Wednesday, October 28, 2015

3 Steps to Defeat Despair

Today is one of those days when my recent commitment to not despair seems like an impossible task. As we started CBS (Community Bible Study) this year we were challenged to surrender something.  It took me two weeks to be still and listen for what I needed to surrender.   I'd like to sound all noble and say it was because I am so incredibly overwhelmed and busy because both of those are true, but it wasn't the case here. Honestly, I was scared of what He'd ask me to do next, so I avoided that conversation.

Growing Pains
The Lord keeps tapping me on my shoulder to remind me my circumstances don't negate His promises.  He still has good things for me and they're more than simply sustaining me.  Sure, there may be seasons of just surviving, but my "new normal" feels frighteningly close to living in this mode. Truth is...  my life is a lot of overwhelming.  Each day often holds more than I can handle physically, mentally and/or emotionally, but since I remain on this earth, He's not done with me yet. I know there are people who face much more than me, but in my world this feels like my capacity.

"I'm sure I have something to surrender," I begrudgingly admitted aloud one night as I prayed, but not sure if I would have the strength to tackle the project of me in surrender.  "Shouldn't I be healthier before I take on another stronghold in my life?" I questioned God.  I thought it might be helpful to remind Him how fragile I was (in case he didn't know).  Eventually I stopped arguing with myself because God was no where near needing to define if He was big enough to help me.  I quieted my heart long enough to listen...

"What the crap?" I annoyingly responded (once again, impressive snap response).
"That's not a sin, right?" (I like to justify my sins... pretty great, I know)
After further review... (I've been watching a lot of football since moving to the SEC)
Despair is not believing God's promises for me.  I found myself at least once a day saying, "Lord, this is too much."
It is too much to do alone which is why HE never asked nor intended for me to do it alone. 
DESPAIR... is not what He gave me, nor is it even close to what He wants for me. I didn't realize that I totally trusted Him to sustain me; but I didn't trust Him for the consistent and ultimate "Exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ask or imagine" that He promises in Ephesians 3:20.  If He is capable, then I must be thinking He's withholding from me specifically to continue living in despair.  Since I don't believe that, I must claim the truth that He has more than getting by for my life.

Getting Healthy 
As part of my new "get healthy" tour... party of one (four now that I've added a few friends since starting this post), I've committed not to live in despair.  What's the plan?

  1. First, I will call it what it is... sin.  
  2. Secondly, I will commit to fellowship with God to sear my soul with the truths of scripture in the presence of believers.  I will not forsake the gatherings that feed my soul when things get tough.  I will fight for attending CBS, church, and my accountability group because something always comes up to detour me.  
  3. Thirdly, I will memorize scripture to encourage me when I start to despair (per my accountability friends).
I sat with my Bible because I knew I needed some ammunition to replace the despair.  This was the verse He gave me.... 

WOW... just WOW, right?

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