopelessness, and come face to face with the child in us that is crying out for whatever it needs or has needed for longer than we can remember.  We don’t want to hear because we don’t know if we or anyone else can meet that need. 

That is exactly the place to which we need to give a voice.  I can promise you from my own experience doing that won’t destroy you.  How can that be true?  That place where whatever thing or person to which we connected in the past to try to get that need met has failed, God wants to fill with His love (Rom 8:38-39), light (John 1:4-5) and truth (John 8:32) in order to set us free from the ungodly belief the need is unquenchable and unfillable.  You will have to fill-in your own blank on what is your “go to” to meet your needs.  It may be a parent, a spouse, a job, food, control, being a perfectionist or even isolating yourself, to name a few possibilities. You can recognize it by the numerous times you have turned to it and it always ends with the dismal result that declares “no hope”. 

Where those things have failed to meet our valid needs for love; for identity; for safety, to know our value and worth; to be seen just as we are and completely accepted; for connection; for healing for a broken heart – God wants us to let whatever those sources are “off the hook” for being our supply. 

If that source is a person to forgive them for being broken themselves and just not having what we need.  If it is a thing like perfectionism, isolation, control or food to break off the agreement we have made with it that it can keep us safer than God can. If it is a lost loved one, to break off agreement with the lie that allowing God to our heal our heart means we didn’t love them.  Follow that by making the choice to forgive ourselves for choosing whatever else we chose over God and asking God to forgive us for making that choice.  Jesus knew we’d make such choices when he said “forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  Our Heavenly Father’s promise to us is if we confess our sins and ask His forgiveness, He is quick and faithful to forgive  (1 John 1:9). 

Now is when it really gets good, because we are then ready to turn and to give those oh so very valid needs to our Heavenly Father to be filled exceedingly, abundantly above what we can dare to ask or imagine according to His riches in glory. (Eph 3:19-20, Phil 4:19).

Definitely a reason to listen to our hearts with hope!

Unfolding the past – part 2

IMG_0766Photo by:  www.mediawebapps.com

The unfolding continues and with it the creation of more space.   That space Jesus told me He wanted to create in me for rest.

There has been 2 parts of this unfolding.  Seeing what I had done.  Seeing what Jesus wants to do.

What I had done:  

For my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water
Jeremiah 2:13

It so resonated within me as I read this verse that just like Israel, I had turned from the source of eternal, fresh supply of life/water God had created to flow from within them. The Greek word for living waters is more literally like life that flows from the womb in the menstrual cycle, i.e., something that is innately part of them that perpetuates life.  Instead they and I chose, whether intentional or unintentional and for whatever reason, to try to create something “other” to meet our needs.

There has been many facets and layers over many years to the unfolding of this ungodly belief of trying to do enough to be enough to be loved by myself and by God, but I think I finally get it.  I’ve been trying “to do” everything I was actually created “to be”, i.e. do love, do joy, do peace, do hope rather than being loving, being joyful, being at peace, being hopeful.  Big difference and that difference has been wearing me out.  That has been my cistern.

What Jesus wants to do:

Next the angel showed me
the river of the water of life,
sparkling like crystal,
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Revelation 22:1

A cistern is a tank.  It requires effort to fill it.   Even that does not work because over time the container cracks and cannot contain what is poured in.  Your cistern may look different than mine.  How can you recognize it?  Anything in your life where you rely on your own soul’s power to meet a need, rather than relying on God.  Those symptoms look like constant effort, constant frustration, constant drain of resources and energy to maintain a supply for a need.

It is a classic re-demonstration of doubting the heart of God towards us, just as Eve doubted.  We question if God will withhold that which we need which creates confusion to the point we believe (perhaps unintentionally) that we can/will take better care of ourselves than what the Creator of All will provide for us.  Why would we do that?  Because we want to trust in what we can see and contain [a cistern] rather than in a spring whose source is beyond our comprehension and who does not fit in our “box”; is not under our control.

It results in constant doing in some form or fashion to fill the cistern to get our needs met; rather than being filled continuously, innately, as designed.

Why would our Heavenly Father take the risk of creating something as volatile as free will that provides such a choice for us?  Because just as we want to be loved unconditionally, He wants to be loved unconditionally.  He wants to be our choice.  If there were no choice, it would not be love. It would be control and manipulation.

The river of life that springs forth out of God Himself on His Throne is what supplies life to us; creates life within us and overflows out of us to impact the world around us with the kingdom of heaven itself.  Life begetting life. 

