Friday, April 4, 2008

God is Doing a "Spring" Cleaning on Me

Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false. Psalm 24:3-4

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

First of all, I wanted to say thank you to those who have sent encouragement to me in regards to my blog and what God is using to bless others. I am so humbled. I really had no idea what starting a blog would entail, but it has been so encouraging to see how God is using it for others. I've never been the "teaching" type, and really have never been much of a writer, but what an incredible opportunity God has given me to reach out and touch others through my little life here on earth. I am starting to truly believe that it is through our testimony of our journey with the Lord that we can help others in their journey as well. So keep passing it on.

These past few weeks have not been all daisies and roses in many aspects of my life. God has definitely been working on me in some areas in ways that have made my heart feel a little battered and bruised. And I'm having to come to him for healing in that. I have had to make some tough choices through some difficult circumstances this week that really just wasn't fun to make. I'm not coming to talk about the circumstances as much as I am sharing what God is still trying to pound into me through these circumstances. Having a pure heart, and remaining steadfast with Him. I have been praying for God to teach me how to have a heart of integrity, and boy has he been teaching me.
For 32 years of my life, I have been somewhat of the follower-type, people-pleaser, quick to make peace kind of person. I see that there are times when that trait is needed, but I had been so used to that way of being that I never got good at making tough choices for myself or others, that might ruffle feathers between me and others at first, but in the end, is the right choice. And truthfully, that way of being has been the root issue I believe of some anxiety and depression that I have been battling for a year or so now. I've been surrounded all my life with very strong-willed people. I know God was sovereign to some degree in that, but I also know that some of it was that I chose to be with these people because they could just make decisions for me, and it was easy for me be the follower.

I've realized recently though that my integrity had become so shallow because of it. And when conflict arises, I want to run away or if that's not a choice, I crumble, because ultimately I'm not confident in my choice-making. I'm not listening to the voice of God for answers, and instead just listening to the voices of man and the enemy and trying to find my choices with that. And God is such a good God that he just wouldn't let me stay there anymore. "Hello, Bethany, it just doesn't work that way!", is what God has been trying to tell me lately. And I believe it has also become a root problem that had caused trouble in my marriage and some close relationships. But, as I have slowly become more of a confident individual in the past month or two, it has made my marriage grow more than ever. Tim came out and told me recently how attractive it was to have a confident, decisive wife. Who'da thought? That was a big light-bulb moment for me.

In that, I finally realized that others really want me to be true to myself too, have a heart of integrity, be real, and not try to say or feel a way that "just feels good" or what will make the other person happy all the time. There's a time for encouragement and uplifting, but some things just don't allow that to always be the right answer. Because who can trust someone who just wants to say what feels good? So I've been praying for God to get me to the point where I have a heart of integrity in every situation that arises, I can be confident in my ability to make right choices, and be able to stay in tune to God's voice over all the voices that are trying to sway me in their direction. Because the multiple voices will eat me alive if I try to please everyone. This passage has been the verse that describes my life lately, and is exactly what God is teaching me. I remember memorizing this in my late teens and wondering what all of this really meant. Now I know!
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But 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. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1:2-8)

1 comment:

The Engelhardt 4 said...

Good Job! I KNOW how difficult it is to stand up for yourself and to not please everyone all the time. It took me going to Celebrate Recovery to get that. I am so proud of you and all that God is doing in you right now. Know that you count on me for whatever you need.

Keep up your great work. Blessings.