The wilderness is often thought of, as a place of wandering and wondering. It’s often viewed as this awkward phase between where you’ve been and where you’re trying to go. It’s the not so fun season in your life. I recently read a book that completely changed how I see the wilderness!
Many treat their wilderness season as a negative time in their life that they are so desperately wanting to be delivered from. By the end of today’s blog, you’ll have a new appreciation for your time in The Wilderness. Many things occur during this time and I want to share some great highlights of wilderness living.
In the wilderness you become separated. People you once rolled with, seem to roll out of your life. You find yourself feeling alone at times. You feel this awkward difference between you and others. You feel people are not seeing what you are seeing, or not feeling what you are feeling. Choose to view all these things as a positive! Separation sparks growth in identity and knowledge. I remember feeling so down on myself when a woman I viewed as a very close friend decided a friendship with me was not what she wanted anymore. Girl……talk about some feelings hurt! I felt so less than and I felt my sense of worth going on a steady decline. It was during this time I found my worth in Christ. I learned to not place my worth in man’s approval or acceptance of me. I found out what that old school song meant when it said, What a friend we have in Jesus. The more I sought Christ, the greater my esteem became, because I realized that a great God loved me, and I was worthy. I learned to appreciate the great people God placed in my life, and to recognize their value. This is probably why I love to encourage people so much. I know what it’s like to feel less than, and I love to make everyone feel seen, heard, and valued.
In the wilderness you experience quietness. You’ve been separated and now you’re alone with your many thoughts. Sometimes you even feel as though God is quiet and not responding at the speed you want Him to. When life goes quiet, that’s that perfect time to get closer to God. That’s why He had to separate you, He wants some alone time with you! Take the quiet time and seek God with all you have. Give Him that new time you have. Just think…how much better you’re going to be able to hear the Lord when all that extra outside and internal noise has grown quiet. Enjoy resting in his presence and peace. Discover new things about the Lord and yourself.
In the wilderness you get prepared. All that alone time is not for nothing. Ideas, information, and strategies are given. This time prepares you for the next season you are about to enter. You should spend this time planning and allowing God to walk you through the things you are viewing as, I’m going through. This time is not a set back, but a set up. Think about some of the people who went through the wilderness; Moses, The Israelites, and Jesus. What they experienced in the wilderness prepared them for their next season. Moses became a great leader who led the people of God out of the hands of their oppressor. The Israelites entered the Promised Land. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, overcame temptation, and His ministry days began. Y’all I’m telling you, you may be experiencing some rough and tough times right now in your wilderness season, but see the set up forming. See the preparations happening, and see that victorious light beaming ahead!
In the wilderness you still receive blessings. I’ve mentioned this before in another blog, the parallels of living life with joy. I learned this from a book written by Rick Warren’s wife, and I never forgot it. Imagine living life as if on a train track, while moving along there are two sides of the track; one side is all the sucky stuff happening, and parallel to it on the other side is all the amazing things happening. We get to choose what side we focus on. It is never only bad, then only good happening. Great and not so great things are happening at the same time, it’s up to us which will be our focus. Raw moment, I got some sucky stuff going on in my life, but you know what, I have so many blessings occurring everyday in my life! I refuse to allow the things I’m not happy about to over shadow all the answered prayers in front of my face!
The wilderness can be full of challenging times. The wonderful thing about those challenges is they are built specifically for you to come out victorious! You may be in a wilderness, you may have just come out of one, you may be getting ready to enter one; know that victory is on the other side. Seek God and enjoy this time with Him. Let Him love on you, provide for you, show you His glory, and prepare you. See the beauty that can only be discovered in The Wilderness.
From the title you already know what subject we’re diving in today, Cycles. As the first blog of the year I thought this was such an important topic to hit, because I feel so many can relate, and so many need to break negative cycles that have held them back long enough. Towards the end of last year I began to feel like I was in a familiar place mentally and emotionally. One day a passing thought came and with the quickness, Holy Spirit led me to go in prayer, which was not my default before.
In times pass I would have negative thoughts and decide to camp right there, only to realize the illusion the enemy had set up, was just that, an illusion. That day when negative thoughts flood my mind, I had, had enough! I went in prayer and let the Lord lead. God shared with me it was time to let go. I had held on to those thoughts of guilt and shame for years, and it was time to break free.
Cycles are those recurring thoughts or actions that yield the same results. Thinking with the same negative mindset gave me the same negative results. Acting in the same defeated manner, caused me to crumble in defeat, and I would enter into a phase that was not productive or positive.
