Welcome GraceBreak Cycles, Embrace Grace
The battleground holds secrets. Wind and rain unearth things best left buried. The battleground turns into a hiding ground, and more time is spent reburying things found rather than standing strong.
This battleground could be a physical battleground, but more often than not, it’s the battle in the mind.
It’s a battle that rages for peace. It reveals hidden things that I don’t want to address. The enemy reminds me of my failures and asks, “Are you sure God really forgives you?” He is an accuser and his weapons are accusations, shame, and deceit.
The wounds from these weapons are insecurity, doubt, and condemnation. I lie bleeding in the shadows and struggle to find healing. My peace is stolen and I spend more time negotiating with the enemy than I do standing firm in the truth of God.
What if we were to stop giving the enemy so much power in our life? What if we quit negotiating or arguing?
There are two common responses in conflict: denial and blame. The innocent victim who denies any wrong doing. And the counter-attack, which says, “Well, you . . .” and blames the other for the wrong doing. Isn’t it easy to do this with our enemy? He throws a grenade and it explodes with a reminder of our failures. Do we play the innocent victim or counter-attack?
What if there was a way to diffuse the situation and still retain your peace?
The next time you’re faced with a reminder of your failure, take a moment to remember your failure and then re-remember the forgiveness God poured out to you. Sometimes we don’t like any reminders of our shame and failures, and so we hide them from others and ourselves.
This places us in a glass castle. It’s dangerous and not safe.
It leads to pride and works and hate. It robs us of compassion for others and gratefulness for forgiveness.
The story from Luke of the sinful woman bringing her expensive alabaster jar to anoint Jesus’ feet and then wiping them with her hair is a beautiful picture of the power that remembering brings to our lives. Our hearts soften in remembering our forgiveness. A tender heart is one that knows the depth of its forgiveness.
A tender heart also knows peace.
When the enemy hits you with accusations, remember rather than fight. Remember and reject the condemnation.
Remember that God has forgiven you. Remember how he turned your darkness into redemption. Feel the forgiveness again. And as you feel the pain of remembering and remind yourself of God’s forgiveness, peace will flood your soul.
Read Luke 7:36-50
Write the following on a 3×5 card:
I,(Your name here), hereby declare peace in my heart and mind. When the accuser wounds, I will acknowledge the pain and re-remember the forgiveness God granted. I will walk in peace in my mind and my heart, knowing that God forgives so that I might know peace.
Sign your name and hang it up in a prominent spot.
You see, the risk a glass castle on a battleground brings is separation from the power of God in your life. God calls your name and when you stand firm in the peace he gives you, which comes through remembering his forgiveness, you become strong in your vulnerability.
Listen to Stars.
Have you ever felt as though God has abandoned you? Have you ever felt confused by God? Does it seem as though his peace is fleeting and fickle?
These words of the Psalmist reverberate through my mind:
Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?
It’s in the busy of the day that we mute our troubles, but it’s in the quiet of the night when our minds start to rev up and race around the troubles that daytime held at bay. We lay in the dark, listening to the furnace cycle on and off, watching the moon cross the room, eyeing the numbers on the clock inching their way closer to morning when we can get up and get away from the thoughts in our head. Then bedtime comes and we repeat the anxious riddled night, which leaves us sleepless and heavy hearted.
Our days are marked with busy and our nights marked with anxiety.
This season of light is a showstopper, but it also reveals our darkness as well. The colors of life sparkle and glow and the contrasts between what we see and what we feel oftentimes becomes too much to bear. Our anxiety grows and it becomes a beast that we cannot wrestle to the ground.
It’s tempting to pray more or serve more or begin a new bible reading plan. And these are good spiritual disciplines, which we need in our relationship with Christ. But they are not the cure for anxiety. They will not be your peace.
The way to peace is not through doing more. It’s through remembering and exchanging.
When peace seems elusive and anxiety definite, we have to pause. We have to pause so we can remember.
