March 3, 2016

Repeat Patterns, Repeat Pain

Why do we re-visit the same circles, over and over? Why do we seem to gravitate toward the same people, when we know that the end result is going to be heartache? Why do we keep re-living the same negative thoughts in our mind that we know always result in self-condemnation and feelings of inadequacy? The overall question is – why are we the way we are?

This is something I have struggled with for many years. I am a very sensitive person. I am a very emotional person. I wear my heart on my sleeve and would do anything for anyone, while always leaving my own needs and my own feelings in the background. I cry way too often, I get way too passionate about the silliest little things, I get my feelings hurt way too easily, and always feel like I am far too selfish. What engrains these things and thoughts in us? Are they the way that we are raised? Are they the past relationships we experience that cultivate these types of personality traits and attributes in us? What makes us- US? Why are we the way we are? 

I know you're looking for this paragraph to have some brilliant answer for you. I don't. Let's just get that out right now, dash your hopes and dreams right here on the spot. I only know that I was created and designed specifically for God's purposes. I know I was knit together in my mother's womb to the absolute perfection that God desired. What makes me ME is that I am made in the direct image of my Heavenly Father. What makes me the way I am is that I was redeemed and renewed and sanctified by an amazing Savior who paid the ultimate price so that I could have the opportunity to learn, grow, and cultivate into who God initially designed me to be. On our path we make wrong choices, we make bad decisions, we veer off the path more times than we would like to admit. But who God designed us to be from even before we were a thought in our parents' minds is exactly still who we are designed to be today. We may change the course of how we get there by the actions we take and the choices we make, but God's ultimate design from the very beginning of who we are, how we are, and why we were put here remain the same. Sometimes we may never fully understand why we are here, why were are the way we are, and -if you're like me- you might frustrate yourself a whole lot trying to figure everything out. But we know that if we wake up, if our eyes open and we draw breath in the morning, our purpose on this earth is not yet fulfilled. God has us here for a specific reason and He will not call us home until that reason is accomplished.

So instead of searching for what makes us- US, or why we are the way we are – let's more seek what makes God- GOD, and what makes HIM the way HE is. Because we are called to walk in His likeness, to become a new self and to emulate Him to the best of our abilities. So it is by knowing what makes God the way He is and knowing and learning exactly who He is that we can better know how to be like Him. We can learn how to be in a more intimate relationship with Him. We can better understand ourselves so that while we are here on this earth we can relate, have compassion, and love others the way that God intended. 

I'm going to share some of my favorite Scriptures below that state certain attributes of who God is, why He is the way He is, and the way in which we should also live. May they help us to understand what we are to walk this earth like, how we can grow in deeper connection with Jesus, and enable us to embrace and love ourselves exactly the way God made us, even right where we are at! God loves us right where we are, right how we are, and exactly who we are – but He also loves us too much to just leave us there. He has big plans for you, and for me. May we never stop seeking His face and may we continue to strive to love ourselves and others God's way, in order to reach the blessing of seeing our purposes and God's glory revealed!

Numbers 23:19 (NIV) - “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”

Deuteronomy 10:17 (ESV) - “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.”

2 Samuel 22:32-33 (NIV) - “For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.”

Hebrews 13:8 (AMP) - “For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.”

1 John 1:5 (MSG) - “This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him.”

Micah 7:18-19 (NIV) - “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”

Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV) - “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Galatians 2:19-21 (MSG) - “What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

Philippians 1:9-11 (ESV) - “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”