September 4, 2016

Feeling Better Today

It is a blessed Sunday here in sunny and warm, Phoenix. Yes, it is a good day, and I am thanking God for His provision and for His goodness. I woke up this morning to a quiet house. I love it when I can get up and the entire house is either out-and-about or still asleep. There is something about the peaceful quiet that comes first thing in the morning that soothes me, lulls me, into this contemplative state, and reminds me of how good it is to take time to sit and be still. In Psalm 46:10 (HCSB) the Lord says to His servant, "Stop your fighting—and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” Oh yes, Lord, may I stop fighting against you, and may I be still and know and recognize your majesty and your glory! Selah!

It is good to come before the Lord first thing in the morning, to take time to sit and to listen, and to mediate upon His good word. In Psalm 119:147 (HCSB) it says, "I rise before dawn and cry out for help; I put my hope in Your word." May we remember to spend time with the Lord before we begin our day, may we spend time in His precious word, and may we receive the bounty and blessing of spending time in His presence very early in the morning.

Sunday Contemplation

So it is a good day today, and praise be to God, I am feeling better. Yesterday was a low, low, low day for me. I spent the majority of the day feeling oppressed, racked with fear, and consumed by lingering doubts about my adequacy. I was hard pressed, I mean HARD PRESSED, and it was difficult for me to find my way out of that deep and dark place. I did my best, I confessed my sin, my humble state, and my dependency upon God. I confronted the negative self-talk with life-affirming scripture, yet still, I was pressed in on all sides. I felt awful all day. The worst part was that my anxiety was ratcheted up so high that I actually was ill most of the day. My stomach was upset, and I had this gnawing sensation in the very center of my gut. Yes, I was a mess. I was miserable, and I barely functioned all day.

I haven't felt this unwell in years -- like YEARS! The way I felt yesterday reminded me of how my days used to be 10-20, lo 30 years ago. I lived under constant stress, and the internal pressure was pounding so hard, I often felt like I was going to explode. I haven't experience the same level of anxiety in 2-3 decades so to think that all of a sudden I would be tormented in this way, well, I just knew there had to a big reason for it. I mean, why now? Why all of a sudden?

I should mention that the problem that started the whole spiral downward was not something that would normally cause me to suffer such prolonged agony. I was stressed, for sure, but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. I would say that what happened to me was clearly something extraordinary because my life has not had any major upsets or problems that would have prompted such a decline. I mean to say that the thing that brought this on was clearly a move of my enemy because I could not find any reason or cause in and of myself to say, "A ha, Carol, here is your trigger!" No, this was a full-scale attack, and my enemy routed me to such an extent that I fell down hard. I was down for the count.

I believe he achieved his result, and for that, I am ashamed. I mean, my plans yesterday were to work on my paper all day long, and instead, I spent the day in misery, whining, complaining, and feeling so unwell, that I ended up doing very little at all. I did care for my Mom, and I took her shopping as well as handled some teaching business, but I didn't do what I had planned to do. I didn't work on my proposal, and that means that I didn't put HIS "work" on the forefront. My proposal is key to my graduation, and my time now is limited. In short, I am on the countdown, and for that reason, I must stay focused.

Now, I cannot simply blame the enemy because it was my own fault in not standing against his condemnation and quickly defeating his glancing blows. No, I didn't stand. I gave up, I gave in, and as a result, I suffered the entire day.  The good news is of course that this bleakness, this blackness, wore off early this morning. Yes, I am free from the anxiety, and I am finally feeling better. God is so good to me, so very good to me.

In Closing

As I give the Lord praise today, I am reminded of how indebted I am to Him, and of how I long to spend time with Him, in His presence, and with His people. It is a difficult thing to resist the pull of the Lord, to resist His fiercely protective attitude toward me. He is jealous of my time, my attention, my love, and I am fickle. I am independent, and as such, I often put other things in front of my time with Him. I know that I do this, and I repent of this attitude. I am choosing today to seek the Lord first, to do so intentionally, and to make Him my priority. He is my God, and He is so good to me. He mercy extends from heaven down to me, and in the midst of my sorrow, my pain, and my crises, He is always my faithful and steady companion. He deserves my utter devotion and attention. I cry out with the psalmist today, and I say to Him, "My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock. My refuge is in God" (Psalm 62:7, HCSB).

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