Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tune In: Awake, My Soul Chapter 5

I can't believe we are in week 5 of Yes to God's latest book study. If you get a chance to stop over to Lelia's blog this week and leave her some love and prayers, she's a special lady who leads our study, and shares her heart with transparency.
This weeks chapter in Self Talk Soul Talk, takes us into a new section, how to talk to our Souls. I love the analogy of the dirty grungy apartment stoves that Jennifer confess to obsessively cleaning. It made me laugh, in truth because as some of you may know I manage apartments, and believe me I've seen some pretty grungy, disgusting stoves, (Although at my apartments I don't let them go to a new resident that way.)I could write a whole other blog on the adventures of my apartment management, but I digress. This though was an excellent visual for me, because I've seen how hard you have to work to get some of this stuff clean and it takes work, and diligence.

In this chapter she started out talking about about David's prayer in Psalm 57:8 Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. How prayed in the midst of his own sin and failure. We must keep our souls awake and be aware of the distractions that the enemy uses to keep us away from our treasures, what we value most. Jennifer reminds us: "sometimes we become sleepy and apathetic toward some of our poor choices and negative attitudes. Instead of keeping our eyes open to such things, we tend to neglect careful daily cleansing, and we grow accustomed to the grimy buildup that coats the surface of our souls. And we begin to fool ourselves into believing nothing is amiss." Did this hit me it was like I looked inside and saw all those places that I'd been letting the grime build up.

Jennifer the speaks of distractions. Not all distractions are bad, in fact many of them can be good but it's the balance, and if we let our distractions consume us we loose our focus on our true treasures. What we put our effort and time on is what becomes our priorities. "Whatever your treasures is, there your heart and thought will also be" Matthew 6:21.

Over the last year and a half, God has been doing a work in me on my distractions. This was a huge problem for me, I could hardly tell the difference between distraction and treasure. God has put on my heart many things that I needed to remove from my life. This chapter is very timely for me. Immersing myself in distractions is how I hid from my problems, or how I try to control my own life.

There was a point in my life a little over two years ago, where I had myself super busy. I was taking Tae Kwon Do, with Brinn and was there at the studio probably 8 to 10 hours a week, then I was trying once again to do a direct selling business of scrapbook stuff, so when I wasn't at the studio I was trying to promote my business, I was working at my job, and then I would fit in mom and wife, and other things. I wasn't taking care of my health and getting the proper rest, I was ignoring the fact that my husband was drifting off into his world of addiction, my daughter spent hours in front of the TV, and I hadn't opened my Bible in so long that it was buried somewhere in my scrapbook room. My had the grime built up.

God though he didn't let me off the hook. Brett's addictions were exposed, and I gave up Tae Kwon Do, I had to, I was afraid to leave him alone, and I had to drive him to recovery groups for the first 5 months almost every night, and then of course I gave up the Scrapbooking business, that was a flop. More importantly I found my Bible, and my first treasure, I dug it out of the back of my thought closet, and placed it right in the front, along with my other treasures.

That's when God started showing me my distractions, and that I need to put Him first.

When I first started getting sick again in Nov of 2007, followed with a night in the hospital a year ago January for a blood transfusion, and then a major relapse in July of my AIH, God was preparing me for this next part of my closet cleaning with Him. Since that day in August of 2006 when Brett's addictions were revealed, God has lead me from one Bible Study to the next each one exactly what I needed at the time to understand who I am in Him, and now once again in His amazing timing He's showing me through this study how to put Him front and center. Jennifer reminds us how even little distractions, can cost us dearly, and that we must be alert to them. Whether they are good distractions or sinful, the enemy can use them to destroy our testimony, our family, relationships, cause us to put up walls and try to hide from God, and keep us distracted enough to keep us from turning to our Lord daily for our strength. In 1Peter 5:8 Peter reminds us "Be careful! Be alert. Watch out. Stay awake. A roaring lion is out there, and it's stalking your and seeking to destroy you." Distractions are that roaring lion we here it so many times we don't even notice it anymore, and then when we are so use to it, we forget to listen for it, it's then that it pounces on us, taking us down to a place that we never intended to go.

I like how Jennifer worte about distractions: " They occupy more prime space than we can really afford to give them. As a result, our greatest treasures may be shoved up against the back wall, all but invisible and nearly inaccessible."

