Letting Go of the Past…Three Times

fishnet“Peter, do you love Me?”

“Yes, Lord, You know I love You.”

“Feed My sheep.”

That conversation was deeper than we realize. Peter had messed up in a moment of panic, fear, and haste. He had denied the Lord 3 times, cursed, and swore with an oath to hide his identity and save his own skin. And then he had to make eye contact with the very person he had betrayed, and have the realization hit him…everything Jesus said would happen, did happen. Jesus knew Peter better than Peter knew himself. There was nothing left for Peter now. The crowing of the rooster may as well have been a bugle sounding Taps over Peter’s dying ministry.  He just fled the painful scene, wept bitterly, and separated himself from his band of brothers and any association with what it meant to be a follower of Christ.

Go back to what you did before, Peter. Go get the boat. Launch out there in the deep, where you don’t have to talk to anyone, look anyone in the eye, feel others looking at YOU, judging. You didn’t mess up with the boat…it was YOUR boat. Even though…you were catching nothing that day until Jesus told you where to toss that net!

Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me” three times. I like to think He did so because He was giving Peter a VERBAL chance three times to undo those three denials. Peter, normally the loudest mouth of the twelve, couldn’t bring himself to say “I love You” on his own, not after what he had done.  The outspoken one, overcome in his guilt and deep shame, now needed help from the Master just to say what was bursting in his heart.  How could those mere words ever undo what he had done?  So, Jesus, Who knew exactly what Peter was wrestling with, showed him where to lower the nets once more. Jesus proved to Peter that He could forgive without humiliating and ostracizing.  He could restore him without putting him on probation, without demoting him, without dismissing all those times when Peter was part of the inner circle of His circle.  And that command, “Feed my sheep?” He was saying, “You don’t belong back in the fishing business, Peter. Your heart is to serve Me. I can see right through your weaknesses, and I know that in your heart, you would rather be close to Me than anything in this world. Come back. There’s still very much a place for you here. You belong in ministry. You belong to me. I forgive you. Let’s turn a page and finish this thing better than the chapter we’re on now.”

Have you made some mistakes that make you feel as if you are unworthy to receive Jesus’ forgiveness? Do you feel disqualified to follow Him, or specifically, disqualified to lead others to Him? Jesus is asking YOU today, “Do you love Me? Oh, I already know the answer, but I want YOU to think long and hard, past the guilt, past the self-loathing and regrets. You KNOW you love Me, and I know you love Me. Let’s turn a page. I’m far from finished with what I am going to do through you, and I want you to know that you are NOT damaged goods. You are not going to be left on the reject pile, forgiven but left broken. I am fixing you and I want you walking close to Me again, as My friend, as My confidante, as someone that I TRUST (yes, I TRUST you!) to love others like I’ve loved you!”

Pray with me: “Father, I’m putting aside my own feelings and the urge to run away. There is no place else I’m at peace but in Your presence. I can’t even go back to life as before and do it the way I did before I knew You. I need You! Forgive my sins, my mistakes, blot out anything that stepped between us. Fix me and if You want to use me, I’m here. Lord, You really DO know my heart. You know I’ve always loved You even when I let my flesh do the decision-making. Help me rise above my own will. Cleanse me and help me say no to whatever causes distance between us. I don’t want to feel like I can’t come near You anymore. I receive Your forgiveness and I am going to have a good finish–like Peter! In Jesus’ name.” Amen.

Snakeproofing Your Path…or at Least Your Feet

garden.jpgThis morning I drifted back off to sleep and dreamed that I was in this pretty, rustic frame house overlooking a beautiful view…one of those gardens that has stone walkways and big leafy plants. The temperature was perfect. It had balconies and decks on every imaginable angle and level. I thought…finally somewhere to go where I can clear my mind and just relax! I remember feeling thankful that the Lord had blessed me with this time away. I took off down a set of the steps leading to the garden and just as my foot started to hit the landing, I saw the biggest copperhead I’ve ever seen stretched out facing me, with its head lifted up and what looked almost like a smirk on its face.

