Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rose Colored Lenses

[New look...I'm indecisive. It's late so I'll have to finish adding nick-nacks and updating in the morning...]

I had sort of a lazy day today. Normally that would sort of bug me, but I've been traveling a lot lately, and just got in from a trip home last night, so I just embraced the laziness for most of the day. :) I had to get my car inspected back in NC, and I wasn't expecting to have the amazing time that I did. Lots of meaningful conversations and deep friendships made deeper. God is good.

Recently I've been reading a lot in Exodus (no this isn't that other post being resurrected quite yet) and something in chapter 14 reminded me of a concept that my bible study leader last semester, Kelly Minter, brought up in her book that we studied titled No Other Gods. I have this strange feeling that I'm going to butcher this post, so I trust the Lord to do with it what He may in someone's day, because I guarantee you if you get anything from it, it did not come from my checked-out brain.
I know a few of you are familiar with this study (NOGS) either from my previous post or other bloggers, and some of you have done it or are currently. If it makes any difference to those of you thinking of looking into doing it, NOGS was extremely helpful and one of the most timely studies I've ever done. All 5 of us girls that were in the study are all in about the same season of life, and we all got something different from it because it is so specific to each individual and digging into your own walk with the Lord and the idols specific to you. Sorry I'm rambling...ok I like the study. Moving on. :)

Exodus 14. Moses is high-tailing it out of Egypt with the Israelites who are anxiously awaiting their every move. This is the famous parting of the red sea (or tomato soup if you're Bruce Almighty) chapter, but the part I wanted to tell you about is right before that Campbells miracle.

"As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians that to die in the desert."

Anybody ever asked for a death wish in thinking that it would be better to go back to a past that was more destructive than it's worth? Maybe not intentionally (and I don't mean death wish as harsh as that came out), but I'm sure we've all been there. Wishing for days that we just knew would make us happy again, maybe because they were more comfortable. "I'm tired of waiting...just take me back there where I knew how to 'do life'." A harmful or abusive relationship. A life with addictions of any kind. A place that seems easier to sink into and grow "numb" in, rather than pick yourself up and walk out of. We like to conveniently forget all those moments of pain and loss, of hurt and sorrow, and only remember the very few, if any, pleasant moments--as if those handful of smiles would be enough to carry us through a lifetime of regret. (I think that was a run-on.) I've been dealing with this in an area of my own here recently. Longing for a time when a superficial blanket of security, draped on by others opinions and acceptance, sustained my belief in myself and God's ability to use me. So much wrong in that sentence I'm not sure I could tackle it in one post if I wanted. Doubt. Self Loathing. Wallowing. Self-destruction. Lies. Insecurity. Loneliness. Fear. So much fear.

Why on earth with a description list like that would I voluntarily choose to think about taking a trip down memory lane? Because a part of me, no matter how twisted and destructive the rest of me was, liked who people thought I was. Happy. Together. Confident. Not at all struggling with the Lord. Sure of my purpose. I, however, was none of those things. I now find myself in much more of an honest place--secure in who I am because of Christ--and humbled by the ways He is using me despite the corner of the blanket I still try to utilize from time to time. So why the need to go back through an old role of film? Because I'm being challenged. I am out of my comfort zone and it is scary not to know what the future holds. I've been led to a new place and told to wait on some things. Waiting is hard. Really hard. Especially when the world around you promises a million replacements for your prize if you'll just allow yourself the distraction of a temporary pleasure fix. Something to make you feel ok about yourself in the meantime. And then it happens. You look over your shoulder to a time when the temporary at least felt secure, and the ugly fades away. Rose Colored Lenses.

The Israelites are needing some assurance that where they are going is better than where they've been. And so far, they are not convinced. "It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the dessert!" (14:12) They are somehow sure that abandonment is around the corner, not willing to trust the lighted step that is under their feet. They would rather live in slavery than trust the One that is leading them to freedom. I love the next part. "Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." (14:13-14)

So much in these two verses..
**Do not be afraid. God is not out to get you. He is goodness. And He will prevail.
**Stand firm--If we keep our face set upon the Lord (Isaiah 50:7) we will not be put to shame.
**Deliverance. If you notice, when the Lord promises to bring the people OUT, it is matched by His invitation to come IN. He will not bring you out and leave you. But He won't make you follow the rest of the way. It is your choice. Hold tight long enough for Him to do His thing.
**And did you read the rest?

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

I'll not comment on that last verse let it speak to you how it may. Cause it shouted at me.

Some goodbyes are meant to be a good thing. When God moves you on from something that is holding you captive, that is a good goodbye. Don't fall into the deception that you are missing out on something that was once there. If you say goodbye externally, make sure your heart doesn't remain attached to a memory that will prove empty or deceitful once you cross the red sea. Don't waste your grief and sadness over things that don't need to be mourned. Girlfriend, practice your princess wave and walk into newness with delight. Reclaim that ground that was taken from you and embrace your freedom with confidence and a dose of humility.

