Thursday, April 3, 2008

enemy tactics, purpose and meaning, Jesus & me

I have noticed that every time I write a post or private journal entry or take a bold stand for the Truth in a small group, email, discussion with a friend, etc.....the enemy comes at me and challenges the very Truth I'm standing on. I usually recognize it for what it is and am able to stand up against the attacks but not always. I know God is using these attacks to test me and to be able to give me a real life situation to actually put into action what I've written or said....and also to make my conviction of the Truth even stronger.....BUT sometimes I do mess up and the devil wins temporarily.

For example....when I had those really long posts on relationships a few weeks ago - I was challenged in many ways right after that. I still haven't blogged yet about what happened....and I don't think I will anytime soon. And just yesterday after writing about Ephesians on my book blog, writing about my purpose and my meaning and significance in bringing glory to God.... after I posted that, I had such a negative night.

For some reason I started having these thoughts like... you don't really have any meaning Randi. You really don't have a lot to offer. You don't really make a difference to anybody. ___ was right when they said what they said about you. You're really not as sharp as you think you are. Why do you think you can be used? Why would God choose you? You can't do the things you dream about. Look at how blessed ___ is, you must be doing something wrong. Look at ___, they are good at ____ , and you really don't have anything to offer like that.

And you know what happens after that ---- once the negative snowball starts it's like an avalanche of negatives. I think about the things I've messed up on, who I've hurt and who really really has hurt me terribly and start to think about negatives in my past....thoughts like, "Will I ever overcome ___? Will this relationship ever be healed? Will ____ ever know how bad they've hurt me? Will ___ ever see how hard I tried to do the right thing in our relationship? Will anybody ever recognize the good decisions I've made and how hard it was for me to do the right thing even though everything in me was telling me to do wrong? Will ___ ever know how much they really misjudged me? How come ____ thinks such horrible things of me? Am I really as evil as some believe me to be? Will I ever be able to share the good things in me? Will anybody see the good I have to offer?" and on and on and on....

and then during all that negative avalanche last night.... I literally stopped in my tracks and was like woah woah woah - where in the world did all that come from? Those are NOT thoughts from the Spirit. They make me feel yucky and icky and hopeless. which is exactly opposite of how Christ makes me feel! Having all those thoughts was shocking...and I didn't like the way it felt at all! I had to start speaking the Truth to myself. And yes I speak in the 3rd person to myself sometimes hehe....

"Randi ..God sees ALL of your decisions and rejoices in those small unnoticed steps!!! He is so proud of the things you did to show love to others when the devil was telling you to attack back. God loves you Randi and He is watching you! It doesn't matter what others think.. it matters what God thinks! It doesn't matter what false things are said or believed about you! Those things just don't matter."

and then in 1st person:

"My purpose is not defined by others. I know that I'm attacked because I know the devil fears me because I'm a christian. God is just refining me. I'm just going through the fire to get better. I will get rid of these negative thoughts by covering them up with positive Truth. I will not let my failures define me. I do have meaning. There is purpose. I was created for a reason. I will fulfill what I'm supposed to. I will not let the devil tear me down. I will let God have this victory and the way I'm going to do that is by turning to Him."

And then ater I realize what has happened --then the guilt comes on....How come Randi, you keep letting the devil in? Why do you keep thinking such negative thoughts recently? etc. etc. and then I feel guilty for even allowing negative thoughts in --- what a nasty cycle!!! So that was what was happening after that Ephesians post. I started being grouchy to Brandon and Raymond.... and finally Brandon said... hey! Randi snap out of it. Why don't we pray....

So thank God for people in my life who step in and take over for me when I am burdened with guilt or negative. And then I felt much better, back to smily faith-full Randi. So in the end, these attacks are really good things - but sometimes if I don't step back and recognize it for what it is - the devil really can knock me down. Ultimately the devil always loses because I turn back to God eventually and let Jesus fill me up.....but sometimes he wins temporarily and I hate that. I don't want him to win, even if it's just temporary.

So what have I learned from all this? Well, I'm not one of those types that expects the worst...I am always the one who expects the best and assumes things will be wonderful --- but I'm learning that sometimes planning ahead a bit for these attacks is a good thing. Expect the best, prepare for the worst type of a thing. So whenever I write a bold post about the Truth, I will expect blessings but will be prepared to be challenged on what I write about. I will be prepared to SHOW this truth is very real and true ways in my life and not just in wonderful blog land!

