Emptied Of Ourselves

Someone recently told me that they suffer from the fear of missing out. With a straight face. She was dead serious. She actually had a physician tell her that she is possibly suffering from this “disease”. I tried not to laugh. To humor myself I googled it. Get out! It’s a thing. A real life phobia.

Athazagoraphobia:  “noun. An irrational fear of being forgotten or replaced”.

Oh, Dear Lawd! I could feel it coming. My biblical tirade. I choked it down. “Wow! I’m so sorry” was all I could come up with. Their $40 co-pay went to someone who decided tacking on one more label to an already confused person was a good thing. I really wanted to call this Doctor and educate her. But then I realized it doesn’t matter.  Nothing I say is going to make a difference. She has to work it out for herself. Come to the epiphany on her own.

So let me tell you what doctor of biblical studies Elizabeth thinks (you know that’s sarcasm right?). We can not be full of the Holy Spirit until we are emptied of ourselves. If the Lord can’t get us to leave a situation, relationship, lifestyle on our own accord? He causes our circumstances to change. That falling away of self causes extreme loneliness. It causes depression. It causes deep grief for what once was. He’s stripping away. He’s taking away the hangups, hiccups, and pride. He’s undoing the chains and releasing us from bondage.

Sometimes those emotions are so frightening we seek medical help. I get that. Been there done that.  We fill our ears, get them tickled, with words that help explain our pain. The feelings are real. I don’t discount that. But the Lord wants us to come to Him for the answers. When you love someone such as a  child, spouse, best friend,  or parent what do you want to do? Spend time with them!  One on one time to share news, stories, thoughts, feelings about their life and yours. When God pulls us away from social situations we feel completely alone. Left out. Unloved. The reality? He is so in love with us He wants us all to Himself. He wants us to share our fears, sadness, loneliness, helplessness, heartache with Him. He wants that season of our lives all to Him. So that He can mend us. Heal us. Strengthen us. Love us. Build us up so that He can release us back into the world made brand new in His sight.

The process is excruciating. Sometimes paralyzing. But He has us in the palm of His hand. When we can shed our pride and our fear God is able to do amazing things in our lives. Mental illness is very real. There was a time in my life when I was so paralyzed with fear and depression that I didn’t want to participate in daily life. I understand it and I’m not making light of it. Psychologists couldn’t help. My husband couldn’t help. Someone invited me to a bible study. For five years the Lord sloughed off and made new what was once dull and broken. I remember sleeping with the bible on my face. I would read scripture before I went to sleep. I’d leave the open bible on my face. All the while praying for God to rearrange my brain. Change my thought process. Take away the pain of feeling left out, left behind, betrayed, not good enough, etc. etc..

There is no doubt that we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). God gives us that beautiful promise. But we have to want the help. His help. We have to trust that in that broken space and time He’s at work. In the silence He is there holding us up, retraining, regrouping, rearranging.  He’s closing doors to what once was. But if we can trust Him? Hang on? Cling to Him? What He has in store for us is better than anything we could have ever imagined for ourselves.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!”-2 Corinthians 5:17

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When Push Comes To Shove

We had just purchased our first home. A 1950 cottage with a ton of character, great moldings, high ceilings and oil heat. Our first born daughter was 22 months old. My husband had found a position with a brokerage firm in our town. “Back in the day” those positions were really competitive. It was a privilege to  interview much less land the job. The one catch? It was 100% commission. It was terrifying. However Robin wanted to trade stocks and bonds as a career. He was confidant that he would succeed. I trusted him and knew he would be successful. I went back to work while he grew his business.

One day, while we were both at work, our housekeeper thought it was too cold in our home. So I called and had oil delivered. When they came to deliver the oil Doris told the man to fill it up. The service man had left a hand written bill for $400. Equivalent to almost $800 today. I was in an absolute panic. I think our entire take home pay at that time was $1000. How would we be able to pay it? Let alone pay our mortgage, insurance, utilities, nursery school costs, groceries and our babysitter on my salary?

When push comes to shove who do you depend on? Who do you call first? Ask for help first? Do you panic? Or are you calm as you try to figure it out? 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “Cast all of your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” I remember reading that as a young mother and thinking “that’s awesome but I need real help. Immediately. Like yesterday!”.

 

My mother called to talk to her grand-baby and to check in with us. She asked how we were. I told her about the oil bill. I explained how absolutely panicked I was. She said “Lillibet, you just need to trust that God will take care of it. ” Eyes roll from the first time, know it all, mother from my end of the call. She was right. Honestly as twenty something  year old I wanted to hear “That is terrible how can we help?” I didn’t really have time to pray about it nor did I want too. I just needed to be able to pay the debt for the oil.

How often do we push Jesus aside in order to try and resolve our own problems? How often do we call a friend or spouse to dialogue how to solve our problem? How’s that usually work out for us? (note Sarcasm). One of several things was happening in my oil scenario:

(1) God was trying to lovingly teach us how to problem solve
(2) God was trying to teach us about blind faith
(3) God was trying to teach us that we were not the solution to our own problems
(4) God was trying to show us that when He’s in control there is no place for fear
(5) God was saying “trust me”

If we approach problem solving from a biblical view the resolutions become pretty clear. If God says He will help us? He will! The very first place we should go to problem solve is our bible. If we are overwhelmed call a friend in Christ who is seasoned in prayer and scripture. Ask them to point you to areas of the bible to help you.

It doesn’t matter if we don’t trust ourselves. We have to trust Him. If we approach problem solving according to His biblical standards? Well, that’s a no brainer! The issue will be reconciled according to His will. And it may be hard. We may face backlash. It may be painful. But we can rest peacefully knowing that we can stand on God’s word.

If we bring our opinions into the solution there is room for chaos, distrust, gossip, accusations. When we use God’s word to problem solve we know that the solution is based on truth, His word, and it is infallible.

I wish I had a climatic ending to the story. I don’t. Honestly? I don’t even remember how we paid the bill. And I guess that’s the point. He paid ALL of our debts for us so that we wouldn’t have too.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an
opportunity for great joy”-James 1:2

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