The wooden blocks scream across the room. Impact. Collapse. There are new scars on the wall.
Rage has often been an unwanted associate of mine. An unsuitable and shameful companion for a daughter of the King. He leaves as quickly as he comes. Stealing any number of moments and leaving me with his wreckage. I dissolve in frantic sobs. He didn’t bother to take the hurt with him and that’s what I needed.
God how can I be your child and struggle like this? This is not the fruit of your spirit! What has to happen for this to finally be out of my life for good? Am I just deceived about my relationship with you? God, I don’t have anything left to give. I thought I had come to you. I thought I was in a good place. How am I supposed to change if I thought I was doing well and then I’m completely blind-sided by something I didn’t even know was in my heart? I feel powerless God.
I do everything big, even hurt. Vivid deep cuts. I wrestle with such an acute sense of failure. I have so many good ideas, so much ambition, so much desire and such a ridiculously limited frame. I stumble constantly. I feel the weight. Like I’m disappointing everyone. That I’m not really helping anyone. That I’m not going to achieve what I was supposed to have. I can give till I’m bone dry and still feel like I didn’t scratch the surface. Your failing! Your failing! Your failing! The accusation is constant and if the slightest confirmation comes that it’s true and I am pierced.
Rage rushes in like he’s going to protect me from that pain. He lashes out at anything close. Beating it back. Flailing at anything near enough to hurt me. But He’s too late. The accusations have already flown away, leaving only their shadows- their venom. And the one’s left close enough to hit are the one’s who love me. Rage doesn’t discriminate. He doesn’t even look around. He just rages. And he breaks everything.
He breaks me.
Three days ago my husband prayerfully encouraged me to read Philippians. My obedience was two days too late. Still, the Holy Spirit is persistent with His gentle counsel. This morning there was space and I heard Him whisper to turn to the Word. God rarely gives me the kind of answers I think I need. But He knows better. And when He answers it’s in full.
Phillipians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
I need peace and I need a guard!!! I need something to stand at the door when rage tries to charge and say “No. You are not allowed through.” To protect me from the onslaught of thoughts and feelings that yank me from the arms of the Spirit and back into the control of that flesh man. I need a buffer between me and the voices. Between me and the pain. And that guard is Peace. How? How do I employ peace to guard my heart and mind?
I really resist twelves steps. I think they’re hokey. And I think we often serve methods instead of serving God. But there are times when God knows that I need it broken down. I need to see the progression of obedience and He lays it out before me like a table to eat from.
Course One: Make the trade; Instead of worrying pray about everything.
Whether it’s my laundry, my shortcomings as a mother, the needs of the church, the lost, etc., worrying forces me to hold on to it and internalize it. But prayer releases it and delegates it! This is so powerful. It frees me up to feel the brokeness around me without resenting it. I usually vacillate between trying to save the world and trying to shut it out because I know I can’t. I struggle to get all my children dressed each day (we’re teetering on tribal in appearance around here). How am I supposed to support the women around me, or write a book, or reach the lost? It doesn’t take me long to start to resent and resist the needs around me. I feel powerless to do anything about them. But now I have a recourse- and it’s instant, inexhaustible and effective. I don’t even have to leave my kitchen! Pray about everything.
Course Two: Confession- tell God what you need
Wait… I have permission to have needs! FREEDOM! I know I have needs. In fact, in the vein of doing everything bigger I have big needs. My husband and I half-jokingly call them special needs. I forgot that God doesn’t say, “hey to follow me you must not have needs so you can focus on serving others.” He knows I have needs; special needs even! So he says “Tell me!” What is he really saying “yeah, I’ll take care of that.” WHAT!? That’s crazy!!! The God who sets up nations and tears them down, who makes universes out of atoms, is going to meet my needs! No wonder He says don’t worry. What do I have to worry about? I don’t have to be whole! I don’t have to be the full package. He already accounted for my needs. My lack. I’m free to just acknowledge them and trust Him to meet them.
Course Three: Thanksgiving- Give thanks for what God is doing?
Part of my struggle is that I forget that it’s really God who is at work and I don’t take into account what He has already done. This isn’t hanging on me? The fate of mankind is not hanging in the balance of my obedience, my perfection, my execution. That was the role of Jesus! That fate was hanging on His perfect obedience. My obedience on this earth is so that I can experience Him more fully. So, remember that God is working it out and give thanks for all that He has done.
Suddenly, Peace floods into my soul like light into a dark room.
And He takes up His post at the door of my soul. I don’t even really understand it. God said I wouldn’t. But I can feel Him there. Guarding my heart and mind. I’m not scared anymore. Of the trial, of the pain, of myself. I have Peace.
I’m so grateful for your Word. It really is living. Thank you that you knew what truths I would need. Thank you that you let me restart and you don’t count my sins against me. Thank you that you can set me free of the darkest strongholds. Thank you for your Peace. Thank you for healing my heart and for helping me to see the way out. Thank you for it all. Thank you for the friends and family around me that are watching and praying for me. Encourage them today. And anyone else, who is discouraged and scared and needs a guard over the hearts and minds… give them Peace. Meet them and speak to their hearts as you faithfully have mine. I love you Jesus. Be glorified today. Amen.