So I'll share with you some of my distractions:
The Internet/Facebook and yes blogs, not bad but I can sure spend a lot of time on them.
Scrapbooking/Altered Art, I love this I could get lost in my scrapbook room for days.
Fussing over our finances.
Worrying about other peoples perceptions of me.
Worrying about my medical condition.
Worrying about my appearance.
What are my treasures:
My quiet time with the Lord
My faith
Pleasing God in being obedient
Finding God's purpose for me
My family
My friends
So that's great Carol, I know what my distractions are and what my treasures are so how do I keep my treasures front in center? Well Jennifer answered that: " By talking to your soul. What you tell your soul in those crucial moments of decision throughout your day will make all the difference. When your soul is tuned in, alert and awake, your closet will remain tidy." She also gives us questions to ask your self: "Does this allow me to value my treasure? Does this cause me to treat my treasure with less value? How does this impact my family?"
We must fill ourselves with God's words daily, memorize scripture, and pray constantly. Find scriptures that speak to your soul, scripture that takes the place of the negative thoughts you've filled your closet with. Remember the Lion is roaring all those negative thoughts, the enemy will use everything to distract you from your treasures, but by filling our minds with Soul Talk you can shut the lion out, let him roar, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds" 2Corinthians 10:4. There are power in Gods word "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edge sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
This chapter was so rich, I could keep writing, but I am going to leave you with the Psalm 57. When I read it it soothes my soul.
1Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High,
to God, who fulfills {his purpose} for me.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me,
rebuking those who hotly pursue me; Selah
God sends his love and his faithfulness.
4 I am in the midst of lions;
I lie among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
6 They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
7 My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
8 Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
9 I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
our faithfulness reaches to the skies.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
Psalm 57



Paula (SweetPea) said...

Great recap, Carol. I love how you shared that you were way too busy and way too distracted. YET, you did find your Bible and returned to your treasures. Praise the Lord. I love how Jenn said we ALLOW prime space to our distractions more than we can afford. Afford...yes, distractions can be ever so costly. I know mine cost me SO very much.

I love you, girlfriend.

I think you are beautiful inside and out. I pray that your distractions cease and you worry no more with them.

I refuse to be on facebook at this time because I've heard from so many that it is addictive. I have an account because I tried to look someone up about a year ago. Every one tries to be my friend but I just don't reply to it. The other Paula has told me how to make me disappear in a sense even though I cannot fully delete the account setup.

Love u much,

Gail W. said...

"Immersing myself in distractions is how I hid from my problems, or how I try to control my life."
Carol, this is such a timely word for me. It reminds me that overfilling my life isn't always an accident and that God wants my motives to be transparent. Thanks for so much food for thought today!

grey like snuffie said...

Wonderful post. While we must take care to be alert, do our part...I am SO THANKFUL He goes before us and prepares a way of escape when we find ourselves in the mire of life. May His Light continue to be allowed access in your lives...sounds like God is doing cool things.

Sharon said...

I Love nakita sooo cute, what a face! I think I have one of those plants growing in my back yard, it is so neat. I don't know what it is but I like it. Yep I am knew to your site. I wish I could join in the study I don't have that book yet. I am soooo looking forward to coming back again soon, I just love chatting with Christ filled women, and I can see I have found me another!!! Amen!
Be Blessed my sister in Christ

Anonymous said...

You are so beautiful! And have an amazing, faithful heart for God. I've not been following the study like I thought I would, but I so appreciate all that you and the others are sharing...

I hope you are feeling well. I think of you often and pray that you're peachy!

Now, a letter for you... DDD - D.
Hope I did good!

Christine said...

Hey Carol,

You won my give-a-way drawing!!!!

...Email me your mailing information and I will get this in the mail for you ASAP! is my email addy! I'd love to get this in the mail to you today or tomorrow if possible.

I need to know how many are in your family as well...Congrats!

Hope you have a wonderful week end!

Chris =O)

Laura said...

The part on distractions really spoke to me too, Carol. Thank you for sharing your story so openly, girlfriend. You inspire me greatly! God sometimes moves our cheese, doesn't He? He's eliminated some of my distractions in very creative ways.

I'm really enjoying this book.

Keep soul-talking!