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Angela Light

Walking it out- the great, the messy & in between

Kidding Myself?

Posted by angela on November 20, 2014
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When we were having our first baby, I had so many resources telling me what to expect. We read books, heard tons of stories and prepared an entire room with lots of equipment for our little bundle. But until I was in labor that 3rd day and eventually held the little bundle did I get a glimpse of what childbirth actually was like. I had to go through the steps and live through the experience to really GET IT. I was kidding myself that I ‘got it’ and understood what I was in for just by hearing about it.

Real life is like this!! We can read about places or experiences, see pictures, watch movies and hear firsthand accounts from others, but until we actually WALK and live through it ourselves, we can’t really get a sense of what it’s really like.

I realized this is so much like our relationship with God. We can tell others of Jesus, walking with God, peace/comfort/grace/mercy, etc. Look how many followers or proclaimed Christians know so much about the word! But until they step into the water and are engulfed by the Holy Spirit in them, they won’t really know.

We can try to explain…but words can only go so far. Plus, God is so creative. Not everyone’s journey is the same. What one person experiences with Him could be polar opposite of another. So until someone opens themselves to fully accept Him-experience Him…they won’t know. They don’t know all the blessings and gifts He pours out and their eyes are still sealed shut. They can have head knowledge but without heart knowledge it’s just a black & white photo with a blurry view—instead of the full color 3D action film.

What if you are a believer and follower but still feel distant? I would ask if you’ve thrown it all over board. ALL OF IT. Yes, even the stuff that we don’t think really matters. Sometimes it’s something we don’t think God would ever ask us to do without or open up to Him…maybe it’s something we don’t feel is important enough or even the opposite. It’s something that is so important to us; we don’t want Him to mess with it. What if He tells us to give it up? We can’t imagine the thought of living without it (or someone) so we keep that portion to ourselves. We bury it so deep that we’ve convinced ourselves that we’ve given it all up and still feel emptiness, a wide & deep distance between us & God.

Then the frustration leeks in…why don’t we feel Him? Why is He keeping His distance? Didn’t I pray & ask for Him to enter my life? Why am I doing this if HE isn’t keeping up His end of the deal?! Bitterness, blame, and angry start to surround us deep inside like a slow creeping fog.

Then we continue on. We go forward with life, maybe continuing our church attendance, bible groups, etc but deep down—we have a faith gap. We believe in God but somewhere deep down inside—we don’t feel God is really coming through for us.

All of this because we have kidded ourselves into thinking ‘we’ve given it all up to Him, but He blew it. He didn’t invade my spirit and fill it up or I wouldn’t feel this way’.

Really…it was us. When we finally realize what that area of our life is that we’ve closed off or hidden or even didn’t consider IT as an area for God. Then…THEN we’ll get it. It’ll feel like a weight has been set free.

If you sense there is something you’ve long ago buried but don’t even realize what it is, ask Him to reveal it to you. If you are sincere in wanting to move FORWARD in your walk, He will meet you. He’s there anyhow, waiting.

If you know exactly that area where you’ve kept to yourself, so deeply hidden that you don’t even notice it sometimes—you know what to do. It’s time. Time to step out and stop kidding yourself. You have to take a step of trust and faith that what He has is for your benefit and He loves you. Give it up. Even the most precious or shameful piece that you’ve buried so long ago it feels like ancient history.

Give it to Him. He can handle it and is waiting for you. He’s been waiting all along to fill those empty places.

Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins—even those you do in secret. Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless. Job 11:13-15

Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Psalm 37:7

Strengthen the CORE

Posted by angela on November 13, 2014
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So I’m dragging myself to the gym again in pursuit of better health and a stronger, healthier body. Today is what we call ‘core day’. Yep, it’s all about strengthening the ‘core’. Or other words,  torture maneuvers designed to make you feel like your stomach and sides are exploding and you’ll never sit upright again. How is this better health since it feels like I’m doing ANYTHING but helping? I know good and well my stomach is begging for me to sit quietly in my recliner and munch on Pringles. NOT do 10 more reps of a crazy exercise that I’ll feel for the next few days.

But…this is strengthening the ‘core’. It’s all for the betterment of my body…my old, aching, tired and too fluffy (hence the workouts) body.  Okay, bring it on. This will all be worth it, right?

This made me think… we try to strengthen ourselves with exercise or education or experience. But how are we pursuing strengthening our spirits? The biggest and more important part of us, the one that never dies, should get the most attention, right?

And if we agree our spiritual self is the most crucial, then how do we strengthen it? BY core work. Yes, that dreaded thought (core work at the gym that is) is also the key for strengthening our CORE spiritual self.

I asked my friend Jack what he thought this meant-to strengthen our core spiritually. I was anxious for his perspective since he’s also a personal trainer & exercise physiologist. I’m sure he’d have a great response that related to the body, muscles and how I needed to do 2 more sets without whining. However his response wasn’t a ploy for me to push thru more reps—he said the core of us is what following Jesus is all about. How everything we’ve learned from Jesus is to be strong in our faith (I totally paraphrased his response).

