Clutter

I don’t like clutter.  Most of the people who work with me could back up that statement.  I’m always cleaning or organizing when I’m there.  And when there is clutter in my home (I do live with two boys!) I can’t fully relax.  So today while sitting at church listening to the sermon and my mind wandering off, I felt something say,  that this is how my mind is right now…full of clutter.

I can’t seem to think clearly lately.  And I have had an anxious spirit for awhile now.   There is so much in my brain vying  for attention.  Most of it is important stuff,  work, children, relationship issues and there is always that money thing.  But as I sat there I knew God was trying to get my attention by telling me that it’s cluttering up my faith and trust that He has a plan.  Just about this time Pastor John used a scripture in his sermon in 1 Peter 1:13

So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.”

So think clearly.  This has been impossible for me of late.  I’m letting everything take it’s turn running me around in circles.  I’m trying to figure everything out all at once.  Instead of trusting the One that already has it figured out.  I can not exercise self control over my mind.

A friend recently told me that I have great depth.  Although I believe this is true, I can’t seem to live there right now on a consistent basis because I keep allowing my thoughts to run me.   Now, I am a thinker and I always will be and I’m ok with that.  But not when it takes over my life and makes me anxious and unable to focus.

How will I de-clutter my mind?  I don’t know.  But I know the One I will be praying to, that will help me figure it out.

Trash to Treasure

 

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)

 

I write this as I approach my 47th birthday. It’s my testimony of sorts from the last year of my life.  It’s been a long hard path to confidence these 47 years of life. Yes, it’s taken me that long.  I’m not staying on the path at all times, sometimes there are obstacles that block the way and test my faith.  And let me not forget the sin of flesh that has me stumbling or falling or detouring onto another path.    That sin “that so easily entangles us” (Hebrews 12:1)

Easily.  That’s the word that stands out.  How easy is it to me to let the sin of the flesh play a part in who I think I am.  The sin of thinking I can find my self worth in people.  That sin of spending too much money on things that make me prettier or more desirable instead of giving to the less fortunate.  The sin of spending too much time trying to “fix” myself instead of letting go and letting God be the fix.  But most of all the sin of thinking of myself less then a daughter of a King.  I’m beginning to realize that it hurts the Heart of God, when I put myself down, when I think I am not worthy.  His word says that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”  (Psalm 139:14) and “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells in you” (1 corinthians 3:16)  Wonderfully.  Temple.  Words that do not depict unworthiness.

Now, in some defense of myself the enemy has used many things outside of my control to contribute to my less than confident thinking.  I was abused as a child, mentally, sexually and physically.  This followed into my teen years.  I was neglected and made to grow up way too fast.  My own mother was a contributor to my abuse or looked the other way and it left deep scars.  I had no one to teach me what my worth was or even how to feel like a woman.  No father to show me how a true woman should be viewed.  I have been on my own for all of my life.

But there have been many times that I contributed.  Where I could have chosen the narrow path but instead chose the wider path paved with want, desire and paved with lust.  Times when I just wanted to feel loved and wanted and did whatever I needed to feel  that way no matter how fleeting the feeling.  I sought acceptance in the flesh.

I only started this path to confidence a little over a year ago.  After a painful break-up from someone I was in love with I set out to find myself.  I had lost who I was in who he wanted me to be.  I say I set out,  because in other words I went to work.  I worked on getting better.  I started helping others, joined a Bible study, read my Bible more, went to church every Sunday and starting working out on a regular basis.  My confidence bloomed.  I was finally getting to a place of knowing who I was and all that I brought to the table. Finally believing that I gave some beauty to the world. Looking in the mirror and liking what I saw.  Life was good.

Then I fell into the arms of a man again.  But, this time I had it!  Confidence in myself as a woman.  Oh, how he fed it too.  With words of affirmation, telling me I was beautiful, desirable everything that I had dreamed of hearing.  But sadly, as quickly as he blew in, he blew back out again.  I was no longer desired.  My world was ripped apart again.  But this time the pain went deeper.  The hurt was so strong that at times it felt like someone had actually taken a knife and plunged it into my heart.  I couldn’t believe it.  Here I was a confident woman and it took all of a few minutes of conversation what I had been building for a year,  for it all to be stripped away.  Many times I would chide myself to get over it, I wasn’t in love with this person as the one before. But yet the pain persisted.  Deeper and darker than I could understand.  I wanted to get over it and be that strong woman that I had always been.

It’s only in the not striving that I have gained what the enemy has tried for 47 years to keep from me.  It’s only in the hurt that I have found the confidence to be who I am. Instead of doing something, I did nothing.  God was whispering to my heart…”Stop striving. Stop striving”.  So it has been many hours just sitting on the couch, letting the pain fill me up, letting the tears flow and the prayers of “Help me, Father” come from a place deep within.  It opened me up wide and made me face the rawest part of my need.  It was through my pain and my sin that I found the only confidence I have ever needed.  See, I learned through that hurt that it was okay to feel confident, as long as my focus was on my foundation in who I was in God.  Instead I had put most of my focus on my physical beauty and God knew I needed  to see my true heart.  I now know what it means when it says that God will make good out of all things.  I now value the hurt, because although it took me to a dark place,  it ultimately led me to the light.

I have been broken, bruised, beaten, used and abandoned and I have by the grace of God put myself back together again many times.   But this is where I found confidence, in my need.   Not through strength of character or sucking it up, but through facing my sin, facing the pain and just STOP trying to fix it. I found in my sin that I am loved unconditionally by my true lover.  I found in my pain that I am desirable, I am beautiful and I am of value.   This is true now in all aspects of my life, both in the spiritual and physical.  I say physical too, because I still take care of myself.  I work out, eat well (well most of the time!) and dress well.  I like to look pretty and there is nothing wrong with that.  God made women, and he made us to be beautiful.  But at the end of the day my outer beauty is but a part of the reflection of who I am.  I am heart and love.  I love furiously. I love deep. I forgive easily.  I love easily.  And, I give of myself easily.  All reflections  of His beauty.

To all woman who are reading this (men can believe this too!) We are not an end product of our past or our mistakes.  We are redeemed through the blood of the Cross and we are love unconditionally.  We are not what others or society thinks of us or has labeled us.  We are daughters of a King.  We are not “woman hear me roar” type of confidence.  We find our confidence in being soft, pliable and in our willingness to be molded.  We are not about our physical body or beauty.  We are heart and love.  And grace.  Never ever forget we are a model of His grace at it’s very best.

Someday I will write a book on this (even as I write that my confidence wants to take a nosedive!).  Someday I will have a degree in counseling that will help lead others to this same knowledge.  Someday I will have a safe house  for young women to run to that are wounded from life. Someday I will pass on this knowledge it took me 47 years to get  to my granddaughter due next year,  be that person to her that I never had. (See, God redeems all things!)  Someday I will find a man that gets me for who I am and will love my heart most of all.  These are my dreams.  Until then I will grow wiser.   Until then I will walk the path of renewed confidence and I will face any obstacle with a faith that transcends all of them.  Until then I will be all that He created me to be….His daughter.

‎”I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards & will make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth…” Hosea2:14-15

(the title of this post is to not say that I was trash, but only to communicate the vast difference in my thinking from before to now.  I have ALWAYS been a treasure. God doesn’t make trash!)