I hope anybody who reads my blog knows that it's okay to mess up; as long as you keep turning back to God! I hope you all know that your life is so so meaningful not because of what you do but because of who created you! I hope you know that God sees you and every small decision you make! The ones that go unnoticed and unappreciated and unpraised are usually the most signficant and life-changing decisions in your life! So keep doing right no matter how hard it is and stand on the Truth you blog and talk about!!! I am not scared to keep blogging about the truth and the convictions I am so passionate about.

And so after all that....I started thinking about my life right now. 2 years ago I wouldn't recognize my life today. I'm at a totally different point in ALL areas of my life: financial, career, spiritual, physical, relational, emotional..... and I guess what's so beautiful, and at the same time what makes my life so hard right now --- is that in the past 2 years God has literally stripped away everything my life was defined by. I remember we were at a wonderful time in our lives and were being extremely blessed in so many areas but I didn't feel close to Him...and one night I remember laying in bed praying and just crying.. saying... God am I doing what YOU want for my life? God I am willing to give you my life. I really am God. I will do whatever you want me to do. Please God do whatever you have to.. to help me make You the center of my life. I remember that night like it was yesterday. and WOW did He do what I asked. I remember praying for Him to take away whatever was keeping me from Him. I asked Him to use me how HE wanted, not how I wanted.

I had not thought about that night in years......but it came back to me the other night. I realized that all that is happening in my life is because I asked God to refine me. He heard me. I told Him that I wasn't strong enough to receive blessings and "success" and then have it torn away later because I did it without Him. I remember saying that I wanted my success to be in Him and not in the world and if I was going to get prideful in my success --- to not give me any until I could do it the right way. And I absolutely feel that is where I am right now.

He's taken away just about everything that I thought was me. The wonderful thing about having nothing but Jesus is that I have nothing but Jesus. I am not distracted. I am NOT saying by any means that to be close to Him He has to take away everything in your life. But I am saying that that is what He had to do for ME. I am too easily distracted. I'm too immature in so many areas of my life. My sanguine choleric personality needs God to be bold like that. What I am saying is that....He knew me. He knows my personality He knows my heart He knows what I can and cannot handle and He knew that the only way I would ever be able to realize and understand my true and defining purpose was to take away everything my life was defined by. To be drastic --- leaving Him and me. I am not going to talk about what used to define me... but it wasn't God.

Realizing this and blogging about it brings me so much peace. I am rejuvenated again and refreshed. God is refining me. I asked for this and I'm so so thankful for it no matter how hard it is somedays. The only reason it's hard at all is because I'm human. I keep fighting with Him thinking I need to do more, be more, accomplish more, I need to have a wordly, earthly purpose .....and He keeps saying Randi slow down. The only thing you need is me. He really is the only thing that satisfies me. And when I don't feel satisfied, when I start looking to what I need to do do do.....I realize that I need more of the Holy Spirit. The greatest joy I've felt, satisfaction and peace only comes when I allow the Holy Spirit to fill me. I need to ask for more. God gives overflowingly of the Spirit with no "cap" on how much He'll give. If I am having a hard time remembering positive things, encouraging things and yet my memory is extremely sharp on destructive things - I need more of the Holy Spirit. When I keep thinking of the hurt I've caused others and they have caused me - I need to ask for more of the Holy Spirit....and when I keep resorting back to what I was 2 years ago - chasing things that I thought would give me meaning, looking at the world for some validation of my life...I need to ask God to please slow me down, fill me with the Holy Spirit and remind me that there is no lasting meaning or purpose from this world - only in Him.


carebear said...

Randi...remember we are only human and we ALL have days that just weigh on us. Mine was this past Saturday when I was emailing you and was just in a funk of self pity and sadness for my baby and my pregnancy. But through prayer and friends like you...I'm good as gold again and ready to tackle my newest challenge tomorrow for my little Matthew. :) Was Jesus himself not having "one of those days" when he went into the temple and saw how the "robbers" where corrupting a house of prayer. God understands.
And if you ever find yourself doubting your purpose or self worth...just know you have touched my whole family...both in person and cyberly. :) I love and appreciate you Randi. Thanks for all you have done for me...even if you don't know exactly what it was...just know that you did! XOX

Randi Jo :) said...

oh WOW! Thanks so so much for this Karen. I really didn't blog it to seek encouragement or seek pity in any way....but I know you know that. and I know you know that I appreciate the encouragement!!

Thanks for knowing me in person and blogland and still loving me despite my silliness, weaknesses and overenthusiam about things sometimes hehe.

and I thank you for YOU right back! You are a jewel and treasure. Thanks for being there when I was going through all those tough and down stages these first years of being mommy. I know how many times I called you - multiple times in one day - with questions and you were always willing to give and listen and help me! so I can say the same back to you. thank you!!! :)

God bless you abundantly for all you've done for us too!