Every person gets there own well.  Can you see it?  Just as rivers flow underground and people tap into them via wells, Jesus is the way (the well), the truth (the tap into the source) and the life (the river itself).  As Jesus told the Samaritan woman, an eternal spring constantly bubbling up within us.  It comes up from where we are rooted; through our foundation.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that it is not a top down filling, i.e., head/intellect first.  It starts with our roots/core/heart.   Then it flows through us to fill and saturate us completely to the point that we overflow.  The Greek for the word “flow” in Revelation 22:1 is actually “to gush”.  We can draw and draw and draw some more and this river will never run out.

The space within that Jesus wants to create within me, within you to be connected to that source has been intended for you and for me since before time began.  Now that is a reason to hope!

As I was driving to work, I "saw" when I had been experiencing.  God creating a space in a dark, crowded place for His light and truth to break through.

As I was driving to work, I “saw” what I had been experiencing. God creating a space in a dark, crowded place for His light and truth to break through.

Unfolding the past

Stunned.  Yup I think that’s  a pretty good word to sum up that past 48 hours.

Psalm 32:5 puts it this way:

I acknowledged my sin to You,
and my iniquity I did not hide.
I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord
[continually unfolding the past till all is told]—
then You [instantly] forgave me the guilt and iniquity of my sin.

Before I go any further I want to share my simple definitions of two “religious” words.

  • Sin – anything –  thought, word or action – that separates us from God
  • Iniquity – any belief about God that does not line up with Who He truly is

Back to the last 48 hours.  I was on my acupuncturist’s table due to another round of persistent Fibromyalgia migraines.  He tells me “Make a clenched fist.”  Ok. Done.  “Now hold it as tight as you can for at least 30 minutes.”  My response was not words but a look of “Are you nuts?”  He continued … “No, you really don’t have to do that, but can you see how sore and tired your hand and wrist would be if you did?  It would probably feel that way for a couple of days.  I am seeing this ‘clenched’ place at your core that has been that way for a very long time.”

Now to someone who has been on a journey of inner healing for the past 16 years, this is definitely NOT what you want to hear.  I experienced this over-whelming feeling of failure as I tried to take in “I’m my own problem …. again”.

Then something amazing began to happen.  In this completely exposed place — no masks, no pretense, just the raw me — Holy Spirit went to work in a heart beat.  I feel somewhat like an Apple product with constant upgrades to my operating system :) .  If I’m counting correctly I believe this is upgrade 3.0 on space creation.  All this revelation began pouring in.  I think the best way I can recount it to you is the way I entered it in my journal … bullet points.

  • This tightly clenched space at my core that my acupuncturist is seeing is also the place You want to create space for rest, isn’t it Jesus?  Space for me to relax and let go.  How can I receive what You have for me when clenched?  It is impossible, just like a clenched hand cannot receive.When I got home I went for a walk to ponder where this all started.
    On the road to unfold the past with the light of truth

    On the road to unfold the past with the light of truth

    Just like the setting sun was shining through the trees, revelation came that this clenched place in me has been that way since I was in the womb, bracing myself for what lay ahead because I was not wanted.   No wonder I am so tired.

    [Aside:  I was a "surprise" to my Mom and Dad late in life and my Mom was quite open with me telling me stories of how she didn't want me, but after I got here she fell in love with me.  I know she never had any idea how much it hurt me to be told over and over I was not wanted because from her perspective it all worked out OK.]

    • Enter the ungodly belief (sin) that I have to stay braced/clenched in order to keep myself safe and be prepared for what is next.  That was the “answer” I came up with to “be enough” to keep me safe.  That answer is not working out for me so well.
  • The unfolding continued as I saw that the pain I’ve been experiencing in my neck and shoulders is because I’ve literally been carrying “the weight of the world” on my shoulders for quite a while. At least that is how it has felt trying to come up with answers both for myself about my health and for others as they encounter huge needs and feeling totally not enough to do that.  My head knew I am not responsible, but my heart has been afraid I’m failing.  Gee does that sound like the enemy’s torment?  Telling me I don’t have what it takes; I’m not enough but somehow I still need to make it happen. Do you know what the kicker is? There is actually truth contained within that torment.  

    What’s the problem? The ungodly belief/sin twisted around the truth that I’m not enough was a “fault” or “short coming”.

    Enter the gift of serenity.  God will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3).  Hallelujah!

    Yes, it will never change that “I’m not enough” … the good news is, that is NOT a problem.  It is actually quite freeing.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! I saw a space appear between the weight of the world and my shoulders.  You, Jesus, slipped into that space to take that weight upon Your shoulders.

No coincidence that the scripture I read yesterday morning was Psalm 37:7  Focus on the Lord, be in awe of who He is, lean into the reality of who He is waiting with the expectation of His arrival to set things right by His presence, all that He is and what that provides – provision in ways that are beyond my imagination or comprehension.

