Tag Archives: feelings

Hope

2 Sep

by Beckie Halaska

God gave my friend and I this word last night. It was just one word. A powerful word.
I have realized that Hope is what drives everything; Everything!
We go on dates because we hope for this to be the one.
We flirt, we share, we open our hearts up because we hope for the relationship to be important, we hope for love.
We begin new jobs, plan families, plan vacations, all from hope.
We fight disease from hope.
We stay in jobs because of hope.
We invest energy, resources and time in the hopes of outcomes.
We go on diets, and begin exercising with a hope of achieving a goal.
We look forward to an event, hoping for a fun time.
We pray from hope, and sometimes we pray for hope.
Today, we pray for a hurricane to move away, we hope for safety, for lives to be spared, for change.

Hope is hugely important and drives just about all we do or desire.
The Hebrew root words to describe Hope all stem around the word trust: To trust, or worthy of trust.  To put our trust in God is to put our Hope in Him.

The entire bible is about Hope. Jesus himself was about Hope. One of my favorite scriptures is the epitome of that Hope. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

There is a hope that comes from knowing that at the end of our time here, at the end of this amazing and turbulent world, we will no longer suffer and there will be joy everlasting. What a hope this is.

There is a hope that comes from trusting that even when we can’t see an outcome, with things out of our control, God is still in charge, still working all things out for our good. There is a hope that when we look back on our lives, we can see that we always came out of hardship. All the pieces made us who we are, gave us our purpose.

When you don’t have that hope, when you are trying to do this all on your own, when you have lost the ability to see hope, find hope, we become desolate and alone. We crumble. Sometimes hope is all that is left when the suffering is great. It can be just a thread, but it is life itself. Without that thread of hope, we have nothing.

Hopelessness is a rampant disease these days. People suffering and taking their lives, because they have lost hope. Our world isn’t becoming more evil, our world is losing hope.

In all that I have gone through, in all I have done, I can only give God that credit. It is because I learned from hopelessness, that He is my hope. And all my hope comes from the Lord. I have learned to trust in His sovereignty. I am grateful to not have to shoulder everything myself and I know this world will have it’s share of suffering and sorrows, but my strength and joy comes from the hope for heaven. For eternity.  I can lean on that when all else falls apart. This life is a vapor and it without the Hope of more, it loses all meaning.
Literally no one will know most of us even lived here 2 generations from now. We are not so important to be remembered like that.
However, we are so important to those people we love and those we encounter. We are also important to God.
We can be the ones that light the fire of hope in this suffering world. One smile at a time. We can be the hope that says to one person or many, every day, “I see you, you matter”. “There is still good here”. “You are loved, even if I don’t know you, I know God and He loves you beyond measure”.

Hope. We talk about being accepting, being love, but what we really need to be is hope spreaders.  We need to share what Hope looks like, feels like, and how we found it, how we find it every day.

That is our calling here. That is our legacy for the future generations. That is our light in the dark.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. “- Romans 15:13

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Little Bits of Wisdom

29 Jun

By Beckie Halaska

God has been really putting some very real truth within my heart.
Little pieces of wisdom, morsels as it becomes my understanding and knowledge.

I am not wise; He is wise. I am learning to be wise, like Him, through Him.
I am imperfect. I have very good moments. Moments that I am absolutely a useful tool for God’s love and grace. I also have moments of pure human emotion and reactions.

I can be very hard on myself, very religiously legalistic, where I expect myself to be perfect. Perfectly His image. That is a lie that Satan uses to make the world think God is not real, that our Christian faith is a joke.
I am so not perfect. I am completely human. Paul really hits home to this point in Romans 7 and 8. I am nothing without God. I will never be perfect. I will need Him always, and without that knowledge, I will either fail miserably or I will take complete credit for everything God has done on my behalf.
I had a few things happen this week that confirm I am hearing Him fully. Last Sunday morning I was talking to God that He seemed to not be close to me. I don’t “feel” him like I used to. I have all this head knowledge, but He feels far away. Later in church, as I was leaving, I saw acquaintances that were sitting behind me, we greeted one another, joked a bit, and as I walked away, God pressed hard on my heart to go back to the husband (If you know me, I have a heart for women and really don’t talk to that many men!) and ask him if he needed prayer and within my soul I knew he did and knew it was health related. He choked up because he in fact, has some very real and very new health issues. God showed off for us both.

Later in the week as I sat listening to a chaplain from work present at a meeting, he shared about how he overcomes his inner voice to minister to people at the commitment center for sexual abusers.
I realized a new layer of truth about God. I have always struggled to understand how God can allow so much suffering here, especially the kids. In that moment I saw the truth. We are here for such a brief moment. This time here is short, and our time with Him is beyond our comprehension. We will absolutely suffer here. Sometimes it just seems too much! Jesus is a perfect reminder of just how much suffering we will have here. This world is hard! We are all so imperfect and there is very real evil here. We are all fragile and suffer illness, abuse, hardships. Not one of us is above it. But God!