I took off back up those steps and started warning people not to go down into the garden, and I watched in despair as I could see animals and people already wandering around the various paths down there…imagining that there were no doubt more where he came from; and I just turned away so I wouldn’t see. They couldn’t make out what I was saying as I shouted down. I finally went back inside and slammed my door shut. And then I woke up.

As I lay there in the bed, I recalled the smug look on that big snake’s face. There have been so many times when I was so close to stepping into a new place, only to be met by this spirit of fear…and just as he intended, I would be driven by that snake right back into my comfort zone. It’s strange, as I dreamed this, I didn’t sense the garden to be necessarily a dangerous place. I didn’t blame the garden for the snake, or perceive it an evil trap. It was just a place where I could go and rest my mind and body. Why would he be waiting there, daring me, taunting me? And then the Lord immediately brought this Scripture to my remembrance: “Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.” (Luke 10:19 AMP). And I then thought of “having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” (Eph 6:15)

I can’t say whether the dream had a special meaning, but I can tell you this: we don’t have to shrink back from opportunities God gives us for fear of the enemy. Oh, that old serpent is liable to be peeking out along just about any path we’re walking on; but we don’t have to spend our lives running back up the steps into perceived safe places just to avoid him. If we belong to Jesus, we can put on that footgear of peace and go wherever He leads us. Who would’ve thought that peace is in our feet, not our head! I can almost envision a big tall pair of “snake proof” boots with a heavy heel for just such occasions. We are wearing God’s peace, we are protected, and we are given authority to clear the path for others by crushing what causes danger under our feet. We are given this charge not just for our own benefit…but for an entire humanity God wants to reconcile to Himself.

Knowing now that we can do this without fear, let’s get out of our enclosed “safe place” and interact with others. They need us and can’t hear us just shouting down at them. We have to get on a level where they can understand the Gospel, and be ready to defend them from the devil if needed. And, we can do it all while remaining in a state of rest and peace! No fear!

Prayer for the Unsung Heroes: Caregivers

holdinghandsPrayer focus today: Please pray for those in your circle who are caregivers. Unless you’ve ever had to do it, it’s impossible to fathom the physical, emotional, and even spiritual depletion that can happen when you give care to a loved one round-the-clock. It’s most certainly a labor of love. Pray not just for the sick person, but for the person(s) unselfishly looking after him or her. And when you can offer help, a meal, an encouraging word, be a blessing to that person!

 

Father, we come before You today on behalf of caregivers everywhere. Lord, the caregivers would tell us to focus our prayers on the sick and infirm being taken care of, and we do that too; but today, we pray for the caregivers themselves.

We declare over these today a special Psalm 67 blessing. Thank You for being gracious, for making Your face to shine upon them, and for blessing them. When it seems as if they’re in a dark, unfamiliar place, cause that light to shine through the fog, bringing them hope and courage all over again. Calm their fears, Father. It’s a scary realm to navigate, especially when those dependent upon them are suffering from mental compromise. When they feel terribly inadequate or overwhelmed, surround them with encouragers. When they feel exhausted, send helpers to come alongside. When they see no possible opportunity for a break, Father, make possible times of respite. When they feel unappreciated by fellow family members, cause others to become more sensitive to their needs…and send a network of people into their lives who express needed appreciation. Remind them often, Father, that they are not alone.  You have a heart for the helpless, Lord, but You are also well-pleased with and aware of the people who are caregivers, rescuers, nurses, and helpers of those who are helpless!  You keep a record of those acts of kindness, so these who are in positions of caring for the helpless are under Your watchful eye.  Even when others aren’t aware of all they must do in a day’s (and night’s) time, You are there and You know.  Bless them indeed; bless them a lot!

We ask You to help caregivers embrace offered help, to not try and do everything on their own. If siblings are not rising to the occasion, send friends that “sticketh closer than a brother” to help shoulder the load. Cause strength to rise as they wait upon You and upon those who need their help. Strength like eagles, Lord. Running and not weary. Walking and not fainting. Renewed strength. We ask that every opportunity for sleep brings refreshment of double that time! No troubling dreams, no tossing and turning, no inability to relax. Remind them that as they rest, You are watching over those in their care. Thank you for protecting their own health. Healing flows in their adrenal glands so that they don’t feel exhaustion setting in!

