Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Tag: peace (page 2 of 6)

Needed: Close Contact

Funny how I can be doing everyday things and God reaches in and uses it to mirror the spiritual.

I love that He’s that kind of God.

He never drops an anvil to teach us a lesson, He never sets us up for failure, or wows us with big confusing impossible revelations.

He uses the everyday. He whispers. He nudges. He waits.

He initiates the spilling of truth as long as you’re open to it.

So I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that He leaned in and used something that occurs every day to get me thinking about wanting more of Him in my everyday.

Today it was the dog.

She’s sweet and kind of crazy and hasn’t slowed in her sunset years at all, people.

But I’m watching her right now doing something she has always done from day one and for some reason, today, it speaks a little truth at me and I pause.

She’s made sure to nap so that at least one part of her is touching just one small part of me. And not an invasive or dominant kind of touch but a submissive, content elation.

She belongs.

Her hip against my foot and she heaves the most glorious sigh and she’s settled for the rest of the day if I let her.

This is where our Rally girl is always her most happy. Her most content. Near the source of her security. One paw touching your toes. Her side barely grazing your ankle. No other interaction needed.

Just purely close contact.

Needed: Close Contact

And when it happens, nothing will wake this same crazy dog from earlier, nothing disturbs her rest, nothing distracts.

It’s the ultimate place of peace.

And so, she makes me think. And while I think, I feel the Spirit hold up a mirror to the spiritual places of the everyday and invade my heart with something simple, but that important reminder.

My ultimate place of peace is at His side, too.

That purely close contact.

In the bustle that the day brought on with all it’s running back and forth, and chores to be stared down and tackled, and clutter and mess, and people to contact, and messages to leave, and meals to dug up, I can totally forget this truth.

That Rest is where He is.

That so often I’m at my most content and at peace when I have that intentional connection time with my Saviour. Not the ‘rush up to Him like His biggest fan’ kind of contact we so often settle for where we excitedly and half-heartedly acknowledge Him and ask for a favor or two then rush off on our own track.

But right into His presence, sought out hungrily.

Right up to Him, to touch the hem of His garment as it were.

Like the woman from the biblical account with the issue of blood, I’m a woman plagued with my own issues, made whole and complete when I’m in touch with Him.

I let this reminder settle deep down inside for a bit. Hold it there. Thinking about all the times I was a chaotic mess, and all I really needed was to lay it all down and connect with Him instead of fight and battle and whine and struggle.

You’d think I’d know.

That He’s taught me all this before.

And He has.

His very Word has.

James 4:8. So simple but implies the most amazing truth. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”

But sometimes we have to see the tangible example, like a mirror for our own lacking souls before we remember the practical applications He gifts us.

That I’d remember more than I do. That I’d make sure I stayed there all the time. But the day goes on, and I start to be distracted by the pull to pursue. And I leave His reassuring side to chase things that aren’t mine to chase, or simply aren’t mine to pursue without it first being His idea or plan.

So I thoughtfully sit and stare at our ol’ girl pressed into my foot beneath the desk, snuggling there and secure for hours if left there, and I get, and accept, the practical picture of how much more the Father loves to have us, His children, press into Him, so close at times that we’ll feel His own heartbeat propelling ours.

That’s the most wonderful of places.

So.

Actively pressing in, desiring that close contact, will always be right.

How long till I get this deep down in my spirit? Till it becomes the only thing I crave?

I don’t know.

But I’m working on my heart acknowledging how good it really is to be there and why… no matter what else may tempt or threaten.

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Time for Wednesday linkups happening today! I’ve got two I’m so thankful to be a part of.
Holley Gerth’s #CoffeeForYourHeart and {A Tiny Mix Of’s} #WordsOfComfort!
Will you join us? See you there, friends!

Words on The Wind

The weather for the last couple of days has been interesting.

An April wind has been with us, restless and relentless.

It is very much mimicking my soul  and even my faith some days.

Blustery and tossed about on the inside. This push and pull in the heart. Sometimes hungry, sometimes so sure, sometimes only guessing what God has next, what the next season might bring.

I stood outside for a bit in the powerful winds yesterday. Watching everything bend to its strength. Everything shimmy in its wake. Everything shift.

Yep, Lord, that’s my faith out there being wind-tossed and unsure.

And it’s not that I suddenly find myself in complete unbelief, or it’s not that I feel unable to go on.

It’s this wobbly, depleted kind of faith some days that could be knocked over by the slightest breeze. And heaven help when the winds shift and stir and build up momentum.

What then?

Is this because I still don’t get it, Lord? Is this because I’m not yet one hundred percent for You and about You? Do I even know what that looks like or how to be that? Is this because I’m still wandering in my own 40 year desert most days? Is this because You’re still waiting for me to give You more? What does this make my faith, right now?

These wild winds that don’t let up, they can make you say crazy things sometimes.

And I’m standing there, the strength of them plowing past me, and you can even hear it’s rush. And buried in the rush I hear it, another different kind of mighty rush which nearly knocks me over where I stand nursing my weak and wobbly heart, and I hear this;

“What kind of a God do you take me for?”

The holy question takes the wind right out of my self-indulgent sails.

What kind of God are you making me out to be?” The echo of it while I type causes all the tumbleweeds of doubt and all the dusty clinging lies I was starting to allow in about my faith to suddenly roll away.

I stood still in that moment. In the middle of my yard, of all places.
But we serve a God who will speak to us anywhere, in any wind, even the self-generated kind. And He gently reminded me of all the things He is. And all the things He isn’t. And a God who has a checklist of how many times my faith has grown or shrunk or has been tossed about on the winds of life and barely made it through… is not one of them. 

Anywhere.

“I am a merciful God, careful not to abandon you, or toss my covenant to the winds” Deut. 4:31

“I have fought for you” Joshua 23:3

“My plans cannot be shaken by anything, My purpose enduring, and I see you” Psalm 33:11-13

“I’m your help at all times, I’m who sustains you” Psalm 54:4

“I am the God of the living, not the dead” Matt 22:32

“I am faithful!” 1 Cor. 1:9

I am never ashamed of you, I have prepared an eternity for you” Hebrews 11:16

Winds or no, life chaotic or easy-breezy, this is the kind of God who dwells in the winds, in the day-to-day, within each of us.

The realisation that I had spent too much time constantly evaluating my faith and it’s inconsistency, and not enough time sizing up who He is no matter where my faith was at, settles over me.

And I hear Him gently asking;

“What kind of a God do you take me for now, daughter?”

Lord, You are the kind of God who gives everything, even Your perfect Son, so that we might not ever be separated from You again, so that we’re free from the kind of bondage the lies are always trying to keep us in, so that no matter the struggle our faith wades through or how tired we get, we have Your promises and Your unmitigated love that endures until the end of time.

A God more awesome than any wind knocking at my faith.

And I come back inside the house, and wonder if I seem a little transformed, like Moses after speaking to God, knowing full well my outlook on faith and turbulent weather and the Father have all been secured in a really intimate way in those few moments out in the wind. Encounters with the Almighty Father will do that.

And then part of me laughs right out loud.

Because sitting on the desk is my Bible from earlier in the morning.

Like He’s waiting for me there too. Which He is.

And what is the biggest scripture outlined in wobbly pen?

“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 b

Ever see a bird of prey on the wind? It’s the most glorious sight.

And in my heart and soul comes this small and very holy nudge…

Child, next time the winds roar, remember to let your faith soar.”

Faith can soar above the winds of life...

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Privileged to be linking up today with Holley Gerth’s #CoffeeForYourHeart and all the lovely blogs sharing about life and faith and everything that goes with it! Hit the hashtag above to join us and be encouraged for your week.

His Portion

Easter weekend has drawn to a close, and I realise two things.

One, that even with all the planning and prep in the world, mood disorders will still never acknowledge a holiday. It doesn’t get the memo to take a break. OH how I wish.

And two, that in spite of that fact, when asking for extra portions of patience, energy, focus, and peace, so as to counteract the dysthymic episodes threatening to emerge from the flurry of a busy weekend, God doesn’t just give you ‘a’ portion.

He gives you His portion.

And what a difference that makes.

We need HIS portion of the things we lack. So we can enter into the land of the living this week, and the next.

If you need to counteract the balance of all the symptoms of a brain heading towards another flare-up of chronic depression, as a believer, you need something that will overwhelm the symptoms that overwhelm. It makes sense if you think about it.

And as I was navigating the Easter weekend, trying to keep my mind on the significance of it all, and as well, the tasks and errands and gatherings of it all, and wondering how to shake the growing feelings of mental exhaustion and anxiety and the ability to cope and doubts that were surfacing in a way only chronic D can, I found the following words in my Bible.

And so, appropriately for Easter, I took them to the Cross. The words and the moods and mental faltering. I took them both to the Cross and found what I needed.

“LORD, You are my portion, my inheritance, and my cup of blessing; You hold my future.” Psalm 16:5

Lord, I need You to be my peace when everything seems off. I’ll say with Your Word that You alone are the portion I need, and the blessing waiting for me as I give you my anxiety and exhausted moods that threaten.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” Lamentations 3:24

Lord, I’ll wait on You while I function through this day. You will be more than enough for me. You will be the portion of confidence and rest, and I can place my weary hope there and it is renewed.

“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.”
Isaiah 61:7

Lord, I’m just going to claim this promise. No shame for me anymore in stumbling hard through the chaotic weekend or week, just a double portion of all things that are You. No embarrassment that I won’t be able to cut it, just strength and ability in You, and the joy that comes with that.

“I cry to you, LORD; I say, “You ARE my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:5

Lord, your Word says You are my protection, from myself, from my disorder, from the fears. I can do all things in You, within Your amazing shelter.

I wanted to shake off the portions of dysthymia that were settling in, and simply enjoy the easter victory we were celebrating. I was never going to be able to do that on my own.

Maybe you know that feeling.

I needed His portion of that Easter Victory.

I will continue to need His portion of that Easter Victory.

Every day.

The Cross and empty tomb promises we will. All year-long.

His portion is ours.

His portion never runs out.

His portion does not disappoint.

If you stop what you’re doing right now, and approach the living God for more of Him, you’ll get a portion that will defy anything the week can bring you.

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Today’s post is gladly part of the #LifeGivingLinkup with Sue Detweiler! Would love to see you over there! Just click on the hashtag above to open the link and have an amazing day!

Wants, Walls, and a Love Letter

Can I make a confession?

I used to spend a lot of time making lists.

These weren’t lists that kept me focused on tasks. Which to this day I should probably do so that life doesn’t spring so many surprises on me, borne out of my distractions.

And these weren’t lists of things to remember. Which, again, I should probably consider so that life doesn’t spring quite so many last-minute surprises on me, borne out of my forgetfulness.

And now I’m thinking “gee, it looks like I need to start a whole new list…”

Where was I?

Oh, right.

These lists weren’t your normal lists.

These were lists I had dressed up as daydreams.

Lists of all the things that, if life were ever perfect one day, I could lay claim to. And once in a while, if I felt I maybe wasn’t being holy enough, all the things if life were ever perfect enough, that God could maybe bless me with.

Except looking back, and I’m forced to admit not all that far back,  I can see now that I was trapped in a mad case of The Wants.

Nothing on the list came from His heart, just from my head. That’s what a case of the Wants does. Someone would mention a new toy I could never afford. It would go on a list. Someone would write a book and garner fame. That would go on the list. A trip would be taken, a photo of something quaint being restored would be posted, an amazing story would be told.

List. List. List.

Want. Want. Want.

I told myself the lists were just daydreams. Harmless right? Things that I abstractedly thought could all be possible, if not soon, then one day. The items on the lists weren’t things I demanded, weren’t things I forced everyone else to like or supply. They were just hapless little lists of things that, if life were a fairytale, would come true. Many of the things were simple. Not wasteful. Not evil. Just… wanted.

