How many of you remember sixth grade? How many of you would love to forget sixth grade? I am one of those who remember it and would love to forget it. The awkward, self-absorbed, and self-conscious stage of my life is something that I would love to block from my memory. My problem is that I often times end up right back there and I don't even see it coming. All of a sudden I am very afraid that I don't fit in. I'm frightned that my friends might find out that I'm sort of dorky and that it won't be cool. I feel like I'm in a dimly lit gym, hanging out on the wall with "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" blaring from some cheap speakers. Why is that??? Probably because just like that awkward adolescent, I have become the center of my world. No longer am I concerned with the lives of those around me. I am host, co-host, and first guest of the Ali Show. Starring...you guessed it...Ali.
It creeps up on me. I'm going steady chasing Jesus with great zeal, "GOOOO JESUS!!! You are SOOOO GREAT!" Then usually God throws me a little curve ball. Maybe God doesn't do EXACTLY what I told Him to. Although, I'll describe that as "trusting." Usually it's more like, "demanding." Before you know it, I find myself in a 100% temper tantrum screaming because I haven't been treated fairly. I say really dumb things like, "I'm good!!! Why wouldn't you do this for ME???" After the tantrum I usually feel pretty bad and avoid God for a little bit. Do you do that? I sort of mutter that I'm sorry and ask if there is anything I can do for Him. It's like picking a HUGE fight with my husband, muttering I'm sorry and then baking brownies. I never REALLY dealt with my heart. So, I stop meeting with God and really devouring His word. I end up wandering a bit, which puts me in a great place to be attacked by our very real and very evil enemy. Since I'm not meeting with God on a daily basis, I start believing the lies. Do you ever hear these things? "Ali (you'll probably hear your own name), that's just plain stupid. Did you REALLY think that you heard from God? He's just trying to make you look like an idiot. He cannot be trusted, and you are awkward with big glasses." Then I CANNOT shake the anxiety that comes with being a loser. I talk to my husband. It's more like crazy talk. Talk that makes me feel even more like an outcast. Actually hearing my crazy thoughts makes me think, "Why do you believe this garbage???" And yet, I believe it.
I know what I must do in order to shake the lies. I must meet with God. I must abide in Him. One verse comes to mind. God had this to say to His children in Jeremiah. The title of the chapter is, "Israel Forsakes God" how does that sound? Here is what He says, "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." Jeremiah 2:13.
Just a little bit of trivia, a cistern was a well, or a pit that was used to hold water. The two sins that the people committed were 1. Forsaking God. They stopped worshipping Him and Him alone. 2. They dug their own cisterns. Which means that they created their own idols. They walked away from a fountain of living running water, God, and instead began worshipping their own idols. That was/is me. There I stand, completely in awe of the Living God. Looking at the fountain of living water running freely. It's not stagnant so that bugs can settle in, it's moving. What do I do? I grab my shovel and go dig my own little cistern. I worship the Ali Show. My idol is me. It's what people think about me, and what I think about myself. Why is this SO wrong??? God's word is the measuring stick for me. If I measure myself by any other standard, I end up a sixth grader. I end up feeling like I'm better than some, but still not good enough. I am my very own personal idol.
This has wrecked my week. I've been scattered and anxious worrying about what so and so thought about me for whatever reason. It's AWFUL and most of the stuff worked itself out. Do you know why? Becuase God is sovereign over all. He is the Living Water providing refreshment and life to me. I am so glad that I realized I was not worshipping God. Now, I must dive back into His word. Another favorite verse comes from Jeremiah 15:16, "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name O LORD God Almighty." That is what I want my heart to be screaming.
I also think of Paul's warning in Philippians that reminds us to only dwell on the things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. If I dwell on things that make me crazy I'm going to be crazy. If I dwell on on what is pure and lovely, so will my heart be. That means I should dwell on HIM...DUH!!!
So, after a week standing at a broken cistern I have my bags packed and I'm heading to Atlanta to the Deeper Still conference. What fabulous timing! So, let us all put our shovels down and stop digging our own little cisterns that won't even hold water. How futile. Yet, we do it. I'm so thankful for GRACE!!! I'm excited to tell you all how the conference went. Have a great weekend!
As I reread this, I think it's a bit scattered, but so am I!!!