Thursday, March 12, 2009

Look Back, Chill Out, and March On Ch. 8, 9.&10

Wow where has the time gone. Somewhere between a 9 year old with a fever for 4 days, gma's hospital stay (she's home and doing well thank you for all the prayers) personal doctor appointments, and a date night that turned into almost a weekend (not complaining about that), I've never gotten to post my thoughts on the last 3 Chapters of Self Talk, Soul Talk by Jennifer Rothschild. Now Yes to God Tuesday is Yes to God Thursday 3 weeks late. Don't forget to head over to Lelia's blog Write From the Heart and see what others have shared from these 3 chapters. Also we are getting ready for our next book study. So if you haven't done so yet join us, it really is fun, and no pressure Lelia's got all the info on her blog. As an added bonus you'll meet some of the most wonderful Godly and encouraging women.
So I thought I'd just share a bit from each, and hopefully I'll get to post in full on Chapter 11 next week. I make no promises though because I'm off to a women's retreat as you may know, and I want to focus my attention on the topic there. So I guess you'll just have to be surprised.
So now on to the book, as has been the norm for this book, I have underlined and nodded in agreement over and over and these next 3 chapters were no different. In Chapter 8 Look Back: Forget Not His Benefits, O My Soul, the topic was milestones. You know those times and decisions in your life where you look back and know that was something that affected the next portion of your life, and that effected who and where you are today. Looking back at our memories and milestones can be pleasant and painful, we tend to only want to look back at the good. However we are reminded in this chapter that looking back at the painful is important too, as long as it is profitable. So what's that mean. Jennifer explains it this way, "Profitable memories are those that add to your soul wellness rather than subtract from it", "Profitable memories contribute to your personal depth and understanding. They challenge you to think broadly rather than narrow your perspective."
So sometimes are memories are pleasant, like the first time I held my daughter, it was life changing, and is still one of my most precious memories. However at that same time the memories attached to that are the feelings of rejection from divorce, and knowing that Brinn and I would be a family of two, and not a family of three, at least at that time. It's a painful memory of a difficult time in my life, but one with great profitability. Why because I can look back and see how God worked through that time to bring me to Him, I can remember how He provided for me, how He changed the relationship between me and my sister, from just realitives to a closeness we'd never shared together. The other thing about looking back on those painful memories is to relabel them. When you look at the memory that caused you pain, and see the hands of God covering it and leading out of the dark time you can remove the negative connotation from it. God will remove the sting from that memory, and when you look back you'll see how God drew you close, and used it to strengthen and make you who you are today.
My favorite quote from Jennifer in Chapter 8 is "Remembering can turn even the most difficult milestones into stepping-stones on a path of gratitude, contentment, and peace." She also warns if you have truly horrific memories, that bring utter agony such as horrible situations of abuse or cruelty, that those kind of memories can require you to seek professional, and spiritual intervention. If that is your situation, please do find someone to guide you through the healing process. Advice well spoken.

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Hebrews 10:32

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. Psalm 143:5

So now that we've Looked Back and seen where God's taken us it's time to Chill Out. Chapter 9 Chill Out: Be At Rest, O My Soul. Oh yeah, this is good. As one who loves to burn the candle at both ends I needed to read this chapter. Now it's no secret that I have an illness that can get out of control because I'm not suppose to get overly stressed, over committed, or over tired, but the reality is I do. For me God has provided a trigger in my body to force me into physical rest. My body just plain shuts off sometimes for 2 to 3 days. So I get physical rest.

Only recently have I realized the need for my spiritual rest. Where I take time to read God's word, pray for others and myself, and fill myself with His peace daily. It's essential to me, and on the days that I don't get my time with God, I can feel the difference in my spirit, and it's evident in my attitude as well.

What Jennifer said here really spoke to my heart, "When we are physically and emotionally spent and worn, we become susceptible to the enemy's attack. We become easy targets, sitting ducks. Our enemy attacks us with despair, depression, illness, impatience, and myriad other maladies...all results of a fatigued soul and body. Speaking rest to our souls is critical."

The other thing I really enjoyed is the advice she shared from Pastor Rick Warren about a formula for rest:
Divert Daily: a power nap, a walk at lunch, people watch. Just do something daily to create a temporary diversion each day.

