When you have children and your husband has a teaching degree and you consider yourself a teacher of sorts, everything becomes an opportunity for a lesson. EVERYTHING. Seriously. We often have to reign ourselves in and keep each other in check so we can just enjoy the moments and not turn them into another Science, English, or Life lesson. (Notice I didn’t include math. That’s because I have no business teaching math.)
But I had one such life lesson come to me in a very silly way and honestly, it’s still sinking in.
I sat on the bathroom floor and held Canon Joel in my arms as tears ran down his sweet face. “Mommy is so sorry baby. I’m so sorry.”
There was a fly in our house. One single fly. A minor annoyance to begin with. I noticed it buzzing around in the kitchen as I stood at the sink washing dishes. I shooed it away and thought it would escape out the front door when the opportunity came. It didn’t. A couple of hours later the fly was still buzzing around. I fumbled for a fly swatter on top of the fridge and waited for the fly to land. It didn’t. Instead it buzzed sporadically from the living room to the kitchen, appearing in one moment flying by the cabinets and the next moment, around the curtains in the other room as if it was warping through some time tunnel. (That’s a word my boys use a lot – I’m assuming it’s legit.)
I continued the unfruitful chase for a few minutes until my attention was needed elsewhere. Throughout the day, mini battles with the elusive little beast would ensue. I became increasingly enraged that I could not defeat the fly. I sat in the rocking chair to put Christian Mikes down for a nap and just as he began to close his eyes – BBZzzzzzzz!!!! The Fly zipped by his head. “A bee!!! Mommy! It’s a bee!” he popped his head up and leapt out of my arms. Nap time did not happen. It was war. This fly had to die. But I didn’t have time at the moment. It wasn’t until that evening as I stood at the sink to wash my face that I saw the little monster again. He buzzed around, taunting me. Canon and Micah were in the bathroom with me. I told Micah about my ongoing battle and the ruined nap time.
“Ok. Close the door. I’ll go get the fly swatter.” (My hero)
Except no. This was my battle. I grabbed a hand towel and began swatting at the fly just as sporadically as he flew and bounced from one surface to the other. I whipped the hand towel through the air and just as I brought it down dear sweet Canon Joel stepped into my line of attack. The hand towel landed on his precious face and I felt all of the rash foolishness of my swatting in that moment.
I held him. My heart broke. I apologized. Micah came in and killed the fly. As he left the bathroom, he wryly remarked, “Well maybe you have your next blog post.” That was three weeks ago. Like I said, the lesson is still sinking in.
Do you know the desperate frustration of swatting at a fly?? Sometimes life feels that way. There is something buzzing around, bothering us and we can’t put words to it. It has brought confusion and we don’t seem to be able to get a grasp on where we are and what is and isn’t true. The problems begin when we start swatting. Swatting at the lies. Grasping for the truth. We need time and we need the right tools. I am learning this. Learn with me.
I’ve been waiting for a moment to sit down and put to words some of the thoughts and impressions that have buzzed over my heart in the last few weeks. This is much too important to “swat at.”
I ask myself, “What are you learning?” and “Is it true?” I am learning to be aware of what my heart holds onto through each season of life – what it calls true. And I am learning to measure those things against the Word of God and His Spirit within me so I can know what needs to be kept and what needs to be cleansed – what I need to hold onto and what I need to let go.
The thing is – you can’t easily identify those things in passing. They’re like seeds that are scattered over the terrain of your heart. For example, if a particular encounter, conversation, or interaction scatters a seed of jealousy that falls on a terrain of rejection, bitterness will surely grow. There are places in our hearts that are healed and places that still need healing. It’s a process. But when we know we’re on this journey toward healing and wholeness, it does a great deal of good to pay attention to what seeds are being scattered over your heart.
Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.”
That verse isn’t about guarding your heart as if it’s something bad that needs to be kept in check. It’s about guarding something precious. The new heart that you have received.
Ezekiel 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
How I wish that I would have known this as a teenager and in my earliest years of marriage! We live from what we believe. We produce fruit from what has taken root. And what I believed for too long was that old verse taken out of context that “Every inclination of the heart is evil…(Jeremiah 17:8)
Thank you, Lord for coming through for me with sound teaching and revelation that I have a new heart! A heart that You gave me and You give good gifts to your children. Thank you for rescuing me from the prison of condemnation and shame. Now I will guard what You have given me and be careful to only let your truth be planted there. Uproot every false belief. Teach me to guard my heart.
We live our lives in seasons. What I am learning now is to be in the season that I’m in. I’m learning how to abide in Jesus in this season.
It does take time to answer that question – “What am I learning?” I have to choose whether I’m going to go on fumbling through, grasping for the truth and swatting away the lies or be still and let God teach me, through reading His word, through extended times of prayer and listening, through letting the Holy Spirit lead me into all truth. Another way to ask that question is “What am I believing? What ideas am I holding onto about life and the way things are?” There is often a big difference between what feels true and what is true.
In this season of life I am learning to take responsibility for the working out of my salvation.
Oswald Chambers puts it beautifully –
“God saves a person, fills him with the Holy Spirit, and then says, in effect, “Now you work it out in your life, and be faithful to Me, even though the nature of everything around you is to cause you to be unfaithful.” And Jesus says to us, “…I have called you friends….” Remain faithful to your Friend, and remember that His honor is at stake in your bodily life.”¹
I am learning that my identity is absolutely in Christ and that is the only place where it is secure. If there is any part of me that makes something or someone else responsible for my identity, I will be disappointed, disillusioned, and dismayed.
In this season of life I am learning to pray – often. Not a passing thought, not a quick request. I am learning to stop and pray. My husband, Micah plays such a huge role in keeping me in check here. We will have a conversation and I’ll be feeling on the defense or feeling uneasy about something and his response is, “Let’s stop and make sure we are inviting Jesus into this conversation.” Or, “Let’s give that to the Lord and ask for His perspective.” Or, “Let’s pray and bind the work of the enemy in that situation.” Do you realize the access you have here??? In prayer?! It’s so powerful! Stop thinking about it, stop worrying and wondering about it and start praying about it!
Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
I love The Message version of that verse –
Philippians 4:6 “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaced worry at the center of your life.”
When you swat at the lies and grasp for truth, you often end up hurting others or yourself and what could have been an opportunity to learn and grow, instead becomes a wound.
Start a conversation with God. Be still. Listen for His response. Prepare and renew your mind through the reading of His word so that you can easily hear Him when He is speaking directly to you. You are in a season and there is something to learn. God wants to bring you healing and grow something beautiful in your heart here. Take the time.
¹Chambers, Oswald. “Get Your Daily Dose of Wisdom.” My Utmost For His Highest – Will You Lay Down Your Life, utmost.org/will-you-lay-down-your-life/.