Back to where we started – all this unfolding of my past with revelation of ungodly beliefs  that separated me from God and distorted my view of Him – as quickly as I became aware of them, acknowledged them and exchanged them for the truth Holy Spirit provided to replace those lies – I was instantly forgiven and set free.  My Heavenly Father has known all along what has been in my heart.  He wanted me to know so I could be set free from it and made able to receive all He has for me!  He wants the same for you!

Sound good?  It is, but there was more to unfold.  I am still in the midst of that process.  I’ll share it with you soon, just not tonight because it’s getting late.

My prayer for you is you will embrace the unfolding of your past with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to create the space for rest in your spirit, soul and body.

The Ultimate Letting Go

Question #1 for you.  Is there a dream you have that feels so visceral that you just “have to have it”, i.e., without it life is just not enough and you can’t love yourself?

Question #2 for you.  Who does that dream depend on for fulfillment – you or someone else?

I recently had revelation that my answers were #1 – yes, #2 someone else.

Do you see where that could be a problem?

I have prayed, hoped and cried for this dream for so long that I can’t remember life without it.  I finally have my answer and it in no way looks the way I have, until very recently, told my Heavenly Father that it needed to look in order for life to feel complete and for me to be able to love myself and not feel a failure.

Curious?

In tech-talk it is an upgrade to my recent software installment of “letting go without giving up“.  Revelation came that I was unfairly putting an IOU on another person for me to feel complete and to be able to love me and to feel good about me.  Prior to the revelation I had seen this need as what I deserved or an even uglier term “my right” … just being transparent here.

My prayers had all been make this person act this way so life can be good and I can love me.  “This is what I deserve” should have been my red flag.  Did I really want “what I deserve”?  Jesus actually lived, died and rose again so that I don’t get what I deserve!  My mindset before this revelation was a trap and my Heavenly Father loved me to much to answer “on my terms”.

I was crying out in prayer, again, and heard what seems to be a very prevalent theme in my life right now “let go without giving up”.  My response:  say what??  Let go of my right; what I deserve?  Where is that in scripture Father?

My revelation was I saw Jesus in Gethsemane.  He let go without giving up.  He let go of what He deserved, to be seated at the right hand of the Father, and His dream for another way for mankind to be reconciled to the Father.  However, Jesus did not give up.  Rather, He trusted the Father’s way was better than the desire of His heart.  How hard was it for Jesus to let go of His dream and the desire of His heart – He literally sweat drops of blood. 

Jesus at Gethsemane from "The Passion of The Christ" 2004

Jesus at Gethsemane from “The Passion of The Christ” 2004

I was stunned.  I’d never seen it in these terms before.  Not that what I was facing in any way compares to what Jesus was facing, but because of Jesus example I chose to let go of my dream, what I thought I deserved, and the way it had to look, without giving up.  Trusting that my Heavenly Father’s way, however it looks, is better than the way I have (past tense) believed my dream has to look and be answered.

As revelation dawned I asked my Heavenly Father to forgive me for believing and partnering with the lie that another person’s response to me determines whether or not life is good and I can love myself and see myself as a success or failure.  I forgave myself for believing/partnering with that lie and not knowing any better.  I exercised the authority the Holy Spirit transmits to me (John 16:14)  to tell the shame and discouragement that has had access to my life through this lie that it must go and deal with Jesus.  I asked My Heavenly Father to rebuke whatsoever powers and principalities that have had access to me, and those I love through this lie (Jude 1:9).  I asked my Heavenly Father to put the complete work of the cross between all the consequences of this lie and me and those I love and to heal us all.  I thanked Jesus for going first and showing me the way.  How utterly amazing Jesus is!

Do you see the gift here in God’s answer?  I am utterly free to receive the best the Creator of All has for me!  

Free to be defined by who God says I am (Psalm 8:5, Ephesians 1:4) and how I respond to that truth.  That is eternal and does not change.  Whereas my version of depending on the responses of another person relies solely on their choices in the moment.  Hmmmm …. eternally secure or moment-to-moment changing definition.  I’ll take eternally secure please :) .  

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but desire fulfilled is a tree of life
Proverbs 13:12

I think of how long I’ve been praying this prayer and filled with this longing.  My hope had been “deferred” to the point of “giving up” because I was not willing to let go of how my dream had to look.  Now LIFE has come and with it JOY!  I’ve been asking for an answer and WOW has my Heavenly Father provided.

