"Over the years we come to see that the only thing more tragic than the things that have happened to us is what we have done with them." (p. 74)
Many of us have embraced them, self-protected, accepted a twisted view of ourselves, and made awful "vows" to never do this or that again. As a result, we are living shamefully as "victims" rather than freely and dearly loved.
Chapters 4 & 5 really spoke to me. I had an insight while having lunch with my friend Lori the other day. I realized that in my efforts the last few years to give up the control issues in my life, I have somehow also given up control of the things I'm supposed to have control over. In my desire to stop clinging tightly to my life and taking charge of every situation,...I have instead become desolate and unable to take control when I'm being empowered to do so.
Don't you think God has empowered us with the wisdom and discernment to take action when need be? How do we do this in a healthy way? For me that means taking initiative. As my friend Amy says so often, "live intentionally." Often, my "cop out" is that it just isn't in my personality to naturally function this way. I'm often very passive...
"Much of what we call our 'personalities' is actually the mosaic of our choices for self-protection plus our plan to get something out of the love we were created for." (p. 75)
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
It's such a fine line, using that power. Isn't it? It's the difference between saying, "I'm going to make my own way and I don't need God or anyone else" (even if we don't say this out loud, oftentimes this is how we operate) or "I'm going to do what God has empowered me to do." Which one I choose changes everything!
So what can I do? I can take care of myself with the resources I'm given. Maybe I can't stop stretch marks, but I can control what I put in my mouth. I can get up early to exercise. To journal. To not only soak up, but to contribute to life.
What the Enemy wants to do is to whisper lies that sound so much like truths at that moment. As the authors discuss in chapter 5, it's a full-on assault on us as women. Not that men aren't assaulted too, but I feel that women often struggle in a different way. And we're not being attacked because we have no worth...we are being attacked because we are a threat! (p. 85) Let that one soak in for a sec.
As for the Bailey household, we've become increasingly aware of how we really are fighting a battle everyday. Before bedtime, we've started praying fervently for a spirit of peace and goodness to cover our home, praying against the Enemy and any evil that can and will try to enter here. I think it's so important. Especially when we are actively working on our relationships with Christ...we are susceptible to attack in the worst way.
The great news is that we have everything we need to fight it! Fighting is something else that doesn't come naturally to me...another thing I have to remind myself that I need to do, in the right way. The bottom line is that The Enemy fears our restoration. And he will do everything he can to attack that. But God is much more powerful, hallelujah.
"For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace,
And for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest,
Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
And her salvation as a lamp that burns.
The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory.
You shall be called by a new name,
Which the mouth of the Lord will name...
You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;
But you shall be called Hephzibah ["My Delight Is In Her"], and your land Beulah ["Married"];
For the Lord delights in you."
So, I am praying for my "new name." I am ready to move from "Desolate" to a name that characterizes peace, trust, and great confidence in who I am in Christ.
Chapter 1 thoughts.
Chapters 2 & 3 thoughts.
All excerpts from Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John & Stasi Eldredge.