We've been having storms with some pretty high winds the last couple of weeks and when this happens there are lots of sticks, some small and some not so much, that blow off the big poplar tree in our front yard (did Y'all know that the poplar tree is Tennessee's State Tree - just a bit of trivia). I spent some time one morning last week picking up sticks and I thought to myself how God was using the storm in my own life to prune me - to get rid of the dead so I'd grow stronger in my faith. As I carried the sticks down to the burn pile, I was reminded of how God tenderly carries me. He asks me to just cast all of my 'dead sticks' on Him. I liked this image because it uses the word "anxiety" and that completely describes me!
I told Y'all that I'd try to share what God's been pruning me from. I can't tell you that I'm already there and 'new and improved' because that's not ever gonna happen to me this side of heaven. I've shared many times that I'm a people pleaser - something that I've dealt with as far back as I can remember. It began in my childhood and I just never have seemed to be able to outgrow it. Add that to being an overthinker and you have yourself a full of anxiety, heart palpitations, stressed out, overeating, wishing things were different, asking God WHY and never getting the answer she wants....old lady! I realize I obviously have a very unhealthy need to be in control - to know what the outcome is going to be - to feel like I'm seen and understood and validated - and since my love language is words of affirmation - well, I have to rely on God to meet that need, too. And, I in no way have control over what others do and say and think - it's up to God to take care of them.
I love reading just about anything that Tony Evans writes and back in February, I re-read one of his books and here's what I jotted down in my journal.
"co-dependent people use others to fix what is broken in themselves -
they look to others to fill their own emptiness -
they have a people stronghold"
And, here were his suggestions, some of which I've truly taken to heart and implemented into my own life.....
1. Think on God and His Word!
2. Seek ways to have fun things to do that I enjoy - not what I think somebody else would like.
3. Pay attention to how I talk to myself - DO NOT put myself down - affirm positive things God is doing in my life - build up, don't tear down (I believe Ephesians 4:29 is meant to apply to how we speak to ourselves, too, not just others!)
4. Let go of the need to control - situations and people (this one is gonna take some work, Y'all)
I'm sorry to have written a novel - I just wanted to share with my friends a little about what I've been working through. I HOPE these suggestions from Mr. Evans will be a help to someone else, too.