|"Embrace this. It is important. Embrace the pain. Embrace the process so that you can embrace the promise." -Brian Hardin
My thoughts and pondering as I am in the process of my growth in faith...
UPDATED EVERY MONDAY!
COURAGEWritten by Arianna Joy Schaffer on January 22, 2015
I’ve been going through a process to learn what true courage is through many years, tears, and hardship. My problem isn’t that I am scared of everything, but the things I am afraid of makes a nest in my mind and it controls my life. Granted, I have a considerably strong anxiety disorder. I am on meds for that… But still, I tend to need to overwork myself to try to be at least manageably anxious… Because, I know I cannot go further than that. It is a lot of work, but in this process, I have noticed there are four concepts in true courage, and here what I came up with:
1: Rise Up
When I have a courageous streak, I am definitely able to rise up for a challenge. I can take a stand for truth. But, sometimes rising from bed, breathing, and not self-harming is my only act of courage for the day. Sometimes just doing that is enough, when depression takes over my body. But, when I confront someone there is one thing I always have a difficult time doing and that’s...
2: Stand Firm
After I stand up for myself or truth by confronting someone if they fight back, I willingly confess that standing firm is very hard… I dislike confrontations and back down a lot when I should stand firm. I have been used because of that side of me. I can be easily dragged down by people and made to feel puny, timid, and as a little child, which in turn I tend to shrink away, and be ashamed that I spoke out. This is an area I really want to work on…
3: Stand Down
As there is always a time to stand firm, there is also a time to stand down. I have difficulty gauging when I should stand firm or stand down. I often have begun arguments with family, friends, and strangers on the net or in real life and then continue in it. In those fights that I have started, I have torn many a person to shreds… Some friends have become bitter or have separated from me for that reason… I regret those things that went on between them and myself… this is another area that must be worked on.
4: Move On
Moving on is a tough one for me, but oftentimes, I am able to let go of the past and continue to carry on with life. The problem that I have with this one is that I tend to use “moving on” as an excuse to run away from truths and problems that I have made because of my choices in the past and the present. I busy myself a lot to avoid seeing my fears and the truth… Another area that should be worked on.
I wrote about courage to get all your thoughts about it, see my process and perhaps have constructive criticism to myself and others about this area when they comment.
THE POISONWritten by Arianna Joy Schaffer on January 29, 2015
I read something on the net once. It was about a teacher who walked into class, with a glass of water. All the students think it’s going to the usual “is the glass half empty or half full” analogy, only to be surprised. She asked them to try and guess what the weight of the glass. Many of the students put their guesses in and she said that it didn’t matter how heavy it was… If you held it too long[depending on how long you held it], pain would begin to seep into your arm, your arm then would begin to go numb, and eventually it would be paralyzed. She said that stress was the same way. Rolling the same things over and over, piling more stress that just never existed…Also, those who know me well, would know that I am very into music as well. Music was my first language. One of my favorite singers-- that is Michael Card sang the song “Tears of the World” had one line that sparked this entire piece… “Acquainted with sorrow, He took up the cup and drank every drop of the poison that heals”.
With those two combined, one mental image stood out to me. We, as humans tend to like to drink our poison. Too often we forget that if we let that cup go and lift up our cross, and go forward by the grace of God, His peace will reside in our hearts. The problem though is we all seem to like our idols, we like holding our stress away from God, we like to hold bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts. We like the memories, the hurts, the hollowness to slowly eat us away and so in doing that, we are holding the poison. The very same poison that Jesus Christ drank every drop of. In drinking that poison for us, He has liberated us from the poison, if we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and that He died on your behalf, and paid your ransom. However, even believers are as human as the unbelievers, and we tend to persuade ourselves that we must keep our poison, and we must be the drinkers when it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re deceiving ourselves if we say otherwise.
