Don’t copy the behavior and customs of the world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2 (NLT)
I went to my doctor yesterday per my supervisor’s request. I have been diagnosed with Influenza B and I’m unable to return to work until Monday. My body aches all over. I can barely turn my head without feeling somewhat dizzy. My teeth chatter through my intermittent chills. In order to get some sort of relief, I keep Theraflu in one hand and a hot water bottle clutched in the other. For added warmth, I wrap tightly in a recently bought soft purple blanket (nicknamed “The Regal Robe”). I am truly in a frozen state. I’m miserable!
I believe this can be a teaching moment for Jesus. That no matter my condition, I can still praise, worship, learn and love Almighty God. Honestly, all I want to do is get in the bed and sleep. I absolutely refuse to do this because I know that this can be a time of great growth.
I managed to sit at my desk for a quiet time, yesterday morning. I had a Bible Study to prepare for and this weeks information needed to be sent out. I told my Christian sisters of my illness but reassured them that I would be there, even if I’m in pajamas and sipping on hot tea. I look forward to our meetings because, again, there is a tremendous amount of growth to be had. The wisdom, support and encouragement that we give one another each week is priceless! I trust the Holy Spirit will give me the energy to get there and I trust that the Lord will bless us abundantly as we gather.
Bible Study curriculum sent out, I survey my desk. I’ve got Bibles, devotionals, notebooks, a dictionary and a mountain of pens and highlighters strewn about. I read my first devotional which is always Charles Stanley’s, “Everyday in His Presence.”
The scripture for his devotion was from Isaiah 55:9 (NLT)
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways.”
Dr. Stanley goes on to say:
“Be prepared–at times, the Lord’s instructions may not make sense to you. In fact, it’s a principal you must embrace if you wish to know the Father: God doesn’t require you to understand His will, just obey it, even if it seems unreasonable.”
I read it, acknowledging truth in the scripture and felt great relief that His ways are, indeed, higher than my own. I moved on to a second devotional by Sarah Young, “Jesus Always.”
I cracked it open, looked at the first word and paused because I felt the Lord was trying to instruct me and I didn’t want distraction! I clearly heard Him (not out loud but within) say:
“That devotional is to read at night. Take that to your bedroom now or you will forget. (He’s right on target with that). Fill your mind with Good News before going to sleep.”
So I did. I got up from my desk with my devotional in hand, grabbed my spare Bible and set them on my nightstand, in clear view and within reach of my bed. I thought to myself that reading scripture before closing my eyes would be a welcomed change.
Let me just share with you what my nightly reading routines have been in the past.
I was an avid reader of “The Daily Mail” before going to sleep. I would read all kinds of garbage on there, mostly stories on celebrities and violence. I developed self-hatred from this type of material. The stories on shooting sprees, kidnappings, robberies and other forms of injustice just scared the life out of me. I was most certain that my daughter or even myself would be the next victim. I would go to bed feeling so mixed up and ultimately the following day, I’d be out of sorts–into the shower, out the door and to my job feeling irritated and on-guard.
It came to the point where the Lord said:
“Enough is enough! Get off that Daily Mail!”
I did and then I’d get back on. Delete the app and then reinstall. It took a bit of time to get me away from it, but the Lord never gave up. No more Daily Mail. I put Facebook in its place. This pretty much did the same thing to me mentally. This classmate was doing this! What am I doing? I need to do this so I can be doing the same thing. It was just a bunch of noise and I had no sense of peace at all.
The Lord told me to get off Facebook. Same pattern– uninstall and install. I finally deactivated my account (for good) and I have no desire to activate. My focus is better without it.
When I joined Weight Watchers, I became part of the “Connect” family which is kind of like a Facebook for Weight Watchers. People post before and afters, victories, videos, struggles. This never left me feeling good nor hopeful. It was just a reminder that I’m not victorious in my weight loss. My old thinking–I’ve failed. Delete!
Small transformations and He never gives up! He will keep nudging until we are going in the direction that He needs us to go.
It’s certainly time for a switch-up in my nightly reading!
I head back to my office and begin meditating on the word “transformation.” I’m trusting God to remove the things in my life that drag me down–the things that I no longer want to be a part of but have a hard time removing (like Social Media and News). I pray on “freedom” and set my sights on what life will be like when I’m truly without chains! I believe that as my relationship in Christ deepens, those things that hold me, will fall away.
In the middle of this wonderful revelation, Satan fires his weapons against me!
How dare he come in and invade this time alone with God!
Can he really do such a thing?
I’m distracted and irritated. Gone is freedom and in its place is an opposition. I am in his battlefield and end my quiet time in the hopes of achieving a quick resolution.
I struggled for quite some time and did my best to utilize the wisdom that the Lord shared with me which I documented in my last post, “The Adversary.” A negative, hurtful thought would come at me and I praised God. I talked to Him, I prayed to Him, I thanked Him and eventually, in His strength, I was able to move on with my day. Hallelujah!
I was in great need of that devotion when it was time to get in the bed. I just had to hear from God in regards to this afternoon’s opposition. I couldn’t face tomorrow in the same fight.
Before reading, I closed my eyes and prayed:
“Lord, I need help in deciding what it is that I’m supposed to do. I don’t want to act on my own hurt emotions because I know exactly how I will handle it. I don’t want to do that because I know that isn’t the way You would handle it. Please help me! I want to be in Your will, not my own.”
In His faithfulness, the Lord spoke to me through His word. First, He showed me this from Ephesians 4:26 (NLT)
And, “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
Guilty of this and not just once!
Next scripture He showed me came from Romans 15:5-7 (NLT)
May God, who gives patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
And glory to God is what I’m aiming for. This life is not about me. As long as God is given the glory, then I’m good!!
Yes, Dr. Stanley, sometimes the Lord’s instructions don’t make a bit of sense when first heard but if we act on it, we won’t be disappointed. He knew I’d need that devotional that night. I can assure you, I will be reading His word each night before bed. My transformation is in the making and I don’t want to hinder any of it! I praise God and I give Him all the glory for all that happens in my life (past, present and future). I share this because He is awesome, not only to me, but to you as well. Share your Good News! We just never know whose life it will impact!