Friday, August 22, 2008

In The Shadow Of His Hand

Originally posted October 20, 2006

I have posted several times about how I often suffer from severe panic/anxiety attacks. I have been seeing a counselor however I have found that the biggest help has been my quiet times with the Lord. I have committed to getting up every morning (okay almost every morning) to spend at least an hour in worship, prayer and God's word before starting my day.

During these times of conversation with God, He has been revealing Himself to me in new and amazing ways. He has also been refining my heart by showing me things in my life that must change. This is a hard, but much needed, process.

Ephesians 2: 4-10 says the following;

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God's special favor that you have been saved! For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms--all because we are one with Christ Jesus. And so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus.

God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

(New Living Translation, emphasis mine)

This has been a huge revelation for me. I do not know how many times I had to read that passage before it finally sank in.

God does not base His blessing/protection/love/etc. for me on my quantity, or quality, of time spent with Him. He desires a deep and full relationship with me, but no "work" I do, good or bad, will change His love for me.

I'm a stubborn person and it took me until now to believe this truth in my heart. Yet the truth of it frees me up so much. Who I am is not defined by what I do. Who I am is defined only by Christ living in me. (Galatians 2:20)

This has been a hard one for me to accept. I am a "doer". I like to be busy and accomplish things. I love making lists and seeing the items checked off at the end of the day. Also, this one is hard because I am always striving for more and I am not good at being okay with what I have already.

And the biggest revelation of all has been that I don't have to figure it all out.

Whenever God gives a vision to a saint, He puts him, as it were, in the shadow of His hand, and the saint's duty is to be still and listen. There is a darkness which comes from excess of light, and then is the time to listen… When God gives a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will make you in accordance with the vision He has given if you will wait His time. Never try and help God fulfill His word.

(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)

I don't have all the answers. I don't know why I struggle with panic attacks. I don't know why I am on this journey or where it ends. And that's okay. I don't have to have all the answers now, and maybe I never will. I have to come to a place where I am content in Christ alone.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

(Philippians 4:12-13)