Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Jeremiah Calling

We live in an increasingly fake and non-genuine world these days. It is too easy to invoke our own sense of rights and blame other people for things than it is to take responsibility ourselves - and it is easy to reject truth when we hear it spoken but it doesn't fit with what we want or clashes with our loyalties to one another. So how does the truth come to a world that doesn't want to hear it?

My favorite Old Testament prophet is Jeremiah. Jeremiah was bold, courageous and spoke truths that other people didn't want to hear. He told the nation of Israel that they had turned against God and that God's judgment was coming upon them as a result - but Jeremiah's word clashed with the words of the other "prophets" at the time who were continually telling Israel how great they were and how pleased God was with them despite their unrepentant, sinful nature. Needless to say Jeremiah's words did not go down well. He was publicly shamed, imprisoned, labelled as a "traitor" and even thrown into a well and left to die. However, Jeremiah stood true to his word and refused to back down - and ultimately what he prophesied came to pass.

One of the most important things to note about Jeremiah are revealed in Jeremiah 1 vs 6 where he tells God that "he is not a good speaker and that he is too young". From this passage we can grasp the truth that Jeremiah does not believe in himself and does not believe he has the ability to speak the truth to a wayward nation. But God comforts him by telling him that "I have put My words in your mouth" (Jeremiah 1 vs 9) and God confirms that He is supposed to oppose the people and that they will "fight against him but will not overcome him, for I am with you and will rescue you" (Jeremiah 1 vs 19). This is the beginning of Jeremiah's boldness. He knows that despite his flaws, self doubts and weaknesses, God is with him and that he must do as God wishes and that God will empower him and carry him through despite any opposition.

I have seen a strong parallel with my own life over the last few years. After falling very ill back in 2011, part of the process of my recovery has been learning to speak the truth to other people - mainly into the lives of other Christians. This has been incredibly challenging for me especially because due to many factors in my background I have struggled to speak my mind - I have felt it was easier and better to just keep silent as that is how you keep the peace. This was how I learned to live my life. I can relate completely to Jeremiah when he says that he was not a good speaker - I was not either. In fact, talking to people - especially bringing a tough truth to someone - was something I dreaded.

In 2012 this journey of carrying the Jeremiah mantle over my life began. I began to receive words of knowledge that I knew had to be spoken to other Christians around me. These were tough words and it pained me to think about what would happen when I brought them. These were not words borne out of a desire to "get even" or to fulfill my own agendas, or satisfy my own loyalties. Jeremiah spoke of how the word of the Lord was "in my heart like a fire - a fire in my bones. I am weary of holding it in - indeed, I cannot." These words were exactly like this in my life - they would just burn and burn and eat away at me until I finally said something. Of course, very often these words were not received well but I knew that I had done the right thing. Often, the fallout from speaking these words was so minor compared to the relief I had of not having them burning inside of me like a furnace any longer. Eventually I realized that I had been called to preach the truth as Jeremiah had - not from stadiums to mass audiences, but quietly to people that God had brought into my life for various reasons.

I began to realize why God picked me for this assignment. God takes the weakest people imaginable and uses them to bemuse the powerful and the wise - as a testament to His own power. But He also does it to help heal the weak and broken people as I was. My journey of carrying the Jeremiah calling has forced me to face so many of my fears - most of which were directly connected to the fear of speaking out and saying something, and what could happen to me as a result. Being put in a position of having to face my fears has brought me incredible relief and freedom. If I had been called to something other than the Jeremiah mantle it would have been more difficult for me to face my own darkest fears and therefore find the healing I needed.

One of the main things that I learned throughout this journey were to have confidence in both God and myself that I was hearing and doing the right thing. There were many times when I would speak something out to someone and face a retaliation of some sort. These often made me doubt myself and question whether or not I had heard right in the first place and if I had done the right thing in saying something to that person. But I learned to trust myself and my own heart. Once I lashed out at someone and spoke out of term towards them - the guilt ate away at me for days on end until I went to them and apologized. Once I did this the heaviness was removed and I began feeling at peace again. So I have learned to gauge my own actions against this - if after I have said something I feel a peace and a release from doing it, then I can be confident that I have done what I was meant to do. This was challenging for me as confidence was not something I was overly familiar with but it has grown stronger over time.

