Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Offended by God? Sometimes He Is Outside The Box!

Last week I suggested that you and I monitor our speech and the amount of complaining that we do during the week. Okay, well I caught myself complaining…mostly about my frustration with technology and how the difficulties in understanding it are exacerbated by the visual disruptions from the MS. And I complained about the tiredness and difficulty moving around that is ongoing and got after myself for not exercising as much as I should. Most often my quiet time is just me and Jesus but today He let me see a much bigger picture and it was humbling.

The problem is the age old question: Why would God allow it? But today I wasn’t asking the WHY question, I was asking forgiveness for my bad habit of complaining and lamenting the lack of energy to do what I felt He wanted me to. He recalled for me a little study I did in Exodus…it was murmuring and complaining that got the children of Israel into some deep trouble. God surprised me with a sense of Him drawing me closer and hugging me; then He called my attention to what I did (and continue to do) right!
  • I do go to Him for grace daily
  • I have endured graciously most of the time
  • My heart is submissive, I do accept His will
  • I search for the gold and mine it when I find it, share what He gives me and teach whenever the opportunity presents
  • I work within my limits
  • I am positive more than negative
  • I love Him and seek Him out for relationship
It’s not that He doesn’t hear or care about our complaints, He does, but he choses to notice and concentrate on what we do right! Cool! Then He blew me away by suggesting that I look at MS as an equipping?! That gave me a shot of adrenaline and  woke me up. Equipping?  Disease is not a spiritual gift! How in the world? That was entirely outside my theological box!

I wrote some more that came with that and then tried to save the draft so that I could meditate, talk with God and some trusted friends, and consult Scripture to see if this “new thing” aligns with Scripture. I have a new software program that I am learning to use—and a jumpy cursor. As I was attempting to save the draft form, my dancing cursor hit publish instead. Then my computer decided to block me out so that my draft was published! Argh. After two days of fighting with technology we finally were able to take the post down! So after having time to think through what God was saying, here is the edited version.

Me: MS as an equipping, God? Equipping for what? I don’t get it. That doesn’t fit with any paradigm I know of! 

Him: Since MS showed up, use it like a fighter uses as sparing partner of a pole vaulter uses his pole. Use the momentum and the resistance to propel you further in your development of Christ's chracter and the resistance to build stamina and endurance. In resisting the disease you will become more like Him and I will use your experience as a weapon of warfare. 

Me: A weapon of spiritual warfare? That is really outside the box. How can that be?

Him: People tend to have small boxes. Does what I say offend you? Would you allow Me to expand your box?

Then God brought to mind person after person He asked to do hard things: Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, Ezekiel was paralyzed for a couple years, Jeremiah cooled his heels in a cistern, Isaiah was required to not mourn his wife’s death, Paul went through all kinds of stuff.

Me: Yes Lord, You do ask people to do hard things, in that sense what You say does align with Scripture. But You never asked anyone who came to You for healing to live with disease. You healed them! I can see doing a hard thing, but I think disease is a work of the enemy which You came to defeat! So, there is something I’m not getting here.

Him: Remember that passage in Ephesians 3:10-11?
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Me: Does Your saying this offend me? Not really because that verse says far more than my mind can comprehend. Heavenly realms are Your domain. You can be Yourself there and make Your will and wisdom known however You wish.

I don’t have any background experience with “heavenly realms” that would give meaning to those words. I have a sense of it. I “sorta, kinda” get it. You know what You meant and if You put those things together You have a good reason for it—and understanding, comprehending “Why” You would make Your wisdom known through the church or by using me as an example…that may be something beyond my design!! Like a big 747 it is mostly going right over my head! 

For right now, here is what I think He is saying to me: My assignment is still to resist this disease as I would resist a sparring partner, and maintain an attitude that honors God and brings Him glory. My domain is to develop spiritual, physical and emotional maturity. That is my job and within my design capabilities. It is God’s prerogative in His domain, if He chooses to point to me and say to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, “Now that is how it’s done. That’s what I’m talking about. That is being faithful regardless.”  It is not my place to correct God or tell Him He needs to stay inside my box—Job found that out. My position is that God is good, period, no matter what it looks like.
That God should use me as His example to teach heavenly beings? That’s humbling!  Another scripture says that He uses the foolish things to confound the wise. I don’t pretend to be wise; I’m just trying to get through today without complaining and to be gracious to those around me in the process.