You may now be wondering, Okay, how do I break a cycle… I’m so glad you asked.
Whenever you are looking for a change or shift in an area of your life, you must start at the root. Look for the times and circumstances that you notice your cycle typically starts. Does your cycle of depression come at a certain time of year? Does your cycle of negative thinking come when you are around certain people? Does your cycle of spiraling into defense mode begin with a trigger word? Does your emotional eating cycle happen after an event? Take some time and sit with the Lord and write down when your cycle begins.
After you’ve found out what brings on your cycle, you now know how to pray and seek God. You can now see the deeper issue. You now know how to identify the starting point, which will be key in helping you say goodbye to that old cycle way of living. For me, my cycle of negative thinking and feelings of guilt and shame came during a certain time of year. In the future, I know to pray proactively before the season comes, and to speak life!
Speak the positive changes you desire to see. Speak the Word of God over your life. My freedom came when I laid everything out before God. I spoke to Him my every fear, doubt, and worry. I told the Lord my guilt, I showed Him my shame, and I allowed Him to do the breaking. I allowed His Word which has resurrection power, to breathe life into me again. I allowed His love to take the blinders off my eyes so that I could see He had made me new.
Ask yourself right now: Do I want to be free?
Freedom costs. Freedom will cost you to surrender, commit, turn, and focus. Freedom may cost, but it is worth every moment. I want you, I want us to live this year free from the cycles that hindered us from moving forward in our lives. You don't have to relive your painful moments over and over again. You don’t have to continue spending your life going through cycles. I pray God will reveal to you His love, glory, peace, and freedom this year. Break free!
For many years I’ve heard people speak on the importance of conquering our fears. I thought to conquer a fear meant to take something you’re afraid of doing, and simply do it. So that’s what I would do. The problem was and still is, I’m still pretty scared of those same things. The fear is still there. How can that be? I fear singing in front of people, I was on a Praise Team for years. I fear showing my thighs in shorts, I rocked shorts all summer long. I fear starting my blog and videos, I’ve done it before!
How can I fear something that I’ve conquered? I recently realized I never dealt with the true fear, only the product of my fears. I’m not afraid of singing in front of people, I have fear of failure. I’m not afraid of showing my thighs, I have fear of judgement. I’m not afraid of writing and videography, I fear not being good enough. For so long I would never announce my fear. I would just hold it in and ignorantly believe, if I don’t say it, its not true! Um….yeah… Wake up to reality girl!
As brave and full of faith I am, I also recognize I’m holding onto a lot of fear. Fear that came from somewhere. Where? When did it all start? These are just a few of the questions I had to ask myself so that I could finally reach my freedom that I cling on to today.
Here’s my raw moment: When I was a little girl I had no fear of failing. I believed that I had gifts inside of me, and God gave me my unique name, because one day the world would need my gifts. I loved singing and dancing, and pretty much anything that involved music. Until one day… One day someone gave a harsh critique to my singing. Someone who’s opinion of me mattered so much. From that day on, I always second guessed my singing, and feared being a let down to those listening. It was the same story for the shorts. After hearing people I admired talk badly about women with thick thighs in shorts, I figured I too would be on their talk list. I began to fear being judged by people. Then with the blog and videos, I’ve had small success on my previous uploads and work, but not at the level I would have liked. I struggle with the comparison trap; fearing I won’t be as good as others. Before I began my site I thought, what if no one sees and likes my work?
The thing that’s so crazy that just hit me as I’m typing is, the things that bring me so much joy, I fear to do! Straight crazy! I had a moment last year while I was driving to some local shops. I began to laugh. There I was driving on the highway, giggling in my car to myself…. I’m a little off, I know ;) I was having a conversation with God thanking Him for bringing me to a place of joy that I fought so hard for. Fear had me so bound and in a place of hopelessness. Then what joy is came to me: Joy is not internalizing external things. <—- Read that statement over a few times.
With the history of the fears I listed above I had internalized external things and it robbed me of my joy and gave me fear instead. I allowed others opinions to become my truths. To conquer fear you first must dig to the root of it, and snatch that sucker up! God has shown me the truth in the scripture, “…In thy presence is fulness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11) The more time I spend in His presence, the more I am filled with joy, and the more fear leaves me. I am more than a conqueror through Christ who strengthens me, and I will be strong and very courageous, because perfect love casts out fear, for God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind!