Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Walking Billboard--Or Just A Heart For God?

When I think back to when I first started this blog, I also ask myself why I even started writing. Before the blog, I wrote, “A Prayer Away From Healing”. No one in my family really knew the extent of my faith in God. I was brought up Catholic, but they were non-practicing. I went through the motions of communion and confirmation, but I never felt the spirit of God move in my life so prominently as I did when I became born again.

The purpose of starting this blog was to practice writing. I wanted to write about different things. I also wanted to tear myself away from my second book, if I had a block, or if I needed to vent. It was a good outlet for me, and it still is. My blog was multipurpose; an array of topics that I felt strongly about, or if I wanted to just write about something silly and irrelevant to the whole theme of what this blog was supposed to be. It really wasn’t supposed to be about anything.

God gave me the strength to write a book while I was going through a rough break up. It was therapeutic, as well as a spiritual experience. There were times where I didn’t even feel as though I was writing. My hands kept typing away, while I looked at the screen and thought, “Is that me?” It was me, however, God moved me so much during that time that I just let Him take over. He was in control.

During the course of this year and continuing to blog, I have come across many people who feel the need for factual biblical matters, theologians giving their advice on what’s right or wrong, and of course your radical extremists giving their opinion and beliefs…as they see as “TRUTH”. That’s okay. It was interesting to see so many various people with the same faith, with different beliefs.

As I said in my previous post, I am not one to push my beliefs in anyone’s face. I’m here to just tell you about my experiences and to let you know what my thoughts are. I respect all of your beliefs—and would never criticize you for something I don’t feel the same about.

This morning I came across an article in “The Word For You Today” devotional that Madelene left for me. Each day gives you a different topic. It’s almost like ‘a thought for the day’. I wanted to share this with you, and let you know my reasoning for starting this blog in the first place.

“Your Growth—God’s Glory!”

After writing, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord,” Peter adds: “To him be glory.” Your biggest reason for wanting to grow spiritually should not be to “get it right,” or look good personally. No, it should be that God may receive glory! Paul writes, “Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit” (1Co 6:20). Why should we keep our flesh in check, or watch our attitudes? To glorify God before others! The problem is, our emphasis is on what we are doing, instead of focusing on God and his glory. The word glory refers to something or something of great worth. So what are we supposed to do? Draw attention to God. Promote Him. God wants to go public. Since He’s invisible, He’s created people whose full time job is to make Him visible so that the world might be drawn to Him. A company intent on promoting itself doesn’t settle for a small ad buried in the yellow pages. It may start that way, but the idea is to grow into something bigger so that more people will be reached. We are billboards advertising God’s grace to a lost world. He wants us to grow so that we can display Him more. In fact, God has entrusted His public image to us. Glorifying Him is our most awesome privilege and responsibility. Unless you think this is overstating the case, Paul writes, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1Cor 10:31 NIV). God is passionate about His glory. “Why grow?” you ask. Because spiritual growth increases your capacity to bring God glory.

“…Your biggest reason for wanting to grow spiritually should not be to “get it right,” or look good personally.” That’s the problem right there. People think that if you follow God, and if you say that you’re born again, that you have to “get it right.” Getting it right stems from perfection—and God knows that we’re not perfect. Speaking of God and getting the word out shouldn’t be for someone’s personal mission, it should be for God first and foremost, and then to help others in their walk.

Okay, some people will say that I’m shoving Christianity down everyone’s throats. I’m not. If you’re Buddhist, fine. If you’re Jewish...well so was Jesus. If you’re Muslim, great. I learned about different religions because I’m fascinated by them. My ex-boyfriend was Muslim. He taught me some very insightful things through his religion. I was grateful for it. There are many ‘good messages’ in each religion. But ‘for me’, and from what I have experienced through my own personal spiritual encounters that enabled me to become born again, Christianity works well with what I truly believe in.

“…Draw attention to God. Promote Him. God wants to go public.” And why not? I owe Him my life. I went through such a rough time back in 2003. I turned to Him, and He helped me more than anything I have ever experienced. He appeared to me. No, it wasn’t the meds wearing off either. Through my experience, He wanted me to help others through my book. I started writing…and writing…and writing…until my book starting reaching an unexpected amount of pages. Without Him, I wouldn’t have written that book, nor would I have come to the level of understanding that I have right now.