Jeremiah did not see or feel much blessing in what he did. He went through a great deal and was called a traitor by his own nation who didn't understand his true heart. He loved Israel and wanted the best for them and wanted to see them repent in order to escape the destruction that was coming against them. But he was hated for his message because the so-called "prophets" of the time would speak in favor of Israel's sinful actions and Israel automatically sided with the other prophets of the time as their message was easier to digest and did not require something from them. So they turned against Jeremiah and sought to silence him rather than pay attention to his message. Jeremiah ultimately was imprisoned and would remain in prison until Israel fell the army of the Babylonians, just as he had foretold. Throughout his ministry Jeremiah doubted himself and doubted God - even despairing the day of his birth (Jeremiah 20:17-18). But despite his doubts, God sustained him and though the messages of destruction he preached took a long time to come to pass, they did eventually happen and he was proved as one who carried the truth in the end.

Throughout my journey so far I have often felt the same way. I have not suffered to the degree Jeremiah has of course but carrying the Jeremiah mantle has been costly. I have lost many, many friendships over the years due to speaking the truth to popular, well liked people and having my message rejected by them which means the inevitable falling out - not just with the people I spoke to but with the others they were connected to as well. I've had my fair share of dirty looks and stares and received a few nasty messages over the years - plus a few messages from people trying to bring "correction" to me by telling me that "I've been forgiven for what I've done" i.e. accusing me of sinning. I've seen many people put loyalty to themselves, friends and family over truth which needed to be spoken and I've had to remove myself from them as a result. Of course the self doubt has started to creep in at times - "Did I really hear right? Was I supposed to say that? Was I too harsh? Have I done something wrong here? Is this really any of my business?" Just to name a few. But every time I have had that still, small voice of reassurance come and tell me that I had done what I was supposed to do all along - and at the end of the day I go to bed with a clear conscience every night.

What fruit did Jeremiah see from his own ministry? Very little. He prophesied death and destruction, was hated for it and the only real fruit he saw was his own prophecies fulfilled - which of course meant death, destruction and exile for his own people. But he was proved right in the end and is now upheld as a hero of the faith in the scriptures. In the same way I have seen very little fruit from my own calling. But I believe that once God inspired truth is spoken out to people and situations, those words have power and the truth will begin to have its day. I have seen situations where people going against God's will for their lives have had things working out incredibly well for them until the word of truth was spoken - then all of a sudden the truth begins to take effect and the favor they were under switches off. This can take years to happen - but it does happen.

To you who are reading this, maybe the Lord is calling you to also walk the path of Jeremiah. In an increasingly dishonest world, God needs people who are willing to be lead by His Holy Spirit and speak words of truth into the lives of those around them despite the cost. I can't promise it will be pretty. I can't promise you will be listened to and that you will not suffer loss. But I can promise that if this is truly what God requires from you - then it is surely the right thing to do.

Take care.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Overcoming fear

Fear is a huge issue in our world today. Everywhere we turn there is something we either see or hear that has the potential to scare us if we let it. So how do we stop fear ruling our lives and move forwards?

For regular readers of this blog, most of you will know that I have one approach towards combating fear that I use regularly - which is the process of examination, dissecting the emotions and learning to understand the root cause of where they came from. Though this mentality has served me exceptionally well over the years (and has doubtless caused me from getting myself involved in some very unpleasant circumstances) - I have recently come to realize that there is sometimes another way to go about beating fear.

There's an age old saying I've heard many times throughout my life which states that in order to overcome fear we must "feel the fear and do it anyway". Over the years I have been skeptical and often critical of this statement as when used incorrectly I believe it can be at best noneffective and at worst, deeply damaging and traumatizing. To put it simply there is nothing worse than putting a person in a situation and trying to force them to face something they are simply not ready to face. However over the last two years I have been placed in a few different circumstances where I have been forced to "feel the fear and do it anyway" and I have found the results incredibly freeing and liberating.

The first situation happened to me about 2 years ago. I was working as an intern at a church at another city. This church was poorly run and took on a building project that it was woefully short staffed to adequately manage - so a huge amount of pressure and responsibility fell upon me as an intern. The pressure of the long days and hours (I often found myself working 16 hour days just to try and get the building ready on time) plus other negative factors in the environment such as the constant back stabbing and belittling of fellow church members and leadership from the head pastor began to take their toll on me. The church began an outreach to the homeless people in the city and after one especially chaotic Sunday morning service I was instructed that the senior pastor would be away the following week and that I was to call the police if any shenanigans unfolded.

