Saturday, February 22, 2014

The not so Thinline between survival & succumbing


First, I apologize for the large gap since the last one! No excuses at all, just apologies.

I'm just happy im here now! so much to share and hopefully so many blessings and knowledge to impart.

So this blog was supposed to be about applying the lessons I learned in the last decade I wrote about.
But as I wrote, my heart spilled about how I got to the point of even being able to learn those lessons.

so here we go!

My "Etiffany" moment

In the lovely decade known as my 20s, I endured losing jobs, money, love and friendships and at some moments even my faith. (see previous blogs)

I went from asking God, how much more I can take, to saying, God I survived it! and I learned so much.

There is this moment that happens when you're going through tribulation, when you're being hit with one thing after another, that your perspective changes. Some call it an aha moment. Some call it an epiphany... I like to call it a revelation.

I personally believe this is the moment where God's strength is being optimized! You've gotten broken down enough, you're drained, you're weak and empty. And God starts building you back up. You mindset goes from being a victim to being a survivor.

Because after every conflict, every misfortune, every piece of bad news, every bill you couldn't pay, every cold shoulder, every disappointment, you're STILL standing.

Then you're so happy about that fact, you stop whining (at least for a moment)! Then you're able to have that moment to think about everything you learned! and how much stronger you feel just by living through it. It's very empowering. That moment doesn't come with out a fight. And sometimes you will have to find strength from within yourself.

Because truth be told, we all have tribulation! but what is the difference between me and a person that committed suicide? or a person that chooses to leave the faith? or a person that becomes angry and bitter the rest of their life?

For me the difference was 4 things:

1. I never stopped talking to God.

Even if it was just to say, "I'm so upset. I'm so confused. I know you're there but I don't get it." I talked to him. So many people run from God when things get rough. That is THE LAST THING YOU SHOULD DO. It's hard enough in his hands... did you think it would get better when you ran from him? My worst day with God was still better than my best day would be without him.

2. I never completely disappeared.

Even if I became less social, or less responsive to communication. I never completely disappeared. You see, this is where the devil THRIVES. When you cut everyone else off, he has a monopoly on your emotions. He can help you wallow. He can help you to feel like there is no hope. He can put all types of thoughts in your head. He can tell you to kill yourself. he can tell you to drink until you don't feel it. He reminds you of the reasons that you should be angry and make that anger build and turn to hate. And there is NO ONE there to stop the flow of this negative and demonic energy because you shut yourself off. Before I totally disappeared in my tribulations, I will tell at least a couple people. "I'm in a real bad spot, no I don't wanna talk about it, but I need someone other than myself praying for me." Or I would say, this is what im feeling, and it would allow someone else to speak life, EVEN if I didn't want to hear it or even if it didn't change my mind a bit. It's still saved me to have them fighting for me when I wasn't fighting for myself.

3. I never stopped completely serving.

Some people have this interesting idea, that you only should do things when you feel like doing them. Sometimes it's ok to be on autopilot until your body kicks in.
Some sundays I was in such despair that, all I had strength to do was just get in the building. Just to walk in and sit down in the house of God. I was so down that I had no energy to completely engage in the service, but I knew that at least sitting in God's house was better than what would be happening at home. and even if I wasn't receiving any enjoyment or gratification in the flesh my spirit was getting fed. 

NOTE: that's why some Christians should be careful of judging those that don't completely get into the service and accuse them of not being deep or saved. you have no idea what their mental state is, just be glad they are they and love them while they are there. that type of behavior can mess around and make them think it would be better to be at home.
Still letting friends talk about their problems, still being in the ministries I was involved in at church, allows you to still give God something even in your dark place (some don't agree with this, but for me if I hadn't still pushed through, and chose to sit home I would've went deeper in my hole). 

4. I had to force myself to never stop acknowledging that it could be worse

One of my revelations was that, in life we don't get to pick what story our life tells. We don't get to pick our testimony in many instances. We don't determine if our testimony will be "my mother died and I was able to eventually get thru the pain and live life again" versus "I was a little boy raped by a man and now I have feelings that I don't understand" or "I got in a car accident and I am paralyzed but I was still able to enjoy my new life" or "I was born with HIV,"  Things happen and then we try our best to restore ourselves. So in the middle of wallowing about friendships, my broken heart, my rocky family situations, and most of all my lost jobs/FINANCES. It hit me that, yeah ive been nearly homeless, I had a family member that crack addiction affected our family, I have had this and that happen to me, BUT yes it could be worse and yes these are all things that can be over come. Finances was a huge chip on my shoulder and I eventually got to a point of being like, ok Tiffany, while finances has always been a struggle, some people it's been health. you can work and get money, they can't work and get healthy cells. and the same with those that have health struggles. yes this is tough and im tired of taking all of this medicine but at least I am surrounded by love and have a comfortable living situation to endure this in. or I have money to enjoy my moments that I feel strong in a lavish way. so when you wallow, come up for air sometimes and look around. and if you need to go back down and wallow, that's fine. just don't stay there.

and I leave you with these scriptures to meditate on:
1 Thess. 5
11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,[c] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

2 Cor. 9a
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Cor 4
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

Romans 5
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us

sooo please look out for the next one, when I tell you all the awesomeness that happened once I get my new strength and new outlook.

It was truly epic! Nothing like a person going after their next with no fear, because everything they feared happening already did.

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