Is It Well With My Soul?

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I was perusing through a department store trying to escape my emotions. Honestly, I wanted to feel numb, even for just a moment. I slowly walked through each aisle capturing words on decorative wall hangings. One of them caused me to take a long pause. It read, “It is well with my soul.” I asked myself if that was true for me. The answer was no. No, it was not well with my soul. Life had been feeling difficult. Goals out of reach. Loneliness and depression setting in. Things happening out of my control. I wanted it all to be well with my soul, but it was not something I could magically make happen. As I continued my perusing I found myself surrounded by words of encouragement on these wall hangings.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…

Love bears all things…

Amazing grace…

God is good…

Faith…

I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you…

Choose joy…

Be still and know…

You get the picture. I chuckled because I was not in a Christian store! Here I was surrounded by God’s Word causing me to think and address some of my emotions.

Have you ever felt things were not well with your soul?

Have you ever felt your purpose or goals were out of reach?

Have you ever felt confused by your emotions?

Me too!

I know that God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33) When I find my joy gone, and my soul in a drought, I go back to His Word. His Word always speaks clarity to what I am struggling with.

Back at home from the store, I began my daily reading in Deuteronomy and God brought to light something so simple and yet profound. It is found in chapter 30:11,14

“For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.”

Let that word wash (or spoken from my true southern dialect “warsh”) over you for a moment. Read it again.

Now, receive this next truth that only God can accomplish. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you.

He will be with you.

He will not fail you or forsake you.

Do not fear or be dismayed.”

If what His Word says is true, and I believe it is, then why does it ‘feel’ like it is not? It is because our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

The enemy (Satan) wanted me to be numb. He wanted me to not address what I was experiencing. But God wanted the opposite for me. God surrounded me with His truths, His promises, His commands, and drew me into His Word in Deuteronomy. He was pursuing me, letting me know that things can be well with my soul. I needed to focus and acknowledge that He is sovereign, He goes before me and yet never leaves me, and what He is desiring me to do is not too difficult.

What He is desiring you to do is not too difficult!

We can trust that if God has planned it, He will do it. (Isaiah 46:11b)

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

It can be well with our souls no matter the battle we are in. There is no storm that He cannot calm, nor any depth of despair He cannot pull us from. Let praise be on our lips for His word is in our hearts, and ever so near to us. As we trust Him with what we are trying to escape, He will work all things out for the good.

 

 

 

 

There Is More To It Than You Think

Crevices of heartWhen I take a test I look like a scared, wet cat clinging to a tree branch. The anxiety causes my stomach to knot up, my eyes to bug out, and I become paralyzed. Talking myself down, I imagine scooching over in my chair, and having Jesus sit beside me so He can see my exam. I take deep breaths asking Him for help. I am a realtor, which requires continuing education courses from time to time. Well, it was time! After finishing my course exam, I took another deep breath and faxed it to my instructor. I felt good about the answers I submitted. Then, the phone rang.  My instructor called to tell me I had failed the test! Confusion, doubt, and low self-esteem crept back into the crevices of my heart.  I would have to take the test again! The following four days, I rehearsed what I might have answered incorrectly. I drudged up self-talks I promised myself I would never listen to again.

Can you relate? You know the ones? Self-talk that convinces us to grab a shovel, dig a hole, and bury ourselves with lies. Lies validating our insecurities and incompetence. Lies convincing us failure will always be our companion.

In those four days, I found myself engaged in a different kind of test.

A heart test … the kind God gives.

“The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold, but the LORD test hearts.” (Proverbs 17:3)

Silver and gold are refined through a purification process extracting impurities, which are then scraped away. The process is repeated until what is left shines in its purest form.

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When God test hearts, impurities are exposed, as well.

Such as:

  • Control
  • Motives
  • Perfectionism
  • Lust
  • Codependency
  • Idols
  • Covetousness
  • Comparison
  • Jealousy

Why does God test hearts?

  • To purify us that we might walk in His ways.
    • God tested Abraham with his son Isaac. (Genesis 22:1)
    • God left King Hezekiah alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart. (2 Chronicles 32:31)
    • God tested the Israelite’s as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. (Deuteronomy 8:2)
    • You have today declared the Lord to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. ” (Deuteronomy 26:17)

 

  • To teach us to love Him with all of our heart.

…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

  • To shape us to the image of Christ.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son… (Romans 8:28-29)

  • To prepare us to be light in a dark world.

To quote Lysa Terkeurst, “God often meets with us in the quiet darkness of adversity just before taking us out into the light. He must strengthen the light in us before the spotlight is placed on us.”

You may not believe what I am about to share with you, but it really happened. On the fourth day, I received a second phone call from my instructor. With an electric excitement, he explained that there was a printing error on my exam and I had actually passed!

I told you that it’s hard to believe! 🙂

All of the anxiety, negative self-talk, confusion… was not wasted. God tested my heart and exposed what did not belong.

He loves us too much to leave our hearts tainted with impurities. The pressures and afflictions of life not only expose the hidden crevices, they strengthen our walk with God, and allow us the opportunity to be light in a dark world.

Can you remember the last time you were tested by God?

Did it purify your walk with Him?

Did God teach you to love Him with all of your heart?

Did God reshape you to reflect His image?

Let’s put down the shovel and not bury ourselves in lies any longer. Let’s allow God to use our trials to refine us … becoming the people He designed us to be.

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