One of the sweetest things I’ve come to love about the Lord is how truly perfect his timing is to reveal something to us that up until now we’ve had no idea was impacting us to the degree it has. Thankfully, he doesn’t just throw it at us. When it comes to the matters of our heart, he is always tender.
Needless to say, for the past several weeks I’ve had a recurring thought that I’ve wondered about. This morning after a nice two-hour quiet time I sat down to do some stretches and watch a Christian program. As the girl shared some of her testimony about her mom I found tears streaming down my face. Her testimony wasn’t the same as mine. However, that “recurring thought” I’ve been having was triggered. Funny, I thought I’d dealt with my “mom-issues” long ago. In fact, I went up to Virginia and spent two weeks making amends with my mom before it was too late. Then after she passed, other issues resurfaced and so I dealt seriously with them. You see, I’m in the habit of dealing with my stuff. I’m in the habit because I don’t want to give the enemy another foothold in my life.
In my reading early this morning the following resonated with me, “If we’re Christians, then the Lord has delivered us out of slavery. Through Christ’s work on the cross, Jesus has removed our despair and darkness and put in its place victory, strength, and freedom. The old is gone. The new has come. We are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). We need never return to Egypt. And yet … A life of slavery still beckons to us. We find that our old, harmful thoughts are hard to shake. Our former unhealthy habits are hard to break. Long-embedded patterns of shameful living continue to entangle us – day after day, month after month, even year after year. Some days we feel weighed down by those shackles. We long for the freedom to respond to God fully as the people He has created and redeemed us to be. But fear and heaviness and darkness surround us. We wonder where to turn. We need to recognize the reality of the spiritual realm. We need to step fully into God’s plan to heal our broken world. We need to move into life and healing, purity, liberty, holiness, and truth.” (Truly Free, by Robert Morris)
I’ve often joked over the course of my life how disappointed I am that I’ve never gotten to stay in a hospital. Since I’ve never had children, suffered an illness, or had need for surgery sometimes I felt I missed out. Oh, I don’t want to have any pain that would cause me to go the hospital … I just want a valid excuse to receive attention, you know flowers, cards, worry, friends coming to see me, etc. As crazy as this sounds, it traces back to my mom. And that’s the “recurring thought” I’ve had over recent months. Because my mom was mentally ill and had one perceived sickness after another, she demanded all the attention in our home. I became a caretaker/little parent at age six and while I was occasionally commended for my help, it wasn’t the same attention a child longs for from her parent. I wasn’t noticed for who I was but for what I did. And that’s where my performance issues stemmed from. Praise God we’ve dealt a death blow to that layer of my dysfunction! But now I realize that perhaps many of my weight struggles have been a very sick and misguided attempt for attention. If for no one but me, because I give myself constant attention … usually with disgust as how bad I’ve let myself get.
In the book I referred to earlier Morris goes onto say, “If we continually sin, particularly over and over in the same specific area, or if we willfully sin while consciously thumbing our noses at God, then that’s a big danger sign that something deeper is going on in our lives, something influenced by evil.”
All that to say, for me, these continued weight struggles go deeper than I first thought. It’s a matter of the heart not willpower. What I’m also learning is that as long as we live we have an enemy in hot pursuit of the good work God is doing in us, that work of freedom. That same enemy longs to hold us in captivity to the lies and misguided truths we’ve come to embrace as grownups.
What about you? “So today ask yourself: Where do these thoughts originate? We can be in bondage to habitual sin and not even be aware of it. When a recurring thought comes to you take time to dig deeper to see what’s really going on. Jesus sets us free! Realize freedom is offered to you by Jesus. He always cares for you. He always loves you. His arms are always open wide for you to come home.” (Robert Morris)