Action Step: This week let’s keep track of what we do right—that honors God and brings Him glory. Share with the rest of us so that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

Blessings, Carol
Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                                                                                                                                                     

Friday, April 19, 2013

Listen to the enemy? He plays a head game.


Images courtesy of MicrosoftBluesJazz           When I read a guest blog on one of the John 3:16 Marketing Network sites I did a double take. Listen to the enemy!!?? Wait a minute. The enemy is that rude Philistine that sneaks into my head and has a party! He dances on my dreams and goals. He plays the Blues…I can’t stand the blues!

Listen to that guy? I don’t think so…

Then she pointed to the times when the energy is low and you sigh and say, “This is it. This is my life for the rest of my life. God is not going to heal me.” She encouraged me and everyone to remember that satan is the father of lies. He never tells the truth. He gave you that thought and he is a compulsive liar. He whispers smack, smut and garbage! When I saw where she was going with this I got excited! 

So, when he puts the thought in your head that “God is never going to heal,” he is trying to get you to agree. If you and I agree with him, we prevent God from healing us. Scripture says that Jesus could not do many miracles in His hometown because they did not believe that He could!                        Image courtesy of Microsoft 

WheelchairWhen he says that I will never walk again—that is exactly what he fears. When he puts the thought in my head that I don’t have the strength to exercise, he is actually trying to keep me from doing the very thing that could release me from my physical prison. When I’m up and on my feet I can be a force to be reckoned with. He fears what would happen if I do exercise.

When he tries to muddle my thinking, it is an attempt to get me to agree with muddled thinking. He is afraid of anyone who studies and rightly handles the Word of Truth because of the power they have to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, bind up the broken, release captives, and otherwise damage his kingdom. He wants to push people with chronic conditions into depression because he is afraid of what we will do to him when we are filled with joy.                                Image courtesy of Microsoft

BullseyenarrowListen to the enemy—he is pointing to your next miracle, your next advance! He is giving away the target; telling you where to concentrate your energies. He can see what God is building in you. He is telling you what he is afraid is coming--aim for it!

Satan never tells the truth, but he works very hard at concealing and suppressing it!

Will you join me this week? I put a little notebook by my chair and I am going to try to write down every complaint and what I get discouraged about. Then I am going to write the truth or the victory it points toward. If I get really energetic I will try to find a scripture verse to go with it. Maybe I can do a triangulation, get my bearings and see where I am!

I look forward to your comments.

Blessings on your journey!

Carol,                                                                 Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                                                        

Saturday, April 13, 2013

How’s Your Balance?

Continuing with the subject of how MS has impacted my life…
laughingI find that the attitude is more important than symptom. My neurologist said that if I could learn, if I had a positive community and a sense of humor I would be just fine. I am a compulsive learner, stay away from negativity as much as possible and have is wacky, unstoppable sense of humor—until I’m out of energy and then nothing is funny. Image by Microsoft
I do not say “my MS” because it is not mine; it’s not a part of me, nor a part of God’s design for my life. It is an invader. It is the enemy of my soul and of my life. It is an affliction that I am to resist; in cooperation with God, I’m working to flip the results. It has become something like working with a partner you don’t like but are assigned to work with anyway, until the chronic illness can be pushed out of my life. That process of resistance is God’s workout room where He develops character. Developing spiritual strength and character is the process of “becoming sons,” ones who inherit (John 1:12).
invoice-paidJesus paid for your son-ship and mine, but you and I are responsible to develop the character of a son. The attitude I am working on is humble submission to the Father’s sculpting hand, remembering always that the relationship with my God is more important, it is bigger than this “minor affliction.” If it is God’s decision to develop my character by allowing the enemy of my soul to take his best shot, that is His decision. My decision is to work with Him in developing character and not complain about the means He uses. I trust God’s judgment.
That’s not to say that I am always sweetness and light. There are days…
The last symptom I am going to discuss in this series is balance and mobility. Years after the attack I learned that the stiffness I have to deal with is a response of connective tissue to trauma. It thickens around the place of injury to help support the injured area. Interesting. My body has been stiff all over; walking feels like I am pushing against a wide rubber band! Then I found out that I really do push against stiffened connective tissue which is helping support me. So as I am pushing hard I easily spin out of control. And my vision doesn’t help by giving me several images to choose from!
Balance is tricky. MS has put a nasty wobble in my line dance. The legs don’t receive all the messages that I send them all the time, which results in a sort of spasticity. And due to the impaired mobility I move less, resulting in loss of muscle strength. I must be very careful when I move because my body may move but my brain doesn’t keep up…vertigo and I start to list hard to one side.
the restraintI have fallen a couple times and torn my knee. Once, I was sure I broke my foot; it swelled up like a club, all purple, but it turned out to be only a bad sprain. That always kept me off my feet and resulted in a break in the exercise routine—not good. When I walk I either take an arm or use my walker and for any distance we use a wheelchair. I wonder if any of those wheelchair groups do line dancing! That would use up my energy in a hurry.     
I am looking for the gifts along the way, the nuggets of wisdom the Lord has hidden for me to find. Yes, there are many limitations; that’s my reality, but I have taken a stand to not dwell there. I am looking forward to the restoration of all things and for the day that I will stand before Father God who will remark about the amazing family resemblance. I want to use this disease to develop that likeness to Christ!
That’s my story—what’s yours? How do you cope with chronic disease? If you have a specific question I’d be happy to answer. Blessings, Carol                                                                                                      Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                                                  

