Two Heal Better Than One

“I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

How often do we exhaust our energy on those who matter least and push away those who matter most in our lives? Why is it when we’re most broken we isolate ourselves instead of allowing the love of Christ to glue us back together through the support and encouragement of our loved ones? Why do we believe we have to walk through our toughest moments all alone?

I’ll tell you why-Because we believe the enemy’s lies. We allow the lie of pride to make us stubborn and refuse to admit we need help. We allow the lie of shame to make us feel unworthy of help. We allow the lie of pain to shutdown our hearts vowing to never love again. If we refuse to love again, we can’t possibly receive love either. We allow our past mistakes to haunt our present and prevent the idea we could possibly have a victorious future. The truth is, pride, shame, unworthiness, hearts of stone and haunting pasts do not come from God. Do you know what does? Forgiveness, healing, redemption, restoration, unity and fellowship.

In Isaiah 61, he tells his readers in verse one; “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me…He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” In Ecclesiastes 4, Solomon starts off verse nine with “Two are better than one.” He continues in verses 10 through 12 with this passage: “If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” If those passages aren’t convincing enough, check out this passage from Genesis. After God created Adam he decided this; “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Adam had Eve. Abraham had Lot, Sarah and Isaac. Moses had Aaron. David had Jonathan. The two spies had Rahab. Ruth was gifted Boaz after God took the life of her first husband. Mary and Joseph had each other. Jesus had His disciples. Paul had Timothy and Titus. You and I have people too. But the people God has anointed to bind up our broken hearts can’t do so if we push them away. They especially are limited when you or I exhaust our energy on our enemies or busyness and make little time to connect with them.

If you have a stressful job with a toxic manager and you allow yourself to be consumed with frustration, how much energy is left at the end of the day for your family that’s waiting at home? If you have a toxic ex who knows exactly how to entice you into an argument, how open is your heart to even engaging in a conversation with another that fosters love and encouragement? If you’re walking in a state of rejection keeping a tally of all the times you’ve been dumped, how can you possibly recognize someone who genuinely shows an interest in investing in you? The answer to all of these questions is-you can’t.

We only have so much energy and our attention spans are only so long. If we are exhausting ourselves fighting with our enemies, fretting over things we cannot control or walking with rejection like it’s our best friend, then there’s no room for those who truly care about us, for those with sincere hearts, to step in and bind up our brokenness. God can fix us on His own. He doesn’t need any help. But if that’s what His plan was He wouldn’t have designed families, friendships or marriage. He wouldn’t stress the importance of togetherness or anoint others to heal. He certainly wouldn’t have said “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew‬ ‭18:20‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

I’m guilty of isolating myself because of fear, pride and shame. I’m guilty of exhausting my energy on useless arguments with toxic people and having minimal leftover for those I love most. I’m even guilty of walking in a spirit of rejection and closing myself off to love. I’m mostly guilty of crying out for His healing, begging Him to bind up my broken heart but pushing away the people He uses to do it. If you’re focusing your attention on the wrong people and pushing away the right ones-then my friend, you’re guilty to. Guilty people get a conviction but this one is a convicted spirit. There will be no condemnation.

We have a Heavenly Father who chooses forgiveness and is a God of multiple chances. It is never His desire for us to live wounded. In fact, Isaiah tells us in chapter 53 verse five “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]; The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him, And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed.” ‬‬It is His desire to cleanse from all our sin, break the chains of brokenness and restore us in His redeeming love.

Confession is the key. In order to be redeemed we’ve got to come clean with ourselves and Jesus about the lies we’ve believed. We must tap into His superhuman strength in order to walk away from toxic relationships. We’ve got to ask the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to be able to accept love. If we refuse the love of others, that love given becomes seed that lands on hard ground and is never planted. Healing and wholeness is an intentional choice that involves refuting the enemies lies, letting go of past mistakes, exposing old wounds and allowing others to come in administer a spiritual first aid that is bound in love, affirmation and redemption.

Think about this-When you or I sustain a physical wound that is beyond the capabilities of peroxide and a band-aid, we seek out medical treatment that may involve stitches or other more intensive care. The same is true for emotional and spiritual wounds. These wounds are way to hard to fix on our own. We have to seek out comfort and godly companionship so these wounds can be permanently closed and we can walk in wholeness again. God wants to use your spouse or future spouse, your family, and your best friends in Christ to bind up your broken heart. Stop fighting with those who seek to destroy you. Instead, turn your attention and spend your energy on those who seek to restore you. Allow them to pray with you and over you. Allow them to cry with you and hold you. Most of all, allow them to love you as Christ designed them to.