But wait there’s more!  (I know sounds like an infomercial right :) .)  Freedom to love myself and to be complete; freedom to love those around me with no outstanding IOU’s; and freedom to hope without constraints. Now that’s a gift!  Top that off with the gift of being able to be “enhanced” by the people around me rather than depending on and demanding from them to complete me.  BIG DIFFERENCE for me and for them.

My prayer for you is that whatever your “must have” dream may be , may you be willing to let go of how it must look and trust Your Heavenly Father has an answer that is beyond what eye has seen, ear has heard or has entered into anyone’s heart, but God has for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).  An answer that is exceedingly, abundantly above all that you can even dare to dream to ask (Ephesians 3:20).

Letting Go from http://www.movingforwardmatters.com/letting-go-of-what-means-so-much/?doing_wp_cron=1411123341.5755259990692138671875

Letting Go from:
Moving Forward Matters

What Color Are Your Glasses?

Gallery

This gallery contains 4 photos.

If the “glasses” you are looking through to figure out the future are the experiences of your past, you may want to get a new “prescription”. I suggest that to you because of my own experience these past 3 weeks. … Continue reading

How did I get here?

Ever thought, felt or said that?  Well that has been the cry of my heart the past week.

I was caught unawares by situations and questions without answers.  I felt totally inadequate to respond.  My heart has felt so torn with the pain that I’ve witnessed and experienced. The specifics don’t matter for your tribulation will look different from mine. What matters is the truth the Holy Spirit revealed to me this morning “there is nothing holding you back”.  I was like a kid on Christmas morning as that truth sank in, literally giddy after feeling overwhelmed.

Since my last post life has felt like rapid-fire quicksand.  Not two words you usually use together?   Think of a fist of quicksand that first hits you then sucks you down with the hit.  

Sandman Punch

Sand Man from Spider Man 3 (2007)

One thing after another until it seemed I must be slipping away from God because what I was seeing and experiencing was so opposite to who He is.  I felt overwhelmed. I needed direction and knew it required change on my part but had no clue what that change looked like.  That was a torment in and of itself.  

I’m one who tends to withdraw and do my best to draw closer to God at times like these rather than reach out for help.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but it is possible to miss the very help you are seeking.  Multiple people were able to see my pain, even though I wasn’t asking for help.  They did not let me push them away with whatever version of “I’m OK” I was fronting to them.

As I reflect, I count 7 people that created space for me to just be overwhelmed without judging me.  Imagine that …. 7 people … God’s perfect number.

First they listened as I poured out my heart. When they responded basically they all told me the same thing even though they do not know one another.  Hmmm … might this be my Heavenly Father speaking?

So like Moses I made the choice to turn aside and look at this phenomenon.  It’s amazing what you find when you take the time to look for and to listen to the specific facet of God that each person holds.  By choosing to turn my focus, I found wisdom, strength and love right there in front of me “in the midst” of being overwhelmed.

Yet, the heaviness persisted.  Enter Jesus armed with truth.

As I worshipped Jesus and my Heavenly Father with dance and song this morning I heard the words “There is nothing holding you back.  It’s a ruse.  I’m no farther away from you than I have ever been or ever am.”  In that moment I experienced the truth of John 1:5 “A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottomsIt cannot and will not be quenched.No wonder I felt as giddy as a child on Christmas morning.  Joy and laughter bubbled up from within me.  

What had changed? Me.  Where I had been captive to the enemies lies that somehow my circumstances were putting distance between my Heavenly Father and me, I’d been set free. Truth does that regardless of circumstances created by our choices or the choices of others.

You’ve probably noticed that each of us has free will. :)  Because of that fact I have changed my thinking from God is in control to God is in charge.  He does not control our thoughts and choices e.g., Adam & Eve.  Our choices impact us and everyone around us. The ripple continues as we are impacted by the choices of others. Sometimes it’s hard to watch or experience other people’s choices.  Jesus demonstrated He understood how difficult that is when he spoke with the rich young ruler.  Jesus offered him eternal life but the young ruler chose riches.  Jesus did not interfere with his free will.  Tell me that didn’t hurt!  (Mark 10:17-27).

The good news is the hand of the One in charge is not shortened that it cannot save (Isaiah 59:1); nothing is too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:17) and because He is the only One that makes the impossible, possible (Mark 10:27)  He can take what the enemy has purposed for evil and turn it to His good purpose (Genesis 50:20).

How am I so sure?  Our Heavenly Father solved the problems of sin, death and eternal separation from God created by Eve’s choice with Jesus.  I think He can solve whatever other problem we may encounter.

Whenever or wherever in your life you ask yourself the question of “How did I get here?”  I offer you 2 things.

