By Posted in - general & talks & writing on August 29th, 2013 7 Comments

I have a “thing.” This one itty-bitty thing that I go to for comfort when I probably shouldn’t. It’s not a big deal; really it’s not. It’s not like I do anything really bad. I just do my “thing.”

Other people have things. Real things. They drink themselves into oblivion to feel happy. They stay high to stay numb. They have extra-marital affairs to feel loved. They sleep with anything that moves to feel wanted. Those are serious things that can hurt you. I have dear friends and family members whom I love that have these things and it is devastating to watch. They struggle and fight against their thing: their addiction, their coping mechanism, their hurt.  I pray for these people. I pray for those things to release them. I pray they  finally find freedom from their thing and see that God is a loving healer and that the thing that is consuming them is just a cheap substitute for His love. And I know full well that it is only by the grace of God that I am not struggling with one of those real things right now.

Good thing my thing is a tiny thing.

Or is it?

I dread when God speaks to me. Wait, I don’t mean that. I love it, really I do. But I dread it too. What I dread is that often when I hear God speak, He is speaking to me about something that is in my life that needs to change. Sigh. Can’t you see that I’ve had enough change in my life lately, thank you very much?

I also dread that He seems to pick the moments that I am most tired and worn-down to ask something of me. Sigh. Can’t you see that I’m exhausted?

And I dread that when He speaks to me, (I know from past experience) He will keep speaking to me until I listen and follow. Sigh. I heard you the first time, God.

But what I love about when God speaks to me is that He never does it in judgement. He does it in love. In fact, the very way I can discern if the voice I hear is His is by carefully listening to the words and the tone.

The enemy doesn’t speak to me kindly. He accuses me and tears me down. He calls me names and says awful awful things that wound me. And I often don’t have a habit of speaking to myself kindly either. I sound a lot like the enemy sometimes. But when God speaks to me, His tone is always one of mercy, and His words are always ones of grace. He is gentle with me. He is kind. He is encouraging. But He is not easy.

Sometimes I glory in what He asks of me. Don’t get me wrong – I am ALWAYS scared at first but I love knowing that when He asks something of me, He has already unilaterally promised to equip me for it. It is so amazing to see Him work in my life and heal me and use me and teach me and mold me. If you have read my piece COAL, then you know that I believe that God is a God of refinement. I believe His promise that He makes all things new. And I believe that He is doing just that in you and me at this very moment.

But sometimes, I battle with what He has asked of me. And while this newness and refinement He has promised are good things, they are also very very hard things. They often require giving up things I know thought I knew for His things, better things. And in those moments of giving them up, it is hard to see the better coming. I feel a little beat up and picked on and whiny and pouty. And a little bit like throwing a full scale 3-year-old cookie aisle tantrum in the grocery store.

It is very very very very easy for me to cling to the old cheap substitute and fight Him tooth-and-nail to learn my lessons. So when I hear Him speak to me about something, I sometimes dread the battle ahead because I know it will be fraught with failure for awhile and I don’t like that part. But the beauty of each of these lessons and each time He has reached down and spoken to me and asked something of me is that when I finally stop fighting Him on it, there is sweet sweet victory.

And over the years, in each one of these battles and journeys, He has never failed me. Never. Not once. Not even a little bit. God has truly kept every promise, never lied to me, never manipulated me, and never even thought of giving up on me. God is so good that when He asks something of me, He then helps me do it and loves me through it and I get to experience His goodness firsthand. I have learned that God can be trusted and that obeying Him and battling through the trial is worth it.

But when God spoke to me about my “thing,” I got angry. Let me tell you how this conversation went.

God: “My darling daughter, this “thing” you do is a barrier for my love and healing in your life.”

Me: “I don’t have a thing.”

God: “My darling daughter, this “thing” you do is a barrier for my love and healing in your life.”

Me: “What thing? I can’t imagine what you are talking about.”

God: “My darling daughter, this “thing” you do is a barrier for my love and healing in your life.”