We rebuke tormenting spirits, in the name of Jesus, that would create unrest in the atmosphere of the place where the care is being given.  In situations where caregivers are wearing thin to the point of losing compassion for those in their care, we ask You to intervene.  Don’t allow any of our precious caregivers to be stressed to the breaking point where they might be unkind or abusive, even unintentionally.  We invite the spirit of peace, the dove of the Holy Spirit, to rest and find habitation in this caregiving place. Bring peace and calm to the patients, but Lord, bring that same peace and calm to the caregivers. When the devil tries to inject guilt, depression, a feeling of inadequacy, feelings of bitterness or frustration or anger, or feelings of despair and temptation to give up, Lord, we raise the banner of Jehovah Nissi and we say, this territory is occupied by the Lord! Shalom has taken this territory and there is no room for enemies that would disrupt the environment.  Thank You for causing caregivers to be creative and able to hear Your direction…when right music, conversation, interaction, even games help their wards to be calmer, Lord reveal clever ways to caregivers to keep these in their care occupied and happy.

You are near those who are of a broken heart, Lord. Many of our caregivers’ hearts are broken because of the injured, sick, fragile, or even terminal state of their loved ones. Comfort them. Bring many opportunities for humor and laughter even in times when they feel overwhelmed. Let laughter flow as freely as tears, and when the Holy Spirit needs to numb the pain, we ask You to send that comfort too. Peace that passes all understanding…peace when it seems illogical that there should be peace.  Your Word also says that one act of pure and undefiled religion is to care for the widows (and orphans), and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. We pray you will send salvation to the caregivers who have not received You…but Lord, for even the ones who don’t yet have a relationship with you, we ask for very obvious blessings upon them for compassionate caring for the widow, the helpless, the infirm. Let them know that it is You who sends these blessings, and may they see this as proof of Your great love and mercy. We also pray that You will send financial blessing on them, so that they do not have additional pressures over money issues. Bring wisdom for financial management for themselves and those who are their wards.

And Father, for those who’ve done all they can and are struggling with the issue of having to recruit hospice, respite care, home health nurses, volunteer helpers, assisted living, or even a nursing home for their loved one, help them to be strong enough to let go and allow others to help.  Especially in the case where the caregivers’ health is declining, sometimes it’s just not possible to continue as before; and for many, the guilt over not being able to continue to take care of one’s spouse, parent, or child is unbearable.  When the cared-for person is too frail for home care, in need of full-time medical experience the caregiver doesn’t have, has wandering or self-endangerment issues, help the caregiver to be strong enough to turn the reins over and let others come alongside to help.  There is no shame in allowing a better solution for the patient to be had; so help those who must give up being a caregiver not to blame themselves when they’ve reached the end of their ability to do so.  Help them to not feel as if they are abandoning their loved ones if they cannot continue in the role of caregiver.  Sometimes we need medical professionals or just a few more hands involved; and guilt or pride won’t let us admit that we can’t do it alone.  When it’s YOUR time for more people to be involved in the care process, I pray that You will whisper a confirmation into the caregivers’ ears that it is OK; then heal their aching hearts as they make the hard decisions of life.

Finally, we confess Psalm 46:1-3 over them (and over ourselves) to affirm that we know You are with them and us:

 

“God is our shelter and our strength.  When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. So why run and hide? No fear, no pacing, no biting fingernails. When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless.When mountains crumble and the waters run wild, we are sure and fearless.  Even in heavy winds and huge waves,or as mountains shake, we are sure and fearless.”(Ps 46:1-3 The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.)

We confess Your Word and we ask these things in the name of Jesus…gratefully, effectually, fervently, and with FAITH that You watch over Your Word to perform it!  And, as You reveal ways to us to be more proactive in ministering to and assisting caregivers, we will rise to the occasion!

