Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Calm Down: I Have Stilled and Quieted My Soul - Ch. 7

Hi my friends, oh how I need this chapter tonight. I'm here for my weekly day late post of Yes to God, hosted by Lelia over at Write From the Heart. Stop over to see what others are sharing on this chapter. Now we are in Chapter 7, how to still and quiet our souls when anger comes into our thoughts.
The lack of control over what happens in our life, or how others act in our lives can be so frustrating. It reminds us just how little control we really have.
I love what Jennifer wrote here: "Control over the events of our lives is a pleasant day dream at best and a cruel fantasy at worst. Even so, we all seem ready to embrace the mirage." Isn't that the truth. I actually never gave much thought to my need to control things, before I surrendered control of my live to the Lord. I was not raised in a home where confrontation, or fighting was done. We were stuffers of our feelings, and anger was one of them. My mother always told me I was a born mediator, I much better at mediating other's problems and disagreements than I am at handling going head on with someone. That's how I controlled things, I'd mediate the arguments that came to me, like bargaining with someone that was mad. It's now what I do for a living as a property manager I mediate. My old manager use to tell me I was the only person she knew who could take someone who was seething mad because of something I told them they couldn't do, and by the end of the conversation they would leave smiling, happy about what they couldn't do and they thought it was their idea. Again control, well actually manipulation.
God however has shown me that I am a controller, and He stretches me alot by allowing situations that force me to only control the only aspects He has left under our control. My attitude, how I respond to circumstances, my choice to seek God, my choice to be still before Him, and my choice to acknowledge that God is in control and I'm not.
Jennifer reminds us of Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. "It simply means we quiet ourselves by acknowledging that He is God and we are not. To do that, we must first accept that He has ultimate control and we don not. This is where ultimate peace resides."
So we need to be aware of the things that will block us from be able to be still. Those things that distract us and make us think we have control:
A Negative Mind-Set: or as Brinn and I's Tae Kwon Do teacher use to say Stickin Thinkin. We have to choose what our perspective of things will be. When something comes at me I tend to go to all the bad things that can happen first, or think of arguments to fight with before I even have had the conversation. Throwing gasoline on the fire, instead of God's soothing water as Jennifer says.
After Brinn was born, I had to make a choice about my attitude towards my ex husband. I could choose to let my anger control me and make it difficult regarding visitation, the divorce, and his soon to be new wife, or I could relinquish control to God, and let Him be my lamp. Being bitter and angry in the end would not have accomplished anything, and could have very well been disastrous to Brinn. I chose God's way I had to, but there were many times I tried to take control back, and then confess and give it back to God. Sometimes multiple times in a day.
Anger over Adversity: I love this quote from Jennifer "No one has given us an ironclad promise that life will be fair. It never has been, and it never will be. It is what it is, and it will be what it will be. Accepting that reality isn't the same as approving of your difficult circumstances. It's just being real. Your depression or rage won't make the bad things go away. Bad things really do happen to good people. Innocent people can be treated poorly. Life sometimes takes a wrong turn. Evil won't go away just because it makes you mad."
So true, don't you think. Life doesn't become a bed of roses, because you surrender it to Christ. In fact some of my greatest trials have been since I surrendered. Divorce, illness, financial loss, living through consequences you didn't completely create, and strife with people who don't believe in God's power. It's how you handle the trials and how you react to them that makes Christ evident in your life to you and others.
When Brett admitted all of his addictions, it was the most frightening feel of being out of control. There was absolutely nothing I could do. I could not make him stop taking pills, or stop looking at adult Internet sights. I could not force him into recovery, or to continue to stay sober, and I could not force him to be honest. I had no control over the situations, yet I had to deal with great consequences of his actions. Was that fair, no. So I had a choice, I could leave the marriage, society would have supported it, in fact many thought I should, or I could get on my knees and pray for God to give me strength, understanding, patience, help to forgive, and to fill my heart with love for my husband and not bitterness. Only God could change Brett, and He has. Only God could give me the strength to hang on to a marriage that trust had been dissolved and restore it to so much more than it ever was.
Stubborn Defiance: Hanging on to our anger steals your peace. You defiantly refuse to let go and the anger slowly turns to bitterness. One of things I've heard over and over is bitterness is the poison you drink yourself. It will ruin your life, relationships, and how you view yourself. It will lead you down paths you don't want to go. Stubborn Defiance is to say that God can't make a difference, that you can handle this, or I just don't want to change. It's right where the enemy wants you. "Absence of peace is not an 'I can't' situation. It's an 'I won't' problem. --- Letting go of anger may seem impossible, but my friend, it's not impossible at all. Not with an all- powerful God in your corner! Guard yourself from the belief that you can't and consider that the real problem might be that you just won't!"
This one is something I've had to work very hard on. Eph:4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. I soothe my soul with this reminding me that God has forgiven such ugliness in my life, and the sins I commit are as evil and wicked in the eyes of the Lord, as ones that I have experienced at the hands of others. So I cannot live in Stubborn Defiance and have my peace stolen from me, I have to pray and ask God to change my heart, pray for the one who hurt me, and then God restores my peace.
So tonight I started this post with how much I needed this chapter tonight. Well it's not a major deal, but this chapter really spoke to me today. My boss called me today and asked if we could have a meeting over lunch tomorrow, over some maintenance tension. What did I do I immediately starting throwing gasoline words in my thought closet. Fear, resentment, self righteousness all crept in and starting building a fire. I'm already assuming what will be said tomorrow, (you know what that makes me) and had myself all worked up by the time I got home I was really angry, not at my boss but at another coworker. So first I needed some corrective words, that may sting but are true. Like Carol you are not always right, and your defensive hackles are up over something that hasn't even been said, and may not be said. Then I need to find my Lords soothing water and put out the fire, so I can find peace. No matter what God is in control of all situations.
So I close tonight with the verse God gave me tonight that is soothing my soul, and in God's way of getting my attention He gave it to me through Brinn's memory verse this week for school.
God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1Peter 5:4
Farewell and Peace,
Oh yes if you would please pray for me and my work situation, that I would honor God in my meeting with my words, as I serve for Him as a witness to the people around me.