Me: “Okayyyyyy…? I am listening, but I am not sure what thing you might be referring to.”

God: “My darling daughter, this “thing” you do is a barrier for my love and healing in your life.”

Me: “Right. I heard you the first time. But what thing are you referring to? I barely drink, I have never done drugs, I don’t cheat, I don’t lie about anything important, I don’t steal, I work hard, I even work for you, and I am in like 4 Bible Studies right now…. so …. clearly you are mistaken.”

God: “My darling daughter, this “thing” you do is a barrier for my love and healing in your life.”

Me: “Okay – I am going to need you to stop with that. I don’t know what you want here. I love you like crazy, I work hard to follow you like crazy. I even tell others about you so they can love you like crazy. I even write about what a mess I am to help others know that you will love them like crazy back. What Else Do You Want From Me?”

God: “My darling daughter, I want the “thing.”

Me: silence

God: I have promised you life, more abundantly, and yet this thing is a barrier to my blessings. Give me the thing, my child. You know what it is. The thing is the thing that you put in my place sometimes.”

Me: “Oh that? You want that thing? But it isn’t even a big thing. It is a tiny little thing, a harmless thing, really. Just a little something to get me through the hard times. Just a little something that gives me pleasure and happiness, just a little something that helps me cope on the bad days and brings me comfort when I need it. Just an itty-bitty, tee-tiny, harmless little thing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is a barrier of any kind. Or that it takes the place of your healing in my life. Although I will admit that I don’t really like that I do it. And I guess I do kind of sell out to it on occasion. And I can see how you might consider it just a cheap substitute for something better, like the real joy and peace and contentment that only you can give me. And I can definitely see that this thing is the thing that the enemy uses to shame me the most. And the thing that I have secretly been held captive to for years but have rationalized it and hidden it. And the thing that I run to instead of you. Oh, that thing.”

Sigh. Can’t you see I need it?

God: “My darling daughter, this “thing” you do is a barrier for my love and healing in your life.”

Me: Yes, God. As always, you are right. So let’s get on with it because this one is gonna hurt.

So this “thing,” this one itty-bitty thing that I go to for comfort when I probably shouldn’t that is not a big deal; really it’s not, has turned out to be a very very big thing.

I don’t want to give it up. And I certainly don’t want to tell you about it. I want to hide it some more and keep it for myself. I want to rationalize that in a hard, hard world, with all the other really big bad “things” in it, this thing is an okay thing to have. But God has said, gently and quietly and lovingly and unceasingly, that it is not. He has said that this itty bitty no-big-deal thing has been a real issue in my life for 20 something years. That it has held me captive, and given the enemy a foothold, and built a barrier to His blessings. This is a thing I must give up, must submit to Him, must let Him heal.  And the very fact that I am fighting Him so hard on it and have rationalized it so well for so long… tells me that He is right.

Sigh. Here we go again.

So I have committed to let God heal me in this thing.  I am choosing to submit it to Him and fight the good fight and battle for my freedom.  It is going to be SO HARD YA’LL.  The enemy keeps telling me that this is small thing that I don’t need to worry about or that God doesn’t care about this thing and won’t help me in this journey.  But those are lies.  God is big enough to care about our little things and He has proven that again and again by equipping me with tools and resources and His Word and His people to help me with this journey.  And I wondered if you too, might want to be a part of it…?

Do you have a “thing?” Maybe it is one of those things that we would say is a big thing: Alcoholism, drug addiction, adultery. Or maybe it is some itty-bitty no-big-deal thing in your life that just might be a very big thing after all.

Do you have something that you run to in the hard times that seems so inconsequential that it couldn’t possibly matter to God? But when you read this post and heard His whisper, you got a little mad or defensive? Is there something that just might hold you a little bit captive? Or that, when faced with the idea of giving it up, makes you want to throw that tantrum like I do?

Maybe you don’t. If so, I am thoroughly impressed with you and I need to be your friend and I need you to be my mentor. And maybe you can help my being my prayer warrior through this journey.