Cupbearers to the King: A Prayer to be Liaisons of God

GobletThere are two people in the Old Testament, one named and one not,  who served as a cupbearers to pagan kings…with supernatural destinies mapped out by God.

The first was the cupbearer who would displease Pharaoh and wind up a cellmate with Joseph.  Two servants had been tossed “in the slammer,” if you’ll remember–the cupbearer and the baker.  Joseph interpreted their dreams and begged them to remember him to the king when they got out.  Sure enough, the baker met the prophesied death, and the cupbearer was restored to his former position with his master.  Only after the king  himself began having troubling dreams did the cupbearer remember Joseph and the promise.  The story ends powerfully:  a godly man winds up in leadership directly under Egypt’s powerful potentate, and the lives of untold numbers of people (including Jacob/Israel and his entire family) are saved from a deadly famine.  The liaison God used to bring Joseph and Pharaoh together?  An unlikely cupbearer, whose very life was spared for one critical moment when he would speak a right word!

Fast-forward to the time of the Babylonian exile of Israel’s descendants.  Persia has ousted the Babylonians, who had taken God’s people out of their homeland and into captivity. Through the process of time and with much opposition from nations who hated the Judean people, the actions and edicts of King Cyrus,King Darius, and King Artaxerxes would eventually see Jerusalem restored.  I find this whole story (in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah) so interesting; because one day, seemingly out of the blue (which we know isn’t the case…it was because of God’s sovereign plan), King Cyrus just issues an edict that a temple in Jerusalem is to be built!  He orders surrender of the precious artifacts and tools that had been stolen out of the original temple.  From there, the avalanche of restoration had begun–on the enemy’s dime–and there would be no stopping it.  This is another whole message in itself!

Now, back to that second cupbearer, Nehemiah, who served King Artaxerxes.  While Ezra would be the one to whom it was given charge to rebuild the temple, it was this cupbearer of the king who would be given charge to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. Artaxerxes was clearly pleased to have a trusted servant like Nehemiah, so I don’t take it lightly that he would be so willing to turn loose of this man whose job was to guard him from being poisoned!  This was no coincidence. Out of all the positions Nehemiah could have been assigned in that kingdom, God saw to it that his would be one in direct connection to the king himself; and that there would be a relationship of trust established.  Jerusalem would be restored, yes…and by people who had administrative abilities, labor skills, defense strategies, and priestly ordination.

It saddens me that so many believers want to be far-removed from the political arena these days.  Much of it is just this whole living-in-a-goldfish-bowl society of ours.  Everyone’s personal life is on display, and the price for offering one’s service to government often calculates to the destruction of his or her reputation and credibility.  These folks find enemies they didn’t know they even had.  From the campaigning time throughout a public servant’s career, his or her life is scrutinized and criticized.  I myself would be petrified at the thought of running for any office!   If you’re like me, not someone with political ambitions but who’s still concerned about the welfare of our nation, may I challenge you to offer yourself as a cupbearer to the “king?”  Taking on the role of a servant to those in authority, if you are a child of God, can be as instrumental in His purpose for our nation as being in rule yourself. By saying this, I mean a true servant.  Not a spy, and not a source of leaking information or gossip, not a saboteur or a manipulator: someone who recognizes that proximity opens the door of opportunity to bring prayer closer to those in leadership!

Presidents, governors, congressmen, judges, mayors and the like, they’re all just people.  They often find themselves uncertain and in need of input; more often than we even know..  As we saw in the movie, “The Butler,” those who serve them in a non-political capacity are often subsconciously regarded by these authorities as more trustworthy than the people in official advisory positions around them.  While a leader may or may not acknowledge that relationship as “friendship,” a trusted servant has a powerful connection!  There are others in the Bible with that same type of direct and indirect influence, such as Mordecai, Daniel, Shadrach, Meschech, and Abednego…and then there’s Esther, whose beauty and goodness became the favor point that earned her a place in the kingdom at the king’s side.

