No matter how heavy, unworthy, hopeless it FEELS…the Holy Spirit can release more for others and yourself. Speak life into your world!!
Consumption is a key part of our life. Sure, you can be anti-consumption, but there is always going to be someone more militant against it than you! The kick back is because life isn’t all about that (but don’t alert the rest of the Americans). No, this isn’t a diatribe on the American economy (insert favorite pun jokes here)…it isn’t about a kinder, gentler earth…or even about the plight of mankind itself. This is actually about relationship (men, please come back!). Men, it’s safe on this one, not the touchy, feely stuff today. Consumption is a relationship to ourselves and what lies in the recesses of our hearts at times.
In my randomly unenlightened look back of history, it seemed that a majority of ‘the stuff’ was set aside for the kings and wealthy few (usually friends of the king). Even then there were pitfalls for the mighty. The king wakes up one day and says “oh, what do we haveth here!” to his servant. His servant replies, “it wouldst appear the evil king of the North stoketh the flame to cook thy head…my dear king!!” All the greats good and evil may have had good runs, but mostly ended in some sort of tragedy or scandal. The influence of each had its limits as well. The main point to draw out is consumption is quite temporary in our lives. Christmas is a prime example: when my daughter was little, she would be so excited…get the toys unwrapped, play awhile with them. Only hours later the cool looking box would be made into something else and it was kept longer than the toy itself!
I personally believe with all my heart we must enjoy our days on this planet. I see many people who never will be happy, and their lives reflect that. It is why we consume so much news. I am a recovered news junkie (and yes…politics too). I learned of both arenas: take 10 years off of all of it, come back in 10 years…still the same deal! It is quite similar to soap operas. I will be walking by a tv and see Victor and think ‘dang, that dude is still on there!’ We can all complain about media in every form, but at most levels it reflects who we are and want to be. If you want or need to be afraid, cable news is like a best friend to you! I have witnessed people who watch so much news they are practically afraid to leave the house. “If I am not careful how I drive to the grocery store, ISIS may find me”.
If we believe we are created and for purpose, how can we allow the madness to overtake us? We are here only because we are created. God designed us this way, to only be able to enjoy life in the balance of good things. If we are obsessive it becomes about me (most people’s favorite topic). Much like our pet dog chasing his tail around in a circle faster and faster! I do wonder what a dog thinks he will achieve in that little game he perpetuates. There is one man who lived thousands of years ago who was and is the king of indulgence and yes consumption. If you read all the words of King Solomon and Ecclesiastes, how could you be more of a consumer than he? Sure, in this modern era consumption is a different ballgame…but doesn’t it all boil down to the same soul holes? We look here and we look there, simply trying to enjoy our lives by pursuing more. Do you ever ask yourself ‘when am I satisfied?’
In this question is part of the dysfunction: why am I not satisfied yet? Human nature plays a part and even though we are born with it (and He created humans), is contrary to God’s nature. Can you see the need for dependency on Him in that? Oh, we all do it: ‘this is great, I want more and more of it’. This is the base operation within human nature for addiction, obsession, power, murder, and on she goes. This is leading to a question I have asked myself recently: why am I not content and enjoying life better? What do I feel is missing that I have to chase? If you are a Christian, these are tough questions to entertain! I find the hope in the examples of Solomon and Jesus. Solomon soaked it all in and found that his days were limited and God had the best plans. Jesus showed each of us how to live and love others with little focus on ourselves.
This is no doubt a big subject that may require more parts, but is a good stopping point to introduce what He may say with it. Thanks for reading!
These roots have pulled me down repeatedly. They are attached to my walk(ing) like a bungee cord is to my body. They stay nourished and draw life from me like a weed thieves life from an otherwise healthy plant. The toxins below the surface are hard to visualize. I have been pruned many times, but to no use…it produces its own off shoots! In many ways it makes me feel even less because I am without a core above the ground, but controlled by what is below. What the rich soil around me cannot accomplish is feeding my pure food. Everything is through these toxic roots that need uprooted first!
For so long I focused on what was the root of my problem. Now I, a weakened plant am immune to Miracle Grow and the normally adequate sources of water and sun. “If I can just get rid of these toxic roots that hold me down. Perhaps I will have to wait until my regeneration comes to be a whole and renewed plant.” So I walk on, but never too far as I rubber band back to the source roots. These source roots are different for each plant that is affected this way. All of our dark friends are here: fear, rejection, anger, lust, feeling invisible, unworthy…you know all those darkies and can add a hundred!
