It is a crossroad.
An intersection that I know well.
A camping site where I wasted precious years of my life.
The pivotal point of choosing between faith and fear.
I waited. I cried. I felt offended. I was irritated with my circumstances. I held on to a myriad of grudges. When this did not work… I prayed. I cried. I waited on God. When I released the fear out of desperation, I fully committed to choosing faith. God blessed me with a miracle. He created a new heart in me. I could lean into my pain and helplessness and freely access the strength offered by the Holy Spirit. I could look at my intersection, turn my back on fear and walk towards a life of complete faith in God.
Fear is something that I will experience for the rest of my life, but it is not something that will hold me back anymore. I found many encouraging scriptures admonishing the fear that tried to keep me in bondage; I am proceeding forward on the path that God intended for me.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
Do not be afraid, for I am with you. (Isaiah 43:5)
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you; declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 1:8)
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)
Fear became such a well-known companion that I initially battled to leave it behind. It almost felt the same as when I throw out a pair of walked-in shoes, sheer apprehension for the unknown.
There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others, when that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it. (Judith McNaught)
God does not intend any journey to be wasted. (Dorina Gilmore)
It is easier today, to reflect on the obstacles that kept me stranded for so long. Maybe you feel frustrated with your life. Will you examine different things with me that might be holding you back?
There was a good reason why I camped at my intersection. I was offended. People said things that I didn’t agree with. In my marriage I felt overlooked, ignored…unloved. During and after my divorce, I was carrying a lot of responsibilities that I didn’t particularly want. I stood in numerous courts, fighting for maintenance, fighting for basic care for my children, trying to make a decent living for my new family of three. I was blamed for many things that I didn’t do. Sacrificing my needs, I felt like I didn’t receive the credit for all I was doing as a single parent. People sometimes are inconsiderate and thoughtless. Married women would judge me, not knowing the full extent of my story. Financial institutions would frown on me and my financial situation, not taking into account that I sat with a court order to get my ex-husband arrested for being in arrears with his maintenance. I worked long hours, driving my children to activities, attending school activities representing the mom, the missing dad and the missing grandparents. I felt responsible and used for purposes that I had no control over. I felt a discontent. I was irritated because my pride was hurt. I didn’t realize that I was destroying myself by holding on to grudges.
If we focus on the negatives in our lives, our thinking gets corrupted. We inadvertently exaggerate the realities of our circumstances and become trapped in a cycle of negative self-talk. Can you change the way you think and look at things from a different perspective? Why are you offended? Are you holding on to grudges?
I can be honest with you; I couldn’t change myself. No one else could rescue me from my situation. I needed a miracle.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:23-24)
God rescued me. He created a new heart in me. I experienced relief in knowing that God is my Judge. He will see to it that justice is done. God will avenge me. He is just. I was bogged down under the weight of being the judge of my own life. I tried to seek revenge for all the wrong done to me and I was withering under the pressure to keep score. I felt completely free when I relinquished the responsibility of judgement to God.
Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:17-18)
On a practical level, I have to make moral choices and choose daily to leave fear behind and choose faith. I have to go the way of truth and not deceit. I cannot do this on my own. I have to submit to God and His commands.
I use my feelings to signal me to stop and to reflect on my thoughts. When I feel depressed, angry, and anxious or upset, I take immediate action to test my reality. It helps when I stand back and examine my thoughts and question myself: Is there evidence to support my feelings? Can there be an alternative explanation for the situation? And my all-time favourite… will this matter in a year’s time?
Life is different when we are grounded and stabilized in God. “…a house built on a rock” cannot be moved by the storm of an offence. If the Holy Spirit dwells in my heart, there is no room for grudges.
I am so grateful for all the mistakes that I made. I have learned so much from my own heart. I also learned that my attitude could counter, or support my progress. With the miracle of a renewed heart, I am in charge of my attitude. I can change it. God truly set me free!
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard in me- practice these things and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes. (Charles R. Swindoll)
It is never too late to start over. If you were not happy with yesterday, try something different today.
Don’t stay stuck.