James 5:16 is the perfect ending for today’s post: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Find the ones God is has sent to bind up your broken heart. Open your arms up to them, break down the walls you’ve been hiding behind, be transparent and let them pour out His love into you.

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Show Me Love

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I seem to write a lot about love. More so, God seems to put this word on my heart a lot and so I write about it. I’ve written about different types of love, the cost of love and what real love is. This weekend, God has really been pressing on me to write about breaking down walls in order to give and receive love. The walls I’m referring to aren’t that of someone else-they’re the walls we build around our own hearts to keep us from getting hurt.

There are a variety of reasons those walls are there-perhaps your parent deeply wounded or abandoned you. Maybe a lover or spouse was abusive or cheated on you. Maybe you grew up around members of the opposite sex who were abusive and addicted to drugs and alcohol. Maybe you’ve gone through a string of relationships feeling used and disposable because that’s how past lovers treated you. Maybe you’re like me and select “all of the above” as your reason for hiding your heart behind those walls. Whatever the reason, each disappointment or heart breaking experience added another brick or layer and your wall is probably at a point where no human in their own strength could ever break through it.

I watch a lot of romantic comedies and Hallmark movies. I love Love. I love watching couples meet, flirt, date, share a first kiss, fall in love, face conflict that nearly tears them apart yet and in the end see love conquer with them living happily ever after. My favorite fairy tale has always been Cinderella. Realistically speaking I don’t wait for a prince on a white horse to show up with a glass slipper and whisk me off to his castle but I do long for a man who would cross the ocean and travel through Hell or high water just to be with me. I think some of that stems from watching so many romantic movies.

Movies are a great source of entertainment. I work two jobs and my second job is actually working at a video store so I obviously love movies. Romantic movies can give us a false sense of what real life romance and love are really all about, but they can also model what grace and forgiveness look like. Take for instance the Hallmark movie, All of my Heart, Inn Love, starring Lacey Chabert. In this movie, Lacey’s character is small town girl with dreams of being a successful baker and owning a country inn. Her fiancé is a big city financial guru who moved to the country and joined in on Lacey’s character’s aspirations. They’re character set-ups are really polar opposites. Every love story has to have a climax-the moment where viewers think the couple is breaking up or will never end up together. In All of my Heart, that moment comes when the big city fiancé takes a temporary job back in the city to help make ends meet and starts displaying old characteristics that Lacey’s character isn’t attracted to. Obviously they’re wants start to pull them away from each other.

At one point, Lacey’s character gives the engagement ring back telling her fiancé to give it back to her when he’s ready to come back to the life they were building. Then there’s a few minutes of scenes showing them living apart and both very unhappy. In the end the fiancé realizes a life with the woman he loves is more important than any successful business adventure or financial gain. He leaves the city life for good and returns to the small town, goat farming, inn keeper life devoting himself to celebrating his fiancée’s accomplishments. Of course the ending is written to lead the viewer to believe the couple lives happily ever after.

Here’s where grace and Forgiveness comes in to play. Never in this movie does Lacey’s character attack or speak hurtful things to her man (her fiancée also never speaks unkindly to his woman either.) When he returns to the home they were sharing, she greets him with open arms and embraces him. There is no punishment or even thought of punishment or spite displayed. She does nothing to make her fiancé prove his love for her or make up for nearly abandoning her and their relationship. She simply welcomes him home and shows him love.

Then there’s my heart. When I watch these movies I tend to think about how I would handle such scenarios. With each conflict I’ve watched in these types of movies I tend to have the same response-put up a wall, don’t forgive easily and make the other person prove his love. Unfortunately, this is how I’ve handled many relationship issues in my own life. Why? Because I unknowingly have punished new relationships for past lovers’ mistakes. I’ve also been far too prideful to ever admit that to anyone or myself, until now. I have a wall built around my heart. I’ve blamed men from my past for having this wall. I naively believed God was going to send me a man so out of this world that would have the super strength to demolish this wall and then I would know it was safe to love him. But let’s be real-God is telling me I need to open up my heart and let Him knock down this wall because my fortress is not only impenetrable, I think it’s covered with barbed wire to ensure nobody can even try to climb over it!

There’s a song from the 90’s by Robin S called Show Me Love. It’s the inspiration for the title of this post because it’s been playing through my mind today. The first few lines of this song describes my heart to a tee-

“Always been told that I’ve got too much pride,

Too independent to have you by side

Then my heart said, all of you will see

Just wont live for someone until he lives for me…”

Character was definitely God’s word for me in 2018 but I am thinking love is too. Maybe it’s a sub part to my character? I’m not certain but I do know this-God is showing me the walls that have to come down so that I can freely and unabashedly love those already in my life and everyone God will continue to bring into my life.

What about you? Do you live behind walls of false security? Are you governed by pride? Are you holding on to past wounds and guarding your heart in an unhealthy way? I pray Ezekiel 36:26 over you and stand on God’s promise to “give you a new heart and a new spirit. May He remove from you this heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” May you and I become fully surrendered and allow God to demolish the walls we’ve hidden behind for far too long. It is only with a surrendered will that God can really show me (and you) love.

Shake it Off or Cry it Out-but always Pray it out and Believe!

Ever feel like life is against you, that no matter how hard you try, something or someone keeps pushing you down?  After a while, you’re emotionally scraped, battered and bruised.  You may feel like you can only get back up so many times and brush yourself, right?  I mean who wouldn’t get worn out from standing up, dusting themselves off and getting another blast right away finding themselves flat on the ground again or worse, deeper in a pit?

I’ve been through this season time and again.  Going through it right now actually.  Each time I fight hard to get out of the pit, to overcome feelings of despair and discouragement. Each time I say to myself, “You should be an expert at this so why is this bothering you so much?”  I strap on my shield faith and remind myself that God is in control, His ways are better than my ways, His timing is perfect, etc.  But the darts thrown seem to get sharper and come at me harder and faster than the other times. I feel myself physically, emotionally and spiritually weakening.  I deal with it through a variety of “Go-To’s.”

First-I lose my temper.  Then I cry.  Sometimes these happen simultaneously.  I wake up at 2:30am multiple nights in a row wrestling with worry, fear and anxiety.  Sometimes despair shows up, throws a party in my mind and I just sink lower and lower. Despair usually brings the gift of uncontrollable sobs.  I use pride as a defense mechanism but everyone knows that’s a false tool of the enemy so in reality all I have done is grabbed a hold of his flaming dart and stabbed it into myself.

Another go-to of mine is gossiping.  I’m embarrassed to admit it but I have shared some hurtful moments way too many times and spoken angrily about my offenders to ears that didn’t need to hear any of it.  I tell myself I’m just venting but that’s merely masking what it really is.  The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:29 (NLT) “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  And Proverbs 17:9 says, “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends” Whether you choose to think you’re venting or admit that you’re gossiping, Proverbs 17:9 clearly spells out that dwelling on the offense brings unforgiveness and separation.  Two more things I am guilty of because honestly, venting/gossiping has never helped me forgive my offender.  It does however help me to hold a grudge, sink deeper in a pit of self-pity and drive a wider wedge between my offender and me.

My last go-to is usually prayer and surrender to God.  But again-if I’m being honest, this doesn’t come easily or with a happy heart.  It’s usually more in the form of a toddler after they’re worn out from a throwing a fit and they surrender from exhaustion with the “Fine, have it your way” attitude.  This kind of attitude doesn’t grow my faith or get me out of the pit.  It just keeps me stuck.  And boy have I been stuck for years!

Over the past couple of years, I believe God has spoken different words to me that were my focus for that year.  In 2015 He spoke the word Refinement to me and it was a year that felt like I was being melted down in a hot fiery furnace into a liquid blob.  Last year He spoke the word Trust.  I learned that trusting God was like closing your eyes and jumping off a cliff trusting He would catch me. In fact, toward the end of 2015 I did that exact thing…ok it was a zip line but there was a short free fall before my harness caught me and I screamed like a school girl!  The scariest part (even though the instructor told me what was going to happen) was taking that step off the platform and going through the free fall.  I didn’t know it then but God was showing me what trusting Him is like before He spoke the word to me.

