Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Valentine

“Here are the central truths of this chapter:
The only way we can trust such a wild Lover is to know that his heart is good.

We see God’s heart only when we look at the Larger story with God as its hero.

What we discover when we do is a jealous Lover who has been pursuing us from before time began.

And life is revealed to be the great Romance we have longed for it to be.”

“He rescued me because he delights in me.” Psalms 18:19b

Okay so I’ll be the first to admit sometimes I can be a little slow to catch onto things, but sooner or later I finally get it. Sounds a little strange... but last night I realized that I am happy. I was totally prepared to be bummed out this week because once again I didn’t have a valentine, but instead I’ve had one of the best weeks ever. I guess lately I had been so caught up in worrying about how people had hurt me that I didn’t even think about all the things I was thankful for. Since I turned all those negative feelings to God on Sunday, I’ve felt like a completely renewed person.

All it took was me playing in my first soccer game last night to realize that God greatly loves me and knows exactly what is best for me. I know it probably sounds silly that a soccer game made me realize that but it did. Getting involved in soccer has been something that I had wanted to do for years, but out of fear I never tried to get involved with a team. Even last night before the game I was nervous. What if I didn’t do good and made a complete idiot out of myself; would the people on my team hate me? It didn’t take long for me to get into the game and the support of my teammates felt so good that all my fears quickly vanished. I had the most fun that I can remember having in a long time. I can honestly say that this is something I may totally get addicted to!

So I was driving home after the game all dirty from sliding across the field three or four times and smelling like grass and sweat and I had the biggest grin on my face and I was just thanking God for where I’m at today. I’ve gone through a lot in the past couple of years and I was having a hard time letting go of everything and moving forward. I wanted to believe that God had my best interest in mind but I wasn’t willing to let go of the pain I had experienced. All these years I’ve been longing for amazing romance and I’ve had this wonderful God pursuing me, yet I’ve tended to look right past it. Well last night a light bulb went on and I was just amazed at everything that I had accomplished over the past few months and I knew that it was all of God. Tears of joy came to my eyes and for the first time I wept out of happiness instead of pain or regret. Thank you, God, for being a jealous lover and pursuing me, and giving me the choice to love you back. Thank you for making this Valentine day the most special one I’ve ever had. I love you!

(Okay quick update I'm on cloud nine..... A girl from my team asked me to play in a game with her tonight on another team she is on..... I'm having a great day!!!!!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Please God open my eyes even though I try to keep them shut

“I don’t really see what God is up to. It just seems that I’m experiencing trials. Yes, I often feel like that too. But if you’ll look a bit more carefully, you’ll see that the trials in your life have a pattern to them. And when you look at your smaller story, the way in which you try to arrange for life, you’ll make the connection. May I suggest a simple prayer?

Dear God, I know you are up to something in my life. But all it feels like right now is just hardship and difficulty. Open my eyes. Show me what you are after. Show me the way you are trying to redeem me. Amen” The Sacred Romance

Today I randomly read some verses in Psalms that dealt with the same issue that I was learning about in the chapter I read today. Mmmh I wonder if God is trying to tell me something??? Yeah, I think so……

“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep me from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalms 19:12-14

It’s kind of crazy how God speaks the same message to you thru all different sources. As I was sitting in church this past weekend, I couldn’t keep the tears from rolling down my face because I was convicted of bitterness I was holding onto in my heart. Even though I know that God has big plans for me, I still get caught up in creating the smaller stories that I can control in my life. I realized today that a good part of my pain, depression and hurt may possibly have been avoided if I had relied on God in the first place. I’m looking back over my life and I’m seeing a very clear pattern: I make my own choices and then when things don’t work out I run to God for him to fix everything for me.

Praying that God will reveal your weaknesses to you, can certainly break your spirit but I know that it will be helpful to me in the end. I have orchestrated my own life up until now and I see that it has not gotten me anywhere. So I still wonder why it is so hard to let go and let him take control of everything. I know that Satan tries to creep in at any chance he can get and so I’m praying for extra protection right now. (He delivered me from my powerful ememies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was the weakest. But the Lord upheld me. He led me to a place of safety; He rescued me because he delights in me. Psalms 18:17-19)

A few things that God has revealed to me so far this week are:

1. I am too critical of those who are close to me. I expect perfection and am too critical when I don’t get it. It is not my job to change my friends. I can encourage but I don’t need to turn into a nag. It’s not my place to try to judge others and unfortunately that is what I feel like I’ve been doing which really sucks because I hate it when others do it to me. Also it's easy to see sins in other people's lives and miss those in your own. Please God continue to show me my own faults and continue to work on making my life all that you want it to be.

2. I put too much faith in men. My whole life I’ve been looking for the one that is going to save me when in reality I don’t need saving I’ve got God for that. I let relationships come between my relationship with God and I believe that is why none of them have worked out so far. Then when those relationships end, I have to start all over from the beginning with God. This is not a great way to live; I get no where.

3. I am easily manipulated. I know what is right and what I want to do, but I let others convince me fairly easy to do otherwise. I am praying that God will give me the courage to stand firm to what I believe in.

4. I get trapped in the past and what could have been or how I should have done things differently instead of learning from my mistakes and moving forward. I continue to remind myself that everything has happened for a reason, but sometimes I still struggle with believing it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Guarding my heart

“The only thing more tragic than the tragedy that happens to us is the way we handle it- the choices we make, the person we become, the life we live (or don’t live) Jesus said, “Whoever shall seek to save him life shall lose it” (Luke 17:33). The things we do to protect and preserve our hearts usually end up hurting us more. To choose to shut your heart to love- so that you won’t be hurt- is to deny the very thing that you are made for. To demand perfection of yourself so that no one will ever critize you again is to lay an intolerable burden on your back.” The Sacred Romance

I’m reading a book right now that has forced me to look into my past and confront the very things that have hurt me the most. I have always had a big problem with dealing with the major issues of my life; I had almost convinced myself that if I ignored my problems long enough I would forget about them or make them go away. However, what I have found is that ignoring them just makes my heart more numb and less likely able to love again. For years I have been putting up walls that make it nearly impossible for people to get close to me because I thought that if they knew the true me, I wouldn’t be good enough to keep them around. So what happened is that no one knew the true me, not even myself. I let my low self esteem issues dictate how I lived my life and I was never happy because I always felt alone. I also lived out of fear that people would find out my past so I limited myself to jobs that did not do back ground screens. I let a stupid mistake I made at the age of nineteen affect my life for over ten years. I beat myself up for making an error in judgment instead of learning from my mistakes and moving forward.
I’m at a very pivotal point in my life right now because I am starting over with work and relationships and I know that until I deal with the issues of my heart I will never be successful in life or love. When I think of love, at this point it seems easier to revert back to my old ways of controlling relationships so that I don’t get hurt, but I know that I will never find true love if I continue to guard my heart. I am continuing to pray that God will heal my heart and show me how to love with my whole heart instead of me trying to control it because I have learned that great sadness comes when I don’t listen to my heart. With work I’m praying that God will continue to open doors for me and give me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and pursue careers that I would have previously categorized as off limits. I am also praying that he will continue to reveal to me what is holding me back in life and continue to break down the internal scars I have from living with regrets. Once again I am thankful for all the second chances that he has given me and am hopeful to get things right this time. I know that “he’s still working on me” and so I don’t need to expect perfection from myself; instead I need to continue to make him a priority in my life and trust that he will lead the way.