I have been struggling with self-esteem

I have struggled lately. Not with “sin” but with learned behaviors and the longing to be free of them. As some of you know I put myself into a recovery group at church because I need to get a handle on this (poor choice of words seeing as you find out quickly that everything that you have done has not worked and it is only the act of turning your life over to Jesus Christ, continually, that affects any change in your life.)

On the plus side I am now the co-leader of a men’s bible study.

One of the guys from the 12 step group, passes me a note at the end of last nights meeting. It says read Psalm 139 everyday for one week. I opened the computer this morning to that Psalm. If you have never been involved in groups like these there are guidelines, read at the beginning of every meeting, and one of those rules are, there is no cross talk allowed. That means no one gets to interject, interrupt, or try to advise while you are talking. If you are struggling with self-esteem issues and consistently find people cutting you off, telling you what you are thinking, finishing your sentences for you, and their comments are not what you wanted to say, then groups like these are a God send because sometimes you just need to express yourself. (I am seriously thinking of instituting these rules into our bible study group, primarily because of one person.)

One more thing. I am on Facebook more than I need to be, but I have noticed something there. Anonymity. People seem to think they can make some vague entry, berating or abusing people by not stating who you are directing your comments at, and think that no one can figure it out. We all figure it out, and your vagueness only compounds the problem because those not involved can think that you have just taken your selfish shot at them. I say this because of such a comment a short time ago. It easily could have been directed at me because I consistently place comments about end times and the enemy, Satan, that we all have to deal with 24/7. I am not the odd ball when it comes to spiritual attacks, and even learned behaviors are, in my opinion, a spiritual attack.

Why? Because the enemy, Satan, came for one reason, “to kill, steal, and destroy, and we are his targets.

Why? Because we were all made after the pattern of Christ; not just the believer, although this statement is more true of us. God is who Satan tried to overthrow; Jesus is who Satan tried to kill, and anything we do that makes us a threat to his destructive practices makes us a bigger target. (Don’t think that doing nothing will make you less of a target, for your actions prove that he already beat you down.)

Opening my bible program to Psalm 139 immediately reminds of an album I had years ago, by a Messianic band called Lamb. They put much of Psalm 139 to music, and I loved it.

Psalms 139:1 GNB LORD, you have examined me and you know me. When and where did this happen?

Before the foundations of the earth were laid God knew me.

Knowing how I struggle internally and externally the thought occurs to me that we speak about God in terms of those He chooses. We know he does this because we (believers) find this in:

Ephesians 1:4,5 GNB Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose.

I have a terrible time finding myself to be acceptable lately. I think it primarily has to do with questions that I am having to answer that ask, do you act the same at work as you do among fellow believers at a worship service?

Work for me was a continual barrage of stress and stress impacts me negatively. At work I would be aware of a couple of small voices inside me. One would say, do this as unto the Lord, in other words my spirit was telling me to focus on work as though I was working for Jesus. There is a secondary guilt trip that falls into that statement, and that is, that if you are working for Jesus then your every move should be winning the lost for him.

May I be honest with you, sometimes I feel like the lost.

What I am getting out of this is that God knew how frail or pathetic I would be and loved me anyway. I suspect that the question of why me and not someone else is irrelevant or an improper question because we are making the assumption that God’s love does not or did not extend to a particular person, and that is not the case. The situation with Judas, one of the disciples, is the biggest monkey wrench that people throw, but I do not want to take the time to pursue that now.

Psalms 139:2 NASB You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.

There is no escaping God. Consider this in light of Adam’s transgression.

Genesis 3:8-9 GNB That evening they heard the LORD God walking in the garden, and they hid from him among the trees. (9) But the LORD God called out to the man, “Where are you?”

Seriously! The God that knows everything I do has to ask that question?