We follow in the Psalmist’s footsteps and remember God’s mighty works. The sun that rises. The sun that sets. The way our bodies function without our help. We remember God’s greatness and how he makes a way when there seems to be no way.
We remember that the winds and the waves obey him and that when his path leads us through deep waters that those waters will not engulf us. We take his hand and hold fast, trusting his steps, doing what he does, and stopping when he stops.
We pause and listen for the song that he sings over us. The song of delight and wonder. We remember that he made us lovingly and purposefully. We lift up the mirror of his word so we see ourselves clearly.
After we remember, we name our anxiety. We name the thing that rob us of peace. It could be finances, our marriage, a person, the future, or the past. And then we place it in God’s hands and pick up his peace. But if our anxiety leaps back to us like a magnet, we must put it back again. We place it on God’s desk, because it’s his to deal with and then we pick up his peace. It’s an exchange we repeat.
We remember, we exchange, and we remember again.
There’s no wrestling our anxiety into peace, there’s only us remembering God and exchanging our anxiety for his peace.
Read Psalm 77
Create a Peace Sandwich:
Write down three things that help you remember God’s faithfulness and love.
Write down one or two things that robs your peace.
Picture yourself walking up to God’s desk and placing those items there.
Then imagine yourself picking up his peace.
Write down three more things that you remember about God’s faithfulness.
What do you do when your world goes dark? When you lose your way, your voice, your song? Do you fall in a heap or scramble to busy? Or is it a little bit of both?
To tell you the truth, I don’t always handle it well when a shadow passes over and the ground beneath my feet gives way. It takes me a bit to adjust because what was my normal is no longer my normal. I have to adjust to a new normal which at times seems to be an insurmountable mountain to climb.
But it’s in the storms that I most see God’s mightiness. There’s something about the light seeming to be brighter in the darkness. The tiniest candle gives off the greatest pool of light in the deepest gloom. It draws me like a moth to a flame, only instead of getting burned, I’m comforted.
It’s in the storms that my faith stretches and grows. As the circumstances around me humble me, I bow lower and lower to the ground and find myself reaching deeper and deeper into God’s stores of goodness and grace for me. And then I find something unusual, that as I go deeper, I really am reaching higher. Higher into God’s mountain. Over the jagged boulders and the slippery shale I climb, desperate and hungry for more and more of God.
In “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” John Bunyan paired Timorous with Mistrust because one is not absent from the other. Timidity is a lack of courage and mistrust is skepticism. The depth of my courage is bound to my belief in what God says about himself and about me. And my trust in who God is relates to the level of my courage.
Will I believe that he is my strength and my song? Will I believe that he is able to save?
“Surely God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord is my strength and song; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2
This verse becomes an anthem to the distressed. We read that God is our salvation. He saves. So we don’t have to be afraid. For those who believe in God’s plan of salvation for all mankind, their place in eternity is secured. Our circumstances cannot take that from us.
Then we trust and do not give way to fear. The secret to trusting and not giving way to fear is recognizing that you are afraid and anxious, and then speaking God’s truth to your heart. Our faith develops perseverance and endurance in times of trouble.
The Lord is your strength when you are strong and when you are weak. He enables you to trust him, to believe him, if you only ask. You cry, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” He carries you when you cannot take another step. He holds you close when your sorrow renders you powerless. He whispers encouragement to your heart.
And then he is your song. He enables you to praise him. In Psalm 69, the psalmist states that he is afflicted and in pain, but God’s salvation sets him on high. And because of this the psalmist praises the name of God with a song. When we sing to God in the midst of our pain, it gives our hearts a place to bleed and to heal. The Lord becomes the melody we hear. The melody that he sings over us is his song of deliverance and rejoicing.
We trust him and listen for his song and rest in his strength because he saves us. He makes a way through our circumstances either by changing it or changing us. The next time you can’t find your song, listen for God’s melody and then sing.
1.Consider the love God has for you. While you were a sinner, Christ died for you. If you haven’t made Christ your savior, confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved.
2. Admit your weaknesses and rely on God’s strength to carry you through.