Thursday, February 7, 2013

Logs of Regret in the Fire of My Soul

My Father in heaven has kept a passionate fire burning in my soul in order for me to shine His light and make Him known. But this week, logs of regret have been thrown into the  fire of my soul.
At first I thought it was the enemy wanting to destroy me by watching me agonize over regrets of my past. But what made this process so painful was that it was deep insight I didn't have before about past circumstances! It was a whole new perspective! It could have been the enemy to bring this to my mind but I still believe in the sovereignty of God, so no matter where it came from  that painful thought process was ignited and it was meant for good because I am God's child. My God is a consuming fire and He wanted to consume the dross that was hidden deep down in the darkest places of my soul! That is what He has done for me today!
Years ago, when I was troubled about my lack of joy and grace in my life, and I was also concerned that I was a Christian with a critical spirit,  I began to pray asking God to show me what was the root of my troubles? Within a week, He showed me three, yes, three major sin tendencies I carry around in my heart: fear of man (Proverbs 29:25), pride (Proverbs 3:34) and unbelief (Mark 9:24).
At that time I repented and thanked Him for showing my  specific sins that were robbing me of my joy and peace. And it was His warning to be alert for any of them to rise up in me again and again.  At that moment I wanted to be free of the snare. I wanted my joy back and I wanted to shine for Him.
Then He gave me the insight that my fear of man is rooted in the lack of my dad's approval. 
My dad walked out on our family when I was a little girl. He left my mother and five children. I grew up with a huge void in my heart, longing for my dad to tell me he loved me and approved of me and was proud of me. God saw to it that I wasn't totally abandoned. My life was blessed with a very loving mother who held us all together.
Sadly, I still grew up longing for approval....needing someone to tell me I was 'ok.' Bowing the knee to peer pressure and people-pleasing no matter the cost financially or physically, are symptoms of fear of man. We've said in a Totally Devoted gathering recently, "Why do we go into debt with our cars, houses and clothing to impress people we don't even like?!" Hahahahahaha! Fear of man.
My God-engineered awakening brought a flood of  painful tears because I was  knowing these were things in my past, and the past is gone. Until today, I was truly unaware of the tremendous loss that was mine because I didn't understand what I am now able to see tonight. I was blinded by my pain of abandonment and lack of my dad's approval and his love. I tried to control situations to protect myself! Hah! It's still fear. Awful. God was able to "make their hearts so fearful in the land of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf put them to flight." (Leviticus 36). Wow. That's deep fear. From what has been revealed to me today, I was probably in that deep of a stronghold when I was younger - before I became a child of God. Whew.
I can't go back and live it again and respond differently because now I can say, "THIS TIME I would not be intimidated because I was no longer consumed with the fear of man and I wouldn't cower." The greatest pain I have experienced in the past couple days  is that I see in a new way that  I lost the opportunities for creating beautiful memories, relationships, and I gave up what I wanted at times to keep from being emotionally abused. It's really awful to be so worldly, so self-centered, and a people-pleaser out of fear. But when you have fear of man you try to control everything around you so you won't get hurt anymore. It never works.
I am convinced God wants His people to be free. FREE! FREE! FREE! He wants His children to "throw off everything that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us." (Hebrews 12:1)
I need to say that three times today: early morning, mid-day and late afternoon, I heard a person say,  "Who the Son sets free is free indeed."(John 8:36). I heard it said on TV, on a DVD and on the radio. I sensed God was telling me something, but all I knew this morning is that I'm supposed to write this blog post today. Then it hit me tonight, God is wanting me to be free of any residuals of my past pains and sins; especially those rooted in my dad's desertion.
My dad died and I never heard his voice tell me he loved me. But the night I got the news that he died I ran to God and asked Him to become my Father. I didn't really know what I was asking but He adopted me. I asked Him to forgive me for my sins and to please help me and take care of me. He did. He does. He will...always.
Still, even years after that, I can see now that I still had deep, dark fear of man issues that were holding me back from living like I believe God really is my Abba. I didn't know I had an orphan mentality....even as His child. Even with all the huge, amazing blessings too numerous to count in my life...deep down in my soul I didn't totally believe. I was blinded  by my past pain. But now I see in a new way that making choices for the wrong reasons -- whether it's relationships, employment, moving, whatever --are usually self-centered choices. And that gives birth to regret.                                        
But praise God, tonight for me, He has turned those logs of regret into ashes. They served His purposes and then He burned them up. He has turned up the fiery passion in my heart for Him and His purposes and His glory. 
"He is a father to the fatherless." (Psalm 68:5) He deeply, deeply loves His children.
He is the Father who never leaves His children.
He is the Father who always protects His children.
He is the Father who always provides for His children. 
He is the Father who loves His family...unconditionally.
So it's no wonder He tells His children to call Him Father even in our prayers: (Matthew 6:9) "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name."

Do you have regrets? Do you know Him as your Father?  Run to Him with all your heart. You will find He is a transforming, redeeming, restoring, renewing, refreshing Father & Savior.  You'll never be the same! I know I'm not. :)
Amen and Hallelujah!