Rewind!

Oh, boy, I really messed that up.

My aim was to share, encourage, and entertain. But how could anyone have gotten anything out of a talk that was so personal, passionate, and rambling?

The day after I’d given a talk to the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group at church, negative replays of that morning began tumbling through my mind like a windstorm of errant autumn leaves. At one point, those replays were so annoying I stopped everything to pray about the criticism I was giving myself.

Plopping onto a kitchen chair, elbows on my knees, palms pressed hard against my forehead, I poured out a plea. “Please, God, help me let this go.”

Did you feel encouraged to lift Me up as you were speaking?

“Yes, but what about how I talked so much about myself. My childhood. My mother. My writing. And I dragged it out . . . on and on . . . ”

And afterward? How did your question and answer session go?

“It went well, but—”

But—I wasn’t listening and kept right on agonizing and praying for help to let go of the constant “hashing over” of what I’d so passionately shared.

Minutes later, I pulled on a sweater and half-listened to the program in progress on a Christian radio station. The pastor giving the message didn’t waste any time getting right down into my business as he read the first of two Bible versions of Revelation 3:16.

“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Uh oh. But I hadn’t exactly been lukewarm in my talk, had I? Coffee sloshed in the cup as I set it on my nightstand and stared at the radio. The pastor had my attention.

He continued, reading the second version, which put the verse in words a whole lot stronger “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”

He paused, thoughtful, and seemed to draw out his words for effect, “So, being lukewarm makes God sick.”

I let out the breath I’d been holding. I’d heard enough. I “got” it.

Doubt had taken my focus from the Lord. I’d focused squarely on myself. I was sinking as fast as Peter had after he left his boat and walked on the water to go to Jesus. Instead of keeping his eyes locked on the eyes of Jesus, Peter looked away to the winds that whipped the wave tops and buffeted him. In sudden fear, he began to slip beneath the waves like chunk of lead and called to Jesus to save him. I had done the same. Jesus reached out to Peter.

“And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” Matthew 14:31

And in the midst of my doubts and  fears, the Lord reached out to me with a reminder. Sweet reassurance that He had been in every detail of my talk to the young women. My passion had come from His heart. My job was to trust and leave the rest to Him.

All those replays, doubts, and worries had been custom designed by Satan to attack my weak spots. I had prayed over what I would say to the gathered moms. I’d trusted the Holy Spirit. I’d been passionate. I’d done my best to lift up the Lord, so why had I doubted?

Satan, the universal doubt-planter, the one who paces the earth like a roaring lion, ready to devour, was overruled as God spoke to my heart through the pastor’s words.

And I let it go.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1Peter 5:8).

So He said, ‘Come.’ “And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!'” (Matthew 14:29-31)

I’m thankful we serve a gracious God who cares when we lose our way in trusting Him. He loves us with an everlasting love and turns our tribulations into triumphs . . . and into stories to share.

Have you ever doubted and started to sink into a sea of unbelief?

There’s a song for that; Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

Love,

Sally

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8 thoughts on “Rewind!

  1. We are sisters of the heart, Sally. Oh, how much that sounds like me every time I’ve given a talk. Rehash, replay the weaknesses rather than the strengths, think how I could have said something stronger, better, etc., etc. I am in a women’s Bible study on breaking free from perfection and the teacher said something last week that was really good: Satan is a liar–and he is really good at it! It’s that last part that gave me pause. He really is good at it! Thanks for a beautifully written blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The talk I gave was a while ago, and I think I’m getting a little better at dealing with the replays, but they are so ingrained in this ole perfectionist! I can sure see that there must be a lot of us out there, heart-sister! I can also see that we rarely admit or share with each other about it. I even struggled with posting this as it’s so “selfie” but just maybe that’s what the Lord wanted, so we could help each other with the letting go and letting God. Thanks for an excellent comment,, Pat!

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  2. Sally, when I first met you, you were one vivacious person whom I could tell followed after her Lord. She (you) weren’t all wrapped up in your problems and all of life’s dramas. You were a genuine woman with cute stories, and you definitely appreciated a lot of people. I saw lots of things in you, but the best one was your love of others. That was what I believe all Jesus followers would be identified with. I totally admired you. Wish we could get together again for a visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kathy! Your comment was from your heart and I’m grateful. Maybe one of these days we might try pulling the old Tabernacle Critique Group together again for a reunion. It’s been a long time! I’d love that. Blessings! ☺

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