Deane's Blog

faith

Slaves?

FaithDeane Watters1 Comment

dsc_0009Many of us would say that we are free people, not enslaved to anybody or anything. No one stands over us with a whip, insisting that we work, work, work! But work, work, work we do.

I would throw out an opinion that we ARE slaves, each of us. Something keeps us as attached to our securities as a tree finds itself attached to the ground. The question is, though, who or what is keeping us restrained?

Recently, as our small group finished Breathe, a study by Priscilla Shirer, I threw out the question,

In what area(s) of your life do you struggle with the fear of not having or being enough?

In other words, who or what is ruling  you?

The answers had much to tell:

  • Feeling the need to be in control
  • Anxiety that I might not have enough to eat
  • Distress that I'm not enough as a wife
  • Stressed that I 'm not enough as a mom
  • Worrying that I don't have enough time
  • Troubled that I won't have enough money

And so we work hard to assure ourselves that we have worth and somehow we can make it all work out. But we're never quite sure we really will.

Personally, time is my taskmaster. Somehow I feel enslaved by the need to "get stuff done," which leaves me feeling overwhelmed and unable to step beyond my "to do" list. There are times, at the end of the day, when I ponder why I didn't make that phone call to someone in need, or why I didn't volunteer to take that meal to one with a new baby. If it's not on my list, it doesn't get included. I love spontaneous people, and I love to be called to join in someone's immediate fun, but I can't usually break free to be the instigator of last minute escapades.

The truth is, something looms more powerful and terrifying than any on that list. What could be so formidable that we hang on tightly to control, to time, to money, to feeling good enough?

My first thought calls FEAR our intimidating foe.  It tells us that it is all up to us. If we don't get it right, then it won't get done. We fear that at the end of the day we'll be failures.

But... I think it's even more than fear.

I would venture a guess that a more powerful ruler over our hearts is a lack of BELIEF that God is who he says he is. A lack of TRUST reigns. Will He come through? Will He be enough to enable me to be the best mom or wife possible? Will He accomplish through me all that needs to be done in my day. Is it really all up to me? We continue fearful and intimidated.

Many of us know this, have known it for years, yet we are still afraid, still unable to trust God to be who He says He is. What are we to do? What is the bottom line? What will move us from being shaky in faith, fearful and untrusting into faith filled confident women of God?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Be aware of what lie tries to push you around, then be determined to stop letting it control you.
  • Pray for the ability to change.
  • Talk with someone about it. Perhaps ask them to come alongside you to encourage you in your desire to do things differently.
  • Look for a story or scripture verse to mediate on that will inspire you.
  • Practice trusting God. Find faith moment by moment.
  • When you find yourself afraid, ask for faith. Then trust God. Don't ask for faith and then allow yourself to continue in fear.

Just don't stay the same. Don't continue to be enslaved by a cruel taskmaster that makes you miserable, keeps you busy and is relentless in its high expectations.

As much as we hate the idea of being a slave, many of us are servants to the lies that laugh in the face of God and keep us from the freedom Christ came to secure for us.

In Galatians 5:1 Paul encourages us: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

What will it take for us to take our stand against the lies that enslave us?

 

 

 

 

 

evening thoughts

Deane Watters4 Comments

It has been a quiet weekend. We've been watching basketball and wrestling mostly, not doing much. It is unusual for me because I like to "get stuff done." Too much sports on TV enables me to find any number of reasons to retreat to my writing studio to play with words or pick up fabric. My alone time this day has a tinge of something in it that doesn't feel directed, focused, or brave. If I  ignore it, the thing might stay hidden a little longer and that feels good for today.

I know how to get to this unsure feeling. I could open my notebook, start writing and very quickly it would surface. I have trained my heart. Get alone. With pen in hand open the notebook. Put the date at the top and start writing. Very quickly what is inside will surface and words will pour out on to the page. It will become very clear very quickly what is happening inside so I can work through whatever it is.

But today, I choose to hold back; to let whatever is pressing find rest in the dark. It will still be there tomorrow.  Clarity will show itself after a while. Let it wait.

I'm sitting in my studio at my writing desk looking out the window toward the waning sunset. A trio of black birds enjoys a group dance on the breeze, circling in open space with black branched treetops and graying back lit clouds. A slight breeze tugs at the boughs which allows them to enter the ballet. More birds join as they sway and soar and slice the space with wide open wings. Gliding up, falling down and across in smooth beautiful form, all somehow soaring together. Flying north, suddenly they rotate and turn south again, as though a conductor is carefully directing: back and forth, in and out, up and down.

If I could fly with them I could soar with no cares in the world, feeling the air lifting my body to the heights with my fellow black birds, in step with the unheard rhythm of the evening sky.