God is good, all the time. And all the time...GOD IS GOOD. :o)


beckyjomama said...

Man oh man - Amen sister!!!  THat was so good I had to come back to read it again to let it REALLY hit me and fall on me and BLESS ME!!!!I have been there so many times - looking back and wondering why I didn't just stay there.  Thank the Sweet Lord, I had saints along the way to push me forward and encourage me.  Where I am is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much better than where I was or where I could EVER have gotten on my own!!Thank you for that sweet reminder.  We are facing a new beginning with our little girl right now that promises to get worse before it gets better.  She is gonna have to go through some tough changes and it will need to break down some walls that she puts up.  She is gonna hurt.  I am gonna hurt for her.  But we have to keep our eyes on the goal.  God has led us to this therapist and He knows the way.  We have to follow and trust and cling to Him when it gets hard.  Please pray that we can teach HER to do all of that as well.Suddenly the song "Diving In" is running through my head!  Guess God is telling me to dive, so "here I go!"Thanks again!!!Becky JoPS - love the new look, especially the header - you are so beautiful!!  PSS - wow, I am wordy - sorry!

Kristen said...

Wow - Abby words of wisdom that were much needed in my life at the moment! THank you so much for unknowingly speaking to me through your posts! I've missed you and I hope that I get to see you sometime soon! Thank you again for your words!! love - Kristen

Taylor said...

Girl. Our God speaks. He sure does. I needed every bit of

Lord, give us ears to hear what You are saying to our hearts...and may we follow as You lead, trust as we follow, and in the end, obey with willing hearts.

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

I'm coming back later to read this one again.....very good!

I LOVE your new look! I did a little makeover on Saturday..still not real sure if the new look will stay, but I'm in spring cleaning mode!

Good to see you back on here, I've missed you!


BethAnne said...

First of all, those are some beautiful pictures of a beautiful lady at the top of your blog. Secondly, I know exactly what you are talking about here. I have been there, longing for the familiar, when the familiar was not where I needed to be. I catch myself sometimes, looking back on a season of sin and missing the excitement of it all - even though guilt shadowed me all the time. It is satan. Only satan. The devil loves for us to long for the past, because when we live in the past we cant move forward with God.
Loved this!

Katie said...

That is so good! I am working on breaking free from some things right now. It is so hard just sitting and waiting on God to come do His thing. I so bad want to just check-out in front of the tv when I get home instead of working on keeping close to Him, and I don't even know why. I usually come straight home and jump into His Word. Just recently He has revealed some things to me about myself that will take His power to change. Its just so hard. Being honest w/Him and myself about things I can't change, things I have to trust Him to change. He really wants to know if I really believe He can do what He said He would.

Anyway, the "be still" part of that verse caught my eye and reminded me of a song on a cd I am listening to right now. It's Kirk Franklin's newest cd "The Fight of My Life" (perfect title for my season right now!). I am loving this cd, and one of my fave songs on it is "Be still" which features Toby Mac. That song is awesome! You have to check it out!

Cheri said...

Whew girl-that is great. I have tears in my eyes. How wonderfully written. How beautifully said.

God is good....all the time! I always say that!

The Lord will fight for me if I would just be still.

I'm sure this won't make any since to you but...I thank God everyday for my husband because where I am now is soooo much better than where I used to be.

Thank you for this~ Cheri

CrownLaidDown said...

I love this. Really. I love Him so!!

Passing this along to a friend, who needs the LORD to come and rescue her :)

Love and prayers for you Abby!

Bev Brandon said...

Hey Sweetheart!
I am the one Holly mentioned above that needs to be rescued!! Good place to be because Deut 33:26-28 talks about how there is no other God like the God of Jeshurun who rides the heavens to rescue us for underneath you and me are His Everlasting Arms! If I just looked at circumstances----pneumonia, broken bone, kidney failure and no job (lost 4 job offers just this week) and my husband has no job and the bills are "in" THEN I would need MAJOR rescue but HE is rescuing me from myself not from my circumstances. May we never confuse how we perceive ourselves and our successes/failures and what others perceive of us with the unfailing LOVE of our beautiful Christ. Never confuse that one. We are we can remove the superficial blankets of security draped on by others opinions and acceptance and sustained by belief in self---I'm quite sure you already have and will remove that blanket again and again when it floats down to cover. He is blanket of LOVE and SECURITY. HE is our everything! Love you so much girl, talk to you soon. Let me know if you're back here again. Beautiful Girl is what I'm singing looking at that header.

Danielle said...

I don't know you, but I know I was meant to see your post! This is a great reminder! Thank you for writing!