Monday, January 14, 2013

I've been delivered from death!

Sounds like an extreme title for a post, but it's the absolute truth. No, I didn't have a physical near death experience...but I definitely was having a sort of extended near death spiritual experience. The experience is called laziness. I wrote about it in my previous post about how a few weeks ago the Lord had mercy on me and had me make some changes in my life. They were seemingly simple changes, but they've had huge implications on what my daily life looks like.

Now, let me explain that for years, I've struggled with anxiety and fear of impending death to my husband, children or even myself. I was absolutely sure that I was about to experience a traumatic/death experience with one of these people that's the closest to my heart. I can't count how many hours of sleep I've lost over it. Sometimes, the thought would quickly enter my mind and I had absolutely no control over it and would just burst into tears!  The day would be beautiful...all was well...nothing negative happening, and suddenly the fear would strike and the panic was on. This was truly torture and there was no sensible explanation for this irrational fear. And trying to explain it all here, wouldn't even do justice to the extremely depressing and agonizing emotional roller coaster I was riding for so long. I'm a generally happy person and I recognize the countless blessings in my life which made this even more bizarre.

I noticed that over the last year or so, it seemed even worse than usual. Asking my husband and close friends to pray for me because of the fear in my mind. I even believed that God may be the one preparing me for some sort of death. How do you prepare yourself for something like this??! I had no comfort or resolution to my issue.

But I prayed and begged God for help. I couldn't live like this for the rest of my life!! I couldn't bare the thought of so randomly and so often being consumed with thoughts of a death sentence to any one of us at  any given moment. I believe this constant tension and mental stress played a part in my lack of digestive health as well! I was a mess mentally and physically. And I love Jesus for crying out loud! Why was I dealing with this?!

So this is where my laziness comes in. Now, I have 3 kids. Very young kids at that, so I don't mean laziness as in 'sit on my couch' and literally do nothing all day every day. The laziness I'm referring to is being far less fruitful and productive in my role and responsibility as a wife, mother and general home maker that what should have been happening. I was spending incredible amounts of time on social media and online 'creativity' sites. My time was for sure, consumed with tending to my 'friends' and getting ideas and creative short cuts to tending to things in my house. The problem is, I wasn't tending to my husband and kids OR my home! I had lots of strategies and good ideas, but little was actually being done.

These are some of the scriptures I would pray to God regarding my situation with fear and anxiety...

Psalm 4:1 "Answer  me when I call, O God who declares me innocent. {only by of the blood of Jesus} Take away my distress. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer."

Psalm 4:7-8 " Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; with deepest awe I will worship at your Temple. Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. {I was my own enemy!} Tell me clearly what to do, and show me which way to turn."

So as December 2012 was coming, I was noticing how much time I was actually wasting being 'productive' on the internet and unproductive in my real daily life. Now, although I'm a total work in progress and God is faithfully continuing the work He's begun in me, I can definitely say that I'm in a place of surrender to the will of the Lord over my life. My true desire is to serve and follow Him with everything in me. But I was blind to this  area within myself. No matter who said what, I couldn't see it and it took the Holy Spirit to remove those blinders and let me see this.

December 20th I had a moment alone with the Lord. No kids were around and I was with Him through the Word. I felt this quiet and gentle 'invitation' from God to get off of Facebook. Not just for a day, but to really turn it off and let Him fill that time instead. So BY THE GRACE of God...I simply and gladly accepted. I deactivated my account right then, knowing that I should go with the grace while it was there and not delay.

Then right after that,  I began reading the book of Hosea. If you're not familiar with this book of the Bible, it's in the old testament and it's a story of the prophet Hosea. A man who loved God and the Lord instructs him to marry Gomer...a prostitute! {gah!} This was to illustrate to the Israelites {God's people} how they were behaving to Him. They were His, yet they were prostituting themselves away, and destruction/judgement was imminent if they didn't repent and turn from their ways.

So in the most tender of ways, on what I consider a miraculous day....the Lord moved on my heart and made me willing, then spoke to me about how HE saw my situation. The laziness I was recognizing in my own life was actually me prostituting my time and attention away from all that the Lord had given me....including my time with Him! My responsibilities to my family and home are GIFTS from Him that I was treating like second hand "I'll get to it later" type of stuff. The laziness was for sure taking it's toll and since I hadn't recognized and repented from it, destruction and judgement really was on it's way! There was legitimate and biblical explanation for all the anxiety on my mind!

Not only was my family suffering from my lack of fruitfulness and responsibility with what I was given, my relationship with the Lord wasn't what it could have been and I was literally at the door step of some sort of death that would consume me constantly. The mental anxiety and fear I was struggling with for so long was the literal result laziness in my life! Who knew?! {Believe it or not, I have the first verse underlined in my Bible, but obviously didn't have it underlined in my heart.}

Proverbs 21: 25 " The desires of lazy people will be their ruin, for their hands refuse to work."

Proverbs 18:9 "A  lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things."  {ouch!}

So here I was...convinced that 'ruin' was so near, and it actually was! And not because the devil was attacking me, {as it's always to easy to blame the devil for difficulties or trials}, but it was the Lord Himself letting me experience that mental struggle all because I was a lazy person! Wow. That's intense to realize. But even more, it's to realize God's incredible Love and mercy on my life. My Father knew that if He didn't discipline me in this way and allow me to feel the effects of my sin, that I may never become desperate enough to cry out to Him and thus, change!

The laziness might have stayed with me forever to wreak havoc on my family and to never be able to glorify the Lord with my life! The primary way of me glorifying the Lord is serving my family and home. And if the serving part was left out, then what was I doing?! Nothing worthy of giving Him glory! Ah, how sad.

So, as the new year came around and the Lord began speaking to me more and more about how different my life should look, a concern was that it would take so long for these changes to actually happen in me. I was encouraged that I could actually see these issues within myself, but discouraged about how different I wanted to be and how long it might take. But in God's kindness and power, HE is the one changing me, not me changing myself. If we could all just snap a finger and change ourselves, wouldn't we all?! But the willingness He gave me, plus His love has made big changes within weeks of the invitation to get off social media and not be lazy. This is HIS transforming power! And as my laziness has wore off and fruitfulness has come on, another thing has come on....mental PEACE! The solution to laziness, besides a new mindset which comes from the Holy Spirit, is just getting up and doing what you have to do. It's not a matter of doing everything perfectly, but a matter of pursuing excellence while you actually DO the thing! Easy enough?! No wonder we've seen such changes in a matter of weeks....not the years I was expecting to have to wait to see a difference in myself. I'm just finally doing what I have to do, and how great it is!

I noticed how I've been sleeping better and have a tangible difference in my mind and body. I'm not feeling the anxiety and fear of impending 'ruin.' I feel free and I feel LIFE.

Thank you Jesus, I've been delivered from death!

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