The following Sunday can only be described as the worst church experience I have ever had in my life. The service was literally taken over by homeless people who were abusive and rude to fellow attendees (I was told to "burn in hell" by someone simply because I was trying to police the food rationing as I was instructed to do) and finally all hell broke loose when one of these people began physically fighting with several others at the venue - including females. I called the police as instructed who very promptly arrived - only to be sent away by the assistant pastor who was managing the church on that day on the basis that "we are working with these guys and have seen amazing change in them" (which was blatantly not true as far as I was concerned - because if there had been amazing change in them we wouldn't be seeing this happen).

I was then taken aside and told that I had been in the wrong for trying to police the food rationing which was "hurting" people and that I was "acting in fear by calling the police" which was once again what I was told to do. At this point I had simply had enough and absolutely exploded at the second in charge pastor. After storming out of the venue I received a phone call from the senior pastor saying that he was "not impressed with my actions" and that a meeting would be held about my actions. I went into this meeting a few days later and was once again told how wrong I was - but something had changed in me after losing my temper at the church. I stuck to my guns and told these people that they were in the wrong and that what was happening was dangerous and that someone had to say or do something otherwise people were going to get seriously hurt. I was ignored and shortly afterwards I decided to leave the church for good - and two years later after more chaotic services, the church closed its doors for good.

I need to explain something of my past and my default nature at this point. I had always been a deeply timid, shy and fearful person with a powerful dread for authority figures and discipline. There was nothing I feared more than standing up to someone in authority and power as I dreaded what they could do to me. God put me in a situation where there was constant pressure around me from all sides such as financial pressure due to being a student, physical and emotional pressure due to the fatigue from the long hours and finally pressure from foolish and baffling leadership decisions that literally left me with no other choice than to "feel the fear and do it anyway" and let fly at the leadership by drastically losing my temper as this was the step I had to take to banish that fear out of my life once and for all.

This proved to be a turning point in my life. From that moment on my whole personality changed. Previously I often used to sit there and say nothing even when there were things on my mind I should have said. But after this all of a sudden the words started to flow more freely. It was like I had "found my voice" so to speak and the only way I was truly able to find my voice was to be put in a situation where I was literally forced to use it. I believe it was God's plan for me to experience this and that He put all of these things in place so that I would finally be able to overcome the fear that had kept me so restrained.

Another huge issue in my life has been fear of physical violence. Due to numerous factors from my childhood and mainly due to the spiritual inheritance I received when I was conceived, I have dreaded physical violence more than just about anything in the world. I never had much experience getting into fist fights as a child or anything like that so I didn't have any real experience of what physical violence was like to go back to which could have helped ease my fears - all I knew was that it was something I didn't know much about, and that it was something I feared and dreaded more than anything. However - God had a plan for me to face this fear too - and the event that He put in my path to get me to face it came to pass only recently.

I was on my lunch break at work and I was walking down the street and saw two young people walking towards me with masks on and hoodies with the hoods drawn up. I immediately got a sense that something was very wrong and I turned and followed them as they walked into a dairy and threatened the owner with a weapon. One was standing at the door threatening all passers by with a weapon if they tried to do anything. I stood at the door screaming at them and a combination of my screaming and the screaming of the owner caused the thieves to take fright and run out of the shop. Pumped full of adrenaline and anger at what had just happened I high tailed it after them without thinking.

Eventually I was able to corner them both against a fence and other members of the public noticed and also joined in the chase. I grabbed one of them and he struck me on the side of the head with his weapon and stabbed me in the right forearm, but I stood my ground and held on to him with the help of another man until the police arrived. Both of the thieves were arrested and were later charged for their crimes. Only afterwards did I realize I was bleeding as there wasn't any pain due to the adrenaline rush - I only found out when the other man holding the criminal told me there was blood coming out of the side of my head.

Amidst the whirlwind of emotions during this period I realized that another important, life-changing event had taken place - in the midst of this situation I had faced and overcome my fear of physical violence. Before when I thought about physical violence there was continual, overwhelming dread - but now that I had experienced an extreme case of physical violence that I had survived without any serious injury (thankfully) and had managed to stand my ground until justice was done in the situation despite my injuries - my "unknown" fear had now become "known" and therefore had lost its power over me. Of course I was very lucky to escape serious injury as the strikes on the side of my head were very close to my left eye, and I was lucky that the other members of the public showed up when they did. I believe that God's protection was with me during this time as He knew that this was something I needed to go through in order to banish my fears of physical violence once and for all so He was watching over me the entire time.

