Help Me Hear His Call

(Karen is an excellent poet, more than that, she is an excellent lyricist.
I listen to her poems as songs and I hope they are set to music some day.
I have invited her to share her work here, until I can convince her to blog – Jim).

Help Me Hear His Call

I’m hanging by my fingertips;
Is there anyone who cares?
Is there anyone who is reaching out to me,
Anyone who dares?

Yes, my life is messy;
I have sins and doubts and fears.
But, is there anyone who’ll love me,
Who dares to join me here?

Can you point me to our Savior,
Show me what he does?
Can you come along beside me
Until I feel his awesome love?

I’m hanging by my fingertips;
Please, don’t let me fall.
Show me, that God is holding on to me;
Help me hear his call!

By

Karen Rawlings
1-18-18

copyrighted 2018 Karen Rawlings
used by permission

 

Generational shame… expressed as Mental Illness?

Sleep, Work, “Demons,” My Co-workers, My Wife, Clarity and Shame.  What do these have in common?  Possibly overcoming my mental illness.

Sleep.
My C-Pap machine and I are not getting along.  I’m getting between 1.5 and 3 hours real sleep a night.  The remainder of the 8 hours I’m either awake or without the C-Pap (the appearance of sleep but choking as I breath; worse than the effect of not sleeping).

Work.
Going through the day constantly wanting to go to sleep distracts me from concentrating on my work.  I make mistakes and feel shame that I am too ashamed to tell anyone about.

“Demons.”
I have had demonic-inpired feelings tell me how much they hate me and how I should hate myself; for years.

My Co-workers.
Today I admitted my struggles to my co-workers and instead of getting the rejection that the “Demons” told me would happen.  I got affirmation.

My Wife.
My Wife’s affirmation is the most important to me, I value her opinion the most.  And when I told her about my current struggles she communicated love, acceptance, safety to me.  Armed with my team’s affirmation and my wife’s affirmation I tried to see what this was all about.

Clarity.
With the affirmations coming from work and home I dared explore the source of the “Demons.”  What I discovered has been driving my self-hatred is that I am ashamed that I am not able to do my job at work.  Though this shames drives me daily – the negative thoughts, the self-hate, the fear of failure – I never consciously thought of it before today.

Shame.
Shame started with Adam and Eve.  It has been passed down to every generation.  Shame entered my life and I did not know how to deal with it.  But Jesus does know how to deal with it.  He has been removing it from my life through healthier thinking habits learned from my Team’s example at work.  And by learning how to love from my wife’s example of the last thirty years.

Now that I know the real enemy I can concentrate on the solution and not be sidetracked by diversions from that same enemy.

Thank you Jesus for leading me.  Let’s finish this healing.

God’s Message.
I heard the following every Sunday at church when I was growing up:

9b . . . visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
10 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Dt 5:9b–10). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

 

What if I don’t want a “Savior?”

What if I don’t want a “Savior?” Yeah, I’ve made some mistakes, who hasn’t, but I’ve never killed anybody.  Besides, I’m better than most people…  Is God going to send millions of us to hell? For what?  Because I didn’t believe one of the hundreds of religions in the world?  Because I didn’t jump through the right hoops?  Besides, Jesus’ followers are worse than I am. . .

I am continually amazed by people who look for truth as hard as they can – with their eyes tightly shut.  Oh… wait… that would be me, too, wouldn’t it?  Willfully ignoring the truth hasn’t stopped since I became a Christian.  How about my previous views on “wives submit to their husbands?” (Before I wrote Is Jesus a “Feminist?”)  Why didn’t I connect Jesus’ servant-leadership to husbands’ servant-leadership before the last few weeks?

And I am blind to my own faults – even with my eyes wide open.  Pride is my worst fault. But I have plenty more.  Yet, they are quite safe, because since I can’t see them I don’t think of them and so I don’t mind that they are there.

So non-Christians sin and Christians sin.  So, what’s the difference?  Why would Jesus send non-Christians to hell and not Christians?

Jesus doesn’t SEND anyone to hell.  Spending eternity without Jesus is a choice we make.  Jesus has done everything he can so that you and I DON’T go to hell including dying to forgive the sins of every single person who has ever lived or will live.  Jesus has done everything EXCEPT take away our free will to choose whether we want a relationship with him or not.

And what we do with our free will, to choose whether or not we will follow Jesus, determines our destiny.  Those of us who choose to let Jesus help us turn from our sins and choose Jesus as our Leader, Master, Coach, and Friend will spend eternity with Jesus (who Jesus told  Abraham is Abraham’s “very great Reward”).

Those in denial, who say they have no sin, or that their sins aren’t “that bad” or they want to pay for their sins themselves, will have deliberately chosen to reject Jesus’ free offer of life forever with him.

And the choice of existing in Eternity without Jesus leaves just one option. . . Hell.

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus’ plan is just the opposite of what most think will change the world.

Jesus’ plan is just the opposite of what most think will change the world.

Jesus created us and respects us as individuals.  Jesus respects my right to choose him or reject him (a right he gave me); neither option is forced on me.  If I choose him he changes my heart first.  My actions then gradually change as I choose to surrender more and more of my life to him, by His power.  I then become more and more unselfish; and I learn to love justice, peace and my neighbor more and more.