Skipping the mask, I admit freely that I am not exempt. I tend to hold on tight to my poisons until my knuckles go white. Some of which is embarrassing, some are harmless unless it has become an idol, some are even evil. I work towards letting it go. I tend to deceive myself so easily. But, I must always remember I am forgiven, I need only accept that gift and carry the burden of Light. But if we all just place down that poison-- whatever it may be. If then we rise to the challenge. What would happen? What if there was a peace that wasn’t temporary? What if mercy can be had? What if you didn’t have to drink that poison to fill your soul? And what if you were to believe that? What if I were to believe it? How far could we go once we truly let go of the past, the stress, the idols, the anger, the resentment, and yourself? Once we did that with ourselves all in and had full faith and dependence on God, there would be nothing impossible for us, for Christ would be with us!
WHAT GOD HATES...Written by Arianna Joy Schaffer on February 4, 2015
I start my day in a general routine [I don’t always keep it to the letter, but I try to keep it]. Part of that routine is to take time out for my dailyaudiobible and prayer… On Saturday, this proverb was read:
Take note, there are six things the Eternal hates; no, make it seven He abhors: Eyes that look down on others, a tongue that can’t be trusted, hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that conceives evil plans, feet that sprint toward evil, A false witness who breathes out lies, and anyone who stirs up trouble among the faithful. --Proverbs 6:16-19 [VOICE]
That pierced me like a sword through my armor. When I heard that, I really was convicted… My knee-jerk reaction was to turn off the recording to ask; Who have I looked down on? Can I be trusted? What evil have I conceived? To what evil have I sprinted toward? What have I lied about? And have I stirred trouble within the church? Then I focused on the things that truly stood out to me:
Eyes: I know how it feel to be looked down upon. It’s been a daily part of my existence. Having a mental disorder makes it very difficult to make friends, and once made, it’s hard to keep them… In my experience with the church, I’ve been accused of being many things that I wasn’t. So, I know how it feels… I don’t want to be that way as a constant. So I seek inside if I have been doing it many a time…
Tongue: I’ve made many promises, and my habit tends to be to revert to breaking them. It’s a bad habit, I admit freely. Even in working on it, cycles are so difficult to break. I have been working my butt off to keep my promises… I have a brother and he has made many promises which he will not even call promises. “I will do it” is nothing more than something to get people off his back. Many times when we try to hold him to his word, he will say he never promises things… That always enraged me, but after a while, with the example of my brother I was skilled at it as well.
Heart: I once had a very manipulative heart, and as far as I know, that can be applied to making evil plans. Though I have grown past purposefully making those plans, I tend to watch where I step and what I think more carefully. And after being manipulated so often I never want others to bear that injury by my hand… I love them far too much to do that.
Feet: Lately, my self-restraint has been lacking. Oftentimes I have been running towards things of erotic, occultic, demonic, and dark nature… In knowing this, that was a giant smack in the face when I read the proverb… In my conviction, I put my temptation out of my reach in order to avoid it…
Breath: I am a highly compulsive liar, in fear it’s often my first reaction. Though I try to stop them, I fail miserably at times… It’s so hard to stop, at times and it saddens me when I do it and when I look back on it… Though I work toward ending those lies, it always hunts be down again…
Trouble: I have plenty of shame revolving around causing trouble in the Church, which is why I try to stay out of situations where I might do that… I am ashamed that I ever did that, cuz many of those who were faithful, quit because of what I had done…
I bring up my experiences because I want to do what God loves and do things unto others how I’d want them to do it unto me… and it is so hard for me, I often do what I hate… and that means I pray to God to help me do what He loves.
LOVE [AGAPE]Written by Arianna Joy Schaffer on February 10, 2015
Life has changed so much for me. After my suicide attempt happened, I have found new meaning in my life. I have learned to love more. The problem I had with the word “love” for so many years was that love has been contaminated. The English language is my native tongue, but I loathe it with a passion. With other languages, they have more than one word for love. There are many concepts of love. Now, the word “love” is abused. “I love you” is used to control others. Such manipulation being exercised, it is difficult to truly know what love is.
For many years, I have been afraid to tell the male side of humanity, that I loved them. I had a heart of a sister who longed to say she loved them, but they took it the wrong way and many relationships were tainted for it. Look, God is Love. He has commanded us to LOVE [Now, this love is known as agape in the Greek language. Which is an unconditional love]. And I say WORDS ARE POWERFUL! If you show you care for somebody that is all well and good, we have hearts of compassion… But where are the words? Why are we afraid to erase hate by the words of truth, the words of LOVE?
