exposure therapy

I was in the basement when I saw something scurry past. It was huge and  a spider with an egg sack on it.  I was horrified. It was silver dollar sized and looked like a mini hairy legged tarantula. It ran into a rather large pile of Kia’s doll clothes. Lovely. I knew I didn’t want that egg salk hatching but I didn’t really want to rifle all those clothes to find it either. I pulled up the courage as I horrified envisioned hundreds of them hatching.
Before I started picking up articles I realized I was going to have to do something to catch this spider because I didn’t want to squish it. So I went and got a jar. I finally trapped the spider in the jar and gingerly slid the lid underneath. Suddenly I was staring at closer range than ever before with something that made me squirm and shiver. There enclosed in that jar was that huge ugly spider.

At first I didn’t want to look at it at all for that matter even hold the jar. I brought it upstairs and put it as far away and told myself that my husband could let it out somewhere far from our house. But first I did need to do our home school duty and show my daughter and let her learn a little more about spiders. I explained it was a mama spider and other sorts of information in my most “I am not scared” matter of fact voice.  Kia was fascinated. We talked for a while. Andrew ended up not letting that spider go for several weeks actually and I began to look at it every few days I’d pick up the jar and look at the spider. Each day with less trepidation. Soon the spider didn’t bother me much. Today I found another of her kind and swiftly dealt with it. No biggie.It struck me suddenly that I had become desensitized to the horror of spiders. I realized it has also happened somewhat with my more dreaded fear of snakes since we had a mama snake have her babies in our window well. I see lots of snakes and while I don’t like them they don’t make me die with fright either like they used too.

Exposure treatment  works and in our hearts in regards to sin it works too well. When I tolerate that “little” sin of complaining to creep in. When the horror leaves after I’ve gone off on a tirade of frustration. When it’s no longer a big deal to allow some of the world to shape my ideas, my entertainment, my limits, my style. When not praying is just “being too busy” and perfectly “normal” for a mother. The “tiny” black widows slip in and well, we allow them to crawl behind a curtain in our life and sit there having babies making themselves comfortable in our turf. We begin to not notice them. Just as the dust accumulates in my house I notice it less and less. How the clothes on my dresser just stack and I don’t notice until it’s to the ceiling. We don’t notice the ordinary sins in our life, we tolerate them. The constant exposure deadens us to what it is actually doing to us. The danger we are in.

Today I told God to please not allow me to live with any sin releasing it’s toxic gas into the air of my heart. I want to live with a pure heart one that is constantly cleansed by coming to Christ for forgiveness as soon as I’m aware I’ve relied on my flesh instead of His Spirit. I want to come right back into His presence and communion. I want to walk in that sweet peace and communion. I don’t want the spiders and snakes of sin to live in my heart and not notice them until it’s too late and they’ve allowed death to wreak havoc on my heart and those I love. I want to live in the fullness of Christ’s inheritance for me. That fullness means that I don’t have to live blind to my sin. God’s Spirit is so willing and desires to show us how to walk, how to please Him in every way. How to walk in His power and abide in the Branch resting in His sap for the life to walk in holiness.

I’m done trying this sanctification in my own power. No thanks. Jesus You are more than enough for my justification and You are everything I need for sanctification as well.
No more “little” or “big” spiders. God You will rid me of all them as I rest in You and someday, blessed day I will be completely free and never more have to daily battle the old nature. Child of God, that’s ours, let’s walk in it.

Abiding: position or condition?

