Thursday, March 11, 2010

Peeling Back the Layers

I have to start off this post with a confession. I have not been very obedient to God's prompting to be still during homework time.Ugh, this is soooooo hard for me!  And even during those times when I am able to be physically still, my mind is often racing and my spirit is often unsettled.  I am trying to be honest about this with the Lord in confession, without beating myself up either.  Beating myself up about missing the mark is usually what I do but that just leads to more paralysis and defeat.  I am trying to understand what it means that God accepts me just as I am and to give myself a little grace, too.  At the same time, I am striving to grow and change.  But, that is another post all together. 

I started out this post with that confession, though, because I recently had a moment of stillness before God that was very profitable.  It was a peaceful time of conversing with the Lord and hearing Him respond clearly to some of my struggles.  I want to share it here but I don't want to make is sound like I have it all together in terms of being still and hearing from Him,  hence the confession.     

So, what that said, I recently had the opportunity to engage in an exercise of sorts that involved becoming very still and quiet before the Lord and then facing some troublesome emotions head on.  As I have shared before, the most destructive issue in my life is anger and weak self control.  I have seen some improvement this year in these areas but this exercise helped me to dig deeper into the drives behind the emotions.  During this time of stillness, God began to peel back the layers to reveal what lies underneath my anger.  He revealed that my anger exists as a protector for me.  It is there to cover a fear of giving too much, of being too vulnerable in my relationships.  God once again asked that I allow Him to cover me, to protect me.  He reminded me that my drive to protect myself by expressing my anger inappropriately was a result of unbelief and a lack of trust.  He clearly prompted me to move from an intellectual belief in His covering and protection to a heart based faith and trust.  He clearly told me to choose joy in all circumstances, even those that are difficult for me. 

You should know that putting these insights out here for strangers, friends and family to see is very difficult for me.  For a long time, I hid my struggles from everyone, or at least I tried to.  I was so ashamed to be a Christian woman who struggled with anger.  I felt very alone and believed that other Godly women I knew would not understand and might even judge and reject me, so I kept quiet.  But now I know that that was a ploy of the Enemy.  If he could keep me alone, he could keep me in the pit.  If the sin stayed in the dark, no one could shine any light on it.  So, while it is not natural for me to "put it all out there", I know I must.  And I know that God will use my story to minister to others.  In fact, just yesterday, He opened a door for me to do just that with a young mother at my mid-week Bible study.  During the discussion time, she was hinting around her own struggles with anger.  I could have remained quiet and she might have sensed she was alone in the battle.  But I felt the Lord prompting me to approach her and share James 1:19-20 and a little bit of my story.  Her eyes welled up with tears and I could see the relief in her body language when she heard that she was not alone.

I also just feel compelled to say that God is always so gentle with me.  Whenever I finally give Him access to my heart, He never hurts or condemns.  And He always confirms what he has spoken through His word.  The very next morning at the mid-week study, the morning devotional was taken from Psalm 86.  As I read along with the speaker, my eyes locked on verses 3 and 4.  Their message was confirmation to me of His prompting to choose joy over anger.
"Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul."
I titled this post Peeling Back the Layers because as I reflected on the experience I had with Him, I  imagined the layers of my emotion being peeled back just as an onion's outer layers are peeled away to get to the part that can be used.  I think that is still a good analogy but the Lord gave me a better one- that of a Great Physician gently peeling back the dressing on a wound so that He can heal.  I am endeavoring to allow Him to do that and to believe with my heart that He will.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

oh man.
I understand peeling back the layers.
the past two years have been all about that for me. some of it painful, some of it healing and redeeming...all for His good. one thing it has made me is more willing and able to be real and authentic with others--living in Christian community with others. thanks for being so real, girl! i love you!


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