Monday, June 30, 2014

Word Virus

So recently someone had a few words for me that threw me for a bit of a loop. It's funny, because when they were said I didn't realize their full impact. But within the following weeks, I found myself with negative thoughts that slowly multiplied, almost like a virus. I went from a deep confidence in who I was in Christ to truly questioning my authenticity. It shook my core and how I saw myself in Christ.

Like I said, it didn't happen immediately, nor did I realize the full impact of those words until my thoughts were truly in danger. I hadn't realized the onset of symptoms until it was a full-blown attack that had me down for the count. It was only this past week that I traced my current issues back to that moment, those words.

And I knew, even though I didn't feel like it, I needed to start the road to recovery. Which meant opening my Bible and really seeking God. Just like when you start taking medicine, the effects aren't immediately evident, but that doesn't mean you stop. So I opened my Word and dug in. I wrote last Wednesday's blog and one sentence I penned stuck:

We don't serve our feelings, we serve our God.

Now please don't misunderstand, I know there are truly medical issues that can affect our feelings and thoughts. Depression is real as are other mental diseases. Those aren't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how too often we give up when the rush of feelings we expect to encounter doesn't immediately follow. Oh, sometimes God works that way, but sometimes he wants us to keep digging in, keep seeking him, and to believe the feelings will follow. Sometimes he wants us to step out in that knowledge and faith and put feet to what we know to be true.

So I read my Bible all week. Knowing where the word virus had started and wanting to reclaim my thoughts and footing, but not really feeling any better. And then Friday I came across Psalm 43:

You are God my stronghold.
    Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?
Send me your light and your faithful care,
    let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you dwell.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

A couple of things stood out to me all at the same time. He is my stronghold. His light and his faithful care lead me. The desire to be in the place he dwells. He is my joy and delight...and then, finally, to praise him.

Praising him.

When David talks about his soul being downcast, he immediately leaps to praising God. All week I'd been reading my Bible, but I had not spent one moment in praise to God. I felt too distant. I felt condemned...unworthy. Now, there is such a thing as conviction that is accompanied with the voice of Truth. It's not always fun to hear, but you know there's truth in the words, and you can work toward change. But when words are served with an overwhelming feeling of condemnation, chances are they weren't spoken in truth and you need to seek God before moving in them. Had I immediately done that, rather than letting the word virus fester, I doubt I would have found myself where I was; even though I'd already decided I didn't want to serve those feelings, in cutting off my praise that's exactly what I was doing.

And here's the thing...even if we are a hypocrite or unworthy, even if we are a sinner in the worst way, it does not mean we cannot approach God in praise. Allowing satan to tape our mouth or invade our thoughts keeps us separate from the incredible power of praise because God inhabits the praise of his people! Battles have been won in the midst of praise! Walls have come tumbling down in the center of worship! Wars won. Lives changed. The holy anointing power of our God swirls through our praise and worship...they bring us to his holy mountain, to the place where he dwells, and there...

there...lives are changed. Thoughts are made new. And healing happens.


  1. Hi Susan,

    "We don't serve our feelings, we serve our God." That will preach, and you preached. I always turn to the Psalms when I am at my lowest. It's amazing how God can show me ways to praise Him, and then I end up feeling better.

    To God be the glory!

  2. Amen, Jackie! :) And I do love the Psalms.