Monday, June 21, 2010

Camping In The Desert (I Don't Recommend It)

"... but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God..." Romans 12:2

Tom, Naomi and I camped in Death Valley eons ago on the longest, most miserably-steaming summer night of our lives. Good grief. Not our favorite camping trip, though later-- after we escaped--we laughed about our adventure.

But actually? I returned home from that trip to a desert as well. Not only did we live in a dry, sandy land an hour outside of Reno, NV, but the very inside of my home, my heart, was a desert, too. Oh, the wandering around in the desert of depression I was doing!

So why the desert inside my soul? Whew. Lots of reasons. I was arguing with God about something, I was determined that happiness in Nevada was impossible, I complained constantly and I wasn't letting-go of something God was finished with years before.

And (a big one) I would listen to sermons with my head filter on. You know, the filter which tells you, "Yes, I believe what he said at the beginning, but uh-oh, not this middle part. Don't believe that. Hmm, but yes, now I believe this later part. Oops, but now I don't believe that final point."

Good grief. Want to stop growing in God? Listen to teachings that way. Read books that way. Respond to Life that way. It's that head filter that keeps us stuck where we've always been, the same place we'll still be wallowing around in when we die. Unless we change. It's that head filter which keeps us in clueless disobedience to God, as well.

We did move away from the desert, the Nevada one, but sadly, I also packed my stubborn head filter, the one guaranteed to keep me in the wilderness and carried it to New York.

But then, one year later, God tore that filter off my head (long story) and wow. The light! The light was so bright. And everything changed.

That binding, blinding head filter was cast away and wow, the unlearning I had to do! Whole decades of it. But the walk out of the desert was immediate and over the following years, Joy replaced the desert atmosphere inside my head--Joy and Grace and Gratitude and Growth.

Oh, how much a person can grow when she humbly begins again, when she starts all over and leaves her church lady creation lying fried back there in the desert. When she begins flying, believing what God tells her is true, rather than the opinions and wrong, desert-dead, desert-stifling thoughts of her stubborn, faulty head filter.


It is fear which keeps us from welcoming new ideas and new ways of living and thinking. Fear brings torment and who wants torment?


Laura said...

I heard Joyce Meyer say once (when I was literally and mentally in a very dry desert myself) that God keeps you in the desert equivalent to the time you complain. Or something like that. Whatever it was she said, I walked away with "quit whining!"

debi said...

hmmmmmm could you be speaking to me LOL
....this morning I had a glimmer of hope :)

Debra said...

Excellent, Laura! I love Joyce's messages on what kept the Israelites in the desert for so long. We tend to think those clueless Israelites were such, well, dweebs, but we so often do the very same foolish things they did and stay in the desert way longer than necessary. :) Thanks for your comment. Debra

Anonymous said...

Wow Debra! You are amazing. Funny - my transformation started right around the same time, 1993 for me. Wanting to be significant, to be recognized, to please everybody, and to measure up. What a prison. To know and love God, and to be fully known and loved BY God. This is the beginning of freedom. Thanks for sharing - once again.

Debra said...

Debi---heh... Well actually, it was your mentions of the desert which reminded me of my own time spent there. :) I'm glad things are looking up!

Fawn--aww, it's God who is amazing, as you know. I, too, love the way He puts people in our lives who have also gone through what we have. It's certainly a sweet feeling to find them!

Thanks, Everyone....Debra