  • The truth that there is nothing that can hold you back from God’s love for you.  Any distance you feel is a ruse. ( Romans 8:38-39 )
  • The wisdom my sweet husband offered to me.  He is a wise man. Let go but don’t give up.  The two are opposite ends of the spectrum of hope.  Letting go put’s the matter in God’s hands; giving up declares the situation is bigger than God.

Use your free will to choose wisely.

In the midst

That’s the best way I can describe the past 2 weeks.  I have been “in the midst” of loss, migraine pain and many demands/deadlines at work.

How non-coincidental that my dream last night consisted of being in the midst of dust-bowl-type farm land with at first small mini-tornado dust clouds popping up around me. Increasingly they came closer until I was in the midst of a tornado-type dust storm.  Did I seek cover or refuge in the dream?  No.  I just kept trying to drive through until I felt suffocated by the dust getting into the car and blinded by what was swirling around me.

Hmmmm …. might that be a picture of how my heart is feeling after a co-worker whom I greatly respected, admired and enjoyed died suddenly last week?  Tuesday he was at work with us, Wednesday he was not.  Add to that emotional pain, the physical pain of more days with migraine than without recently; and, multiple major deadlines at work that didn’t allow time for either of the first two things to be transpiring in my life.

To be transparent with you, I need to confess that I turned to my organization skills to try to put some distance between me and the pain, i.e., the storm around me.  Organize, check it off the list, and repeat. That allowed me “to do” my life rather than having “to live” in the midst .  It wasn’t a conscious choice, but nevertheless it was a choice.  But just as in the dream, the storm was catching up to me and I was feeling suffocated.

While at my acupuncturist Friday he made the comment “you are bumping up against the edge of your capacity.  You need to find a way to rest.”   Let’s just say I did not receive that advice very well.  It did not match up with organize, organize, organize to keep everything in its place and manageable.

That’s was my mindset while walking Saturday morning.   My conversation with Jesus went like this:

“Jesus, I feel like it’s the end of the 4th quarter, 4th down
and the goal line seems a long ways away – what do I do?
I heard you say “rest”.
It actually made me angry.
I actually guffawed at it – like Sara did about having a son so late in life.
Hmmmm … why did I respond like that?   What does rest mean to me?
How do I be me and rest, because to me rest is you just stop;
just take up space; you add no value when you are resting.
OR – maybe it’s more like
I have no value when I am resting because I just take up space.
I think my problem might be my definition of rest. :)
I need to look up the word rest in the original Greek.
Before I could do that, I heard Jesus say,
“let me create the space in you for rest”.
 

 Jesus, if You want to create space in me for rest, that tells me You intended rest to be part of who I am, rather than rest being what I do or don’t do. How do I be restful, so that I am at rest?  It’s got to be in there somewhere in Matthew 11:28.  “I will cause you to rest, I will ease, relieve and refresh your souls.”  Yes Jesus!  Create that space in me to ease, relieve and refresh my soul.  That definitely has value!!

Look what I found in studying the Greek for Matthew 11:28.

The answer is – “REST” is not a noun, it’s a verb in the Greek in this verse.  It is the actions Jesus (in the first person “I”) will take in me (first person) when I come unto (“come to the advantage of being near” is the literal translation) Him.  The actions contained in this Greek verb “rest” that Jesus will take are:

  • to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength
  • to give rest, refresh, to give one’s self rest, take rest
  • to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation

By Jesus taking these actions, it creates space  within me in the midst of being in the presence of my enemies to sit at the table He provides for me that includes His presence, provision, protection and guidance (Psalm 23) upon which to feast.  It is God’s way not man’s way of thinking to rest and take advantage of being near Him in the midst of loss, trials and demanding circumstances rather than employing our own resources of fight or flight.  I am able to take rest for myself.  It is my choice to operate from a place of strife or rest.  How is that possible?  Because Jesus also takes the action to provide/create quiet in my soul of calm and patient expectation … also commonly referred to and known as “hope”.  I don’t  think I have ever realized before, that in order to be able to rest, I/we must have hope.  

It is out of this space within us, filled with His presence, provision, protection, guidance and hope we are to act and live rather than from the familiar place we so often inhabit of being weary and heavy ladened when we are “in the midst”.  Operating from the latter only depletes us more.

How blessed are we that we are of such great value to Jesus these are His intentions for us and that He acts in this way towards us.  

So my prayer for you is may Jesus bring revelation to you of whatsoever you have turned to other than Him to help you “do” life rather than “live” life in the midst.  May you make the choice to turn from the whatsoever and come take advantage of being near to Him so that He may create the space for rest in your life!

Wishing you this much space and MORE for rest

Wishing you space for rest in your life “in the midst”.