Are You Stuck In Winter? Here Are Three Ways to Break Free.

Spring is here and most of us are ready for some warm weather and the change from winter to spring. The dogwoods are in bloom, tulips look beautiful, and I’m ready to put on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.

As I think about the change in seasons and how much enjoyment this brings, I can’t help but think about spiritual seasons. Spiritually, I wonder how many of us are stuck in winter and can’t seem to find the beauty of spring.

In the book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis uses this phrase; …always winter but never Christmas. Spiritually, do you ever find yourself in this situation? In other words, do you find yourself locked in the cold of winter but never experiencing the joy of Christmas? Never experiencing the joy of knowing Christ. Never experiencing the fullness in life that only comes from a relationship with God. For some, it’s always just a spiritual winter. I hope this doesn’t describe you because this is certainly a miserable position in life.

If you are spiritually stuck in winter, here are three ways to get to a joyous spring:

Release control of your life to God: Recognize that if you try to keep the control of your life you set yourself up for a life of spiritual winter.

Spend time reading the Bible: You can’t move into a new season if you have no way to listen to God.

Cultivate your prayer time: Communication is a two-way street. Just as you need to listen to God, you need to spend time talking with Him. Tell God how you’re feeling and ask for spiritual direction. Prayer is powerful.

As spring is upon us, will you consider your spiritual season today? As the flowers bloom this spring I am reminded of the verse in Luke chapter 12 that says this:

And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.

Knowing that God cares even for the flowers, won’t you allow Him to direct your life? Develop your relationship with God and watch your spiritual life move from a cold, drab winter to a warm and exciting spring.

Are You Scared? Try This.

If today I asked you what you fear, how would you answer? What are those things in your life that really scare you? I’m not talking about spiders or the dark, I’m talking about fears that you face as a part of who you are. Deep inside, what really scares you? Death, sickness, a ruined career, financial devastation…what is your secret fear?

During civil war battles, General Stonewall Jackson always had the habit of riding his horse right on the lines where the shooting took place. Bullets hit all around him. His aides were frequently trying to get Jackson to move to the back and direct the fighting from there. Yet, General Jackson would never move to the back of the line. He was always right out in front encouraging the troops and giving directions. Finally, one of Jackson’s aides again urged General Jackson to move to the rear and here is Jackson’s response.

Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.1

Maybe General Jackson was on to something. Maybe we fear because we are trying to take control when we should be turning the control of our lives over to God. Perhaps deep down inside we all know that we can’t control much of anything that has real eternal significance. We need God in our lives. We need to acknowledge that it is God who has ultimate control and not us.

I suspect that as we release control of our lives to God, we also hand over our fear. Those fears that nag at us will start to disappear. I am reminded of Philippians chapter 4 that says this:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.

Are you looking for relief from your fears and the chance to experience God’s peace? Be like General Stonewall Jackson and turn your fear over to God. Then you can truly focus on the exciting life God has planned for you instead of spending each day of your life in fear and worry.

 

 

1 Speaking to Captain John D. Imboden (24 July 1861), as quoted in Stonewall Jackson As Military Commander (2000) by John Selby.

 

 

Guarding Your Heart

Recently I was reading an article titled, Couple Has An Open Marriage So Complicated It’s Hard to Keep Track. This article discussed the lives of Michael, his wife, Kamala, their six-year-old son, and Michael’s live in girlfriend, Rachel.  Kamala is also in a relationship with someone other than Michael.  Now you can better understand the title of the article.

Author Jenny Block, who commented on this story, had some surprising thoughts in support of this type of lifestyle.  Block said this, We cannot control our own desires and we certainly cannot control the desires of others.  Really? We cannot control our own desires? That is a rather broad and flawed statement.

We control our own desires everyday and I suspect Jenny Block does too.  If we didn’t have the ability to control our own desires, we would drive whatever speed we chose rather than obey the speed limit.  In stores, we would push people out of our way in the check out line rather than show patience.  We would eat everything in sight rather than show discretion.  If we wanted something in the store we would just take it rather than pay for it.  It is absurd to say that we cannot control our own desires.  Each of us chooses to control our own desires every day.

Block also said this, the heart wants what it wants, again insinuating that we are all so weak that we can’t control ourselves.  Block makes it sound as though we get an impulse to react in some manner and we just must comply.  We simply can’t stop ourselves.  What a poor excuse for choosing your lifestyle.  Notice I said choosing a lifestyle because that is exactly what each of us does.  People could certainly choose a monogamous heterosexual lifestyle, they have the control to do so, but instead they choose another alternatives.

Stop playing the victim with lifestyle decisions.  Each of us makes the choice; the way you live isn’t forced upon you.  Instead of saying, like Jenny Block, the heart wants what the heart wants, how about following some Biblical advice found in Proverbs that says, Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Don’t follow ridiculous desires of your heart.  Guard your heart from absurd decisions, show restraint and integrity and live the way God intended for you to live.

You may read more of Dr. Myers’ writing at www.robertmmyers.com or view his work on Vimeo.

I Am In Control

Do you ever have days when you feel as though everything is spinning out of control?  Just that very thought implies that you actually believe you control your days.  Could it be that we often forget who leads us through each day?

I think it is very common for those who tend to be driven and goal oriented to fall into the trap of believing that we can force things to happen.  If we push hard enough we can make events occur.  We believe that we control our days, our careers, and even our futures.  We have the latest software calendars, to do lists, project management software, strategic plans, and we read the latest books on organizing and managing our lives, families, and co-workers.

Maybe we need to just stop and take a breath and reflect on what scripture tells us.   In Proverbs, Chapter 16, verse 9 we read, “We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps.”

I believe a great partner verse to this is found in Psalms, Chapter 46, verse 10. Here we read, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Be still…now there is something to think about.  My days are filled with endless pinging…the indication of new email arriving, text messages, Facebook notifications, cell phone ringing. How do I ever hear God directing my steps?  It’s that verse in Psalms…reminding me to sit down, calm down, relax, and “be still”.  Then I can begin to hear God speaking to me.

So…if God is in control, how can your life be out of control?  If you have turned your life over to Christ, it is impossible for your life to be out of control.  Turn your life over to God, listen to His direction, and relax.  God has determined your steps.