Withdraw Weekly: It can be all day or just a few hours, just make sure you step back and out of the weekly chaos that is your world once a week.
Abandon Annually: Yep, you know it VACATION! Something that many of us don't do. It doesn't have to be expensive, you just have to take time to leave your regular life behind for a few days. For me that's this weekend. From Friday morning to Sunday afternoon, it's retreat time. I spend time with my sister, stay in a hotel, eat food I only have to order off a menu, go shopping, walk on the beach and fellowship with other women who love the Lord and just have good old girl time. I always come back spiritually renewed.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 NASB

The Lord replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest" Exodus 33:14

We've Looked Back and seen what God has brought us through, and we've taken some much needed Chill time with God, it's time to go to Chapter 10 and Press On: March On, O My Soul. This Chapter has given me much to ponder on. You see I'm one of those people who can take the one negative thing I did and make it over shadow all the good things I've done. Jennifer reminds us not to focus on our failures but to focus on our success's. I so need to do this. When I focus on all the negative things and how much I haven't done or didn't do, exactly what Jennifer says happens occurs I feel despair and I feel overwhelmed. I'm not talking with soul talk to myself, I'm just talking myself out of things I can do or am more than capable of doing.
We are reminded that we are not defined by our struggles or are failures. These things are not who we are "What you do and how you feel may loom large on your radar. But what really counts is who you are. Determine your true identity and the act upon it. Don't let the struggle define you; use your true identity to properly define your struggle." When you feel overwhelmed with the task don't give up and don't quit. Sometimes it takes many tries to get something right. We must continue to tell ourselves we can't do something, we will continue to believe it and eventually give up on it.
This is a totally new concept for me. For years I've always looked to far ahead into the process of something, felt overwhelmed by it, and then told myself I can't do it. So the ideas stop there, and have never moved on. Paralyzed by the fear of failing, and overwhelmed by looking to far ahead, and never even thinking about asking God to help me with it. Now I'm pondering this. I first really have to figure out who I am, I need to spend time in prayer over this. I really have no idea where or how God wants to use me in this world. I am going to spend my quiet time this weekend in prayer over this. I'd appreciate your prayers in this as well. I want to March On I just don't know where. I'm going to start by speaking soul talk into my soul and not looking at my flaws and unsuccessful attempts as failures but as growing points. I'm also going to spend sometime in the Soul-Talk Starters she shares with us in the Appendix 1, to remember who I am in God. The other thing I feel the need to do is begin journaling. I've done it here and there but not regularly. So I will keep you updated as I learn to take one step at a time and March On.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witness, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

But we're not quitters who lose out. Oh no! We'll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way. Hebrews 10:39 MSG
In Him and Through Him,



Naomi said...

Hello, beautiful girl! I've missed you! That was a great read. You get so much out of studies - I think you're amazing! Blessings to you, and I hope this weekend's as good as the last!!! Naomi x

hkudla said...

Oh Carol,
I am so glad that you stopped by and commented.

I tell you right now, I am so not feeling like I am persevering. I am struggling with my relationships right now. I still am fighting the feelings of needing to pull back from some relationships. Like tonight at small group I thought for sure that I was going to share some of my struggles, at least with depression on and off, and with my husband electing not to come to small group anymore, and how much that hurts me.

But I found myself, just as I was wanting to share, and not knowing how to put anything into words, thinking of last week, and how our small group leader made comments about my getting strength from the small group, etc, rather than God... and I chickened out.
I could see our small group leader looking at me, cause he could tell that I wanted to say something... He paused before he opened us in prayer and started once he could see that I couldn't bring myself to say anything.

Carol, I am so glad that you get to go into the retreat this weekend, I hope that it provides a really good time of reflection, quiet time with God, and a sense of His direction and encouragement.
Please pray for me too, that I would have God's help. That I would really lean on Him... grab onto Him. The pain in my heart right now is pretty big, and I feel like curling up in a ball and crying... and I just don't want to feel the pain right now.

I guess I have no choice right now. Somehow I have to get through it. I know I am no where going through the pain that Joy is with her dad right now... but feel like I am being hit pretty hard right now.

Thanks for praying... Thanks for your encouragement. I hope you have a great retreat.
Love you,