Do you want the world to change? Well, then brothers and sisters in the faith… BE THE CHANGE! You want revival in this nation? Then BE THE REVIVAL! Where is OUR revival? The revival of a nation begins with the revival of the Church, the SONS and DAUGHTERS of the ONE TRUE GOD! How, my dear friends are we to love, if fear holds us back?
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Do not be afraid of the words, “I love you”! Say them. But don’t stop there, my brothers and sisters. We, the Church, need to take a stand! Wake up, children of Zion! The Church is not a building but a Body. The Body is not separated into denominations, we are ONE! Go to your brother who is in suffering… Go to your sister who mourns. Raise them up with the truth in love, exhort and encourage them. Like when the body is ill, the rest of the body compensates for the illness, meaning the body fights back! The words are not wrong, and doesn’t need to be an awkward thing to say. As for me, I will love until the day I die, and I will speak it to the world and to the Body.
HEAVENWritten by Arianna Joy Schaffer on February 10, 2015
I go on tumblr sometimes… rarely, but when I do I find some interesting things… Tubmlr is known for their totally out-there posts, but one that is one of my favorite are when these two churches are what I call sign-bickering [which is literally debating any kind of matter through signs] about dogs and animals going to Heaven and about whether or not animals have souls. However, even though this was just in humor, I wanna say something serious about this.
According to what I believe, animals DO have a soul.
This is why humans are made in God's image, we have three parts in one, just like He does [Father, Son, Holy Spirit]:
Mind = Soul
Strength = Body
Heart = Spirit
Animals have only 2 parts, which is the body and soul.
Also, according to what I believe, animals also will be going into heaven... For our Heaven will the New Earth. The Heaven that we have now is like a temporary place for us until we can go to our permanent Home… Jesus is preparing for us the New Kingdom, the New Earth and we are the preparation, we are the Kingdom on this Old Earth. It also is written that there will be new animals on the New Earth.
And according to God’s character and personality, our God loves to make old things new. That’s how He works now, and since He is unchanging, why would He do anything different from that with our pets?
These ideas mainly came from a book I read when my Gramma Jeannette passed away. Heaven by Randy Alcorn… he puts it way better than I can and bases it on scripture, so I’d highly suggest you guys go run and read that!
BIBLICALLY BASED??Written by Arianna Joy Schaffer on February 25, 2015
You know something I am uncertain is a biblical concept that I have noticed is a trend amongst many churches? Revival Sundays and Prophetic Gathering Sundays... Don't get me wrong, I do believe that we, as the Western World desperately need a revival and we do need the Word of the Lord to speak to our hearts... But it seems too much like a scheduled appointment with God to be revived or spoken to when you have these sort of gatherings. Revival starts with the church, though this is a truth, God does not work in our time. He works in His own time. What if our revival is coming through the hardships we are experiencing? They say in our darkest of times, we see God more clearly... And that is how He communicates to us that is how He revives and refines us.
I am an Anglican and I have a friend, he once was a charismatic Catholic. He's a good man, however, he began a prophetic gathering, often he and his team encourage us with words that seem like they're from God and sometimes they say they can see there will be certain specific blessings (that I will not mention) in the coming years... The last time I went I saw something off and stared at the team intently following their body language, facial expressions, tones and words being said. Ever since then, I had been questioning if it is on the foundation of Christ-- well truth be told, I felt something off and questioned this, ever since I started going...
God has spoken to me in every avenue that I go to to begin with. I have heard Him speak through my own writing, through books, film, music, the dayaudiobible, in my prayer time, people etc. I think that is enough for Him to reach me... Though being there gave me a spiritual high, it seemed artificial. It didn't feel right, anyhoo what do you guys think of these ponderings?
