A Tale Of Two Lives

A Tale Of Two Lives

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  2 Corinthians 5:17

What I have come to realize in my thirty-five years on this earth is that this proverbial “normal” that we all think everyone else is, does not exist. If you are messed up, congratulations, you are normal. Everyone one has problems, everyone has things they have to work through. Everyone.

BUT

If we are in Christ, we really are a new creation. We will still have troubles, we will still sin, but our heart will be different. Christians, is this true for you?

Before I was a new creation, I thought I was. I believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins so according to my pastor at the time, that made me a new creation in Christ. There was just one not-so-small problem. I was exactly the same as I was before. For those of you who are new to the blog, my “before” was filled with vulgarity, dishonesty, addiction, and a pathetic longing for approval that I was willing to get at any cost. I was this way before I was a Christian…and after.

Why? Because though I believed in God and believed that Christ died for my sins, I did not know the depth of my sin and just how much Christ had saved me from. I never really read the Bible but I listened to sermons telling me how to live my best life, I read Bible verses encouraging my endeavors and made sure to have a quiet time with a feel-good devotional and a prayer asking God to bless me. Other than that, I was perfectly fine with dressing and talking provocatively, “accidentally” drinking until drunk, and gossiping was my absolute favorite pastime. Seriously! The new creation in Christ must just be that once we believe we don’t go to hell because of how terrible we are.

NO! That’s not it! AND YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THIS!!!

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.  Luke 8:15

I had postpartum depression and anxiety after both of my pregnancies but the worst was after my second. I was overwhelmed with the constant thoughts that something awful happening to my son. No matter what I did, the thoughts came back. Night and day I worried. I felt like I was walking around in a constant nightmare. I was always scared, I was always sad. I cannot stress to you the constant terror that I felt. But this was good.

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.  Psalm 119:71

It was only when I was hit with the worry of something happening to my son that I finally opened to the Bible to see what God had to say about my plight. I decided to start in Genesis and read until I felt better.

I did not feel better. Not at all. I felt much, much worse.

As I read through the Old Testament, my eyes were opened to just how much God hates sin. The things that I brushed off daily because “everyone does it” were absolutely disgusting in the eyes of God. As a professing Christian, my heart loved the world. And as a professing Christian, my heart was repulsive in the eyes of God. If the terrible feelings I was having were God telling me that I was about to be punished severely, I certainly deserved it.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  Revelation 3:16

My eyes were now open to the fact that the punishment for sin really is death. Christians, have you ever stopped to think about that? What we actually deserve. I grew up in the 90’s and early 2000’s. “I deserve it!” was practically our anthem! But no, what we deserve is something really awful. Awful, just like our hears.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

Needless to say, I had never been more thankful for the words of the New Testament. For Jesus! When I finally got to the New Testament, I loved every single thing I read about the Lord. He is God. The one who hates my sin. He came to earth, He lived a life without sin, and then took the punishment that I am now fully aware that I deserve.

THANK YOU LORD.

I will never forget reading about the woman who washed Jesus’s feet with perfume. My attention was caught when I read that she lived a sinful life.

A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  Luke 7:37

That was me! I had lived a sinful life. A very sinful life. More sinful than I even knew! And I knew a good bit.

But then came the end of the chapter…

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Jesus said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Luke 7:48-50

Your sins are forgiven! Go in PEACE!

I cried. After a life of spitting in His face, He did not repay me with what I deserve. He blessed me. Who loves like this? No one, but our Lord.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

I tell you all of this because I know there are many out there like I was, saying you are a Christian but living like the world. You have to know that when we are a new creation in Christ, we really are different. You don’t even have to try, you just change. Of course, I still sin but I am changed. The desires of my heart are nothing at all like they were and I’m telling you that is a miracle. I am so thankful for what Christ has done and I want to live my life in a way pleasing to him because of how thankful I am. He truly saved my life!

Be honest with yourself today. Are you sure you are a new creation now that you are in Christ? If you are, the desires of your heart will agree.

Blessings,
Angela

Question:
Has this happened to you? Please please share!!!

 

 

 

 

There is Peace in the Pasture

There is Peace in the Pasture

Sheep

Good morning!

If there is one thing that has been burned into my mind throughout my crazy OCD journey it is this…

There is peace in the pasture.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.[a]
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness[b]
for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:1-3

Us humans, we love to try to be the shepherd right? Who doesn’t want to be in charge and not have to answer to anyone? Let me tell you who. You.

