DLRB Goals – 11/26-12/1

Do

Learn

Study 1 Corinthians 4:8-13 [Daily posts sent over to Gracefully Overcoming’s Facebook page].

Read

some of Genesis
Book: Starts with Praise
Book: Made for Pleasure

Be

. . . Restful. Above all else, what I need most this week is authentic rest. Physically, emotionally, spiritually – in all areas, I need to experience God’s rest this week.

“Be still, and know that I am God!
    I will be honored by every nation.
    I will be honored throughout the world.” [Psalm 46:10, NLT]

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30]


I normally have a memory verse set up for the week. I am not sure where I will “land” this week. My ultimate goal is to be steadily in the Word of God, so I am “tuned in” with what the Lord God has to say. So often, I get distracted or feel too unwell to read my Bible. Even though I don’t feel well, I need to make sure I stay in the Word of God.

So, that’s my goals for this week. Nothing too big. This new week requires recovering from Thanksgiving break on my end. How about you? What are your goals for this week? Share with me in the comment section below, and I look forward to hearing from you. Also: Feel free to share any prayer requests you have, so we can pray for one another.

Image by Naomi Suzuki.

Seeking Christ,

When Loneliness Strikes…

Trials on a Tuesday is a weekly series that focuses on a topic relating to trials, and how we can glorify God in the midst of hard times.

What do you do when loneliness strikes, in the midst of a trial? This is not an exhaustive post. This is not a “how to fix your life in five easy steps.” This is me, a broken person reaching out to share my heart and hurts.

Loneliness hurts.
It is hard to feel alone.
Especially if you are lost in a sea of faces (highly recommend this song, btw).

Maybe, nobody knows your struggle. The struggle often is left unsaid, for one reason or another. So many suffer in silence. It isn’t planned that way (for some, it might be). It’s just how it ends up going.

  • Acknowledge how you feel and the situation you are in. Living in denial and trying to cover up emotions is not a way to heal our wounds. They are still in full effect. Living in denial is just a tool in our arsenal.
  • Let people know how you are doing. Honestly, I am not an expert on this tip. My heart breaks of loneliness, feeling lost in a sea of folks… Yet, I say nothing. Wanna know why? When I share, I am immune to no response. Just silence. I don’t need the extra silence. People don’t mean to respond that way. I acknowledge it doesn’t mean they don’t care. If others aren’t invested in your life, find someone who is. And if you start reminding yourself you have nobody, remind yourself that you have Jesus.

King of Kings.
Source of all comfort.

Yahweh.

The God who sees us.

Creator and Sustainer.

Redeemer.

  • Get in the Word of God and cry out to Jesus. He knows us on the most intimate level, and is not surprised when something happens to us. He knows us. He loves us. He cares, deeply, and isn’t afraid to say or show it. Spend some time alone with the Lord, just being real about it.

    One of the first steps to take is acknowledge before God how we are honestly doing. Bring it before His throne. It is then that healing begins. It may not be instantly, but the cleanse begins.

  • Meditate on the truth that He is always there. Lately, I have been at a crossroad. Will I realize Jesus is my biggest supporter? Let Him fill that aching gap in your spirit.

May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion (Psalm 20:2, NIV).

  • Focus on what you know is true. What does God’s Word teach you, personally? What comes to mind? Keep reminding yourself of those things. I put together this list – just to keep me which I am overwhelmed and struggling. It may not be physically, but emotionally or spiritually. It is my go-to-youtube-playlist.
  • Lastly, let’s talk triggers briefly (I know, right? Briefly?!). If you have certain things that set out a keen awareness of lacking support, see if you really need that thing in your life. 10 days ago, I let go of my “main” facebook account. Best thing I could have done! It caused me more harm than good. I can peek on my “main” facebook under my alias, but so far nothing noteworthy. People have my email address (0 messages, thank you).

But, seriously… we need to consider if that trigger is actually worth it.

“Is it going to build me up in my walk with Christ?”

Truly, will __________ (insert trigger of sadness, here) build me up in my walk with Jesus? 90% of things, we can safely answer as a “no”. As always, pray about it first, and seek Him in the Word!

Together, let’s seek Him and conquer the obstacles we face.

“[I]n all these things [whatever hardship we face] we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:39, NIV).”

Signature

Sunday Strength: Overcoming Darkness of Depression

Depression.

We all have heard about it.

Likely, we have experienced it ourselves. Maybe, we haven’t been depressed ourselves, but have known someone who has.

Psalms: Anatomy of All Parts of the Soul

This Sunday Strength, I want to discuss depression. According to one source, the Bible has 1,189 chapters. They are not solely chapters found in an ordinary book, rather these are the places where we can hear from God. Think about how many words from God, that is.

 In the book of Psalms itself, it has a word count of…

Nearly 45,000.

Psalms is known as the book of “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul” by John Calvin. John Calvin is a popular theologian, who spent much time gleaning from the Word of God. Calvin goes on to say:

“for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are won’t to be agitated.”

Our Caring God

God cares for us. This is the truth learned from Psalm 34:18. In this small nugget of a verse, we learn that God cares for the broken. God cares for us, even when we feel the most broken and fragile. When we feel profoundly hurt by life and circumstances, God reveals He deeply cares for us.