So I cry out to the Giver of my life: “Help me to remove these roots, I can’t move away from them!” I see His advice on what to do next. I hear a small voice say “build a fire”. I think to myself “that is a strange requirement to remove deep seated roots from me, that is for sure!” I honor the request honestly wondering how this will work. I stretch out my bungee like cord as far away from me as I can so as not to burn me…a tender plant in the process. I stand back as it burns. I look down in my normal posture…all these years I have focused down at these roots, the one thing that holds me here!! But the Giver speaks louder…”turn your gaze upwards My plant…see Me come!”
For the first time in many years I look up and see what is coming…I am struck with awe. An enormous hand reaches down from the heavens…I stretch my bungee in the opposite direction of the fire to be out of the way of everything coming. The Hand of the Giver powerfully plunges into the earth disturbing the soil all around my roots. He uproots them entirely freeing me from all these dark friends that took from me all these years. The bungee snaps and I feel a new freedom that I have never really felt! I am now free to dance in the wind, look up to the Son, and go everywhere He, the Giver takes me. The fire burning hotter than before consumes all the roots that used to be…me.
“You must operate from the redeemed depths of your heart and not rely on your senses and what comes to them first” is what I hear Him saying today. For these weeks He has been working on my heart, my gifting’s sensitivities, and the process thereof. I sense He is teaching me what to trust in, and surprise…it’s not my feelings! It has been absolute rollercoaster bedlam! A flood of different, often disparaging, ugly, emotions flowing each and every way. This round He has definitely been working on my emotional rebuild. The other rounds were emotional, but not the focal point. I had read from one writer about burden bearing it can be equally high as it is low, and the enemy can be pushing from two sides at the same time!
I am a sucker for quoting a song when it does better than I am trying to communicate. I have a true guy room where I pray each morning. All the objects around it represent my life well. One wall is filled with pictures of Israel with verses on them, two other walls are vinyl records and cd album cover papers and also old school Christian metal ads. The fourth wall is lined with shelves full of CDs and cassettes. I have several small tables stashed with items along the journey from vacations, travels, and sentimental stuff. Not to be forgotten…Notre Dame stuff! Faith, music, and sports have always been big parts of living for me. Others may travel and do the social game, but I am content hanging at the pad these days spending time with the Lord, and then sports and Spotify as hobbies. He has really thinned my over loaded lifestyle the past few years, of which I am very grateful. Why should we kill ourselves for enjoyment? I just wanted to paint the picture before I quoted the song, I thought it a good rabbit to follow a bit.
It was Memorial Day yesterday, and I was needing to clean up this room after an entire winter of remodeling the basement around it. The dust created in the remodel was obnoxious! We did lots of custom wood cuts for the ceiling and TV center, and there was dust heavy on everything! My little room is so packed full of trinkets, it was a chore. I found the job therapeutic to being alone a good portion of the day. I see great value in being alone for bits when you are a burden bearer. I am enjoying pulling out classics from the cassette collection yesterday. I am amazed how He does this, but He will minister in a song that I have known the lyrics to for 30 years. Well…1991…pushing 25 anyhow. Hear me, I don’t resemble the Dana Carvey cranky old man character from Saturday Night Live…”in my day we…and we liked it by golly!” This is the era of music when Nirvana was tearing it up on the scene. I never was a fan of the grunge stuff, but I did like Alternative rock heavily in those days. One such act was L.S.U. (Life Savers Underground)-essentially Michael Knott. I was living a roller coaster day and the Lord spoke to me through his song titled ‘Chucky’…”and he says “tell me why, tell me why God gave me such an endless drive to fill my cup but my cup stays dry oh tell me tell me”. I might substitute one word in those lyrics to better describe my point…instead of endless drive I might go with endless job.
