See, I parked in the lot a few years ago and decided to stay.
I started in the "Home Ownership" department. THIS was an eye opener.
I placed a toe in the "Decorating" department but they shooed me out so fast it made my head spin...I have NOT been asked back. I've tried, believe me. And if you come to my garage sale you'll be able to see one heck of a table of "good intentions"...it's not pretty.
The "Relationship" room has been boarded up for WAY too long. God has a sense of humor, I am simply convinced. Friends have pried some boards back and have made themselves at home, but they keep complaining the room is too small. It's a really cool room though - very colorful.
So this "Life" department (found in the verrrrrryyyyyyy back of the place) has been...interesting. It's kind of a catch all room. You have a room like this too...just admit it. You open the door, throw stuff in and slam the door as fast as humanly possible so "things" don't make their way out. When people come to visit they NEVER get to see the place that the Health Department would condemn in a heartbeat.
Well, I've been spending a LOT of time in this room. Most of the time the door is shut. I've moved some stuff around, put things in their place, thrown away a LOT of stuff and when I turn around there are sometimes things that OTHER people throw in that simply do not belong. How did THAT happen??
Well, it's time to clean house. I've opened up the windows to blow the stink out, removed the cobwebs, taken back my keys so people can't dump their crap, and I'm armed with a dangerous amount of Hefty 2 ply trash bags...and Lysol disinfectant spray.
Ok, so in the "Life" department there is a Bible study that I have been attending. For me, it is one of those times when, truth be told, it's a wonderful mixture of "fantastic" and "gut wrenching". Fantastic because I end up reading so deep into His word. Gut wrenching because the questions that I am asked to answer in response to what I've read, then dredges up some ugly personal stuff from the "Life" department. It's never fun to be faced with your ugly side...ok, well RARELY is it fun. Sometimes you do have just enough common sense to step back and laugh.
But my point is the gut wrenching thingy...here's a great "for instance". The lesson was about disrespect. I was straining to find an example in my life where someone had recently been blatantly disrespectful to me...search Caryn...come on...in that big head of yours with a bad hairdo there HAS to be a few examples floating around. I mean isn't it always easier to show how I'm a victim of some bizarre circumstance? A time when I'm justified in my anger for the wrongdoings of another? Come on Caryn, THINK!!
Here's the ugly truth. The FIRST thing to come to my mind...and the subsequent thoughts...were NOT how I had been disrespected, but how I had disrespected others. And the hits just keep on coming.... It was a few moments of absolute shame that made me throw my head back and squirm. Suddenly that big comfy chair wasn't feeling so "warm and inviting". It was feeling stiff but clingy and I think I broke out in a sweat. It was fantastic that I realized my actions were beyond egregious & to be very aware of the weight they can have in the life of a friend. But let me also not forget the gut wrenching part and the shame. Deal with it...truly deal with it...then take another step forward. I MUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD!!!
Now, on to the fantastic. Bear with me (grrrrrr) while I get around to the point. The question that stumped me this week was: What might have happened with my life “if the LORD had not been on my side”? I choose to see the therapeutic side to answering questions like this...while I muddle in "the moment", God has time to work. Oh how sweet He is.
I started off thinking about several event's in my life, say in "recent" years (keep in mind that I hoard sometimes and have a good sized room to throw it in), that have taken me to the literal pits of my own personal hell. Had God not protected me from myself.... There are times when I can still recall those feelings like they were happening to me right at that moment. I hate feelings sometimes. HATE...hate...HATE.
Without going into great detail, when I was reliving those moments I grew ANGRY that they were still so fresh in my psyche. I mean it REALLY pissed me off. I cried out to God - I don't want these memories to define who I am any more!!!!
You know that fail-proof question that gets you babbling and explaining about your life within like 2 minutes: So, tell me about yourself. That's what the study question felt like. Tell me about yourself - ugly truth and all. You start putting all these labels on yourself as if they define and/or explain you in a neat package for others to determine if you're worthy of "their" time, or employment, or friendship. Your relationship status, your kid status, your employment status, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Enough junk already!!! It was like God asked me the exact same question - "Tell me about yourself Caryn. Who exactly are you?" The point is that in that true moment of anger and hurt and confusion, God worked fast. This is not always the case but I believe that now in this new season of my life - if & when I start declaring the promises of God, my life WILL change and sometimes it's just going to make my head spin.
In that moment God told me - Turn to Job. Go to chapter 8. Now find verse 21. When you've read it, stop crying that instant, suck in some air, throw your head back...and laugh.
"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy."
Remember that I am God and that you asked for my help, and when you scream at me "I NEED A WORD TO STAND ON!!!" to know that you're going to be ok and that your past IS your PAST...to know that the only label you should give yourself is a Daughter of the Most High God. In the moment that you remember that...you'll feel a surge of power and of love surround you. You'll have that visual of being on the right side of Me, hearing my heart beat and my arm come around you and pull you close. You'll press in and your mind and emotions will become steady. You will stop focusing on things that...daughter...are done, over, finished. You'll stop focusing on things that could never "define" you. What you will focus on is the one true man who could ever be everything that you need...and will never fail you. Never.
My promise to stand on while I'm cleaning out, kicking butt and taking names in the "Life" room...what I'm going to live by while I'm coming back to who I really am & who I was created to be is:
I am a Daughter of the Most High God
who WILL fill my mouth with LAUGHTER
and my lips WILL shout with the JOY
of his blessings which overflow!!!
Now go on...
Get outta here...
Go have your own epiphany!!!