Saturday, November 1, 2014

My Happy Place

I can remember when getting ready every morning (you know the time spent taking a shower, putting on makeup & fixing hair) brought on a battle in my mind that was so fierce I just wanted to run back to bed and hide under the covers.  Every. Single. Day. 

The thoughts, lies and what ifs pelted me like golf ball sized ice in a hailstorm. 
The battle was real, and it was exhausting.  And I often found myself on the losing end.  I would feel defeated before my day even got started.

Then, several years ago, I took a friend's advice and started arming myself with Ephesians 6.  I posted the verses in my bathroom and read them constantly.  I repeated various parts as needed and would visualize myself putting on each piece of the armor described in the Scripture. 

As I allowed God's Word to sink into my head and my heart, things began to change. 

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." 
Ephesians 6:10-18
God's Truth began to change me from the inside out - one battle at a time.  It transformed my mornings which in turn transformed my days.

Now, it's WHILE I'm getting ready that the Lord speaks to me the loudest (not audibly of course but in my spirit & thoughts.)  He births blog posts, retreat topics, volleyball practice plans, prayers for people, creative gift ideas, Bible study lessons, parenting solutions, answers to prayers, peace for circumstances, etc. during my morning routine. 

Oh, isn't it just like the Lord to turn what used to be the toughest part of my day into the brightest part??!!!  He turned my battlefield into a harvest field. He took the dreaded and made it the anticipated.  He created my "sweet spot" from my weak spot. ONLY GOD!
So yesterday, while I was getting ready, I was praying for different people that the Lord brought to mind.  As I prayed for the 12th grade girls in my discipleship small group at church, the Lord brought something else to mind.  He reminded me of something we do at the beginning of each small group.
Every Sunday night when we meet, the first thing we do is write down on a sticky note an attribute of God, specifically who He's been to us during the past week (Faithful, Forgiving, our Provider, Protector, Comforter, Redeemer, Joy etc.)  Then we post it on the wall and go around the room during our prayer time and praise God for who He's been to each of us during the week. 
As I thought about this, I soon began to consider what attribute of God I would write down this coming Sunday night.

The first thing that came to mind...My Happy Place.
God has been my Happy Place this week.  (I'm not sure of the exact Scripture reference for that attribute, but I'm sure it's in the Bible somewhere :) lol)
But not just this week.  He was my Happy Place last week and the week before that and the week before that. 
And by my Happy Place I mean my true source of joy, trust, love, identity, hope, security and rest. It's a place I long for and a place I don't want to leave once I get there.
Yes, I know that as a believer & follower of Jesus Christ, God is always with me.  His Holy Spirit lives inside of me and never leaves me. I've been adopted into His family as His daughter, and nothing can pluck me from His hand.  That's not what I'm talking about. 

I'm talking about the place where the Lord's presence is overwhelming to me.  The place where I delight in His Truth and gain perspective & clarity.  The place where I choose to be still before Him and simply listen & allow Him to minister to my soul. The place where He and I fellowship in ways that are often indescribable.    
Unfortunately, I sometimes have trouble finding this place.  I get too busy to stop by. Or I think I don't need to go there because I've got everything under control.  Or worse yet, I don't want to go there because I'm afraid of what may be revealed to me (about myself, my sin, my circumstances etc.)

Ugghhh! There come those lies again - taking aim and trying to rekindle an old familiar battle within me!  But thankfully now when the lies come, I'm able to remind myself to "stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist..." Ephesians 6:14.

And the truth is
.....when I go to the Lord, I will find rest in Him (Matthew 11:28-30) 
.....He is sovereign and apart from Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5) Him, I will find forgiveness for my sins, not condemnation (Romans 8:1-4) 
.....He will work all things together for my good & His glory (Romans 8:28-30)
.....there is nothing that can separate me from Him or His love because He is my Abba, Father and I am His daughter (Romans 8:14-17; 31-39)
....the deepest desire of my heart is to know Him more and more each day (Psalm 37:3-4)

The truth is.....He is my Happy Place (Psalm 18:2) 

So what about you? What attribute of God would you write on your sticky note?  Who has God been to you this week?  In what ways has He revealed Himself (His character) to you specifically?  Is He YOUR happy place?

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