I would describe having an endless job as my entire life at one point. My painting profession felt like a laborious endless job with no relief. My first house was an endless job of projects (built in 1865). My tendency is to see the burden bearing gift as an endless job! I know that is patently untrue, but it isn’t a gift people are even praying for…come on man! What He did with music this day was actually speak through another song on the way to the song I wanted to hear. The title track is what was sticking in my head before I ever fired up the cassette player. ‘This is the Healing’-
You’ve tried to philosophize your pain
But the hurts in your heart
And not in your brain
You could be hit by the Spirit
And be made new
You thought heaven was a place one goes to
But this heaven on earth is true
Chorus: This is the healing
Give me tears from all your bitter years
This is the healing
Salt the wounds, the healing will come soon
The Word document count was exactly at 777, how cool is that? Something He has impressed upon me these couple of weeks is to not focus just on what I sense and feel alone, or it can drive me crazy. There must always be a raising of us above the fray, us asking to see what He sees each step of the way. I am seeing just how much a dependent I truly am. I further see that I held back parts of me from Him in how I approached people and things in general. I see that we do try and give what we have, but if our hearts are incomplete in healing, we are offering up a partial gift to people and Him. I would say obey when He says to give the partial, I know He did with me. I honor obedience above most anything else. He shows us in this process that He is always after a better heart! You and I will spend our lives in that pursuit brothers and sisters! I never realized how deep and complicated the heart truly is.
I was all over yesterday emotionally from bearing/ too heavy/ to suddenly free…to angry and to puzzled. Even after a long day of riding, He suddenly dropped on my spirit and I felt a wonderful weight of His burden of light on me. I stopped dead in that spot and just soaked in it. He assured me everything is for the journey and for better understanding. If we don’t understand what is Him and what is us, how do we know what is pleasing to Him? The end of the day was wonderful in worship and wonder. It made all the other totally worth it. He is showing me it isn’t all necessary! I only have Him to depend on. When I overly focus on people, pleasing my family, my work, even my enjoyment…it all competes with His Presence, which is what we are wanting in our walk. The intimacy is what is missing from so many believers lives…period! If you’ve ever tried to hem in an animal that doesn’t want to be, you will understand the feeling I am describing here. We are often like a wild animal not wanting to be corralled, we run and strive after the wind thinking ‘we need, we need’… He knows how to constantly work at limiting our movement, but He wants us to listen to His voice in obedience. If you have ever worked with hogs you know what I mean! A hog is hard to stop when it has its’ mind made up and putting its’ weight behind it.
I am learning that the extreme emotional days do have a b.b. (burden bearing) purpose. One often finds this out at the end of a period. I have had this several times where I find out the pressure is coming from someone inside my inner circle. Living with the unknowns are fine for me, I like to leave some room for His mysteries and I think that is one thing that hinders some believer’s growth. We all have a fenced in area we have created for God, but the question always is…how far back are your fences you built? If we allow Him to be all He is, they are wide and rarely in sight. The b.b. has been coming during the day a lot, and when you are at work and going thru your day, it isn’t always easy for me to tune in to what needs burdened. I did have a friend tell me though….”it’s called multi-tasking brother”. Another friend uses a more harsh approach that his wife throws at him if he is being a whiner…”suck it up buttercup!”
This paragraph comes nearly two months later than the prior. It appears I have been busy in the learning process and a butt load of remodeling. I was remodeling in three places there for a while…too much to keep up with! I had two residents moving in the same week and plus my home project (which is still not done!). I am realizing the importance of gratitude in the journey. It must be a regular part of your walk and journey. We are blessed to be able to put every issue of our life before the Cross and work it out with Him, but how many of us are constantly gathering up new issues and bringing them in also? He has wired us to walk in balance, but it seems like so often God has been reduced to ‘the Complaint Department Chairman’.
I am seeing that true burden bearing is rarely our own weight. We are certainly required to bear our own as it says in Galatians, which is something some people try and place on others. They are therefore unhappy. I testify that the most alive I have felt in the last year is when He gave me assignments while focusing on others with a heart to help them. It not only fulfills my purpose (which will always involve taking my eyes off of me and my problems), but helps others who, believe it or not may have real problems! He is faithful to teach us balance and what is our duty and what is our own stuff (and not). The enemy will keep you busy and you have to be on alert for his tactics. We must keep in our spirit that the enemy has a job to do and none of that is God’s fault. He has to allow in our free will some things for us to deal with, but He is not the cause of anything that is not good. I think too many believers do not see the enemy as he is…a roaring lion. I know I often get through a circumstance and think “man, the enemy was all in this mess!” I see the balance of life is to not get stuck in the past, but to always be learning from it. God has no limitations and we are to be seeking to live that way, fighting through what the enemy tries to place on us (lies). The Lord is glorified when everything points back to Him.