But maybe, like me, you do have a “thing” (I still want to be your friend.) Maybe the enemy has alternately shamed you and then helped you rationalize this “thing” for years. And you too have believed the lie and told yourself that it’s not a big deal; really it’s not.

But what if it is? May I submit to you the conviction that God has offered me?  That it is these little places, these tiny little corners of our hearts where we refuse to let Him shine His light, that keep us in the darkness. And we know from His Word that darkness is the enemy of God.

1 John tells us,

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (5-7 NIV)

And Ephesians 5 encourages us to be Children of the Light by saying,

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light  (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)  and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.  But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”(8-14 NIV)

What if we exposed that little dark corner? What if we drug it (kicking and screaming) out to the light for God to see and heal? What if we even (GASP!) dared to show it to one another so that we could encourage each other in that healing?

I know, I know……………….. terrifying.

But if His Word is right (and it is,) and His promises are true (and they are,) then it is only when we dare to tell the truth that it can set us free.

I want to be free. Do you?

Hebrews 12:1 says,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (NLV)

Will you run this race beside me?  Will you join me on this journey to bring to light those itty-bitty-no-big-deal things that hold us captive and serve as barriers for God’s healing in our lives? Will you pray this week (or even right now) that God might shine His goodness all over your heart and bring to light the “thing” that just might be taking His place in your life?  And will you ignore the devil’s shaming lies that you are weak and the only one with a “thing” and share in this journey along side me?

Let’s commit, my sweet brothers and sisters, to help each other on this long, hard, dusty, bumpy road to redemption.  Let us hold each other accountable and encourage one another.  Let’s remind ourselves and our fellow travelers of His truth and promises when the enemy’s lies are blaring like a boombox in the darkest hours.  Let’s run the hard race and fight the good fight and trust the good God who can break the chains of bondage that have held us captive for far too long.

I will if you will.

See ya on the road.


  • Beckey - Reply

    August 29, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Yipes! God used this to speak right to my heart and convict me. And yep, I don’t like it…

    “What if we exposed that little dark corner? What if we drug it (kicking and screaming) out to the light for God to see and heal?”
    Ha! As we fool ourselves into thinking we are actually hiding it from God? He sees it. He knows exactly what and where it it. He’s just waiting for us to drag it out and expose it so he can heal it!

    For me that little bitty thing is food. I use it for comfort when I feel sad, soothing when I feel stressed or angry, and celebration when I feel good.

  • Liz - Reply

    August 29, 2013 at 7:48 am

    You and I have similar conversations with The Lord . Such a struggle to let go of that comfort of ” the thing” I call escaping. I say : ” but God life is so hard! I hurt so deeply and it is not bad or sinful,just a way to shut down.” And He says : ” but it is seeking release in other than me.” So it goes and, I too, need to be set free in His truth and run only to Him for escape,shut down and rest from the hard road of life. Thanks for sharing! God is glorified in your sharing your heart and touching lives . Thank you. God bless you in your giving your thing to Him.

  • Kyle Treat - Reply

    August 29, 2013 at 9:08 am

    That’s deep. I love the way you explain the things GOD asks of you.

  • Dana - Reply

    August 29, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Yes! I will run the race but can I get some of those cute neon running shoes?!? Ok, I admit one of my “things” is shopping.

    Thank you for reminding me to slow down and listen more carefully to Him. Shine on sister!!!

  • Sandi Brewer~~OBS Small Group Leader - Reply

    August 29, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    This was very pointed and very convicting. I don’t think anyone could read it and not be searching their heart for the “thing” they treasure. Awesome writing, too!

  • Becky Burke - Reply

    September 1, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Just got around to reading. This is “right on”. Thanks for sharing – I never have any trouble relating to your message. Keep your gift going. Becky

  • Janet - Reply

    September 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    I liked your conversation with God — it rings true. We struggle to discern God’s will and your story helps show why that’s so hard.

    I find God’s will often comes as a request and I have to discover the “why”.

    I always want to know the whole “why” first. It’s take a long time to realize that “why” comes on the journey.

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