The Word admonishes us to be wise as serpents yet harmless as doves.  A mature believer full well knows the importance of one’s words.  Would you be willing to be an unsung hero for the kingdom of God, by just being an unassuming voice of reason to those who have the power to order a thing to pass?  Pray with me:

“Father, I don’t know whether You would will it to be so, but I offer myself today to be a cupbearer to the king, for Your glory.  If I was born for such as time as this, I am willing.  Thank You that we live in a nation and states where we are a free people, and where our religious freedoms still abound even when they are challenged.  Forgive me for times when I have railed on the “establishment,” and chose to complain instead of pray. However, I know we are in a late hour, and that You are mobilizing key people to be godly influences to those in leadership in these last days.  You are not just using our gifts inside the walls of the church; You are using our talent, abilities, and insight as tools in both the secular world and the government to turn attention back toward You.  Use what You’ve given me WHEREVER You want!

I may or may not have proximity to actual persons in authority, but I ask You to help me walk in the kind of integrity that could open up that possibility.  Help me to be a person in whom others can share things confidentially, knowing that I won’t betray their trust.  Help me to develop a reputation for honesty, for even-temperament, for respectability, for wisdom, for quietness until there’s a right time to speak.  May even those who don’t yet value You value the qualities they see You instilling within me.  Set them up for an encounter with You through me!  Give me great love for those who are over me; a willingness to see them as souls and not just authority figures.  Burden me to pray for them and their families.  Give me genuine concern for their well-being spiritually, physically, and mentally.  As Your Word has instructed, I will make it my priority to pray for them.  I ask You, too, to alert me to pray for the ones who are often overlooked by other intercessors!

Lord, even if it is not meant for me to be a servant or confidante of someone in authority,  I pledge to be salt and light right where I am now.  I’ll be a model citizen.  I will be that employee who’s trusted and valued.  And I pray now for others who might be chosen to be cupbearers.  Father, raise up godly men and women and young people who are in the ears of those who must make decisions that affect entire geographic regions–nations, states, counties, municipalities.  May these leaders feel drawn to the wisdom and integrity of godly influences, and may they begin to conform to the attributes of these godly people even though they might not yet know You!  Use your children to walk the halls of capitol buildings, corporate boardrooms, courthouses, and city halls.  May our prayers echo and bounce off the walls into every crack.  Lord, bless even the little old Christian lady who’s on her knees scrubbing the floor where a senator or governor sits.  As she does her job, may praises and prayer quietly infiltrate and change an entire atmosphere!  Send dreams to our leaders as well, and to their spouses…for You’ve even used dreams to initiate positive change.

Finally, Lord, as a cupbearer, I ask you to remind me when someone is in captivity or being treated unjustly!  Like the Pharaoh’s servant who suddenly remembered Joseph, may my carefully-dispensed suggestions come sparingly but always in Your time, so that a word in season might spark an entire chain of events capable of saving a nation!  Like Nehemiah, may my influence, whether at a secular job or in the town in which I live, open a door to further Your kingdom and Your will!  Give me favor and I vow not to abuse it.  If I am a cupbearer one day and suddenly assigned to build a wall of protection, to restore broken things, and to fight the enemy at the same time if necessary, then amen and so be it!  Make me a restorer and rebuilder wherever You situate me.  On whatever level You choose to use me, I am yours.  Make me Your ambassador, Your special liaison, and I will strive not to disappoint You in any way!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Clearing Out Cobwebs and Curses


May we all be reminded today that WORDS MATTER…and learn to apply THE Word to every situation that doesn’t line up with it.

