Jun 18, 2008

The Anger Bank

Up until very recently, I HATED going to the bank. Probably because it usually included us having to deal with some insufficient fund issue or problem with our account. It also reminded me just how desperately inept we were at handling our finances. However, two months ago we started attending Dave Ramsey classes. If you are looking for a way to get rid of debt, save for your future and kids' college, and get to a place where you're giving money away, this is the way to go! I actually have peace in this area like I've never had before and much of it has to do with the "envelope system" he suggests. At the beginning of the month, we pull out cash to pay for gas, groceries, toiletries, and the like and put them in designated envelopes. You only buy these things with this money. When the cash runs out, you don't eat or drive your car. Actually seeing your money being spent helps you spend less. It hurts much more when it's cash! We actually have enough money to last the entire month instead of running out halfway through. Anyway, now I LOVE going to the bank. Not only are we more financially stable, but I get to go and pull out a wad of cash! So much fun!

Well, y'all (yes, I'm from Texas and I will use that word even if it is not grammatically refined) have heard me mention time and again my tendency to be quick to anger. It's something that I've dealt with for a long time and have wondered where it all comes from. Well, Brenda (my counselor) has informed me that I possess an "anger bank". Funny that someone who used to hate visiting such a place would be lugging one around every day. It seems that many hurtful things were deposited into the vault as rejection or hurt but were withdrawn as anger. Did you know that anger is a secondary emotion? It develops from a hurt of some sort. Interesting. I just thought I was angry; I didn't know I was hurt.

So, now the task is to "drain the bank". Ugh! And if anger is not the real culprit, you know what is--the hurt. She has told me that we have to go in and "lance the wound". Drain the wound, drain the anger bank. We are presently embarking on that journey. It includes a lot of delving into my past, drudging up old pains, and digging into my true feelings about them. Amazingly, as hard as it has been at some points, I am experiencing God like I never have before. I'm actually hearing Him in my times with Him and He has opened my eyes to His movement in my life. I was so blinded for such a long time and now I am seeing for the first time that He is truly a God of love. For reasons I might divulge at a later time, I just couldn't believe that. I thought he was big, scary, selfish, and out to hurt me. And when hurtful events came to pass in my life, they fed that view and made it more believable. But, HALLELUJAH, He is shattering that warped picture of Himself.

I ran from counseling for a long time. My excuses were valid: we didn't have the money, or I was too busy with work and Cooper to invest the time. But, in taking this step that God led me to, He is proving faithful. It was a big step, and has taken some sacrifice, but I was just desperate enough. I finally arrived at a place where I was sick of living in defeat and letting Satan gain the victory over me. ENOUGH!I yelled within myself.

Ladies, are you there yet? Are you desperate for victory in a place you've struggled for years? Have you given up anywhere in your life? Has it just been too lengthy of a battle for you to really believe that you could conquer it? If you hear nothing else, here this:

It is your God's will for you to live in victorious freedom!

"No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37

Nope, don't just quickly read over that and move on. Go back and read it again. More Than Conquerors! You are meant to triumph over your stuff (that's what I call it because the word "crap" doesn't seem appropriate for a devotional). Do you remember the woman who bled for 12 straight years? Do you think she was desperate--at a place where she had just about given up? Maybe she went to Jesus as her last resort, but she did go. She turned to the only one who could heal her fully, and that very thing He did. I love the way The Message says it.

"Then [Jesus] reassured her: "Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you're well." The woman was well from then on."

A risk of faith. It is a risk isn't it? You're turning to Jesus to heal you; what happens if He doesn't come through? I have often feared that very thing. But I'm coming to see that He will heal, sister. He will. It may look a little different than we would have thought, but He will come through. And really, do you have another choice? It's turn to your Healer or stay where you're at. You can do this! Listen to a portion of my favorite hymn (I think it's a hymn. It is in my mind, anyway). My favorite version is by FFH. As the song progresses it almost explodes at the point in the lyrics below. The emphasis is mine.

In Christ Alone
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;

For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand

That same Christ who conquered death is living in you ready to conquer your past failings and present struggles. Turn to Him; trust Him. He will not fail you. I'll sum up with this final verse:

"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:32

God sent His Son to die for us; it was an investment in our lives of the deepest kind. Will He now just leave us to our own devices? Only if we don't let Him in. He wants in; open the door. Yes, it is difficult to expose the dark places to Him. But I've found that there is such comfort in it. He doesn't condemn; He heals. And isn't that what we're after? Deep to the core healing? Invite Him into the broken places so He can make you whole.

Thanks for listening. I love sharing the adventure of Christ with you. I love you.

Jesus, give us the courage to forge into the dark places with You. Thanks that You are faithful to forgive and heal. Draw us under Your protective wings as we become vulnerable. We love you. Amen.

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New article up on Ungrind.org. If you're interested in reading it, click here.