To be aware seems to me to imply being conscious or mindful of something, as against a strong and secure knowledge of a fact. It feels like a tenuous ‘holding’ – in the mind of the heart – of a concept, sensation, or even a theory, or possible truth, or untruth.
Awareness for me is the first stage of wisdom.
Unless I first become aware of something, I cannot even begin to acknowledge, explore, or know it.
This is particularly true in terms of self-knowledge and healing.
In my own therapeutic journey, I have been most conscious of those moments when I first become aware of something – either a memory, an emotion, a reaction, a trigger, or a response. When it is in my awareness, I can then examine it, test it, question it and try it out from different angles, to see what possible truth I can learn from it.
If what I recognise is a repeated negative pattern in the present, I know I have found another key to healing.
Then I can acknowledge what is true in the present and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can find the root cause of it (usually buried somewhere in early childhood) and then confess and repent of judgments, lies and sinful responses (to early hurts and disappointments) that have resulted in strongholds in my life.
Oh to be aware!
Oh merciful and patient Father, who seeks our healing and freedom more than we do!
Thank you Holy Spirit, communicator of wisdom and truth.
Are you aware of something you feel nudged to deal with?
When I first read Kate’s post for this week’s prompt, ‘Guess’, I fully identified with her reflection on asking the Lord for direction and not being able to see His answers. Her comparison with that discerning to feel a bit like guess-work. I thought that her blog was enough said on the matter, because personally I was right in that ‘no-man’s land’ of not seeing the direction at all, for certain issues.
And I am still there, still feeling like I am having to guess what God’s will for me is.
People say that I must listen for His still, small voice;
that I will find answers in the Scriptures;
that God’s perfect peace will be my guide;
that if I fast and pray…
And I have probably said the same thing!
But, if I am stuck now, do I conclude that I am doing it wrong? That my heart is wrong? That this sheep does not know her Shepherd’s voice? That sin has blocked me from hearing His voice?
Does God want me to ‘follow the mind of my heart’? Or to take advice from Christian people? Does He want me to be patient and spend more time seeking the answer?
I know that he who seeks finds.
Or has He told me clearly already and I don’t like the answer?
Does God’s answer take me where I have no intention of going, nor desire to go?
I do not trust my own heart, it is deceitful above all things.
And I have asked advice from spirit-filled friends and their opinions and advice has been varied and contradictory, though I now have even more options in what feels like a multiple choice exam! And I have never been good at multiple-choice. I have painful memories of French and German listening comprehension exams, where in each choice of four options I consistently guessed wrong. The odds of that were even remarkable!
Maybe I am impatient to know the answers, when it is not time for me to know.
Maybe I am trying so hard to listen, that I have become blind and deaf.
Does the Lord really want me to guess His will?
Does He trust me to guess?
Does He know that I already know His Will and know that in time I will say ‘yes’ to Him and do that ridiculous sounding thing!
I am sharing this only because some of you may relate to these feelings. It does not feel like an encouraging or edifying post, but it is an expression of the mess some of us might sometimes grapple with. This someone does, anyway.
I imagine in a few months, or days, or years (God only knows), I will look back on this and see God’s path and wisdom as clear as the moon on a cloudless night, as so often happens.
There is always such profound insight in hindsight.
This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. The prompt for today is “stir.”
Thinking of ‘stir’, all I could think of was making my thick soups (sloups), custard and Béchamel sauce – stuff that if you stir it well, becomes smooth and creamy, but if you don’t, it becomes lumpy, stuck, burnt and in some way spoiled.
This showed me something, because it always seems such an effort, such a faff to stand stirring ALL the time. I am often tempted to just stir every now and then, when I think it necessary, or to wait until it is thoroughly hot before stirring, convinced that, because I want it to work out well, it will.
But, you know, it doesn’t!
I am lazy making soups and sauces and I am lazy in many other areas of my life.
Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
‘And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.‘
It takes effort to stir myself up and more so to stir up one another.
It takes sacrifice to encourage and to turn up and be willing to listen generously in order to build others up.
But if I don’t stir myself to love and good works, I become lumpy, burnt, stuck and less than my best.
If I am too lazy to make an effort to love other sinners like myself, the church becomes lumpy, sick and spoiled in some way.
If I focus on what I feel like doing, rather than on what love calls my renewed mind to do, then God’s will is not done through me today.