This year God is telling me to Believe.  I came into 2017 with this naïve thought that this was going to be a big year for me-the year I get all my ducks in a row and finally get out of the pit of feeling stuck.  I designed a budget to get some debt paid off.  I spent New Year’s Eve in prayer committing to leaving behind the character flaws I know I need to shed in order to move into what God has for me.  I thought believing God at His word would be easy since I had just endured 365 days of learning how to trust Him.  I. Was. Wrong!

In mid-January I was hit with a financial burden that shook me.  I know everybody has financial issues at certain points in their life but I think mine was so upsetting because it blew my entire plan of budgeting tighter and paying off debt.  I had a back-up plan though.  Someone owed me a dollar amount that almost matched the deficit I experienced and I thought, “If they pay me what they owe me I’ll be just fine.”  I prayed for this provision daily.  But that didn’t happen and truth be told my heart hardened.  Instead, God provided me with His daily manna and taught me to trust Him in the seconds, minutes and hours of each day instead of “worrying about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34 NLT).  He used amazing people in my life to bless me and my children in the most unexpected ways (ask me about the offer of about 6 blow dryers some time. Ha! Ha!)  When anxiety swelled up and frustration built, the word Believe kept flashing through my mind.  I had to tell myself aloud regularly that God promises to be faithful and that I had to choose to believe Him at His word even when I couldn’t see what He was doing, even when He didn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted Him to.

Even though I am on the upside of that financial burden, believing God is still not coming naturally to me.  I have been trying to change my career for some time now only to repeatedly get rejected. I have a pending application as a graduate student at a highly reputable university and recently told I have to take the GRE for any further consideration.  Do you know that costs $205 and is the most ridiculously difficult test on the planet?  Ok, that last part may be my own opinion but it is a very challenging test.  I have plans to run in a 5K but training for it feels impossible when the longest I can run consecutively is a minute and 30 seconds.  I then have to walk as I attempt to catch my breath in order to try running again.  I still desire to have debt paid off this year but got hit with two major repairs during and immediately after January’s financial hardship, increasing my debt actually.  If that’s not enough, I have people in my life who are petty, cruel at times, arrogant and disrespectful. And some of them I have to deal with daily.  Why is all this happening?  Because the best way for me to believe God is to trust Him as He walks with me through the fiery trials, allowing Him to continue to refine and purify me, plucking off the branches that don’t produce fruit and molding me into His image.

This morning, while traveling to work, a passing vehicle threw mud so hard it splattered across the side of my vehicle making my driver side window completely muddied.  I immediately thought, “That is exactly how I feel right now-just getting heaps of mud thrown at me and the people throwing it don’t even care.” That’s when God spoke to me and said, “Cease striving and know that I am God…”  (Psalm 46:10 NASB).  He gave me flash of Joseph when his brothers threw him into a pit and sold him into slavery.  What God was saying was, “Stop fighting, stop holding on to the frustrations you’re carrying and STOP trying to fix this all on your own.”  He also promised that, “I am Your God who is going with you!  I will fight for you against your enemies and I will give you victory! (Deuteronomy 20:4 NLT)” I don’t know how God will deliver me from my enemies or this pit but I know He will because I believe His word.  It never fails. In fact, the first three verses of Psalm 40, David stands on this promise, “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.  He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”

If you’re going through this season too-remember this.  You’re not alone.  You’re not defeated and God will deliver you.  In Taylor Swift’s song, “Shake it Off”, we’re told that “haters gonna hate, fakers gonna fake and heart breakers gonna break.”  The singer chose to shake it all off-the hate, the fake and the heartbreak.  That’s not always easy to do.  Sometimes need to cry it out too.  Whatever you’re go-to is, make sure you’re also praying it out, giving it up to God and believing Him at His word. Read Psalm 61 and 62 daily for a week (advice given to me just last week and one I am putting into practice this week) and see how much your belief increase!

I Need a Heart Transplant, do You too?

“I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you.  I will take out your stony stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”  Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)

I’m a girl with her head in the clouds, figuratively speaking.  I’m not referencing myself as a space cadet or an “air head”.  I’m referring to actual clouds-sky watching. I love sunrises and sets and seeing sunrays beam through the clouds. I love searching the skies for messages from Heaven, God’s wisdom in the shape of a cloud or glowing through a majestic rainbow stretched across the sky.

