Feeling Discouraged?

I didn’t know what was wrong. I just kept thinking…

“you are such a loser Lindsay”
“You are just sitting here doing nothing”

These tiny, rather quiet, sneaky thoughts kept telling me that I wasn’t going to be ok, that I was never going to leave my couch, that God didn’t care, and that I better get it together. The problem was that I had no idea what to get together. I was paralyzed by discouragement and had no idea what was wrong. Well until a friend called

“Lindsay, what’s up”
Me trying to put my happiest voice on and simply respond like I always do, with cheer I said:
“Hey friend what is going on?”

After about 7 minutes of normal chat, he stopped and “randomly” said
“Lindsay, are you dealing with discouragement?”

I burst into tears, kind of shocked that I was crying, I realized he must have hit the nail on the head.

He then said: “you don’t have to pretend with me.”

The truth is, I couldn’t name it, (what was wrong) but he could. And that is good, because when it is named, it can be dealt with through prayer. But when we don’t know why we feel a certain way it’s impossible to deal with it because we can’t see clearly.

He then said “I could tell on Sunday”

I thought, that was 5 days ago, how could I have been dealing with discouragement and not have even realized it. I thought I was acting really happy on Sunday, I thought I was happy on Sunday.

I wasn’t “feeling” sad, but I was sad, deep down, I was discouraged, but again didn’t really know.

He then said “self pity is the door way to discouragement which then leads to sadness and sorrow and left unchecked can take us right into depression.

And when he said that, I thought, THAT IS IT, Self Pity. UGHHHHHHHHHHH..

Instead of saying NO to self pity and refusing to agree, I must have agreed with it at some point. AGAIN.

At the end of Hebrews in verses 18 and 19 it talks about “taking hold of the hope that is set before us that in it we may be greatly encouraged”

Encouraged, the opposite of discouraged! Yes.

And then it says “we have this hope as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure.”

Hope as in, “no I won’t always be sitting here on my couch, confused, feeling a bit lost in life, wondering will I ever even leave my couch, will I really get married, be healthy, learn to surrender, stop trying to figure things out?”

No “thoughts in my head”, I won’t listen to your lies, I will instead choose, HOPE that Jesus will help me into what He has next” because His word says: “we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us”. (Romans 5:2-5)

Hope does not disappoint. I love that.

We must do as the Bible instructs and take every thought captive. “Self pity” or “feeling sorry for ourselves” will just take us to a bad place, it won’t help us, it just won’t even if it feels justified in the moment.

Now what I am not saying is that we should pretend we are ok if we are not, I am all about Christian counseling, prayer counseling. Who am I kidding I love counseling and sozo prayer and codependency classes and breaking free from shame classes, YES get the help you need, but let’s also remember that there is even Hope in the help!

Because the Truth is “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” So let’s hope, hope, hope and hang tightly onto hope no matter what!

The other Truth is that there is a time for everything, Solomon teaches us. So, I believe that there is a time to grieve our pain, losses and suffering in life, but there is also a time to HOPE. For more on TRUE LIVING HOPE check out www.HopeHeals.com a ministry very dear to my heart that embodies this entire idea much better than I can write it.

Getting free from all that entangles

Getting free from all that entangles me!

I guess that’s what I am doing.

If you knew the classes I was taking you would probably laugh, but I feel so led to discover the freedom Jesus died on the cross to give me, especially as I find myself still single.

From my christian codependency class (oh and check this out all videos are free on youtube) to my walking out of shame class. It stings at times, but it causes me to press more and more into Jesus.

As we grow deep in Him, we bear much fruit. John 15

As we grow, we bear.

Growth happens in many different ways, suffering, serving, surrendering. I am not going to pretend I know the recipe, because I don’t. But I do know that our relationship with Him is the most important part of life. As we sit with Him, He will lead us and guide us into what He has for us, to do and to receive.

I do love what a friend said to me years ago, as I unknowingly kept trying to figure out how to pay God back, earn His love, or maybe His favor. She said Lindsay “we are human-beings not human-doings.” I am learning that I can ask God “God what can I do for you” but sometimes my motive is slightly off. It can come from a place of striving, of a guilt ridden need to “look like I am doing something for God to those around me” all the while forsaking my relationship with Him. He quietly whispers “Lindsay, it’s about pleasing Me, not others, even if they don’t understand.”

I guess people pleasing is comfortable for me, I have actually learned to be really good at it.

He is teaching me things that are kind of ugly to be honest, like learning about my tendency to control through manipulation. eeekkkk. Or the fact that shame has had a hold on my life for such a long time, that I thought it was just normal.