Friday, April 5, 2013

A reader asked a question that I think should become a blog post because so many highly sensitive people struggle with this problem. I have asked permission to post this blog and I have italicized my responses.

The question is whether "highly sensitive people are meant to be Nature's 'Nice Guys?'"
Just reading the question made me break out in a rash! Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is pull the one we love up by the shorts. Or deliver a little shock therapy! Nice guy, to me, equates to being a door mat, not responding with anything other than a smile, and NO ONE should be a door mat other than the actual mat! There are rules of dysfunction: Do not see what is happening. Do not hear. Do not trust or feel. Do not speak (about any of it). Nice guys go by the rules. A child of God who lives by those rules (the nice guy) will live in oppression.

She went on to say, "When we are insulted by people, out of the blue, it throws us off completely.
Oh, yes and then you freeze up with shock like a deer in the headlights and don’t respond! Only later to think of what you “should” have said. Arrrgh, I hate that one!    Image courtesy of Microsoft

Based on Christ's example in scripture of not replying when rudely insulted, how do we recover quickly from the insult?
"Quick" recovery? Quick is going to be different for each of us. Not being able to have a reply may be the Lord's protection so that you don't say something you really don't want to say! Ask the Lord how He sees your response time. Ask Him if that needs to change--would it be better to have a quick answer?
The Lord has shown me that what people are most often insulting is Him in us—it’s like satan in them snarling at Jesus in me. Realizing it is more about Him than me helps with that deer in the headlights freeze reaction. I ask Him what He thinks about what so-and-so said. Then I ask Him what if anything He wants to do about it. Would He  like me to respond to it, what does He want me to say? Of course, you then need to say what He tells you to say...

Then, I think you need to look in the larger context of Christ’s years on earth—sometimes He did have things to say. When the Pharisees came at Him, He often cut them off at the knees. He didn’t do it rudely, He merely silenced them with truth. My husband taught us as a family to “find your truth and stand on it.” This is a defense against door to door salesmen but it also works for social bullies, Christian or otherwise—find your (biblical) truth and just repeat it. When they come at you a different way, repeat your truth. They finally realize you are going to only speak your truth; they are not going to get anywhere and they break off and leave you alone. In the case of the salesman, it might be “I have decided not to buy today.” When they come at it from another angle, repeat “I have decided not to buy today.” Just keep doing that no matter what they say and they will finally stop.

Another thing you could do is ask Jesus to help you think through several truth statements that you could memorize and tuck away to pull out in emergency situations. Sometimes the truth wrapped in grace will silence the Pharisee! Truth spoken with grace, not rudely for that would be to respond in kind and you want to respond in the opposite spirit, will often silence the rudeness. Additionally, it will protect you from feeling stupid or like a door mat because you will have made a response—and truthfully so, whereas insults are often untruth or half truth wrapped in innuendo!
Hope that helps!
Let me know if these ideas were helpful! Or perhaps some of you readers may have suggestions? I'd like to hear from you. What has helped you?
Blessings, Carol...making it plain