This time of year, where I live, sunrises and sets are few and far between with days filled with a fog of gray.  Trees are merely blackened sticks barren of their leaves covered in a dusting of snow.  People who don’t believe in seeing life in black and white should experience winter in North America because most days are just that-black and white coloring every.  Winter brings cold, ice and more darkness than daylight.  It’s the time of year I can fall into seasonal depression, becoming overly tired, cranky and just craving warmer temps with opportunities to soak up sunshine.

Earlier this week I took a quick trip into town to pick up my son from a friend’s house.  The day was your typical December gray day.  Temp was cold, and snow covered the ground and roads making travel slower than usual.  Out of habit, I searched the skies fully thinking I wouldn’t find anything beautiful or eye catching amidst the dullness.  But that day, right above me slightly to the left of my view was a stone colored heart shaped cloud.  I blinked a few times to make sure I saw it clearly but each time I saw the same thing-a stone colored heart.  The cynical side of my immediately thought; “How typical to see a stony colored heart on a cold winter’s day.”  But then Ezekiel 36:26 ran through my mind and I immediately thought about what it means to have a stony, stubborn heart and how God transform it into a heart of flesh.

I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on that verse and thinking of how it applies to me specifically.  I felt God heavily speaking me showing me reflections of this past year and how I handled different situations.  I finally realized He was showing me that I have a stubborn stony heart.  People closest to me may disagree.  I have many people in my life who tell me regularly how beautiful my heart is.  When I really blow it or make a big mistake they are the ones who remind that God sees my heart.  They’re right, He does.  I used to think He saw a solid black heart because when I’m angry and hurt I can have some pretty hateful thoughts. But I believe He was showing me my heart is gray, the color of stone because that’s what I have built around it to protect myself.  He also gently reminded me that He wants to remove the stone and give me a heart of flesh.  But I have to be let go of certain things in order for Him to pluck the stone out of me.  He’s been chiseling away at the stone for years but He knows I’m more bullheaded than a mule and short of zapping me with a bolt of lightning to knock me off my stubborn keister or throw me into the belly of whale, He lets me repeat the same mistakes over and over again like a wandering Israelite lost in the desert for 40 years.

Tomorrow is a New Year and I believe God has been telling me there are things I need to lay down and leave in 2016.  They don’t belong in the 2017 that He has planned for me.  Instead of partying hardy to ring in the New Year, I will be spending this evening home reflecting on the things I need to leave behind to make room for God to transform my heart into one of flesh that can receive His love and all He has planned for me.  I don’t know everything He wants me to lay down but three things have been tugging deep within me already this week.