If I do not stir and build, eventually those around me, and myself, begin to starve.
Let us commit to focusing not on just being fed and stirred by others, but to be grown up, mature followers of Christ, who are willing to work together to prepare for the banquet of the Lord.
May Thanksgiving for Answered Prayer and Protection.
Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks.
I want to always be the one who sets off in obedience and is cleansed, but who also comes back to thank You and worship You and to be made whole.
Let us never tire of coming back to say Thank You.
For answered prayer in May, I say thank you:
For a special family start to May with ordinary togetherness and fun.
That R. feels happy and blessed on his birthday.
For the new connection and blessing of M.C in B.J.
For the successful visit and connection with C. and P.
For inspiration and ideas to do the 4 sketches for section 2.
For use of the car and amazing first weekend of my new counselling/prayer ministry course and for the provision of books and the special people and learning so far.
For the time and inspiration to do the homework and for all the work of the Holy Spirit in me through the application of the teaching even at this early stage.
For how You teach me lessons that I then can apply to Sunday School lessons, leading devotions, blogs and other areas in life.
For the encouragement from the kids in Sunday School.
For the hard-working team and Your blessing and coordination in all the preparations for venue, food and hearts for the banquet in Your name, and for every one of those beloved guests.
For your glory, Father God.
For the Scripture Deuteronomy 11:23 – that You drive out the opposition only as we advance head on.
For all the new people finding their way into AA and for giving them courage to take the steps towards transformation.
For all the film-and-food nights with C. this month.
For courage to take the steps in obedience to Your leading and the blessing and peace that comes from that.
For blessing S’s heart especially over the last 5 months.
That S. has come off the medication and is making progress in the right trajectory.
For the 1000 people at the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer gathering for Nottingham and for Your tangible presence there and in this city.
For your presence, protection and blessing with me in A&E and for the privilege and opportunity to speak with and encourage G, and to pray for G, M and A.
For the care received by the farm staff and the paramedics and A&E staff.
For the rapid healing of my body after the accident and the concussion shock.
I always want to give You thanks for the countless times You have protected me and my loved ones from dangers that I have not even perceived. That all those we pray for, are in Your arms and Your care. I thank You for the ongoing guidance, transformation, growth and for the constant sowing and growth towards a future harvest in places that maybe I do not see.
But You are faithful.
You ask us to pray and You hear us.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Thank You, Father God, that when we ask for direction, You do lead and guide us in the measure that we are willing to take the time to lean in and listen for You.
Arriving home from a wonderfully blessed and inspiring ACW conference, I saw the Five-Minute-Friday writing prompt word – Danger.
The word felt uninviting, until ‘D is for anger’ fell into my brain.
I will explore that.
20:52 – Go!
“There is absolutely no point in reacting. It never works! I always end up losing. It’s not fair!
“He can get angry, he can do what he likes, but if I get mad or get him back, I end up hurt and in tears.
“It’s not fair. He’s big and I’m little…
“I’m never going to get angry again! He will never see me mad. It will never happen again. I will not react!..
“How do I not react? I will build a wall. I shall not join in. I won’t want anything; won’t play the game; won’t feel anything and then it won’t bother me!”
I did not realise then, or for most of my life since, how dangerous that strategy was. It was a completely understandable form of self-protection, but it became a stronghold that grew with me and bound me to fear and anger in a painfully impotent way.
It was to intensify its consequences and to thwart me over and over until finally I learned and brought my own self-centred promises and judgments to the cross of Jesus.
I repent for my sinful vows and judgments, which are now broken at the cross and the burden for my sin is all taken by Jesus.
He is my refuge and protection.
In His incredible love, He takes my sin and He sets me free.
Anger is not the sin. My judgments and my ‘never-again’ promises were the sin. I set myself up to rely on myself, not God. I separated myself from Him. That was the danger.
Now I am free to learn to feel anger, along with other emotions, and to bring my feelings and responses to Jesus. This is not comfortable, not easy; and I’m a bit clumsy in recognising and wearing these emotions and learning to express them appropriately. I can learn to identify the emotions, understand the cause and learn how to pray, be kind and bless.
But I do not need to judge the one who acts or speaks against me.
I am not the judge. I am free.
How wonderful it is to learn and to grow closer to the one who loves us beyond what we can ever fathom.