Paula said...

Hi dear Carol. This chapter is amazing, and although I haven't posted in a couple of weeks, I am feeling compelled to post on this one as it has hit close to home on so many levels. I will pray for you in your work situation. I know only too well how prickly they can get; not nice at all. I will message you on FB later about some other things I need prayer for. Love ya, Paula xo

Paula (SweetPea) said...

You brought out some good points here. I, too, love her quote that followed "Anger Over Adversity".

We are so much alike in that we start defending, arguing, creating before a conversation has even taken place. You said you "think of arguments to fight with before I even have had the conversation." The description of all the defensive and accusations you threw once hearing about your meeting tomorrow (today)is so what I would naturally do. I can dream up all kinds of ridiculous things. I can take someone's reaction and think I'm being fired or not doing a good job or whatever. It's so frustrating. It takes a lot to counteract those gasoline words. It's hard to throw water words on top of gasoline words but the stinch of the gasoline still resides.

You are beautiful, Carol. I'm so thankful you listened to God and not the world's society in your marriage. You are so right that society would've been right behind you saying you have every RIGHT to leave your drug addicted husband. But no, you listened to the Great Physician and He is blessing and rewarding you for that faith and obedience. It's just such a honor to see this.

Love you much, sweet Carol.

grey like snuffie said...

I am slow getting around...great post, honest heart. So glad you're His!

Stacy said...

Dear Carol,

Oh, how I can relate to being a 'stuffer of feelings'. I was raised in a household where only one could freely express each and every thought and emotion and have just recently begun to feel and recognize emotions.

I also could so relate to the realization that I am a controller and to my dismay, also very capable of manipulating.

Thank you for posting Jennifer’s words: “Accepting that reality isn't the same as approving of your difficult circumstances.” Somehow or another, I missed that and am grateful to have it brought to my attention---one of those a-ha moments. :)

Thank you for sharing such details regarding your marriage…HUGE encouragement! You are such a blessing to me and I pray for you regularly.