Something that He led me to spend some serious time in yesterday was in giving thanks. There is weight that comes off your spirit when you spend time in gratitude to Him. I keep a simple file that I add to regularly (should do more!) and that not only helps me practice gratitude, it also allows me to save it for the years ahead and look at all He has done. I started the first one four years ago, and sometime if I am feeling down a little or need to see evidence of His hand at work, I can look back at the file. We are prone to embroiling our spirit man from one battle to the next. We are embroiled, but the goal is to rest in Him as He does war. All He actually asks for is obedience and the focus on Him. That is easy, right? If it was everybody would be doing it!!! Adam and Eve were distracted and little has changed in that department in these Millenniums since. It appears to me our hearts are continually restless and compartmentalized. What we think we want doesn’t come the way we thought it would. We respond to the feelings of not being in control. We test even His best gifts in our corrupted nature.
The goal in this point of my personal journey is to remain in His balance. The heavy stuff can last too long, and the good experiences feel fleetingly quick! In this process I feel zapped of energy often, but I know He is trying to show me how to renew. I know what I am, a feeler with an analytical mind (haha, the best of both freakin’ worlds!). That alone can keep you bound tight around a circle that seems never ending.
Update: I find the daily battles becoming not so heavy as I submit fuller to Him. The more we allow Holy Spirit to do His part (helper), it changes our makeup and our spirits. Good burden bearing is a journey to useful gift…not merely a burden. There will be times of adjustment to learning and seasons where He will draw you into more relationship building.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is one about are ‘overloaded’ lives…there will be a part 2 someday…lots more can flow out!
The Word says to ‘bear one another’s burdens’, but what does that truly mean? I do not believe He desires us to wander aimlessly with burdens loaded onto our ship on the sea of life. Like every stereotypical pirate you can envision, there will be people adding cargo to your hull while you are busy steering your Life Ship. Can you see the wooden crafted cargo boxes? Clearly labeled home life, work life, friends/relationships (close friends a separate box), husband/wife, mom/dad, and many more add to each day’s existence. I do not want to create an overwhelming sense here, just what happens honestly. I know for a burden bearer like myself, people can be highly draining and truly un-giving in nature. It seems like spiritual common sense to take these to the Cross. Accomplishing that is not always free of challenge and stormy seas!
Beyond the clearly labeled boxes are the less definitive ones we process each day. You could say that each of these boxes is a derivative of the clearly marked ones. These boxes I would think of as things like ‘mental battles’, ‘spiritual warfare’, and ‘heart issues’. You may have more sources in your world. The directive of this writing is to explore these many cargo boxes of our life, taking honest inventory of what can go into the hull and what goes overboard (thus the title)! I won’t say this is everybody, but I find myself angry when I have a load of false burdens placed on me…especially when it is bluntly someone else’s darn responsibility. Can the arms of your own physical body give their load to the legs? The Body of Christ is designed by God to have each part holding its’ proper weight…not everybody else’s overflow. Only when He tells us to burden are we to burden (and how long too).
Amidst any shipment of cargo is usually some marked…you guessed it…fragile! In our personal ship’s cargo what would ‘fragile’ boxes represent in our walk? Fragile might represent a lot of different things to believers all around the world. Some that seem to come to me off the top are: un-forgiveness, undealt with sin, physical health challenges, financial problems, and extreme living conditions just to name a few. I imagine almost everybody reading this has dug in to help someone in their struggles and found some root issues causing problems. No man walks the earth without having a form of fragility in their lives. Some of these fragile boxes need broken open to deal with all contents! Some people need counseling to get past a fragile box. The Lord will help you with many of these issues in your life. At times He is waiting for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work!
These cargo boxes remind us of how truly short life is. We need to get past our issues by diligence to the Word, prayer, and repentance. Time with the Lord fixes many issues people have. His desire is to draw us into a deeper place with Him! His nature does not change, but He does move. We need to be in pursuit of Him, surrendering every cargo issue we have. Our dreams fade when we fail to move and pursue Him. Following a hard stretch, many dreams can hatch from the hand of God. He wants us to believe that He has huge plans in our lives (most of which we cannot receive naturally). Did anyone look at a young David confronting Goliath and say “now there goes a young man with great spirit that I can see God working through!” David had already dealt with some of his challenges protecting sheep, and God was about to bring unfathomable dreams into his world that no one saw coming! He in wisdom rejected the oversized armor and used what God told him to (5 stones). In spite of continual fragile boxes in David’s life, God used him mightily to be the father of a great Son! The Son of David was given to Christ as a title. For someone with some tough cargo, that is a lofty title!