I just discovered I missed the Purim party in my congregation; I was absolutely certain it was tomorrow… and was feeling overwhelmed by that and many other things, and asking the Lord to help me. I turned on Facebook, and up popped this “you have a memory” on Facebook. Displayed before me was a post I had written three years ago. The same Lord, same encouragement, just different circumstances.
As I wrote then (and you can read it below), we are in this together. Do you feel like you are going in circles getting nowhere quickly? Are you tempted to give up? The enemy of our souls had pulled out all the stops because he is afraid of the work Jesus is doing in us!
So let’s turn our eyes our thoughts and our minds to Jesus. He really is the only one who can truly meet the needs of our aching hearts…
I hope you will be encouraged by my original post.
Originally posted on March 21, 2016
It has been one of those weeks where it seems like each step forward was accompanied by three steps backward… not a gentle dance mind you. The backward kind of steps where you feel like someone has grabbed you by the neck and thrown you back, in the hopes that the three steps backward will turn into a breaking blow. You get up, brush off the dust only to receive yet another crushing blow.
We’ve all been there. It doesn’t matter really, if it is a hacked website, making a mathematical error that costs you hundreds of dollars, being robbed, the wounds of friends, the wounds of the past, fears of the future, or feeling trapped by an unexpected temptation. (No not all those things happened this week, but I’m hoping you will identify with at least one of these.)
For me, when the stress levels get high, all my coping/escape mechanisms come out in full force. I want to do anything but deal with the issue at hand. But putting it off, or not paying attention can be costly. In my case, it only cost me a few hundred dollars—but the cost could have been much greater. A careless wrong turn can cost a lot more than money—it can cost in our relationships, our health, our walk with God, and in some cases, even impact our health and lives.
I still have a letter that my father wrote to a cousin, years ago. (He had written it first, then copied it over to send; so I have the first draft.) In it, he explained his own struggle with diabetes, and shared his own failings in the effort to help his cousin to take care of himself. Sadly, that cousin didn’t listen…
Life happens, and for some reason, we begin to not take care of ourselves. I’m talking about a lot bigger picture than eating right, exercising, or getting enough rest. I can do all that and still not take care of myself. How? By refusing to accept myself as He accepts me. By refusing to be merciful to myself as HE is merciful to me. And yet, if I cannot accept His acceptance and mercy and love for me, and treat myself as He treats me—how do I think I can give that love and acceptance to others?
And what does that have to do with feeling so overwhelmed? When all these things start going wrong, I seem to hear the voices of condemnation so easily. This happened because you didn’t give the money to someone, so God took it another way. This happened because you wasted so much time, so God is making you waste more time.
It is almost laughable. Almost…
When we are stressed, overtired, and feeling bruised and beaten, and are very aware of what we really did do wrong, the accuser sounds so logical, so right. And that is the problem. Sometimes the accusations are true. In my case? Yes, I wasted time. Yes, I let myself get distracted from a gift I meant and wanted to give. But I also confessed these things to my wonderful Savior and have asked His help to find victory.
Condemnation does NOT come from our loving Father—conviction does. Being pushed down does NOT come from our loving Father—discipline does. When the evil one accuses us, Jesus is standing there interceding for us—our blessed advocate pointing out the robes of righteousness that we are clothed in.
If HE is not going to punish us, hate us, and give up on us—who are we to give up on ourselves? This has been a very real struggle for me lately. I can’t help but think I am not the only one who struggles with this. We don’t’ talk about it, but the struggle is there.
As I’ve been writing, several verses came to my mind. I pray that these verses will encourage you as they do me. We are in this together, and someday, the feeling of being overwhelmed by this life will pass, and we will know the wonder of being overwhelmed by HIS love as we bask in His presence with joy. Oh what a day that will be!
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.
Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
Romans 7:24–8:2 HCSB
“Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect?
God is the One who justifies.
Who is the one who condemns?
Christ Jesus is the One who died,
but even more, has been raised;
He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.”
Romans 8:33–34 HCSB
“Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.”
Hebrews 7:25 HCSB