Our core is what sustains us and gives strength to the rest of the body. If your core isn’t strong, other areas of your body are weakened.

How is your core? Do you have God’s word leading you through your moments, guiding you in decisions, thought processes?

If you’re like most of us, you aspire to this but fall short much of the time. But you can still pursue a strong core—the faith, the trust in the Father. Believing Him for what He promises and living like you really do believe it.

This strengthens us. Our struggles, although painful, confusing and anger provoking—well, it does strengthen us. Do we like it? NO WAY. Do we need it? Absolutely.

Time with God, discussing your world, your day, your struggles, how to behave, to rewire our hearts…this is all core work.

To read his word so you have the instruction manual in your mind as you walk out your days—core work.

Being brutally honest with Him—your thankfulness, your anger, your sadness, your joyfulness. He knows each detail, no matter how small, of you & your life. He just wants us to talk with Him about it. Not to enlighten him (he already knows) but so we can grow closer with Him and learn to feel his presence with us. Core Work.

I’ll try to think of my days for ‘core work’ differently. No promises that I’ll learn to love the exercise, but I’ll love the results. Isn’t that what our life is also? We won’t love the tests or struggles at times, but the growth and strength in Him we gain from it…all worth it. Never wasted.

Thank you Father for strengthening us, giving us ‘core’ work to strengthen our relationship with you.

Deuteronomy 30:20
Love the Lord your God and obey His voice. Hold on to Him. For He is your life, and by Him your days will be long.

2 Chronicles 16:9
The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

Isaiah 41:10
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Romans 15:4
Everything that was written in the Holy Writings long ago was written to teach us. By not giving up, God’s Word gives us strength and hope.

Growing Pains

Posted by angela on November 6, 2014
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Ever feel like there is something wrong with you? You are thankful for your blessings, walking through your days facing your struggles and victories, but something feels like its missing?

You’ve probably heard of the ‘God hole’. The image is everyone has a hole in their hearts that only God can fill. Many try to fill that emptiness with other things-people, food, drink, drugs, shopping, whatever. But nothing will ever satisfy—it isn’t meant to. The ‘God hole’ was created only for Him and He dwells there once He’s invited. Its not shocking then when there are times when believers feel guilty if they have a feeling of emptiness. They’ve invited God to fill their hearts-and He has. So why the emptiness? If its not a ‘God hole’ issue, what then?

Many times this is not something we would ever voice to others. We think If we were praying enough, we wouldn’t feel this way. Or if we were following the path God intended, then surely we’d be so fulfilled at all times that an empty feeling would be ridiculous.

So, we smile, keep going and wonder deep in our spirits if something is wrong with us. We cry out “Father, please help me. Remove this emptiness. Fill me with Your presence”. When we don’t get an instant wave of refreshment washing over us, we journey onward, secretly upset that nothing happened when we cried out.

Some of us begin thinking we’ve done something to cause this emptiness. If we’ve stepped away from our relationship, or let ourselves become distracted with life and haven’t spent time with God, perhaps that emptiness is from lack of relationship. Obviously, this can be a reason.

But what about if this isn’t the case—you’ve been in relationship, you’re in constant contact with God? But when you ask about the emptiness, no answer. Now what?

Anyone ever feel this, but maybe not want to admit it out loud?

I have to admit, I can’t stand these seasons. I know they are necessary for us. Necessary for us to go through to learn whatever element the Father is teaching us. It’s probably different for each person. But I don’t like it. Not at all.
I second guess decisions, lose confidence, feel lonely and generally out of sorts. Anyone with me?

It’s during one of these dark times that I sense a different meaning behind the fog. I had let myself go down the path of ‘why are you ditching me God? I thought You’d never leave but here I am and I feel so horrible and lonely and nothing like myself. Help me! I don’t feel you close by and you promised you’d never leave! Where are you?!”

Perhaps I had to journey on that road to feel the negativity. It did make me appreciate the days when I DON’T feel that way…but really, was this necessary?

Maybe I had to feel left alone on a dusty path to get myself into a deeper relationship with the Father. Where else could I go? No human could touch that emptiness. I could have turned to outside comforts like food, drinking, shopping, hanging around the wrong people, etc. Sadly, I’ve done that so much in my past, I have finally learned to NOT do that again. (I must be slow since it took me decades to learn it!)

It was a realization one day…I had to go to those ugly places to see what I did NOW to handle it.

Did I run back to my old ways of fake comforts? Or did I hold fast to what I knew to be true of God? Had I matured enough in my relationship with Him to manage myself? It was a revelation to me to realize this was something I had to endure—to see what choice I made this time around. Him or fake stuff? Thankfully, I chose to wait on Him. Not easy. Not fast. But I have to admit, I grew from the experience and feel closer to Him through it all. I feel He can trust me a little more to not run to false comforts.

Thank you Father for teaching me- even when I scream that I don’t want to be taught and don’t like it. These growing pains are needed to sharpen my maturity so I can be trusted. Your patience is overwhelming!

1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NIV) On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.

James 1:4    Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.