Jesus never promised me a utopia on earth.  And he never forced me to obey him.  (He has, however, allowed me to suffer the natural consequences of my own choices).  He said, in this world I will have trouble, but be of good cheer, He has overcome the world.  In fact, Jesus has sent me much mental and emotional trouble so that I would experience His comfort and be able to comfort others with the comfort He has given me.  (I wouldn’t want to go through that trouble again, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything because it is like gold I can give away to those “poor in spirit”).

Following Jesus does not promise me health and wealth.  (Jesus does say if I put Him first He will take responsibility for me; my food, clothing and shelter (Matthew 6:33)).

Following Jesus does not mean everyone will like me.  Jesus said that if people hated Him and His Father, they will hate me.

Jesus then changes us individually from the inside out because we ask him to.  He changes the world one volunteer at a time.   Some in this world want to force everyone to change to what they want because they imagine they know better than we do; and so that they can get total power.

But what if you say:  I know a Christian and they don’t do what is right, and they hypocritically put me down for what I do, they don’t accept me as I am and want to force me to “get saved” and control me.  How is that any different than the people in this world that want to force their will on me?

It is not any different, it is just on a smaller scale.

Anyone can call themselves a Christian.  Jesus anticipated that people would take His Name on themselves but not follow Him.  He told us how we could tell between the true Christians and the impostors.

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.  21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 7:15–23). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Jesus accepts you unconditionally.  His follower will accept you unconditionally.

Jesus tells you that you are a sinner, but he loves you, and He wants to take your sins away and He wants to be your brother.  His follower will tell you that they were a sinner, but Jesus took their sins away, and that Jesus has made them His brother.

11For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12saying,

I will declare thy name unto my brethren,
In the midst of the congregation will I sing thy praise.

American Standard Version. (1995). (Heb 2:11–12). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Jesus will never condemn you.  His follower will never condemn you.

Jesus will never judge you, but meet your need that is causing your pain.  His follower will never judge you, but seek to know your need and ask if they can meet it with you.

Jesus will never put you down.  His follower will never criticize you, they will seek to understand you and ask if they can help you.

Jesus is kind, and loving , and good.  If you don’t sense these qualities in His follower, he is not a follower.

Oh, by the way, I fail at all of these at times, but I thank Jesus for His forgiveness and keep on following by His mercy and grace.

 

What could Jesus do if I…

Reflecting on the past I was wondering what is limiting Jesus from doing in and through me all He want to do if only I… was consistent in obeying Him.  When I miss my psych meds I become angry.  But that anger hurts others regardless of the cause.  And it is my responsibility regardless of the cause.  My wife called me at work yesterday and told me I missed my morning meds.  She also reminded me I carry the most critical med with me in my backpack.  She is my best friend, and saved me and others possible emotional pain.  And I am so glad she has the courage to let me know when I need meds.  Because when I need them the most, I might resist the idea the most.

I recently asked my wife how I was doing.  She said I had been doing well.  I need to keep asking her, even make it a scheduled event.  I have told my supervisor at work, and my team at work, to tell me when they sense I’m “not acting right.”  My supervisor has said that I usually can tell before anyone else can.  Which was encouraging to hear, but I still need as much accountability, as much safety mechanisms, as I can get.

My experience with mental illness is tricky.  Whether I miss my meds or not “I feel the same.”  When I miss my meds the outside world changes though without me noticing.  My wife becomes “sarcastic and condescending.”  My sons becomes “extremely defiant.”  Yet, I remain “the same.”  To act on the idea that I have the problem, I have to stop believing what is real to me and imagine that what I am experiencing is not real.  (It would be like you imagining, and truly believing, that you did not just read this sentence).

But Jesus helps me.  My wife helps me.  My sons help me.  And I thank Jesus for the meds.

 

Phoenix rising?

I wrote about feeling like I am a “Phoenix rising from the ashes.”  Though the post was “liked” it did not generate a “responder.”  Perhaps you don’t know that I only recently felt like I was a “Phoenix rising.”

Much of the time I have felt like a “Turkey dying” :>)

Jesus has been changing me slowly for 30 years.  Though Christ made me complete the moment I trusted him, I have to act on the “new” that he has put in my spirit and not act on the “old” that is still in my flesh.  Jesus gives me His Spirit to guide me in all this and I walk with him, doing what I see him doing.

If you don’t know Jesus personally and have not surrendered to his leadership you may wonder what this is all about.   With great effort, you can rise above your ashes without surrendering to Jesus.  But trying to be satisfied without Jesus is like trying to drink from a dry well.  I have done this not once, but countless times.  As it has been said, doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result is insane.

The Bible is a Life Instruction Book.  If you read it nothing good happens.  If you read it and DO what it says, it will lead you to The One Who will meet your every need and will never, ever leave you.

Jesus has been wonderful to me in my transition.  He has given me the most wonderful wife, who puts up with me much, much more than anyone except Jesus would.  He has given me a wonderful job.  I have the opportunity to encourage and serve people who have infinite value and worth, and I am able to tell some of them just that. (Who may not have ever been told they have infinite value and worth before).

Life has been a 30-year adventure, punctuated by struggles of doubt and fear, and more often trust and joy, but my life has always been in the hands of a loving Father.