I use to agree with the idea that I am not worthy of anything, which is true, He is worthy of it all (oh side note: THIS SONG) But as I get more revelation on the fact that I am worthy because I am in Him and He is in me, it shows me where I have let unworthiness almost control my entire life.

As I spend time with Him, He continues to heal me, to change me, to show me more of who I am in Him.

God’s thoughts are higher than my thoughts (and yours), His thoughts are higher and different than the way we can comprehend sometimes. {Isaiah 55:9}

His will not ours, is the prayer Jesus taught us. But the good news is He knows our desires, He knows how to move us to where He wants us and there is never fear, fear is a liar. It is a spirit the Bible says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

His will for me and His will for you, will probably look a bit different, and that is why it is most important to keep our ear near His face, our eye on His Word and walk step by step with Him. Since He created the universe, He definitely knows best.

What is it that we are afraid of?

15 years ago I thought something was really wrong with me, so I drank lots of vodka to avoid the pain and the deeper issues which were screaming “you can’t handle the truth.”

Quite the opposite was true, I needed to know the Truth, but see the enemy doesn’t want that to happen and those ‘mean thoughts’ in our head, they are always from the enemy of God and the enemy of our very souls. Thankfully He doesn’t win.

In God’s goodness He showed me that nothing was really wrong with me, well except that I needed ultimate forgiveness which was accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, because I was spiritually dead.

After that was all taken care of, it was good to know finally, the “issue” that I thought was too big for anyone to fix, was actually just fear.

Honestly it was a relief to know it could at least be identified, fear. Identifying things can be a huge part of the solution. I use to fear everything. It not only controlled my life, it was all I knew, it was the filter in which I saw parts of life. I am sure some of you can relate.

As I grew to know, love and understand God’s love for me, the fear didn’t go away but it did subside.

The Bible says
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love (God’s LOVE) casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love”. 1 John 4:18 NASB

And it was true, as I grew to receive God’s love for me more and more, the fear would dissipate.

Lately, God has been so gentle and kind to reveal that fear can come at us with different faces. I am not sure how else to say it. The fear wasn’t this one big thing, it was a bunch of little things. And when I say little, I don’t mean little as in they felt little, quite the opposite they felt unbearable. But what I am seeing is that God is breaking it down for me, to deal more directly with the actual lie that creates the fear. Then to recognize it as fear and cast it down.

2 Corinthians 10:5 King James Version (KJV)

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

To give you an example; the latest one God has brought my attention is the “fear of messing up His plan” or the “ fear of making the wrong choice” or the “fear of not doing what He says”

Well if you read these you start to see that they all kind of root back to the same or a similar theme.

What God revealed to me today was that I “TRY” (since control is actually an illusion) to control things because I fear if I don’t, all will fall apart. I fear that making the wrong decision or choice could totally ruin my entire life.

WOW, I am giving myself a lot of credit here, actually a lot of control here and as we discussed back a few weeks ago, control is rooted in fear.

I think part of the trick with fear is that we battle it from this one big thing instead of asking ourselves, “WHAT IS IT that I am afraid of?” If we stay confused on what we are actually afraid of, it makes it harder to deal with and that is what the enemy of God wants, us to just live with the fear.

Plus The Lord did NOT give us a spirit of fear. It is a spirit. The Bible says so in 2 Timothy 1:7.

He gave us power, love and a sound mind.

Let’s dwell on this whenever fear presents itself, be sure to pay attention to what you are thinking about and why, it will show you a lot about what the enemy may want you to believe, that JUST isn’t true.

Ask the One who has ALL the wisdom

He has all the wisdom! I am pretty sure I have written about this before, but it seems we are here again!

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Paul the writer of most of the New Testament said “pray without ceasing” do you ever wonder what he meant there? Probably exactly what he said “pray without ceasing” but ceasing it’s just one of those words, so I looked it up! #wordnerd here!

Ceasing means: to bring or come to an end.

So Paul was saying, pray without stopping. I know this sounds impossible. You are probably thinking
“Lindsay, sounds good because you are single and have nothing else to do, easy for you to say, but I have a life .”

Ok, I won’t take offense to your comment there (smile), but what I believe Paul was communicating is that there is never a bad time to pray, you can never pray too much. NEVER. It is ALWAYS effective no matter what the Father of Lies (aka the Devil) wants to whisper in your ear about it being a waste of time or completely ridiculous that you think prayer actually helps. But see the devil is a liar, let’s never forget that either.

As things get crazier and crazier around me, I don’t know what to “do” all of the time, but I am learning once again that I know the One who has ALL the wisdom.

