March 2017. I'm declaring it's my time to RISE! I was truly listening to the words to this song the other day, and it hit me how much I can relate right now!
"But something inside, you can't deny. You hear the call of your Creator. I made you for more, unlock the door. I wanna restore your glory. So, RISE! Breaking the dark, piercing the night, you're made to SHINE! An army of hope bringing the world a radiant light. A radiant light. You were made to RISE!"I have been stuck. So, so stuck. Grief combined with depression combined with self-loathing. It's been a deep, dark mire I've been stuck in for a while. I decided a bit ago that I've had enough of it. No more. So, for Lent, I'm trying to give up negative self-talk. I know that's not something I can just completely get freedom from - but it's amazing how much less I struggle with it once I made the decision to let it go. With the Lord's help, you begin to recognize it so much more quickly. He helps you to realize you're doing it so that you can make the purposeful choice to stop it!
I was just thinking today how much my current journey is like this house we bought. Oh, yeah. This house. I haven't mentioned it on here yet, but we bought a 1977 fixer-upper on 10.5 acres in Ada. And when I say fixer-upper - I MEAN fixer-upper. The journey of how we came to buy this house is a story for another day. I just need to share my ah-hah moment before I forget it.
You see, I have really been questioning if this house was a wise choice. The amount of money it's cost and attention it still needs are wearing on me lately. We have prayed about this whole process, and really felt that God wanted us to have this house. But lately, I sure am wondering if we heard Him wrong. I've been thinking a lot about why it is that God has us here - if He really does. I mean, if this is where we're supposed to be - then all these issues and struggles are certainly part of His plan. In fact (whew!), even if we heard Him wrong and this was all a big mistake - it's all part of the journey. We've given this house and our lives over to Him, to do with as He sees fit. So - mistake or not - we're here. And what in the world is He trying to teach us?! Well, I may have begun to understand.
Going back to my March 2017 RISE idea from earlier. I am determined to get back on the healthy wagon I was on in 2011. I lost 60 pounds then. Felt amazing. But, over the course of the last few years, I've put back on about 40 of those pounds and I feel like crap. Just like the journey of how we bought this house is another post - so is the journey of the last 6 years and my weight struggles. I've learned a lot - both about myself and about the struggles of being an emotional eater struggling with depression and grief. In fact, I am going to try to finally write a book about all I've learned. (But that's several months and many pounds away from being ready to be shared.) Anyway, I'm just a few days into really being serious about losing the weight again. And I'm already feeling noticeably better. But as I was driving today, I realized something. Just like I'm working to love myself and take care of myself again, I better learn to love this house too...'cuz we're just alike. I mean, like, for real.
This house was built in 1977. I was built in 1971. This house has been pretty neglected the last few years. Uh, so have I. This house needs a lot of attention & time & hard work. Ahem. Yep. Me too. This house has AMAZING potential and does have a lot of good parts already. As much as I might sometimes forget it, yeah. Me too.
One area we've been working on around the house lately is the yard. It all needs a lot of work, but the area just by the driveway is what we've been giving a lot of our attention to. It just has no curb appeal whatsoever. Dave's removed a nasty old mice infested dog house. And a rusty fenced area around that. He's cut down some over grown trees & bushes. Luke's been working to remove the chain link fence. The girls and I have raked and raked and hauled many a wheelbarrow full of leaves and twigs away. But this area of yard is still a ginormous mess. It's full of vines and poison ivy and every other gangly, messy, overgrown twig. For all the work we've done, it feels like it will be dozens more hours of work before there is anything pleasant to the eyes. Supposedly, this house was quite well taken care of several years ago. But it's amazing how much damage those thorny vines can do in a short amount of time.
Just like negative thoughts. Six years ago, I was a different person than I am today. I was actively losing weight. Full of self-confidence and self-discipline. I loved what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I was excited to get on the scale and see it progressing downward. But slowly, I fell back into my old habits. I allowed the enemy to convince me once again of his lies. I returned to the same old self-defeating choices. I allowed my head to once again be full of negative thoughts. And the spiral continued downward. And downward.
Just like those nasty old vines have to be pulled out at the root. So do these negative thoughts. And just like that area of yard won't grow pretty, lush grass until we plant more seeds...neither will my mind be full of positive, live-giving thoughts unless I am purposeful about putting them there. If we just rip out the vines, we'll have an ugly area of dirt which will quickly turn into a weedy mess. But if we rip out all the prickly mess and replace it with green grass and flowers...we'll eventually have a gorgeous corner of yard.
But that's just the beginning. That section of yard is just one tiny portion of this 10.5 acres of land that needs lots of TLC and attention. Same with me. My negative thought life is just the first area that I need to get back on track to get myself where I want to be. I've been also working this week on getting my eating back under control. There's also water intake and exercise and positive affirmations, etc.
Yep. Me and this house. We're more alike than I'd like to admit. I have a feeling this is going to be a year of lots more of these ah-hah moments.
What a loving Lord we serve. He knows just what we need to hear. And He knows just how to get our attention so we can actually hear it. Let's all determine that we'll seek His voice daily. Let's take our hands off the wheel and buckle up for the ride. With Him in the driver's seat..it's going to be a fun, fun ride.