I have so many things to post and so little time! A lot has happened since the first of September, and I will have to post about those in an out-of-order fashion, but let me first post here first by saying that as I look more deeply into my character and I see all my flaws, I have uncovered a lot.

One thing I uncovered today was the huge gap–and I mean huge–but not insurmountable–between what I know and believe in my mind and what is in my heart. We can all often have head knowledge, such as, “smoking is bad for you,” but to really believe that in your heart and act on it if you are a heavy smoker is another thing.

This morning I was struggling because my earache came back, and I noticed that along with these symptoms of earache, neckache, headache, was often an accompanying feeling of sadness, hopelessness, etc. When I told my husband this, he said, “you’re not letting go of something.” He is very good at reading emotions, but not minds, so he couldn’t tell me what I was holding onto. So I set out like a detective to figure out what was causing it. I got the idea to start writing down a list of my fears, so I did, leaving space after each one to counter the fear. In the middle of thinking about these fears, I realized that they were lies. I also realized that they were all very self-centered. And some of them downright contradicted my beliefs, such as this one: “I am afraid that if I give God my life, that he will mess it up by putting me in circumstances that I don’t want.” Can you imagine that? It’s a total lie. But nevertheless that was what was coming out of my heart. Other lies that I uncovered included “I don’t want to bother God with my silly troubles. He has enough to deal with already.” You get the idea.

It’s a beautiful day in Southern California, and around lunch time I decided to go to my living room, where the warm breeze blew in, and talk with my husband some more. He had hurt his little toe yesterday, and I thought that would make a good illustration next time he had to demonstrate how each member of Christ’s body is important. You can’t walk with a hurt toe! Anyway, I was still trying to figure out what I was holding on to, when the thought came to me that perhaps I was punishing myself for putting the cat to sleep back in June. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I started having earache trouble around a month after we put our dear cat Duchovny to sleep. At first I thought it was pent up grief, because I am generally not a person who likes to cry or openly show my emotions. Then I realized that I did feel guilty about it and I felt that I had failed in some way. My dear husband reminded me that Duchovny had looked at me straight before he died, and that maybe that was his way of telling me that he loved me and that he would be all right, and that I should move on.

It was at this point that I realized my unbelief. For how was I to know if the cat meant it as his last goodbye? All I knew was that he looked at me straight, with a kind and gentle stare. My best friend used to tell me not to look at things only “on the surface”, but to realize that there were often things going on below the surface that we could not see. I realized that perhaps it is due to my secular, scientific education, but a lot of times, I am like the apostle Thomas, who would not take others’ testimony for it, but he just had to touch Jesus’ wounds before he would believe. Jesus didn’t rebuke him for his doubt, but told him that those who believed without seeing would be more greatly blessed. And isn’t that faith–to believe and hope in something that cannot be seen? Thus I realized that I indeed have a sinful heart of unbelief! And Christ could not do much where there was unbelief in his hometown.

Add to this the fact that I realized that even if I had gone to God and asked him to punish me, he would have pointed me towards the cross and said, “my son already paid for your punishment.” This made me realize how true it is when the scriptures say, “fear has to do with punishment”, or “torment” (I John 4:8). Perfect love drives out fear. All of my fears can only be driven out by God’s perfect love. And in order to receive that love, I must humble myself. I must get rid of my self-centered pride which says, “I can do it. I can make it on my own. I need no help.”

I used to think that it was a negative that Jesus died for all people, because to me, it seemed like I was “just one among many” that he saved, so I was nothing special. But now I am glad that he died for all people, because that includes me! I am a member of the human race, so he died for me also! Which means I am set free! Which means I am saved! Which means I will not perish but will have eternal life! That is good news! And that is what I need to let dominate my life, not my fleshly, worldly sinful nature, but the new person in Christ! And that is what I need to share with others!

I apologize if this may seem elementary, but I am a stubborn soul and sometimes it takes me awhile to “get” things, even if I have known them for awhile.

If I can love my son unconditionally, how much more so God! Why do I think that he is an unapproachable bureaucrat? My husband made the observation that I tend to be like a recorder that doesn’t easily let go of past hurts and sins. I would say that I am like a computer that remembers everything, even when it is supposedly “erased”. Just like when you write hard on a pad of paper, the sheets below the surface still contain the impression of your pen marks, so is my memory. But if I am a computer, I am one that is operating on programs and data that is out of date. I think so many of us are like that. It may be the year 2007, but we are still operating on Windows 95, or Windows 3.1. And that faulty information is hampering us, freezing us up, or killing us.

So where do I go from here? I have been feeling the need to study out God’s character, and to examine my deeply-rooted feelings and beliefs. Not the ones in my head, but the ones in my heart, and replace lies with the truth. I also need to walk humbly with God. That means being willing to be led by him. I have tried to lead my life on my own terms in many ways for too long. God does not want our partial obedience. He wants our total obedience. Jesus obeyed until the point of death–and he suffered reproach and shame for us–for me. If I claim to follow him, then I must do the same. I must renounce every bit of pride, self-righteousness, glory in self, worldly ambitions, and the like, to do God’s will. I must be willing to step out on faith  and believe in what I do not see. I must choose to cling to God’s word and believe that rather than my circumstances. It’s a tall order, but “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)