Think of a shepherd with his sheep in the pasture. The sheep have everything they need. They have food and water, there is a fence to keep them safe. They have everything they need because of their shepherd who watches over them.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  John 10:11

Jesus is our good Shepherd. We are His sheep. If you are having a hard time accepting that, I’m telling you, there is NO peace in trying to be your own shepherd. You will find peace as a sheep. And it really is a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

What is keeping you from submitting? Is it pride? You just want things your way? Friend, here’s your sign, you’re doing yourself in. Is it fear? Are you afraid that if you submit you will not enjoy God’s will? I thought that too! But you can’t let that hold you back. Seriously. No matter what it is. Remember Abraham.

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.  Genesis 22:1

Just do it. Just call to God and say “Here I am!”

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’  Jeremiah 33:3 

Today, just surrender it all. Be a sheep. There is peace in the pasture.

Grounding Techniques

Grounding Techniques

Good morning!

I hope you all are well, but if you aren’t maybe today’s anxiety post will help a bit.

If you suffer from anxiety attacks or panic attacks, today’s post is for you!

First, did you know there is a difference between the two?

Anxiety attacks are provoked by stressors and are short lived. Like if you think someone is in your house at night. As you are anxiously waiting for noises and footsteps your anxiety builds and builds and results in a short bout of racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, and dizziness. (Not a full list of  symptoms.)

Panic attacks, on the other hand, are unprovoked and can occur randomly. I would get them grocery shopping, in church, walking the dog, driving down the street, anywhere! Seemingly out of nowhere, sudden symptoms of dizziness, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, and racing heart hit like a ton of bricks. (Not a full list of symptoms).

It is important to learn the difference between the two because if you are like me and have experienced a panic attack thinking it was an anxiety attack, the fact that it is lasting a really long time only adds to the panic!

Grounding techniques are things that you can do when symptoms occur to bring you back into reality. When we are anxious, we live in our minds, not in reality. As real as the symptoms are, they are all stemming from your mind. When talking with my doctor about my symptoms, I told him that I was having real shortness of breath, real dizziness to the point of having to lay on the ground. I was having real acid reflux and brain fog, and real tremors so there had to be something wrong with me like a disease or something horrible. He told me when someone is suffering from an anxiety disorder, the symptoms are real. The anxiety causes real headaches, real nausea, everything. But the symptoms are coming from the anxiety, not cancer or hypoglycemia, or heart failure, or whatever it may be that we have self-diagnosed ourselves with during our obsessed Googling.

If you are too the point where you are having anxiety or panic attacks frequently, please read last week’s post, The Blessing of Medication. Do not be afraid to accept the help we have available to us.

Whether you are on medication or not, or even if you have an anxiety disorder or not, these techniques are good to know. Everyone has anxiety at some point in their life and it’s helpful to how to get out of our own heads. These techniques are easy but make a huge difference.

Groundings Techniques

Five Thinking Hats

5 thinking hats

My post on the Five Thinking Hats Technique is still my most popular one to date! This is a great way to force your mind back into the here and now. Here’s how to do it.

Wherever you are at the moment…

  1. Find five things you can see.
  2. Find four things you can feel.
  3. Three things you can hear.
  4. Two things you can smell.
  5. One good thing about yourself.

Asking Questions

Asking ourselves simple questions is another great to bring our minds out of the whirl.

ask

  1. Where am I?
  2. What is today?
  3. What is the date?
  4. What is the month?
  5. What is the year?
  6. How old am I?
  7. What season is it?

Trace Your Hand

Five Senses

Trace your hand on a sheet of paper. Write the five senses on each finger. Then for each of the five senses, identify something safe and comforting for each one. For example, the pinky finger represents sound. The waves rolling in at the beach. Pointer finger represents feel. Warm sheets from the dryer.

That was calming even typing that. 🙂

Other Things To Do When In Public

While you could certainly do Five Thinking Hats and Asking Questions in Public, here are some other things that you can do when you are not at home.

  • Step out into cool weather.
  • Wash your hands in cold water.
  • Focus on the voice of who is talking to you.
  • Feel the ground. Take off your shoes if possible.
  • Hold onto a cold drink
  • Turn the air conditioning on in your car and let it blow on your face.
  • Squeeze a ball or stuffed animal.

I hope you find some of these helpful! And there are certainly more grounding techniques out there. Do you have any others that you use? Please share! Let’s all help one another.

Blessings,
Angela