Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Living Faith Out loud: On Battles, real and imaginary

I've been dreaming wild dreams these past few nights, my subconscious working overtime even in the hours of slumber.

Last night, this one is my favorite from recent sleeps, I was a part of a super-hero action team of animated characters fighting human foes who were intent on destroying Denver. None of it makes a lot of sense seeing as I'm not enthralled with super heroes nor do I live in Denver, other than my-self psychoanalysis telling me that perhaps I feel like I'm waging a war for which I'm not equipped.

These vivid nights filled with dreams always happen whenever I feel like my plans aren't materializing as I'd planned.

It also happens when I spend entire days wrapped up in heavy thought, trying to work out in my mind what could unfold and the action needed if each scene I'm imagining did turned to reality, trying to equip myself for each new battle. 

Really, I know, though, that the reason I don't feel equipped is because imaginary battles regarding immaterialized possibilities are unequipable. 

He arms us with exactly what we need in each situation to handle exactly what we're going through in the moment, but often, not prior.

I have to keep reminding myself that right now my battle isn't some masked disease causing these lingering physical symptoms -- because as it stands, I've checked out fine, which tells me that shouldn't make any more assumptions of something being seriously wrong unless something shows as seriously wrong.

So my battle right now isn't against un-realized and un-discovered diseases.

But, rather, my battle right now is against anxiety and the what-if worries that creeps into my heart when I feel like my body should be free of any lasting symptoms of the gut flora imbalance I've been asking God to restore for the past five months through diet changes and, more importantly, His healing hand. 

And, sometimes the struggle in my mind -- the one of anxiety -- is minimized though it stands tall and hulking in my daily life, a giant that needs slaying often. 

I've often felt discouraged in the midst of this battle, especially when I've shared my struggle and others have told me simply to not let these thoughts take me captive, suggesting there is a simple switch I have  yet to find and easily flip in order to find freedom from both.

In my hours spent crying out to God, I've yet to find such a switch.

The intense battles against worry and anxiety are fierce wars raging to liberate the mind and heart space from unrealized fears so that both can rightfully be filled with the deep joy that stems from the gifts the Giver gives us moment by moment. 

And I have found strong weapons with which to battle in these seasons of hardship that are part of living life outside the perfection of the original Garden. 

One sword that slays worry is living in the moment. One shield is finding His joy moment by moment. And perhaps the mother of all weapons is living a life entrenched in the Word.

I've been memorizing James 1: 2-6. 

"Consider it joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perserverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 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. 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 reminds me that there is purpose in trials -- even ones of worry and anxiety. He reminds me that there is joy found in maturation

joy found in perseverance.

and joy found in living in the moments placed directly in our open-palmed hands. 

And in those open palms, I've found, too, that He's placed the strongest weapons for slaying worry, equipping me for the battle at hand.

If you're going through a particularly rich growing season, I'd love to pick up the mighty weapon of the Word together and memorize James 1:2-6.

{I'd also welcome you to any of my end-of-the-day Gilmore Girls viewing adventures because I know that sometimes the mind just needs a break from the deepness of thoughts and the heaviness of life, so I bought for really cheap from local mom seasons one and two. Just keeping it totally real here!}

3 comments:

  1. I just finished all seasons of the gilmore girls. I was a little sad when I was done. I'm all for keeping it totally real!

    I loved this from your post

    "One sword that slays worry is living in the moment. "

    This has been what God has really been trying to teach me these last few months. I'm a dreamer and a worrier/planner and I'm realizing that every time it takes me away from the present. Appreciating each stage of life for what it is.

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  2. Yes, Jenn, that very last thing you said especially -- it steals me away from the present, which is real and tangible and here and the gift at hand right now.

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  3. Hy...I could have written this post myself. These words - "I've often felt discouraged in the midst of this battle, especially when I've shared my struggle and others have told me simply to not let these thoughts take me captive, suggesting there is a simple switch I have yet to find and easily flip in order to find freedom from both" - are what make the struggle against anxiety all that much harder, because some people just DON'T understand that it's more than just worry and it's NOT easy to snap out of. In the moment, the anxious thoughts are very real and very overpowering. One thing my counselor has helped me with is to recognize the anxious thoughts instead of trying to immediately quench them, because sometimes I just need to acknowledge that I'm struggling and be honest with God about where I'm at. And then, as I lay it all at His feet, I can slowly, piece by piece, unwrap the layers of those anxious thoughts and allow His words to penetrate my heart. I love how you wrapped up this post, because you are EXACTLY right - the BEST weapon against anxiety is a life immersed and consumed with His words. The more His words fill my mind, the less the anxious thoughts can overpower me. I've been reading Ephesians lately, particularly Ephesians 6 where Paul talks about the armor of God and I've been reminded that His word is sharper than any two edged sword and more powerful than any evil this world brings my way. We need to chat again soon. Know that you are in my prayers and I will be specifically praying for His words to fill you with the fullness of Him. I love you, friend.

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There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

AND will you pretty please have your email linked to your account or leave it for me so I can respond?

Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.

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