ATTITUDEWritten by Arianna Joy Schaffer on February 27, 2015
The Right Attitude
This was my Hell living without You here. Even Heaven is Hell if somehow You were not there. Lord, I need to breathe You Drink You, dream You. Nothing ever will compare. Need to breathe You, drink You Dream You, need You. This was my Hell living without You. (when You're so far away.) Even Heaven is Hell if Heaven's without You. (when You're so far away from me.) Everything's Hell if somehow You're not there...--Disciple "My Hell"
Do you know that attitude of longing where, if you sin or turn away from God onto your own path? When you instantly feel the difference? I know it quite well... When I turn away, I feel an empty weight upon my heart, and I mean this in the literal sense of the term. The best way I can describe this feeling is when you feel the weight of an encouraging hand on your shoulder, for quite a while. Then suddenly, you feel that hand lifted off of your shoulder. It is almost as if the hand is still there, yet the feel of that previous weight begins to vanish, swiftly.
I have come to a conclusion of this feeling, that it isn't as bad as I think... It helps me to realize that in feeling this strong longing for God that I am actually tender and soft enough for Him to speak to me. That I am close enough to still wish to bring glory unto His Name. My life is usually very hellish if I turn to other idols, I begin to grieve and wish I had never left. I will run back to His embrace only to run back to the idol's embrace. But, it isn't so deep and far as I had once been. My heart isn't too hardened towards the Lord's guidance.
The Wrong Attitude
Dear pain, oh it's been a long time I remember when you were holding me tight, I would stay awake with you all night. Dear shame, I was safe in your arms you were there when it all fell apart, I would get so lost in your beautiful lies... I let you go, but you're still chasing! Go ahead, you're never gonna take me! you can bend but you're never gonna break me I was yours, I'm not yours anymore! Oh, you don't own me! Go ahead put a target on my forehead. you can fire but you've got no bullets! I was yours, I'm not yours anymore! Oh, you don't own me! You're tempting me to look back; But everything that we had together was a lie!--Disciple "Dear X: You Don't Own Me"
For the past few days, my daddy's been on my case for my self-talk and the fact I am not willing to let go of the past and the hurts... Teasing me that I am just like Gollum over these things... What is funny, is that a brother in Christ has said that all along for several years... Daddy said that maybe he was right all along... but anyhoo, getting off-track here... During the past few nights, I was crying a lot and talking to Daddy and the truth of how I felt, that I held in and hid from even myself came out.
When I get to that point of where I allow my longing to turn into despair and rather than letting it go to God, I start to really get self-piteous... Daddy described this state as being comfortable "in a sweater made of shit", while God was standing there, with a soft, white, clean and pure cotton sweater. He said the past is the past, and that I am not the same person I was then "Hell, you're not even the same person you were yesterday!" Said that I needed to give myself some self-respect. And like an idiot, I told him "I don't believe I am worthy of respect." Needless to say, he went right in my face, and I tried to avoid his gaze, but he somehow got me to look him the eyes and he downed that lie for the shit it was...
The Problem and Conclusion
Yesterday is over, all the sands have passed; Through the hourglass but you’re still here. Yesterday is over, the sun has finally set; On all the words you said But you hold on to everything. Yeah you hold on to everything. Open up your hands... And let go of what’s behind you. The past can’t hurt you anymore; Or keep you on the ground. Will you let this be the moment, That you let go of yourself; Let His Love hold on to you? And He won’t let go, and He won’t let go! His eyes are always set on you. His arms are always holding you. And He won’t let go But You gotta let go of everything... You gotta let go of everything... Open up your hands! --Disciple "Yesterday is Over"
The problem I, and many Christians have is we can be so very wayward. But, my greatest and deepest desire and hunger is for the Lord's Presence however wayward I may be. For several months now, I have believed the lie that I am too far, too deep, too dark to return to God for Him to bring me back up. I was kind of in a pity pot for the past few months.... It's driven most of my friends and family nuts... It's driving me nuts too, I can assure-- and HAVE assured my friends.
What my daddy made me do was repeat these words after him, like a pledge:
I am a child of God. I am a child of God. He loves me. He loves me passionately. I am worthy of respect because I'm human. I am worthy of respect because I am a child of God. I am worthy of respect because I am a daughter of God. Nothing that happens, nothing I do, nothing I say, no way I have acted can take that away from me.
Those words are hard ones to believe, but they are truth. I know this. And though I sometimes feel like He's abandoned me, I remember His promise. I remember He never breaks them. It is hard and I've never been the best at balancing myself and differentiating between feelings and reality, but I know this for sure; God is with me.