  1. Pride-Pride is something I have wrestled with most of my life.  I grew up in very humble means and chose to pursue a college education believing that degree would bring me a salary where I could live comfortably and never know financial struggles, never need anyone’s help.  I couldn’t have been MORE wrong.  My college degree has led to me to the career I have but it also afforded me a large almost unpayable debt and the paycheck of a social worker is far from lifestyles of the rich and famous.  Being a single parent means being the sole bread winner.  Short of working myself to death and never sleeping or seeing my children, my income is limited to what my salary brings.  Money is tight and there have been many times I could not make ends meet.  Pride kept me from asking for help when I really needed it and getting buried in such financial dishevel that asking for help became my only  With a broken spirit and in utter embarrassment I would sob words of failure to my family and friends who graciously have helped me throughout the years.  Just tonight God blessed me with an unexpected offer of help (and answered a prayer to pay off a debt I have been battling with for a few years.)  The first sentence spoken to me before the offer was made was, “Put your pride in your pocket.”  Thankfully I prayed ahead of time asking God to help me swallow my pride before meeting with the couple who blessed me tonight.  I left their home with a check in my pocket and utter awe in my heart for how God uses everyone in our lives, even people we would least expect consider the role they play in our lives, to help us in time of need.
  2. Selfishness-I am a very “me” centered person. I grew up feeling invisible and looked over, viewed only as average or ordinary.  The only time I was noticed was if I was acting out, being loud and obnoxious or simply to be the butt of someone’s ridicule.  Add a few neglectful relationships in there and suddenly I took on this whole new defensive persona that felt no one would fight for me so I had to fight for myself.  I busted my backside living down the lies people spoke about me and lies I believed in myself.  I did it in my own strength.  If someone didn’t notice good in me, I made sure to point it out to them.  I was very much a “Look at me-I’m worth noticing.  I matter too.” person.  I refused any type of constructive criticism and immediately reacted with accusations and attacks to my critic’s character.  I was very much a “Who are you to talk to me that way?” thinker.  In a nut shell, I lived for me.  Even my prayer life was selfish.  Oh I prayed-I prayed daily. I made myself get out of bed at 4am every day to get on my knees and pray.  I was even faithful in fasting.   Why?  Because I wanted God to give me what I wanted.  I didn’t pray seeking what God wanted.  I prayed for Him to selfishly grant me my desires-like a genie in a lamp granting me three wishes.  When He told me no I believed the lie that fasting was futile and my prayers didn’t travel any farther than my living room ceiling. I couldn’t admit that I was praying wrong and with selfish motives.  James 4 is very clear when in verse 3 he says, “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong-you want only what will give you pleasure.”  That was me.  I wanted what I wanted and didn’t consider what God would want.  Mostly because I feared God wanted the exact opposite of what I wanted and I couldn’t accept that. Which leads me to the third thing God wants me to leave behind in 2016.
  3. Fear-Fear is probably my biggest stronghold. I have missed out on amazing opportunities because of fear.  As a child, I wanted to be a Disney animator, work as a marine biologist for Sea World and perform on Star Search.  I believed I wasn’t good enough in drawing or smart enough in science nor talented enough as a singer to pursue any of those dreams.  In high school, I studied performing arts for three years, performed in talent shows and school plays.  I dreamed of studying at Juilliard in New York and star on Broadway.  Fear of rejection and being told I wasn’t good enough kept me from even applying.  In college, fear kept me from doing a study abroad in France for five weeks.  I feared losing my job, losing the relationship I was in ad flying overseas in an airplane.  Fear kept me from taking a lot of risks and trying many things for many years.

Fear has been a factoring role in many of my relationships also.  In college I would fight with my boyfriend if he wanted to have a drink or go to a party because I was afraid he would drink and drive and cause an accident (my step-dad died in a drunk driving accident when I was 8.)  I stayed in a very destructive relationship for many years because I feared being a single parent and having to raise two children on my own.  I held onto the hope of another dead end relationship out of fear of being alone.  And I settled into a “this is as good as it’s going to get” mentality career wise for years because I was afraid to pursue something new and fail again.

Fear of rejection and fear of failure are my two biggest controllers in life.  Fear of failure has shaken me from a deep sleep in the middle of the night and kept me away for hours just tossing and turning worrying about failing.  It’s kept me from speaking up when I should and saying the wrong thing when I should’ve remained silent.  Fear of rejection has kept me from chasing my dreams time and time again.  Fear is the most crippling baggage I need to let go of and probably the hardest one for me to separate from.

Pride, selfishness and fear. Three controllers I will be eliminating from my life TODAY so God can strip all the stone from my heart and transplant into me a heart of flesh filled with the Holy Spirit.  Thankfully God’s word has some pretty specific thoughts on all three of these areas to help me let go of them.  For pride God says; “Pride ends humiliation, while humility brings honor.” (Proverbs 29:23), “And when they cry out, God does not answer because of their pride.” (Job 35:12) and “He shows them the reason; He shows them their sins of pride.” (Job 36:9.)

For selfishness, God specifically says, “For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom.  Such things are earthly, unspiritual and demonic.” (James 3:15), “And even now in your holy festivals aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves?” (Zechariah 7:6) and “For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.” (James 3:16.)

God’s word speaks even more about fear.  Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not worry (fear) about anything, instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.”  In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read, “for God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”And Deuteronomy 31:6 specifically tells us to “be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.  For the Lord Your God will personally go ahead of you.  He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Today I will leave these three in 2016 and refuse to carry them with me tomorrow as day 1 of 2017 begins.  But because old habits die hard, I won’t be doing this on my own strength.  I am finally at a point in my life of surrender to God and His will for me making it easy for Him to do as He has promised-remove my stony stubborn heart and give me a spirit filled heart of flesh.  Today-I will be undergoing a heart transplant by the best Heart Surgeon no money can ever afford.  As you begin a new year, I invite you to reflect and see if you too need a heart transplant.  What better time to gain a spirit filled heart of flesh than at the beginning of a new year?