I love in James where it talks about asking God for His wisdom, what a huge gift. Asking the One who has ALL the wisdom for wisdom. That’s amazing.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” James 1:5.

I think it is no coincidence that this is written right after He talks about us all experiencing trials in life. Your trial could be bigger than you ever imagined or it might seem tiny and seemingly insignificant. The thing is, He didn’t say come only to Me when your trial is too hard. He said if any (meaning any, not a few, not the super holy, He said ANY) of you lack wisdom (lack, I looked it up for us and it means: the state of being without or not having enough of something) wisdom, he/she should (meaning you SHOULD do it) ask God. Because He gives generously (it doesn’t say to those who can’t feed their children), it says He gives is generously to ALL without finding fault. Meaning He is not mad at you that you don’t know what to do. He is asking you to come to Him.

whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? so amazing.

He often has to remind me that the point of this life is to be in relationship with Him. It’s hard to imagine because the world beats us up so much, but there is a God in heaven that wants to talk to us 24/7. He doesn’t sleep and He does have time for you, He delights to be with you. He doesn’t care if you are on the potty or in the shower. Washing dishes or crashing into bed, He just wants you to turn your head towards Him, ask Him in a 5 second prayer for what to do about this little tiny seemingly insignificant situation.

Right after this verse He says: “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

Now I know the above sounds a little harsh, but sometimes we may have to ask Jesus to help our unbelief, see He is that good. He will help our unbelief, IF WE ASK!

Your prayer may look like this:

Jesus, help my unbelief, I need your wisdom and I want to receive your wisdom on _________________, because in James you say we can ask and it will be given so here I am, asking!

And watch what He does! It’s so exciting actually the moment by moment surrender and adventure with God, it’s not always easy but what in life is?

Now let’s get to walking with Him, moment by moment, seeking His wisdom in every single tiny thing we do.

Hope when it hurts MOST!

I heard at my most recent Celebrate Recovery class that the avoidance of “feeling pain” is what leads to all compulsive behavior.

When the leader said these words, I thought to myself “ouch that hurts” but the more I think about how painful it is to feel pain the more I thought “that makes sense”

Who wants to feel pain? No one! But the Bible says “we will all experience trials and tribulations”, they will come in various packages for all of us, but pain seems unavoidable in this broken world.

I hate it too.

It is starting to make sense for me now, if we don’t choose to engage in the grieving process (even in the smallest losses of life) we will be avoiding pain and we will eventually find a way to cope, which is usually way worse in the long run. It was for me anyway.

I hate it as much as you do, but someone once told me that crying is like throwing up, it hurts coming out but once it is out, you feel so much better.

It’s a little annoying to hear when you are in the middle of it, but it is true and maybe a good truth for us all to hear before we need it next time.

I use to fear my next suffering, my next painful experience, but as I walk with God through life, (the amazing and the painful) I realize that I am ok after the pain has been released by allowing myself to ‘feel the emotion’.

But we sometimes avoid feeling the emotion because we think it is too hard to handle and so we stuff it, which is a BAD IDEA! Because feeling the pain in the moment actually helps it to heal.

I know weird, but true!

As I started this new class on co-dependency, I realized that after all the healing I have been through in the past 7 years of being a Christian, guess what? There is more. Thankfully God is so grace-filled and merciful that He helps us through our “stuff” little by little even when it seems like it is happening in chunks to big for us to bare.

The thing that helps us through is Jesus, is prayer, is community, is reminding ourselves that Jesus does weep with us, and comforts us if we will allow Him. And as the Bible promises “Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning”. Psalm 30:5 NASB

Believing that HOPE is indeed real and as my friends (and most recent freelance clients) at the Hope Heals Ministry say, “HOPE is what heals us all.” The person and the faith.

“Faith is the confidence of things hoped for, the assurance of things not seen. (NIV Hebrews 11:1)”

My encouragement for you today is that you HOPE, Hope against everything you ‘feel’ that says “there is no hope”. I felt this “hopelessness” wanting to creep in the other night when I was writing this blog, but I professed Hope instead. I usually like to sit in my pain and feel sorry for myself, that gets you no where, trust me I have tried it so many times!

It’s not one or the other, it’s feel the pain and then HOPE!

You can’t actually over hope, you hope when it hurts most. You declare to the heavens that your Hope is in Christ, that you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Because we know that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NASB

And you are called according to His purpose, if you choose to believe and follow Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

We don’t have to fear or look about us, for our God will not only help us, He will strengthen us and uphold us in His righteous right hand! That is good news friends!

Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)

10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;

Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,

Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

You know me, I write to process through my feelings, how do you process through yours?