Since this incident I am seeing more and more just how much has changed in me and just how much fear has been banished out of my life as a result. I walk more confidently and I no longer shy away in fear when I see other people on the street. I feel bolder and more powerful within myself than ever before and more confident when it comes to dealing with people at my work. In short, though this was a terrible thing to go through - tremendous good has come out of it for me and I believe that as time goes on there will be more and more evidence as to how much stronger and healthier in myself I have become as a result of this incident.

In conclusion - simply talking through and "writing through" fear is not always enough. Sometimes you need to go out and really face head on that which you are afraid of as that can sometimes be the only way to truly break free and overcome. Would I suggest screaming at your pastor, or chasing down armed robbers on foot with nothing to defend yourself with in order to free yourself of fear? Absolutely not. In fact I would more than likely advise against both of them! But for me personally those two situations were ordained and put in place by the Holy Spirit as these were exactly what I needed to face my fears. The timing was right for me to face these fears and the Holy Spirit was with me right the way through. Your situations may look totally different from mine (and probably will). But when you know in your gut that you just have to do something - don't sit back and do nothing and then try to justify it to yourself or others. You are holding yourself back from much needed personal growth and as long as you stick with the Holy Spirit and are obedient to His leading and prompting, you have nothing to fear and you will experience breakthrough and freedom on the other side of it.

Take care.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Truth vs loyalty

The subject matter I am discussing today is something I have had a lot of experience with over the years.

Loyalty is a funny thing. In one sense it is immensely powerful and brings incredible bonds and unity between people - which of course is not a bad thing. However there are times when loyalty is actually a hindrance towards things which need to be said and growth which needs to happen - because there are times when loyalty can actually blind someone from seeing the truth about themselves or about another person that is close to them.

Several years ago I was called to speak a strong word of knowledge into the lives of two people I was once friends with who had entered into a relationship that was not based in truth and was not God's plan for them. I was called to tell them to end their relationship or there would be serious trouble in their future. I didn't want to have to bring this word to them as I knew what the consequences would be - but I knew I simply had to do it as the word just burned within me until I found the courage to speak it out. They ignored the word that was given and proceeded with their relationship anyway.

One of these people was friends with others that I was also very close with and had developed a strong bond with over the years to the point where I basically called these guys family. The hardest part for me about bringing this word was the repercussions I knew it was going to have among the other people I was still friends with. These guys had all grown up together and although they considered me a good friend I had entered into their lives much later in the picture - so their bonds of loyalty with one another were very strong. I had a strong suspicion that giving this word of knowledge to one person would result in friendships with the others disintegrating as well but I knew I simply had to do it.

One by one these friendships evaporated just as I suspected they would have. One of these guys even admitted I was doing what God had asked me to do when I stood against these people and their relationship yet he still chose to stand by them even though he knew it was against God's will - so he basically chose to stand against God because of his loyalty to his friend. Over time there was only one person left that I was still "friends" with after this episode and I knew in my heart of hearts that this friendship had to end and that I would not be able to walk free until it did. However I kept putting it off because I didn't want to believe it as I wanted to believe that somehow the good friendship we once had could be saved - but deep down I knew the truth.

Once I ended that friendship the truth came out - I was accused of all kinds of different things - one of the main things being that I was "lashing out at all of those around me". However I know that this is not true as I know the difference between speaking a word given by God and speaking a word for selfish reasons. I have had times when I have wanted to speak to people harshly who have been really nasty to me but God has actually told me not to say anything and given me the scripture that says "Do not answer to a fool according to his folly or you will be just like him" (Proverbs 26:4). This time with this situation was totally different as I actually didn't want to say anything to anyone - but the words I needed to speak just kept burning within me and eventually I just had to get over myself and my fear of what would happen and do it anyway - so I know that I was doing what God wanted and not just speaking for selfish reasons.

I was told that everyone had "forgiven" me when all I had done was what I knew I was supposed to do. I had not sinned in standing against them and I had not used abusive language or anything - all I did was say what God told me to say and how He told me to say it yet I was the one accused of being in the wrong. However I was relieved when all of this came out as I had suspected it all from the beginning anyway and it gave me a chance to say to this last person that his loyalty to his friends blinds him to the truth about who they really are. We parted ways and haven't spoken since - and I was finally free.

I remember literally shouting at God because of all of this - "God, why did you call me to be so closely intertwined with the lives of these people only to force me to leave them all behind?" God responded quickly, and was straight to the point - "Because I needed you to speak the truth to them." It broke my heart to walk away from these people but it was what God had wanted me to do all along.