Perfection. I’ll never achieve it. God doesn’t even want me to achieve it. He wants me to rely on Him. If I was perfect, I wouldn’t need God. Do I still make mistakes? All the time. I still fall short and I still find myself…well…being human. Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that my cord is loosening up. My tight grip on my relationship with God has become a little more distant. The busyness and the problems that arose these past few months have taken my attention off the most important thing in my life: God. I find myself doing things I wouldn’t normally do. Saying things that I would tell people not to, and not praying as often as I should.

Result: Depression and anxiety. I’m back to the drawing board. Through my depression and anxiety, led me to ruin relationships by becoming more distant. I’m fully aware of it now. It’s funny how I wasn’t aware of it while all of it was going on. The more distant I became with God, the more destructive my behavior and attitude turned. The final result from all the anxiety, depression and the distance from God led to fatigue, muscle aches, weight gain, insomnia and illness. (Getting sick-flu or colds more frequently.) My immune system wasn’t as strong, and my stamina to work out went right down the tubes. I used to take such good care of myself. I took vitamins everyday, worked out daily, ate right and drank in moderation. (Okay—the drinking part is a lie.) I drank “less.” We’ll just leave it at that for now. But this is what happens to me when I don’t focus on God or write about Him as often.

Idolization was a huge factor in my life recently. Everything seemed to get in the way of praying or meditating. The phone rang, so I took that instead of letting it go to voice mail. Someone would come over, or things would just get too hectic to even consider the thought of talking to God. Idolization doesn’t necessarily have to mean worshipping another God. It’s basically just putting anything above God, like I explained above.

If you’re still reading this, I applaud you!

So as time goes on, you may find that my blog becomes more of a testimonial rather than a blurb about my psychotic life. Although I’m still going to write about the craziness that goes on around here, I’m still ‘human’. I’m not changing who I am--I’m just focusing on God a little more. He deserves that much.

25 comments:

samuru999 said...

Thank you Deb for all that!
You inspire me!
There are days I have great faith in God... and others when I just cannot find Him!
Does that make sense?
I want to have your type of faith and trust in Him always!
I find I am getting a little closer to God each day... and for that I am so very grateful!
Still... a long way to go though!
Wishing for you many blessings!

kathi said...

Sometimes we forget to even take that few seconds to give thanks. I know some people will wonder what they've got to be thankful for...and sometimes you've got to get real and ask yourself what you don't have, honestly. Just because you don't have something in abundance (as far as your eye can see) doesn't mean you don't have what you need.
Yeah, I'm rambling, but what I'm saying is without that personal time with Him, we aren't allowing ourselves to be personal with Him. As in any relationship, if you don't invest yourself and your time in it, you'll lose it. His is definately a relationship I don't want to lose. Everything else, just icing.

~gkw said...

Great post Deb!

J R Estelle said...

I've always thought, no matter, what that as a writer and human, you (in the general sense) should always write about what inspires you, moves you and shakes your very foundations.

I enjoy reading this blog.

normiekins said...

i would read ANYTHING you chose to write about....

the voice said...

Great post Deb, especially the part about us being "God made visible". I look forward to watching you continue to grow in Christ. You are a very special lady. May God bless you richly,
Ken

Maddie said...

Excellant post, Deb.
I am not perfect by any means, and my constant "touching base" with God, is the only reason I am alive right now. I talk to Him every day, it begins with Him first. I admire your faith, it is very strong and evident. As you always said, "I don't believe, I know!". Very true!

A good laugh also helps one get through life! It works for me!

~Deb said...

Thank you. Sometimes I feel as though I should write about this…or write about that…in order to not be too redundant. (Which I can definitely do a lot of the times.) But lately, I have been getting that nudge from God---I’m sure you know what I mean. He keeps hinting, “Hey, talk about me more---talk about this more---speak of that more!” And it keeps haunting me. Then I started having dreams about other things Christian related topics that were meant to be written…which I will incorporate into a future post sometime.

