When will it end? Is this it? Will this continue forever? Oftentimes those very questions swirl in our heads when we find ourselves in certain turmoil that threatens to destroy the sanctity of our minds. In the midst of our situation, the light isn’t seen, victory is not felt and doubt and uncertainty seems to be the pillows on which our heads are laid. Oh we can still smile with the world, we can still give a good joke but with each chuckle sometimes a very quick flashback of what home is like, brings us back into reality and slowly wipe that smile off our faces. We are but frail humans with emotions that sometimes spike and then subsides…we do get depressed and angry and happy and sad. We hide it, but hiding something doesn’t make it go away. It just hides and then jumps out and surprises you at a friend’s wedding or someone’s birthday party. The inner pain cannot be scratched when it itches, it cannot be subsided when it rises, it cannot be quenched when it thirsts. This inner pain must be felt, it is the protein our character needs, it is the fuel in our tanks of perseverance. It must be absorbed and felt because even though it burns, it fortifies and the same time. Even though we feel like we’re being buried, rest assured that we are only being planted, expected to shoot back up one day basking in the sun of victory and standing firm in the dirt that once marred us. We are conquerors. You may want to give up, you may want to give in, but if you’ll trust God, hold strong, stay in there and give Him the praise, even when you don’t feel like it. Soon that heap of garbage the world has tossed on you will give way and allow you to sprout, to come to the surface as one who has been through it and have conquered it…Give God the glory.
If you follow this blog or have ever read anything on this blog, the constant theme would be pain in the midst of struggle. You’ll notice a mindset that travels up and down, left and right. Sometimes strength is in what I think and other times weaknesses find themselves in the core of my mind keeping me frozen in time, crippled by fear and encumbered by insecurity. Not just insecurity in my physical appearance, but also in my ability to relate, in my job and in my lifestyle. I sometimes find that if I live in my head, the manipulating process is much easier to maneuver, knowing I can dispel thoughts and I can dwell on them also. The bad thing about all this is that the bad thoughts tend to stay, while the positive ones needs a positive push from an outside source cause surely the strength simply cannot be found in me.
Physically I am imposing, 225lbs 6feet tall, muscular black man. I am imposing, physically but mentality I am weak, mentally I do struggle which somehow translates itself physically. This physical weakness may not be seen by others because we tend to hide it so well, but oh God we are dying inside and out. Pulling myself to the battlefield that is my mind, living inside trying to save what’s on the outside. Peace surrounds me but my mind is a mess….how, how do I overcome???
We all have secrets, some secrets we tell others and there are some secrets no one knows about. These are the secrets that challenges us, these are the secrets that oppresses us and threatens to expose us…as if our past will not leave our present and therefore threatens our future. These secrets we tell no one…we just battle them in our minds…trying to stop, trying to quit….trying but oftentimes failing. We struggle, wounded and dejected after yet another bout and yet another loss. Some of us haven’t won this year after being bullied and kicked around all of last year by bad habits that we cannot break.
My friend, if you choose to follow this blog….over the next few weeks we will go in depth, we will scour the corners of our minds together and we’ll climb out bloody, sweaty and some injured but my friend, we’ll climb out!
I was having a discussion with a friend of mine recently on the subject of forgiveness. After chatting it out for about 20 minutes, I realized that what she understood about forgiveness was short and then somewhat inaccurate according to what the Bible teaches us. Her idea of forgiveness is similar to what I have been taught as a child which is, when we sin, we should go to God and ask for His forgiveness, then make sure we beg for His mercy. You see the concept is this, though we ask for forgiveness and we may get it or not, seemingly so God still has to punish us. What then is the purpose of forgiveness if we still expect punishment from God? We know the stories in the old testament of how the priest offered the sin offering to God on behalf of the people and if it was accepted then they could expect a great year, if rejected, a bad year was in store. So the concept here is that once forgiven, we can expect good and once not forgiven then we can expect bad. When we kneel before God in humble request of His forgiveness, what makes us know that we are forgiven? Isn’t it getting up with the full assurance that we can expect good and not bad? There is no voice out of heaven that says “you’re forgiven,” so where do we get the assurance that our request for forgiveness has been granted? The truth is my friend, there is no real assurance where this methodology is concerned. It’s suggesting to me that every time I need forgiveness, I need to also seek full assurance and that would make me feel better and not expect bad. Jesus said in John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Friends, here is the truth, you are FORGIVEN FOREVER! There is no step by step forgiveness, God has completely taken your sins and placed it on the body of Christ and punish your sins in the body of His Son. You are forgiven and until you know this, you will be trapped in the ideology that you will have to seek God for forgiveness that has already been freely given. You will love little because you do not know how big His love is for you. You will feel condemned because you will always think something bad will happen when you fall. You will think that you have to rush to a place of repentance to try and stop the hand of God from smiting you. You will try and cry and try and feel just to know you have been forgiven. This my friends, is the result of not knowing how forgiven you are. This is what the TRUTH will set us free from and that TRUTH is that you are FORGIVEN FOREVER! If the blood of goats and bullock can offer the people assurance that they have been forgiven, how much more can the blood of Christ fully assure us that we are forgiven and we can expect good things from our Heavenly Father!
On December 21 2012, God gave me a gift. When He handed it to me, I immediately frowned because I didn’t like how it looked on the outside. The gift wrap wasn’t pleasant and I think I actually cried because I hated it so much. I placed it aside because I couldn’t understand why He says He loves me and would give me such a gift. I mean it was ugly, distasteful, hurtful and I just didn’t want it. He encouraged me to open it, I ignored…so He kept on encouraging me to open it. I didn’t want to but I thought I’d peak inside to see. Layer led to layer and to more layer, but the second layer wasn’t as ugly as the first and third layer wasn’t as ugly as the second and so on. When I got to the final layer, I had an idea of what the gift was but didn’t want to assume. I unveiled the final layer and saw the most beautiful gift anyone as ever given me. On December 21 2012, God gave me the most beautiful gift in what I thought was the ugliest gift wrap. God gave me myself, not who I wanted to be, not who I hoped I would be, but He actually gave me, ME. Now I can actually say, I love me some me because I am a gift from God to me. Welcome back, I missed you Dewayne and that smile of yours.