Just daydreams. What was the harm?

Until one day, when I started including them in my conversations with the Father,  God showed me how my list of daydream items were doing far more harm than good.

My lists created grounds for comparisons. Comparisons do nothing but take you in endless circles.

Slowly over time, I was becoming whiny. Unsatisfied with every answer in His Word or from His Spirit. When I prayed it sounded more like bartering. I would sprinkle whatever items I’d obsessed over into my talks with God. With my eyes on the wrong objects of desire, my heart stopped recognizing not just His voice, but His goodness.

What I would come to find out first-hand, is that when we’re spiritually discontented, we’re always spiritually disconnected.

The case of the Wants had put up a Wall.

Let me be very deliberate here. These weren’t soulful, heart-based, carefully nurtured dreams that would mean something, and they weren’t just pleasant daydreams I had joyfully wished for, born out of being content with life and desiring more of what God had… because He does not begrudge us heart-filled desires lifted up to Him, and laid before Him in love.

These were becoming hard, rocks, heavy, difficult. Difficult soul-baggage. They were a wall of true discontent, of time spent watching what everyone else had, or rather, what I thought they had. An ever-growing collection of lists that looked more and more like proof that I was doomed to have nothing, while everyone else had everything.

I had taken my eyes off my real Need. My heart distracted from the real Prize. Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried filling a God-sized need with life’s finite wants?

Why Do We Forget Everything Else But Him Is Fleeting?

Let me say, constant harbouring of discontented feelings is not what someone who suffers from depression needs on a day-to-day basis. That harbouring spills over into everything. And things like depression and anxiety and plain ol’ stress will feed off it.

The Wants will always cause you to Wallow.

So you’re low, bogged down, discontented, and disconnected by the barrier you dreamt up.

Discontented equals disconnected.

Disconnected equals disenchanted.

This is where my lists would take me. A beginning of a journey of disenchantment…. in Him. In life. With every so-called innocent list, it would fester and grow.

When I think about it now, my heart hurts. What a mess those lists created inside me. How much they must have hurt the heart of the One who had already given me a gift no one else could ever match.

Why do we forget that everything else but Him is fleeting?

Why do we assume He’s holding out on us, when those same hands outstretched on a cross were holding forth the most massive promise ever to be provided?

Really broken one day, I finally must have asked God where He was.

Through tears and piles of lists that no longer provided escape, my eye caught sight of my Bible.

And a single thought broke through the wall of Wants.

“Would you prefer your lists, or My love letter?”

His question stripped away all the unnecessary distractions, and went straight to the heart of it all.

Did I want the items listed that, even if granted by some fairy godmother, would never be capable of relationship with me and would start to wither the very second they were birthed? Or did I want the tangible evidence of Love created to surpass everything, a well of Love that would never run dry, would abide with me, and would be penned on my heart with His own hand for all eternity?

List? Or Love Letter?

The heft of that Bible brought me to my knees, where moments before I had been clawing a shaky tower of self-importance.

A flooding took place that day.

How quickly He began to peel back all my wayward expectations. How mercifully He began to outshine all the misguided beliefs. He poured and poured Himself out in a re-fueling that filled all those places I’d starved with my case of the Wants.

Page after page I drank in His goodness, every page heavy with love.

Can I be honest about my Christian walk up to that point?

Never before had I truly understood the epic promise of Philippians 4:19 until that day… “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” as His love erased everything I believed I lacked.

Never again could I doubt His words of epic provision “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” In other words, He is not done being generous with His provisional love.

All discontent must disappear where absolute Love dwells.

Yes. It’s nice to dream.

It’s nice to have desires.

But even more important, if we have to make a list, we need to keep Him at the top of it.

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Today’s post is gladly linked up to Kelly Balarie’s Purposeful Faith and Tuesday’s #RaRaLinkup! AND Jennifer Dukes Lee with the #TellHisStory Linkup! Click on the hashtag and discover a warm and welcoming collection of posts like this one.

purposefulfaith.com

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