I think that over time we have established that God, out of respect for the relationship, gives man the space to cover his shame. Some might call this God honoring man’s boundaries. I have looked at this statement a couple more times and thought that maybe we are trying to cover our indiscretions, but that is impossible. You can see this with Cain, the first murderer. Able has been buried, in an attempt to hide the crime, and yet when God shows up he tells Cain that his brothers blood cries out to Him from the ground. Remember that the life is in the blood. My goodness, this puts a whole new spin on the creativity and magnificence of man, God’s creation.

Psalms 139:3 GNB You see me, whether I am working or resting; you know all my actions.

Nothing is hidden from God. Many will read this and see it as oppressive, a situation where you get scrutinized and judged constantly, and that is not the case. We have already seen that God showed respect for Adam’s boundaries (if you wish to put it that way – if there were boundaries then God would have created them.) and if God was the all oppressive tyrant then Cain would have been dispatched immediately, and yet Cain is given a protective seal on his head by God.

If he knows all my actions then He knows how my heart longs for him and wants to do the right thing. The religious theme we shove down each others throat is, walk like Jesus, or what would Jesus do.

Consider: Jesus took the time to find cords, fashion them into a whip, and then drove the thieves out of the temple courtyard. Everything about this act is premeditated and powered by an anger that I do not understand. Obviously he was capable of doing serious damage, but a study of the situation will show a man who had anger under control. I also see a man who, like me, has little tolerance for people being taken advantage of.

So here is a little piece of truth for you. October 21, 2013 I got terminated from my job. This happened, in my opinion, because I expressed my opinion about irrational demands, in front of the opening staff, and made the statement, “but I will make it happen, and turned to go do it.”

I was angry and stressed beyond reason because I had attempted to make it happen the week before, and failed miserably. Beside that I was under a mandate from my department head to do this same thing, as time allowed, already. All while doing other tasks, helping customers, assisting other employees when needed, and working by myself.

 No stress here, yeah right.

Psalms 139:4 GNB Even before I speak, you already know what I will say.

David carries this theme throughout the writing. God is already ahead of you.

Does this show an acceptance of bad behavior? I do not think so.

First you must consider that sin has been done away with, that happened at the cross, so he is not looking at things the way we do. He still sees the end result which in part has to do with the person he is forming in you. And the other has to do with the life that we will have with Him in eternity.

Does the fact that sin has been done away with in God’s book eliminate our need to deal with people who act out? No. We have some clear instructions on how to deal with unchecked behavior, and we each have to deal with the outcomes of our choices to act against sound wisdom.

Don’t think for a second that God just hangs us out there on our own while knowing all that we will do. It just seems logical that he could have diverted us from some of the tragic actions we take. This thought reminds me of the years that I spent drinking and how fortunate I am that I did not kill anyone or myself in a tragic car crash. So maybe God has diverted me, and you, from more things than we know. (Consider those times when you were angry because you missed your turn, or there was some road work that prevented you from taking a path you wanted, only to find out that there had been a tragic accident happen there only moments before and you may have been in it.

Cut God some slack. He has plan for you and much of what you are experiencing is part of the plan to develop you into someone who can make a difference in perhaps one specific life.

I am not done with this but do need to move on for now. My acquaintance handed me a note directing me to read this chapter, each day, for a week. The way I look at scripture it will probably take longer. Already I can see things that I need to focus on, things that in a sense will be like getting an overhaul on a car. I need to show that no matter what, He knows where I am going, and that God loves me with an everlasting love.

John 6:37 MKJV All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out.

You are loved, wanted, understood, respected, and always welcome into His loving arms. Never forget that!

If you do not know Jesus Christ by asking him into your life I suggest you do so now. I believe time is short, and the events that are about to happen will be overwhelming and deadly. Those that refuse to take what symbol that indicates allegiance to this coming world leader, and refuse to worship what the Bible calls the beast, will be welcome into the arms of God as saints. This trouble that is coming will be tougher than you ever thought possible, and I wish for you to avoid these pains.

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