Tuesday, June 6, 2017

there's a'Lot bugging you... but don't look back

A little something-something for y'all to chew on...

The more you dismantle your fear under the lens of Scripture...
The more you show up to ask God for His bravery and strength while trusting Him to deliver on His promises to protect you and yours...
Then, the less scary, threatening, and intimidating your fears actually become.

Example please, Victoria....

Well, take my fear of big yucky bugs.

When we first moved to hot-summer'ed Texas from cold winter'ed Chicago, I loathed the thought of Southern mutant-sized mosquitos, roaches, and spiders being within a two mile radius of my home.  Ewwww.  However, in Texas all manner of creepy crawly bugs and dangerous reptiles roam... AND IT'S NORMAL!

While out with friends one evening, Sharon (my seasoned Texas dynamo gal-pal) and I were walking back to our cars after a pleasant dinner together with our hubbies.  As we chatted, a BIG yucky bug managed to fly in front of our path.  I shrieked.  But Sharon... well, Sharon scoffed at the creature and then chased it away in a totally alpha-female way.  Those big bugs were nothing for her to shoo, and swat, and step on.  Forget Wonder Woman, y'all.  That day, in my eyes, Sharon became the most awesome female warrior.

But not me.
Nope, I coward and cried.
In fact, each time I encountered another bug here in Texas, I screamed bloody murder while threatening my dear husband that I'd soon be relocating.

Dramatic, yes.
Realistic, no.

It took me five hard years to settle into our new corner of the world.  Five years of me boo-hoo'ing like a spoiled child over silly, small creatures that, in fact, I could actually "end" with only two of my ten fingers.


In year four of our Texas transition, the Lord not-so-subtly started reminding me of Lot's wife.  You know, that selfish wife-mamma in scripture who longed for the comforts of her established Sodom home.  That gal who stalled her family's spiritual progress while she longingly looked backwards to what she would be leaving rather than embrace where God intended for her family to go.

I am certain that Sodom was surely sprayed for mosquitos, you see.  And I doubt a poisonous snake or spider dared show it's face in the plush surroundings of her cushy townhouse.  None the less, we all sadly know the story of selfish Mrs. Lot.  Her disobedience reached fruition under God's throne.  Her fear of the unknown and of not getting her way ultimately caused her to reject God's loving path.  So she chose to look away from God and backward to her sinful home.  And let's face it... sin has no place in God's perfect, holy plan, now does it?!!!

... Anyway, four years into our Texas relocation and the Holy Spirit gives me Mrs. Lot's tale to digest.  Ugh.  Yes, in my heart I knew I was being Mrs. Lot when it came to the bugs... to Texas... to everything.  For I had not lifted a finger to "nest" in our new home.  (A home the Lord had so clearly picked out for us to live in, by the way... and in only three days!!!  Another story.)

Sadly, four years in and I had not branched out of my introverted shell to really love on others the way I knew my King was calling me to do.  I stubbornly stalled.  In my heart I hemmed and hawed to The Holy Spirit with excuses and disappointments.  Sure, in our first year we experienced a rocky start with some really damaging punches from business-related unsavories.  We were broken down and leveled from personal and financial threats that proved untrustworthy and dishonest.  But despite all that... instead of me displaying the grace I knew that the Lord would provide and conquer for us... I simply wanted out of this crazy place!  I hated this big ugly "bug" of a state!  UGH!  Texas!  I loathed the thought of ever calling it home.  Ewwww.  (Let me pause here to apologize now to all my Texas lovelies who are reading this.  You know my heart.  You know where this story leads!)

Anyway, isn't God great?

Clearly, He knew that in order for me to actually overcome the uncomfortable fear and disappointment that was dragging me down, I had to choose to look to Him for more.  I had to let go of my 40-year safety net of familiarity and trust that His armor was sound. His Word was reliable.  His Way was my new way and future.  I had to undrape myself of old "me" in order to cloth myself with His new life.

I knew this.
But for four years I kept turning my head... looking backwards.
I lingered in my lust.

Then this year, two very interesting things occurred.  First, I finally decided I would heed the Holy Spirit's call and obey the Lord in this matter.  To begin, I would start caring about my new Texas home and stop cry-babying over my latitude and longitude.  My priority was the condition and well-being of my family.  I knew God was calling me past my own buggy war-zone and into something more progressive.

Secondly, I decided to start a garden in our backyard.  Mind you, I had never gardened.  But Texas seemed a logical location considering the humid climate.  So, I invested in learning how to grow plants from seed as well as tend to plants already established.  I did this daily - making it my new routine.  Ironically, my little garden project soon became a bigger, family-participation activity.  Chuck made lifting heavy pounds of soil seem easy so that our raised beds would flourish.  Momba brought home interesting plants to add into the mix.  Slowly... daily... the investment started producing fruit, quite literally.

I share all this with you to bring to your attention the obvious bug and reptile population I would now have to voluntarily come in close contact with as I developed our new garden.  But you see, you cannot move past your fear until you realize the important reward and purpose God places past that discomfort.  You cannot enjoy more in His Name until you obediently choose to pull on your protective pink rubber rain boots and matching garden gloves each and every morning and get yourself out there to attend to the good work He has started in you... the life He has called you to joyfully invest yourself into while also sharing His bountiful love with others.  His Way is progress.  His future promotes healthy, holy growth that fills, and satisfies, and rewards.

This year, I have learned more than ever that God is so much bigger than the frightening and dangerous nuisances that lurk about my life.  He is a God who offers to clothe me daily in His grace while protecting me from the evil swarms in this season.  I have learned that Satan and his army have no real power or place in God's new life.  They are insignificant in comparison to Christ's astounding, eternal greatness and hope.  I am brave because He provides and protects.  I can prune them away because He has given me every tool to accomplish the task with grace and dignity in His Name.

So, this year I am learning to be content with wherever God now leads.  To move forward in the beautiful new gardens He will teach me to steward.  Those growing, giving, fruit-bearing places that keep my heart focused homebound as I cultivate His love.

With Him, I can work past any mutant-sized distraction and progress forward... toward His harvest!  Toward His bountiful banquet table.

Again, my friends...

The more you dismantle your fear under the lens of Scripture...
The more you show up to ask God for His bravery and strength while trusting Him to deliver on His promises to protect you and yours...
Then, the less scary, threatening, and intimidating your fears actually become.

Praise the Lord.
His mercies are new every morning.

Wherever you may be today...
Whatever is drawing you to look backwards rather than move ahead toward God's kingdom...
Let me remind you that He has promised to cast out all your fear.
He is able to strengthen you.
He wants mostly to clothe you in His glory and honor.
He loves you.

Let me say that again...

Our great God loves you and wants to see you through to completion.
May we all trust and obey the Redeemer who gives us His new life.

God bless!


P.S.  Much love to y'all from the great state of Texas!

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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