Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Roughed-Up or Toughened-Up?
"When you feel defensive, examine what you fear."
Ooooo.... that's how my fortune cookie read when Tom and I had Chinese delivered on Saturday. Instantly I recalled my most seeing-red, defensive times (usually with relatives or church family) and I asked myself, "Indeed! At those times, what did I fear?"
Then in my head I drifted backward and spied the answer: Having my motives questioned. Always, that's what I've feared and hated most, you know, being accused of things I never even considered doing/feeling/thinking. Feeling misunderstood and like a big, roly-poly black sheep.
And to this day, that still bugs me most, though I no longer turn all wild-eyed, trying to make accusers see their error. Instead, I'll speak a couple sentences in my behalf, trust God to show the person the rest, then spend time alone asking God to heal any wounds, for yes... being wrongly accused, hurts. Still. But not like it once did, nor not nearly as long, for I've learned how to receive God's healing.
A fear I used to have in the height of defensive times? Being abandoned, afterward, by those relatives/friends/accusers. But now hey... I remind myself how much I love my rather-solitary life with God. Love, love, love it. So what's to fear there if people leave me? My wonderful life will continue.
Today I want to remind you of a guarantee: these Last Days will never become easier. People in our world, in our personal lives, will overall, not become kinder, gentler or more positive. Paul actually warned us that this world would, before Jesus returns, be making a downward spiral:
" There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people." ... 2 Timothy 3:1-5
And what I realized recently? It says, "have nothing to do with such people," but it does not say, "let those negative people make you a nervous wreck who quits trying to change the world."
Uh, no. More than ever it's vital that we cling to our powerful, positive God so that He'll hold us up while others may fall. So that we'll not slowly morph into an unforgiving, unholy example nor be shocked into a stupor when we see old friends (and others) do things in the future which we'd never imagined they'd do.
In other words, don't let 'em bring you down. We've not seen anything yet (well, not much, anyway) and it's vital that we allow God now, during these relatively easy days, to help us:
Fear not for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice." Isaiah 41:10
And if we become toughened-up rather than roughed-up? We'll find ourselves still standing when things worsen. Strong. Prepared for any battle and prepared to help anyone who flounders. Prepared, period.
"If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!" ... Proverbs 24:10
(Oh my... now there's a verse I think of often, especially when I find myself whining about inconsequentials. sigh.)
Did I already tell you that Tom and I finally saw Star Trek Into Darkness? We both enjoyed it much.