When I was about 19, a close family member (doesn’t matter which one) told me that I would never be able to do what I do in a big way because I was born without enough stamina. While it’s true that I have always tended to tire easily, I didn’t really recall again what that person had spoken (who loved me and meant well) over me until somewhat recently. And guess what? Sure enough, those words had stuck, thus far all my adult years. Whether in my subconscious or elsewhere else, an elder’s voice had unwittingly granted legitimacy to something negative, something that needed dealt with and not just accepted. It gave credence to a mentality that if I tried, I wouldn’t be able to succeed or to hold onto the accomplishments God’s gifts had enabled me to achieve…oh how many times I haven’t even bothered to try, because I could see the watermark where I could only rise so far and no more!  God didn’t vividly bring this When I was about 19, a close family member (doesn’t matter which one) told me that I would never be able to do what I do in a big way because I was born without enough stamina. While it’s true that I have always tended to tire easily, I didn’t really recall again what that person had spoken (who loved me and meant well) over me until somewhat recently. And guess what? Sure enough, those words had stuck, thus far all my adult years. Whether in my subconscious or elsewhere else, an elder’s voice had unwittingly granted legitimacy to something negative, something that needed dealt with and not just accepted. It gave me a mentality that if I tried, I wouldn’t be able to succeed or to hold onto the accomplishments God’s gifts had enabled me to achieve. There has been this watermark in my life where I would only succeed to a point and then would never rise any higher.  Many times I would see that fail point and scared me away from trying again.  But!  God didn’t vividly bring this to my remembrance to hurt my feelings, He brought it to light so that I could do something about it in the Spirit realm! How merciful!

Now I am determined to slough off that declaration and make a declaration of my own: I am an overcomer, I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, and I will be–nope, I AM, right now–able to do what I do in a BIG way! I am breaking off that curse and I am getting strong for the next leg of my journey, to the glory of God. In Jesus’ name, I will not sit on the sideline wandering what might have been if I’d only had more in the tank! Not blaming that person here, I’m getting free from some sneaky little hidden things that are being swept out…and hopefully encouraging you to sweep some things out of your own closet.

Has someone spoke into existence a negative thing over your life, even out of ignorance? It is time to neutralize the sting of words and the consequences he or she may have set in motion. Begin now to search the Scriptures for what GOD says you are, what you can do, who you can be. Philippians 4:13 says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. By HIS strength, I rise above my own limitations, and SO CAN YOU. Stop repeating what others have done to you or said about you and look UP to your real Source. Beginning today, that’s not who you are anymore. Don’t give the devil the satisfaction of hearing you talk and talk about your past…because that tells him he has succeeded in scarring you!   It is important–very important–that you cancel out what THEY said by uttering aloud, with your own voice, what GOD says about you! What they said, what they did? Doesn’t have any bearing whatsoever on where God is taking you. And when you set your mind to it, do what you’re doing not to prove them wrong, but to prove Him RIGHT! #callthosethings

Guilt-Zilla: No More Sequels

claw.jpgTHEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. (Romans 8:1 | AMP)

One of the hardest revelations about my shortcomings has the potential to become one of my greatest victory testimonies, if I can succeed in letting it shape me into a better person!  The Lord revealed to me, on what was pretty-much a sleepless night, that one of the biggest taskmasters and tormentors I have is Guilt…and that He wants me to do something about it.  This big Guilt-Zilla monster has chased most of the other motivators off the block and kept me all to its gnarly, ugly, hellish self.  I’m just being transparent with you, friends…allowing you to see the very human side of me that occasionally needs an attitude adjustment!  All of us are in desperate need of God’s grace.

So, why on earth, you may ask, are you plagued by guilt, Lisa? I feel guilty because:

  • I work all the time and have provided for myself a virtually nonexistent family life.
  • When I actually am working, I get interrupted countless times and then I sit there in a daze trying to get my concentration back; therefore time is wasted and I then feel like a bad employee.  I have less to show for my work than I believe I should.
  • I need to spend more time in God’s presence than I do on His payroll.  The to-do list isn’t getting me any closer to Him and it therefore keeps getting bigger and more out of balance.  I’m sorry, Papa.  You and I both know there are days when I’m running on fumes and You’re not the one to blame.
  • I get zero exercise and very little recreation, which means I’m not a good steward of my body; but when I’m out walking or taking a break or doing something I enjoy, I worry that people think I’m wasting time when I should be working.  Two-sided guilt. Ouch.
  • I am in considerable need of weight loss which means I need to move more and worry about what other people think a whole lot less.  I know I’m cheating myself and my husband by not taking responsibility for my body.  So yeah, guilty.
  • I find myself bitter and resentful that the only time I truly have to myself is when I’m asleep; so I dread checking answering machines and emails because I know there’s stuff in there that will further cut into time I don’t have.  I also resent the worry that robs me of said only time I have to myself–my sleep.
  • My house stays a mess; and without a plan to keep it from getting that way, it isn’t going to change.  Even though I work long hours, I feel I should be more on top of this and therefore–you guessed it–guilty.
  • I have done a less-than stellar job of managing my own finances.  Someone with an IQ of 137 should be debt-free with a sizable chunk in savings. Someone with that IQ should also have more to show for her accomplishments than a year and a half of college education.  Achievement quotient:  not impressive.  Guilty.
  • I never feel as if I’ve done enough.  I can’t please everybody.  I can’t please myself and I wonder sometimes if I’m actually pleasing God or if I’m just trying to appease the guilt monster within.
  • I am burned out, and in this moment I want with all my heart to disconnect from my job, the ministry, and life in general.  I am empty and so dissatisfied with my messy, substandard life.  I am the poster child of imbalance and I feel guilty about that too.

Ok, so I have been painfully transparent with you.  I have been drowning in a sea of my own making, held under the water by Guilt-Zilla and allowed to surface every few seconds to take a deep, desperate gasp of breath.

So am I a hypocrite and a fraud?  No, not really.  I’m just in a state of chaos and in need of the grace of my Savior.  My greatest sin in all of this is allowing that little pet tadpole of guilt to grow and take over my life, until he is bigger even that my dreams.

So today Lord, I crawl up into Your lap and humbly ask You to take me through a Romans 8:1 refresher course.  Matter of fact, erase what I actually think I know and start from scratch. I need You to show me how to put Guilt-Zilla out of my misery.

  • Help me to find room for both career and family, where I don’t feel like either is trespassing on the other.  I need some safe compartments and boundaries.
  • Help me multitask less and focus more.  The guilt monster has very little to feed on when I am doing whatever I’m doing (one thing at a time) with my whole heart and not on autopilot.
  • Help me to draw some realistic separation between working for Your church and really having relationship with You.  I keep forgetting that You don’t expect me to be on the clock 7 days a week just to prove that I love You.  You’d rather we just hang out together, job or no job.
  • Help me to regain control in the area of personal discipline, and to actually value the body You gave me.  Help me do more than just think about taking care of myself; I need to go there in more than just my wishes.  Help me to make better food choices and to get to whatever weight You know is my healthiest.
  • Help me to be a better steward of my house and my finances, so that the Proverbs 31 Woman doesn’t look like a lady I really despise for all her efficiency and um-attainability.
  • Help me to find some quality time beyond a few hours’ sleep each night.  Sleep shouldn’t count as my “me time.” You wired me to be a deep thinker and I need silence to do that.  Help me also to have time to be creative.  Help me to find a little fun too.  I don’t have much of that these days,  not like I should.  Help me to stop “working even when I’m not working.”  Help me to add the word NO to my vocabulary.
  • Help me to just get back to enjoying Your presence.  I’ve been Martha so long and I really miss getting to be Mary.  I’m way too careful and troubled about many things; help me to choose the better part that won’t be taken away from me.
  • Help me to feel a separation from what I’m not involved in at the moment, so that all my responsibilities have their own respective places.  I want to feel once more as if my job, my family, my ministry, and the people around me are truly gifts and not one more straw on the camel’s back.  Teach me to decompress by meditation in Your Word.
  • Help me to actually like being me again.
  • Help me to put You—just You—first in my life again, and help me find somewhere appropriate on the list for me, too.  I feel lost in the shuffle.
  • Help me to know when I’ve worked, served, given enough for one day, and to be at peace with enough being enough.

It’s a lot to ask, Father, but I believe You can help me to make sure that the Guilt-Zilla movie has no more sequels.  I know it’s time to deal, and if You’ll help me, I know I can reclaim my peace!  I ask all this in Jesus’ name…