You’re right. Everyone who has this medium to use- this public billboard if you will, should use it for whatever their heart calls it to. For me, and for right now, I need to express my thoughts on the way God has helped me throughout my life. So, I’m trying to advertise for Him.

Thanks for reading it!

~Deb said...

Maddie, you've helped me grow in my faith--and I'm grateful for that!

Miranda said...

Good post. I was not brought up religiously at all, but I believe in God. I pray, and try to be good as I can. I'm also pretty sure that Because in the end, He's the one that knows.

Maybe I'm weird because I dont know all about it that I can. Everyone has different opinions. Wouldnt it be ironic, if in the end we all found out it was the same God? I mean who really knows?

~Deb said...

Miranda, thanks… Just having a personal relationship with God and trusting in Him brings you to higher levels of your closeness with Him—that’s what I found out anyway. Once I am further apart from Him, my life around me crumbles. And yes, everyone has different opinions and beliefs, but for me, and what I witnessed as far as my spiritual experiences, my faith relies greatly on God and the trinity. But, you are right, the “truth” has many faiths and people believing in different aspects of it. So what is the “truth” for you?...And for anybody?

DaBich said...

Miranda ~ I've often thought the same thing...what if they're all the same God? I think they are.
Deb ~ You've been a great inspiration to me. Thank you!

~Deb said...

Dabich, a lot of people say, "All roads lead to Rome"----meaning that all our faiths combined lead us to the same place. I've heard of that before... It's interesting to think about though, I'll give it that!

The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, Deb. Like any other relationship, ours with God had its moments of closeness and it times of pulling away. I those a necessary times if a relationship is to grow over time. It is always good to re-focus on what deeply matters. And I do most definitely see God shine through you - in all of your uniqueness, your compassion, your confusion and all of the things you wrestle with. Stay on the journey.
Faithfully,
kate+

The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

"All roads lead to Rome" I have always thought the different faiths were like a mountain. At the bottom, things seem very far apart and vastly different, but as you climb the mountain, the great truths get closer and closer as you reach the top.

~Deb said...

Great analogy, Kate. Keeping your eyes focused on God, whether you’re traveling down a certain path, or climbing a mountain---keep focused and “try” not to get sidetracked…at least for too long. Thanks for your comment!

Mr. HK said...

Hey, thanks for the link to my blog from here...

I'm gonna reciprocate and add you...

Meanwhile check out my Quote of the Day on the Quote link below... for a cool quote on prayer...

Cheers!

Cheers,
Mr. H.K.
Postcards from Hell's
Kitchen

And I Quote Blog

Miss 1999 said...

Deb,

What a wonderful post! It's so true! You know, there have been so many times I've let things get in the way of my relationship with God- and it's TOO easy to do. satan (I refuse to capitalize his name, he doesn't deserve any respect), tries his damnest to wedge his way between us and God, and unfortunately, too often he succeeds.

I'm glad you saw this, and helped to open my eyes once more. Best of luck getting "back on track" :0) God Bless! *Hugs*

Redefine said...

Kudos to you Deb!!
What happened to you was a neccessary kick in the ass, but grateful you must be, it brought you closer to God!! This often happens to me when I linger far from my faith, Buddhism. I love how you express your thoughts, you are an amazing woman. And extremely wise.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Amen

The Stevo in H-Town said...

Hey `Deb.....we gota li'l drama goin' on over atda "Jammy".....Time ferra "Goodfella" vote....da Highest honor in blogdom and yer involved.....jus' sayin'....


Oh yeah...God blessya...

The Stevo in H-Town said...

Check outda Jammy ~Deb...."Goodfella" vote goin' on(Da biggest honor in Blogdom)...



Oh yeah...God blessya...

Mike said...

Well...when redundancy sets in you can always just dream of a Swanson dinner...or ramen noodles. I'll light the candle.

The Stevo in H-Town said...

~Deb......Got some news ferya onda "Jammy"....


Da Boyz

Cheetarah1980 said...

You are so right about idolatry. It's easy to put everyday life stuff ahead of God. I do it all the time. And I find it very interesting how you describe how being distant from God makes you distant from loved ones. I never related my destructive relationship tendencies to the strength of my relationship with God. You gave me much to pray on. Thank you for this.