What I realized had happened was that loyalty had taken over truth in this situation. I believe that deep down these people knew that I was doing what I was supposed to do seeing as one of them even admitted it to me. But they just couldn't bring themselves to accept it as it meant having to stand against their friend and their own wants and desires. The loyalty they had built up between each other over the years had blinded them to the truth. In the end their blind loyalty cost them a friendship with me and unfortunately for the couple I was called to warn, their loyalty to each other and their own wants and desires which has proven to be more important than the word of God will cost them a life lived in blessing and favor - because if someone walks outside of God's will for their lives, they will remain outside of it until they choose to walk back into it, and they will remain there without God's favor and protection. Over time this will become clearer and clearer to these people and those whom they surround themselves with.

Ultimately I was at fault here too as I knew from the first moment I was called to speak into the lives of the couple who later ended up marrying that my friendships with the others were going to end. I kept putting off saying something to them in the hope that things would improve so my loyalty to them actually prolonged the suffering I went through of desperately wanting this issue to finally be resolved. If I had been focused on what I knew was true in my heart and soul from the beginning I would have saved myself a lot of hurt and needless agony and frustration. This trial dragged on for four years and by the end of it I was almost losing my mind as I just so desperately wanted it to be over. If I had just been loyal to the truth sooner I would have saved myself some time and frustration.

I was most guilty of putting loyalty before truth when I worked for an organization in 2014. This organization worked people to death, continually demanded time and money from them whilst giving almost nothing in return and the environment was incredibly vile and toxic - people would be absolutely ripped to shreds by the so-called "leader" of this organization behind their backs. Though in my heart of hearts I knew that all of this was bad and unsustainable I continually and deliberately turned a blind eye to the truth because of my loyalty to the leader who had been of help to me in the past. As time went on others began to gather around me and tell me that this place was bad news and that the management was "amateur" - but I didn't want to hear it because I was also blinded by loyalty. I was told that I was being used and that I was being worked far too hard and that I needed to be more careful due to my health history over the years but I refused to listen to this and kept on pushing forwards. Eventually, all hell broke loose when the leadership began implementing policies and procedures that actually put people in physical danger. I realized at this point that I had to leave or I was going to get seriously hurt.

A few months after leaving I spoke with the leader of this organization wanting to get a receipt so that I could claim back for some of the money I invested into this place. I asked 5 or 6 times and each time I got excuses and "yeah it's in the post" but it never showed up, or I was told "I'll email it to you soon" but it never came. Finally it was given to me via Facebook without even a word of apology for taking so long to get it to me - in fact it came without any words at all. Considering all that I invested into that place I was pretty disgusted but once again I became aware that I had known this was going to be the case all along - I had been told before about the leader of this place that he was a taker and just continually took from other people without giving much back in return, yet I had refused to listen to my gut. I had also seen and heard just how many people this so-called leader had fallen out with over the years which made me really think just how long his organization was going to last - not to mention how long it would be until he fell out with me. I had my doubts the place would continue much longer and a couple of months ago I received word that it had closed its doors permanently. When I spoke with some of my good friends about this who had walked with me throughout this time and stood by me with all I was going through when I was involved there, they all said the exact same thing - "I'm not surprised."

These two significant life events made me realize one thing - truth is sovereign and it will always have its day. Loyalty can block it out for a time but truth will always shine through as it simply cannot stay hidden forever. Truth doesn't have to be defended. All it needs is to be spoken and it will do the rest on its own. I am hoping that I have learned my own lesson and that I will learn to side with the truth much sooner than what I have done in the past going forwards. I am hoping that loyalty to anyone - including myself - will no longer prevent me from saying what I know needs to be said and doing what I know needs to be done.

I want you to ask yourself this - is there any truths out there that you are not living by, or not speaking out, because loyalty is holding you back and is blinding you from what is really going on? If so I encourage you to learn to find the courage to do something about it. The truth will have its day eventually as it always does. But if you are being called to say or do something to help bring it to the light, you won't find any peace until you do what you have to do. You will save yourself time and a lot of frustration if you do what you know is right and stop putting it off.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Stand your ground

I wanted to share something with you all I've been challenged on very deeply recently.

I first became a Christian at the age of 18. Not long afterwards, I was thrown head first into the spiritual wilderness. The wilderness has been a long, drawn out and often exasperating period of my life which I am only now just starting to come out of at 32 years old. There have been some very long and very demanding trials I have faced throughout this period - one of which lasted exactly 4 years. In fact, my experience in the wilderness has been so profound that it will be the subject matter of my next book.