For today, can I be free of the confines of life, the fears that so aggressively set their sites on me? Can I fly with the crisp air under my wings as I trust the air to hold me, for my body to do what it was created to do? Can I trust the Creator of time. Am I able to trust the way life is?

I am not a bird. I do not find ease upon the the skies, face to face with the treetops. But today I will fly my own dance of courage, keeping in step with the rhythm of my heart, my life, and even the way I thought life would go. Asking for faith and trust in the grand Creator, I find peace that whatever happens, I will be OK, moving gently to wherever the breezes of this evening's night sky might lead me.

 

Through Which Lens?

Faith, House of HopeDeane WattersComment

2016-02-25_0024“Grandma, put your glasses back on!” Our three-year-old grand daughter, Lucy, didn’t like that I took off my glasses when I tried to read from my cell phone. She didn’t know what a strain I felt when looking through them.

What do you see when you look at yourself through the glasses you’re wearing? Is what you see a true picture? Is the strain distorting your view or does it make you tired? Should you clean them up or would a different pair of glasses offer you truer clarity?

Let me explain. I remember the days when I viewed myself through a certain lens. That lens magnified my “negative” traits and produced thoughts of “too fat,” “not very smart”, “insecure,” or “not enough.” Not good-enough plagued me daily. ”Why are you so stupid?” or “This is too much for you,” spewed from my self-talk on a regular basis. Often what I saw or did reinforced my “seeing.” So I believed it.

Do you know people like this? Have you noticed people (maybe you, yourself) seeing themselves through the lens of: “I don’t fit here. I’m not doing enough. I am too much. Nobody wants to get to know me.” With such a wide array of brokenness out there, we could think of many more self talkisms that are hurtful, unkind and very untrue.

What I didn’t know, and maybe you don’t either, is that I can TAKE THOSE GLASSES OFF! I can realize the “sickness” of a lens and go after the truth and put on some different glasses, or take them off completely. How can I know what is true?

  • Pray and go to scripture. What does it say about how God feels toward you? Psalm 5 tells us that God surrounds God seekers with his favor, as with a shield. We have God’s favor! Perhaps we should have our own favor as well.
  • Ask a trusted friend to tell you what they see. Be teachable to listen and adjust your thinking. I am ever indebted to delightful “angels” who were assigned to me to tell me God’s sweet message of accepting love. They listened to my quiet wailing, the birth pangs of a now- free woman: my husband, siblings, mom, our kids and their spouses, Lenchen, and other dear friends, to numerous to name here.
  • Read books about your worth. God has gifted many authors with delicious words that can fill your soul with sweet healing nectar. Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning, A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller, The Gift of Being Yourself by David G. Benner and anything written by Ann Voskamp, have all contributed to my understanding of God’s incredible love and plan in making me – just the way I am.

Henri Nouwen writes:

“Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life

because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us “Beloved.”

Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence. “

From Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen

Every day I need to either take off these dirty glasses of mine or clean them up with the glory of God’s grace-filled truth. I am loved and lovable. I am enough because He is enough in me. Who I am is God’s gift to me and to the world around me. I can rest in God’s favor. He is happy with me.

Put your glasses back on, Grandma. They have a new lens!

Resplendent with Light

FaithDeane Watters2 Comments

Smoky incense permeated the temple. The musky overpowering odor filled our lungs and clouded the view. People were bowing dutifully to the gods of Buddha. Unsure of what was happening, I could see worship: incense sticks smoldering, candles being lit, flowers laid down with men and women bowing, reverent and serious.2016-01-20_0033

2016-01-20_0036

On this hot August day with hundreds of people, I came to observe, to respect, to learn, to feel and to find my God.  The words, "Your Name is higher," kept forming in my heart and I felt the calm assurance that I need not fear anything. My God was there and He is higher. More than any hand made thing, He is alive.

Beautifully carved buildings filled with many silent statues surrounded us. The prayer wheels,  chanting monks, tingling bells, reverent attitudes and ancient smells engulfed us as we watched, mesmerized by the intensity of it all.

2016-01-20_0034 2016-01-20_0035

Unfamiliar with the Buddhist beliefs I did not know what or who the people were worshiping but I knew it was not God Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth.

Our group of college-aged people gathered around at one point and started quietly and respectfully singing. The melody was gentle and bright and honoring to the God it was lifting up.

Holy Spirit you are welcome here.

Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.

Your glory God is what our hearts long for

to be overcome by your Presence, Lord... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

God is resplendent with light and no amount of darkness can overcome Him.

Questions remain for me after this visit. I want to know more about this ancient religion that binds its people to incense and sacrifice and the desire to be good enough, acceptable. On that day, though,  I once again stepped into the warmth of my Father God with full assurance that he already sacrificed all that was needed, is alive still, and continues to guard and woo hearts around the world toward himself.