“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
For I know “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
And “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Isaiah 40:29-31
Last week I wrote about our homes being our first ministry and I referred to our shelter as our “dwelling place”. A dwelling place is a specified habitat in which we settle in (or live in). Likewise, there is another form of “dwelling place” — a place we settle our thoughts on for a great length of time. The dictionary refers to dwelling as a possible source of unhappiness, anxiety or dissatisfaction. I suppose if we dwell on something too long, it could start to consume us.
We talked about cleansing our dwelling place (our homes) before we could pursue our divine purpose. This also refers to you — your inner being — your soul. It mostly entails facing that “beast” you have kept hidden inside all those years. The thing that is a direct result of a bad choice, an un-controlled habit, a generational curse, or an un-deserved experience at the hand of someone you love(d) most.
It’s what keeps you in a mask and where “Hidden truths are Unspoken lies” (unknown).
This is an uncomfortable concept — I know. Our survival instincts have drilled us to deny its existence. We walk around concealing it, so we can forget about it. But it creeps up on us at the most vulnerable times: when there is the presence of fear, insecurity, uncertainty, doubt or simply when we are anxious or overwhelmed.
Let me give you a hypothetical example. Your volunteering at church on Sunday and you feel a heaviness. You just finished yelling at the kids (maybe in profanity) to hurry for church and you rushed an argument with your husband in the car just minutes before you walked in to service. Or maybe you were angry at that person who was licensed to drive but in your opinion should have failed, and they happened to choose to drive in front of you on your way to church. Or perhaps your heaviness contains silence. Your deeply hurt about something that cannot be reconciled or sinful matters continue to creep up in your family. This is an example of something that is on your mind that you have not addressed and because of it, you smile as if nothing is wrong, but deep down inside you feel like a hypocrite.
There is usually a “real life” thing that has happened and as a result it has created an actionable “beast”.
Now let me give you another example that draws deeper into your dwelling place. When I was a little girl, I grew up in a home where my step-father was an addict and beat on my mother, mostly when he was under the influence. I grew up in a circumstance where I could not control my environment. Most of the time I felt helpless and guilty for not being able to protect her. Other times I was furious at her for being so weak. As a result, I grew up with anger issues that I still wrestle with today. And this temper shows up when I am faced with some of the same emotions I felt under those extreme circumstances as a child.
The “thing” that happened was a “dysfunctional home” and the actionable beast that developed was “rage”.
Now it seems very simple for me to tell you that story, summarize what happened, and understand the generational backlash that followed me into my present dwelling place; however, the truth is, most of us walk around not able to depict what happened in our past let alone able to connect it to our present behaviors. This has taken me 33 years to process, understand, accept and to give myself permission to openly talk about. But let me tell you something — once I accepted what had happened, I was honest about the beast that was inside of me, and I took accountability for who I was/am, I was able to honor it. And when I honored it, I was able to forgive myself. And when I forgave myself, I was able to start healing. And while I am still healing, I have learned how to depend on God and accept that I can’t manage the pain alone in my own strength.
In a heated family meeting, my eldest son called me a “hot head”. But something very genuine and authentic came right after he said that. He said “I know my mom could be a hot head sometimes” (and he teared up), “but she is my mom and she loves us unconditionally, and when she speaks in this house she should be respected, it’s that simple.” Those are words I will never forget. 1. Because he called me out for who I was, but most importantly, 2. Because he honored and loved me anyways.
Friends, God loves you for who you are. And your close friends and family love you for who you are. I love you for who you are. Now YOU have to love you for you who you are.
I know one thing is for sure. I don’t want to be known as a “hot head”. It’s funny how we don’t see ourselves how we really are until someone hits us upside the head and gets our attention. And we have the nerve to get upset when it happens. I know what I want. I want God to clean the ugly “hot head” out of me! That’s a beast that I am not willing to live with but I accept that it’s a part of me, and I can accept that it will always be a part of my story.
How can I expect to do God’s work with a hot heart and an unclean tongue?
All of you have a story. For some of you your story is subtle, yet it created emotional disturbances of depression, anxiety, paranoia, or post traumatic stress disorder. And for some of you, your story is defined by a beast involving addiction, abuse, infidelity or extreme violence. Whatever it is, it doesn’t make you feel good inside at the end of the day.
I bet most of you know a story of a person who is close to you that has been defined by one or more of those beasts, and you hold that secret in strict confidence (or maybe not). We want desperately to find a mess in others so that we don’t feel so deficient with the mess within us.
Now let’s replace that lie with TRUTH!
That thing you are holding onto is beautiful! Honor it! It is what makes you unique. Your life wouldn’t have purpose and meaning without it.
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His footsteps.” 1 Peter 2:21
When you are ready to share in His sufferings, He will restore you!
Hint: If it’s past your mid-life, then the time is now!
“And the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10
11 Steps for Restoration
“As women called to lead, we must first lead ourselves to wholeness and strength.” Julia Mateer
- Be honest with yourself — don’t be ashamed of the beast
- Let go of your pride and embrace humility
- Break down in a safe place (with family, a friend, a pastor, in therapy)
- Pray in all honesty for healing and strength — God already knows your heart and he knows how to restore you — He’s just waiting for you to ask
- Tell someone that is close to you. The enemy likes secrecy
- Identify coping mechanisms for healing (writing, therapy, coaching, bible studies, reading)
- Be patient — transformation is in order and it doesn’t happen over night
- Admit we are all sinners and we will never be perfect
- Forgive yourself when you mess up
- Commit to break the barrier
- Share your testimony with others — there is someone who needs to relate
My friends . . . brokenness, hardships and all of our imperfections are absolutely necessary for us to live. You know that saying, “it takes the hood to save the hood”? Well, you can’t teach it unless you live it, breathe it and experience it. Those who have lived it are the best teachers. Jesus is one of them.
Lord God, I understand now that wrath is a product of fear. I want to do a better job. I NEED to do a better job. I don’t want this wrath to follow the generation of my children. Father, I know you want my mind, body and spirit to be in harmony. Quite often my body and mind are pulling away from my spirit. Teach me how to overpower the beast inside of me and replace it with a spirit of peace. You promise beauty for ashes, so I ask that you help me to identify the ashes that hold me back from fulfilling my divine purpose in this world, and give me the power to turn it into something beautiful.
I ask that you give all my readers strength and courage to take a step forward in conquering their beasts. And for taking that step of courage, grant them “peace in their hearts so that they may give life to their bodies” Proverbs 14:30.
What Beast(s) are you ready to tackle today? Start with a comment, I got your back!