This does not take away our purpose here. God is Sovereign over all of it. He knew every single thing you would suffer here and also said He will not leave you alone in it. He never said you will have happiness and joy all the days of your life. You didn’t get the raw deal if you have suffered great loss, been abused or watched a child suffer. Our hearts are too pure to endure it well, for sure. He said, though, don’t focus on this world too much. This world is very hard and broken, your trials will be many amongst your blessings. This world is short, heaven is forever. Colossians 3:2. Heaven is our victory one day. This world will be no more for us and we will dwell in peace forever.

Religion and misled believers, have done a number on who God is. People have misunderstood that our relationship with God is a vertical, one to one relationship. Jesus said over and over that we absolutely cannot judge anyone’s walk with Him. Our job is to love Him so much that we can’t help but have that spill out of us. Our job is to be so humbled by our own lack of ability to perfect faith that we give the same grace to everyone we meet and especially those that harm us, or hurt us.

At the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter who loves us or doesn’t love us. It doesn’t matter how successful we are or if we are learning to be good stewards of our lives. It doesn’t matter if you have walked closely with God your whole life, have a successful marriage and family or if you have just found redemption from your jail cell. God is the equalizer. His grace, His pursuit of you, His dying on the cross for you, His love and plans for you are equal. No more, no less.

I have learned fully that even really bad people can be saved. You can be unkind, slanderous, a trouble maker, a liar, a cheat and still be saved. You can be arrogant, mean, manipulative and judgemental and still be saved. You can be super kind and righteous in your own humble way and not be saved.
It is not what we do, or don’t do. It is not sin, it is not success; it isn’t how we look to the world that saves us.

God is still that prodigal father sitting on the stoop, offering his grace through the sacrifice of His son, simply because He is love. Not because you are. Not because you are without sin. He loves us because that is who He is.

I have come to this understanding of God’s sovereignty. Our lives were planned before we were born. We will go through all of our trials and all of our joys, and at the end of the day, they are all for His purposes. To bring Him Glory. Our real free will is whether we choose Him in it or not. We sin because we have sin in us. Even when we walk close with Him. Period.

As this begins to really settle on my soul, I am filled with such a peace, knowing He has it all figured out. If I could only just keep my eyes on Him at all times and not be so wishy washy… But God.
Yes, He works it all out for our good and for His purposes. Always Grace. Always more grace.
And it is well, with my soul. Amen.

Get A Grip

14 Apr

Emotions! Yikes, they are so big it seems.
It is true that God created us emotional so yes, emotions are good. Sharing our heart, our feelings with a spouse, a child a friend, is a beautiful sharing of emotion. It is also true that Jesus displayed emotion; Jesus wept, Jesus got angry and the old testament tells us that so does God.  He knows exactly what it feels like to be human (Hebrew 4:15) so we can know since we are emotional that God created this in us. We can also know that emotions are valuable and important.

I am going to clarify this as well. I do not consider love to be an emotion. I consider it to be an action. A verb.

My Aunt didn’t speak of emotions. If I was struggling with an emotion, she would hand me a broom and tell me “there was nothing going on in my head that a broom couldn’t fix.”  It meant, take a minute, pause, focus on something. Take a break from your emotions.  Get a grip.

Here is the problem, we seek to fix our emotion long before we seek wisdom. I think we as a society, have made an idol of our emotion.  Not having control of our emotion has led to divide and divorce of many a relationship, the resulting collateral damage of emotions being in charge and not God’s plan for our emotion; It is the Cane in us, right before he murdered his brother.
Genesis 4: 4b-7 The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering,but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

I don’t know exactly when things changed but somewhere in the 60’s or so, we gave emotion an elevated status. It became important to know how you feel, to process how you feel, to talk about how you feel and to find a solution to how you feel.

It became more about how you feel than doing what was right or logical.  As time went by and the more we focused on our emotion, the less we were willing to process the hard emotions and wanted to only have the good emotions. “Make yourself happy”.  Only God can give us the fulfillment inside that we need; Fill the whole that is there.  My observation lately is that emotions have replaced logic, manners, morals and acceptance.

As I read Proverbs, it becomes glaringly obvious that only fools give their emotion life. We absolutely must keep them under control. Or, they control us. James reminds us that we are not God and we are not Jesus.  1:19-20: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

This isn’t saying we can’t feel our feelings. God promises to be near to us when are angry, when we hurt, when we are broken hearted. He wants you to bring it to Him, He can take it. He promises to draw near to us, when we draw near to Him. There were no limits on this. Draw near to Him, come to Him, with us as we are; the hot mess.  What this does mean however, is we don’t give life to our feelings. We submit them to God. He brings us peace in the midst of our deflated ego, our anger, our sorrow and our offense.