I found an article that explains what God’s been showing my heart lately. For years I had wondered at the references to “Abiding in Christ”. I’d prayed and desired that in my life however the concept never seemed to realize in me for very long. I just kept going back to relying on myself to have patience and even though I’d ask God for it. I guess I didn’t really believe He’d give it to me. I think I kept getting out of the abiding also by saying I sure don’t “feel like I’m abiding” or take how I felt that moment as proof I was or wasn’t abiding. Trusting my feelings is a huge mistake I’m realizing. My feelings are easily swayed as my husband says by even what we ate the night before. I need to bank my mind set on what the word says. This is what grounds us. Since I’ve gotten married and had children especially I’ve seen that my flesh cannot give the fruits of the Spirit. I can’t live relying on my self. Now, God is showing me that believing the promises of Christ and walking trusting God for His life to flow through me is the way we can walk in patience, joy, love and hope. I am by no means saying I am walking without sin because I stumble but these stumblings work as reminders to return to abiding in Jesus’s strength and power. Right away I have to fight the enemies accusations but those are silenced by looking to the cross and then reminding myself of my position in Christ. I want to live in my position not on the day to day “condition” of whether I’ve messed up or not. What a joy to walk in our position as holy and blameless in Christ! His fellowship is sweeter than any thing on earth. A godly lady told me that her fellowship with God is what she looks forward to more than anything else day or night. It is her greatest delight. When our hearts come to that we can know that the Spirit is abiding and we will walk in His joy and peace even if we are in a concentration camp like Corrie Ten Boom, or beaten and shipwrecked like Paul, or a mother with little sleep and cranky children! The Lord is our helper, we shall not be put to shame as we trust in Him!

For more on condition and position read The Green Letters. I have the hard copy at home but it’s all available online. It is a life changing book. I’ve been reading it the past year and bit by bit it’s been growing my view of myself and who I am because of the Gospel.

the mystery of faith

When self-doubt whispers, “I’ll never change.” Throw that lie away and hold onto this truth: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6, –  A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

 

Faith allows us to see past our mistakes and see God’s hand and His power. We realize that God is the One who will complete the work He’s started in us. When I start doubting I’ll ever be good enough I have succumbed to the accuser of our souls and forgotten the gospel. It has been an incredible comfort the past while learning anew to rest and rejoice in the certainty of my heart growing in God’s way. With God on our side how can we not win? Satan can not mock God and tell Him that His redeemed will fall away. We cannot be snatched from Christ’s hands. We are redeemed. Let us give thanks and stand in awe. God’s love is unwavering. We waver, yes, but He holds us always.

A Confident Hope is an amazing book. It really addresses the core issues I think all women struggle with. She has a lot on motherhood and our core identity among other things.

power, love & sound mind

This article is excellent! There have been so many battles going on inside me the past while. When you deep clean a room the dust flies and things look worse than before. Before the dirt was all hidden now it comes out of the woodwork. In order for God to change us He must show us our sin and things get stirred up. Thank God there is a battle going on. I can rejoice in knowing victory is there in Christ. No battle means no victory. Yes, the battle’s hard but what do we expect?  I’ve realized is that instead of talking about my feelings and the battle with a person I first need to take it directly to God. Ask Him to strengthen my faith so that I can speak the truth over the situation and my heart and feelings. I need to remember the evil one wants me to despair impatiently over the situation.

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”

2 Timothy 1:6-9

We can see the Lord saving and calling every one of us with a holy calling, according to His own purpose and grace, even before the foundation of the world (verse 9). We can also see that He has placed gifts on the inside of us, which we must stir (verse 6). That’s God’s image for us. But obviously, there is an opposition; there are spirits of fear, shame, blockages, obstructions, afflictions, etc (verse 8).

God has given us in Christ’s Spirit within us a sound mind. Proclaim it to yourself and rest in it. Ask God to still the clamor and anxiety that wells up and let God’s Spirit fill you with His promises and life giving commands. Follow even when it doesn’t seem like things will work out..Trust. In quietness and rest is your salvation. Waiting for God to ask is a work of faith and impatience shows our unbelief.

All in all, the Spirit the Lord has given us is a Spirit that will lead us in victory in each and every area of our life with God. It will make us more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).

I also need to remember to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and not seek that which “seems good” and “sounds right” to me naturally. Those are the paths that lead us off course into the devil’s territory of defeat and darkness. What sounds good to the flesh is deadly. Watch out for that feeling of fleshly satisfaction. Remind yourselves that sin always leads to great regret and bears bitter fruit in our lives and hurts others. Not to mention grieves and leaves us out of close fellowship with our Savior. The one who fills our hearts with joy and light. When we are seeking God’s kingdom first we remember that yes we will have sorrow and hardship and have painful feelings but that if we give these feelings to God and ask for His truth to redeem and give light to us and that we might follow Him through the hurt and confusion (at times) He will add “all these other things” to us. Those things which our hearts desire (godly and true desires) and need He will provide beyond what we could ask or imagine! God’s in this for the long term may we also be waiting in faith for His work in us.

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”

Corinthians 10:3-5