His desire is not to leave us in this place, but to be our Refuge and yes – even our strength. He desires to save those who are “crushed in spirit.”

God’s Power

One of the most remarkable truths is – God isn’t afraid to step into our pit of darkness. When we are in despair, God isn’t afraid to step in. God longs to caress us, and be our strength! He longs to be our resting place, and to bring our hearts out of such a rocky place and place us on solid ground (see Psalm 40:2). He invites us to experience His magnificent power in our lives.

As we think about our own lives and swimming emotions that can make us feel as though we are drowning, I encourage each of us to read and meditate on this passages below.

“In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1, AMP).”

“The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one. Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out (Jn. 1:1-5, MSG).”

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell… (Col. 1:15-19, ESV)”

Designed to Overcome

 

I want to highlight one aspect of these words from God – our Creator. He is all-powerful. There is nothing we cannot overcome, when we have God on our side. I know the depression may be crushing you right now, but seek God. Scripture reminds us that “when we draw near to Him, He draws near to us (James 4:8a).”

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome [His light] (John 1:5, TNIV).”

Reflection –

How can you invite God into the hardest aspects of your life? Perhaps it is something other than depression, but you stand broken. Our brokenness is not too great for God to handle and enable us to overcome.

The Destructive – Popular Road (Part One)

We should expect an increase of violence in the land we live in. In the United States of America. If we think it is bad now, we can expect it to get much worse. But, how can I say, such a thing? Why would I say such a thing? When we deny God the authority in our lives that is rightly His, we can expect a deadly, destructive path. As Scripture states,

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7:13-14).”

While the road may be broad and appealing…. When we deny God’s authority in our lives and follow the “popular” road, we are fighting against a holy God! (see Acts 5:38-39) I have news for you. If you go against God, you will not win – until you come to the other side, and realize your need for Jesus as Your Savior! Then, you have joined the winning team. By His grace.

I know what the Word of God says.
I know what the Word of God teaches us.
I know if we do not seek God, we will seek the world.

In seeking the world, we will pursue things opposite of God – opposite to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. God is the Author of such things. How can you expect such things, if you are dead-set against God – a holy God? Instead we become lovers and pursuers of ourselves and the world’s offerings, this is what we can expect: Violence. Turmoil. A decline of acknowledge of any unchanging truth, especially those found in the Holy Bible. And, so much more.

Things don’t have to go this way. It can be stopped. The question is only, will we do something? We need to change the course we are on, right now. It must begin with each of us – one at a time.

We find specific instructions in the Word of God. This series is about overcoming the “destructive, popular road” that our society pursues. Instead of a God – honoring lifestyle, many choose the disastrous (yet popular) lifestyle. Following God has become a rarity in our culture, when in fact following God needs to become the norm.

Seeking after God’s heart needs to become our only pursuit. We need to return to our Creator. We need to stop fighting God, and begin to seek Him. We need to seek Him, and absolutely refuse to stop!

Stay tuned, as I begin to share them.

Loneliness and My Space

nouwenLoneliness.
How can it be soo incredibly loud?

When lonely, it can be easy to feel pushed away. It can be easy to feel that way without loneliness or depression’s help. Easy to feel not valued. Others, apparently, all have something far more important to say than I do. My comments. My concerns. My verbalized emotions put out there, when I have trusted others to help support me… They all get pushed aside. Whether they mean to or not, they do. They are pushed aside. They are ignored.

In this atmosphere of just me, a keyboard to write a blog, and away from everyone, this is where I feel like I belong. This is home. It is just me in my space: to think, to process, to pray, to dig into the Word of God, to draw closer to my Creator. My introverted ways come out, here in this place. To identify. process, and soothe emotions and a broken heart.

This space helps the loneliness to not be so very loud.
It quiets the loud noise of being ignored and pushed aside.
It is a place of absolutely hope.

In my life.
In God.
In Jesus Christ, my Savior.

The relationships that increase the loneliness,
The moments of being pushed aside,
They may still be there when I talk to outsiders again.
But for this short while, it is all good.

There is peace and not so much brokenness.
There is solitude.
There is comfort.

Through it all, it helps me to learn. to grow. To be encouraged.
Other’s actions reflect on them.
It doesn’t reflect on me, or determine my value.

As hard as it is to walk this muddy road, God is enough!
God listens to my words, cries, screams, groans. He listens to my prayers!
He helps me to know Him more.
He helps me to remember that He IS enough!

While many things are left to be pondered and evaluated, I can remain certain of one thing: My God is enough!
He is my Shepherd (John 10:10, Psalm 23:1).
He is the One who fights for me (Exodus 14:14).
He heals my broken heart (Psalm 147:3).
He prepares my hands (and heart) for the future battles I will face (Psalm 18:34, 144:1).
His peace transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Because of the heartache, whether it is of others or my own emotions, I can enjoy sweeter communion with my Lord and Savior. It is not an easy walk. It has not been an easy journey. It has been heartbreaking. But somehow, God makes my life and relationship with Him more beautiful through it all. It deepens my faith, and draws me a step nearer to Him than I have ever been before. It teaches me a spiritual lesson that I need to learn, and hopefully I don’t need to relearn it too many times.