If there is one thing that is consistently true about the wilderness - it's that everything is temporary and that nothing lasts. When the Israelites left Egypt on their journey to the Promised Land, they walked in the desert for 40 years - yet they were constantly moving. They would follow the Spirit of God through the wilderness which took form in either a pillar of cloud during the day or a pillar of fire during the night. They would be led by the Spirit of God to a campsite in the wilderness and would remain there until the Spirit departed - and they knew that the right thing for them to do was to follow the cloud wherever it went and not to lag behind or get ahead of it otherwise they would be in the wilderness without the presence of God, and therefore without the protection of God.

This has been my experience. Since I left home at age 20 I have moved house approximately 30 times. I have moved all over my home country of New Zealand to different cities and even out of the country altogether for a 3 month stint in California in 2007. There was no real reason for this other than I was moving where the Spirit lead me to move. Whenever things began to get really ugly where I was (this happened regularly and in a variety of different forms) it was an inevitable sign that it was time to move on. It wasn't always really ugly when it was time to go however - sometimes you would just get a sense that the favor was moving from where you were to somewhere else and though nothing particularly bad was happening you just knew in your spirit that it was time to go.

I am now planted in a full time job that I have been in for over a year now - working in a call centre. A job like this is very people-orientated as I am often talking to over 100 people every day. I am an introvert by nature- someone who does not gain their energy from people but someone who needs a lot of space and time to recharge, and my prime strength is in task-based administration. Needless to say - I find this job challenging. Over the last few months due to various reasons I have been extremely busy at work to the point where I am answering far more calls than usual and coming home each day utterly drained and exhausted to the point where I've barely had any energy to speak to anyone in my own household.

My experience in the wilderness has taught me that something like this means that it is inevitably time to resign and move on. The job not working to my strengths and being so overwhelmed with the constant busyness has had me questioning my future almost daily. I've spent time in prayer - going to God and almost begging Him to reveal the next step for me so that I can move forwards.

Finally, God did respond - but not in the way that I expected.

He responded with 3 simple words -

"Stand your ground."

These words caught me off guard as I'd never really heard anything like that before - but I knew that they were from God. From that point on, I've had days at work where I was so stressed and overwhelmed I wanted to walk out - yet those words resonated in my mind and gave me a strong, tangible peace within the chaos.

This was totally new to me - but I began to realize why they were significant. My whole life has been about the wilderness and with the complex trauma I have carried in my heart that has given me the constant desire to get away from where I am and be somewhere else, I've been perfectly designed for the restless, vagabond lifestyle that comes from walking in the depths of the spiritual wilderness for so many years. I know how to survive. But I don't really know how to live. And this is what is starting to change for me.

I am beginning to see just how much confidence in myself and in my circumstances has been lost due to the wilderness mentality of constantly abandoning ship and moving on. Confidence will start to grow again as I learn that I will actually learn more by staying somewhere than I ever would by leaving. I've had to learn to face my fears of what could happen to me if I stand my ground - confrontation, having to fight for something and the risk of loss that comes with that, and having to develop the necessary grit to dig my toes in and just say "I'm not quitting - I'm staying put." It's easy to run. It's familiar to run. It's releasing to run. And for so long, that's been what's necessary for me as it's been part of my journey. But that time is over now.

Standing your ground means that instead of bowing to circumstances as you do in the wilderness, you stand firm and wait to see positive change. Instead of being constantly focused on changing yourself as the wilderness requires - it's ok to now start wanting and expecting to see circumstances change. Instead of dwelling in a place of self to bring about internal change to end trials as the wilderness requires - it's ok to now start thinking more about others and about circumstances rather than just saying "this is just happening because I've got something I need to learn about myself and something is being pinpointed in my heart to deal with." This can still be the case at times and I'm sure will remain as a relevant thinking process over the years - but the over-excessive focus on self that comes from wilderness-based thinking must now come to an end.

Standing my ground is a new and very scary thing. But it's the next step in my journey to become a whole, strong and healed human being. I have no doubt standing my ground will require vulnerability and exposure of some sort at times. I have no doubt it will cost me different things and I will be forced to challenge others and at the same time, challenge myself. But I am slowly learning that the overwhelming desire to run and move on is not the right thing anymore and that I will see better results if I just stand my ground as God has said.

Someone out there may be experiencing something in their lives that they just want to quit. Sometimes quitting is the right thing, as I well know. But sometimes it's not. If that's you - ask yourself today - am I being challenged to stand my ground and endure as well? Will I really learn more by leaving or will I learn more by digging my toes in and staying put?

Food for thought.

Take care.