I have studied this scripture for months and it truly is about letting God have all of it. True submission.

James 4: 7-8

  1. So humble yourselves (meaning get over yourself, stop giving so much value to how you feel and know you need Him to help you) before God.
  2. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (do not act on your emotion, but talk it out with God! Give it to God, not Satan)  
  3. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. (He will breathe peace into you, He will bring you comfort and healing that lasts!)
  4. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. (The world will totally back you when someone has wronged you, heck you can lie, cheat, have affairs and still have friends! Who cares! Be happy!)

The truth is, we want peace and comfort and Christ always refreshes us, always. He brings us peace even in the worst of our circumstances, when we submit all the pieces of our brokenness before Him.  He may not fix the problem but he breathes peace into the depths of our soul.

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25

In the end, it is Satan that is in the chaos and drama. He is the one that grabs hold of our fears, our sorrows, or anger if we don’t submit them to God. He grabs them and multiplies them, he escalates, devalues and shakes everything up. He exhausts us.

This world has no care for your eternity, your peace, your soul. We can’t trust anyone but God to never hurt us, never let us down, just as we can’t even trust ourselves to be that perfect. Only God is.

We do however, get to choose whether our emotions become tools for the Holy Spirit to use or Satan to use. Christ will use them to bless other’s and give Glory to God.  Satan will use our emotions to judge, argue, hurt, control, distract, disrupt, derail and discourage.

One is life, one is death.

When we find our hope, our confidence and our peace in Christ, we can rest assured that God fights our battles, He draws near to us, He comforts us, He protects us, He provides for us and He makes our path straight.

When we stop idolizing our emotions, thinking they need a shrine, a platform and voice, the Holy Spirit works in us and the byproduct is peace, and we become the peace makers.

Which is exactly who we are called to be; His, for His Glory!

Philippians 4:6-9 NLT
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Proverbs 17:28 ESV Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
    when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 19:11 NLT
Sensible people control their temper;
    they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.

 

Truth

16 Feb

“Follow your heart” “God would want you to be happy” “You deserve to be happy”.

These are the lies of the world. We have become an emotion led world and God’s truth is the opposite of that. “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26) and “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9).

God doesn’t want us to be miserable! True! It isn’t about how we feel. It is about HIM. He wants us to trust Him. To submit to His will for our lives and when we do that, when we are close to Him, in relationship with Him, when our “hearts” are aligned with His and we are obedient, then we know the truest form of contentment, peace and joy. It is the byproduct of that relationship. To be accepted fully, to be loved unconditionally, to be protected and to be made whole. To be washed of our sins, to be free of shame and guilt. To be set free from envy or comparison. To be set free of the lies this dark world tells us.
When we sit before God and confess all that he already knows, when our broken lives become our testimony of faith, we are fully walking in truth,with Him.we are free. Free from the bondage of our emotions. Free to love from His love. It is beyond joyful.

When we get to this place of peace, that satan really wants to rob us of, we see. I have sat in this place of seeing how fully loved and accepted I am by God and nothing else matters. I just wish I wasn’t this hormone/emotional girl and walking in the world that distracts me so much! I am so wishy washy. So fragile and weak.

Like Isaiah in 6:1-6, if only we could all have that moment of truth of facing ourselves. To stand before God and see our dark, ugly soul, in contrast to His pure holiness. we would be so repentant. We can be that repentant now. To own our sin, and to face God and know, KNOW how much He loves us. Because that is His nature.

If God isn’t enough, if we must lie to feel loved, if we must lie to feel accepted. If we must find love in the arms of a person,or the latest toy or item, or drink…. if we seek to make ourselves happy. So much of this for me not to include this: this is to my church families that are under attack: if we divorce and tell God the one He gave us to seek holiness with isn’t good enough, that we deserve happiness instead, breaking our covenant. We are fully breaking our promise to God. If we seek to please ourselves, and refuse to hear God’s word, we have turned a hard heart to one another, we have turned a heart of stone to Him.

We are in a me first culture. A constant need for more, for not being uncomfortable. Pleasure only!

Look at Jesus on the cross. He suffered. Look at his holy mother at his feet. If it was about happy and being comfortable. This would not be the most important visual of our truth. Amen.

Father please forgive me my wishy washy faith. Forgive me my emotional sin. Forgive me my lack of truth and my adultery of faith in you. You are not always my rock that I stand on. Thank you for your persistent pursuit of me, for your unending love and for loving such a broken mess as me. Amen.