A New Kind of Courage | Devotion. Emotion. Movement. Breath

Courage these days looks different than it used to…

Where it once was loud, it now stays silent. Where it once was proud, it now bows in humility. Where it once was seen, it now seeks solitude.

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Courage has taken on a new posture in this season of life and the truth is, it’s a dance- one I’m learning the steps to, far too slowly for my former striving self.

I’m fumbling and stumbling my way through it.

And yet, each day, each week, each lesson, I find myself dancing this new courage by heart.

Devotion and Emotion. Movement and Breath:

The basic fundamentals that encapsul this new courage.

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1. Devotion to God through the brave act of showing up

– of coming to him every day just to be with Him, no agenda. To hear from Him, to talk to Him and to read His word. Allowing this time to penetrate my heart and remake me every new morning, from the inside out.

Not in pursuit to “be better and do better”, but to receive, in my perpetual neediness and surmounting weakness- knowing and trusting that in my humanness surrendered, He is strong and mighty and most powerful.

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2. Giving my Emotions to Jesus and Taking Authority over Lies

Instead of willing myself different, I’m learning to be brave enough to welcome my emotions in whatever form.

Be it anger or resentment or frustration or guilt or shame or panic, I’m inviting Jesus to walk parallel to those emotions, feeling His easy lightness alongside the dark heaviness.

Feeling both coexist in the same space- my heart- allowing His presence to fight for me, rather than trying to “fix myself.”

And when His Spirit nudges- when I recognize the lies for what they are – the lies taunting me with untruths about who I am or what I need to do

I’m learning to courageously take my authority in Jesus and send them away… because for too long, I gave lies centre stage and an open mic night in my heart- free reign and an all access pass to harass me and my every thought.

But it stops here.
I will be brave enough to say, “no more”, because I am more: More than a conqueror. More than my mistakes. More than my weakness. More than my imperfections. More than my immaturity. More than my inability to meet others expectations and please every person in my life.

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3. Movement as Worship.

For everything there is a season and this is my season to fly- to learn to fly, anyway. I am no longer a caterpillar in a cocoon, but a butterfly, entirely new in Christ Jesus.

After a season of physical rest- of trusting the good in non-movement– I am finding a new stride: dance to music in my living room, yoga on my patio, running outside in nature.

For a former exercise addict turned nothing-but-walking, these humble beginnings feel awkward and hard.

Every movement is a brave act of surrender and in humility, I’m trusting that with time, I will find my footing and my strength- a new strength, firmer and more grounded than my former self.

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4. Breath as a life line- my connection in every moment to Love and Presence and Life.

Meditation and Centering Prayer and the simple act of intentional breathing.

To stop takes courage.

I’m learning that whatever it is, can wait, because in this moment, what I need more, is Him.

More than to get it done, more than to exercise my rights, more than to be heard or understood,  to fix it or figure it out, what I need now is Jesus.

Breath has become my wordless prayer.

I’m still waiting for the gifts of tongues, but until then, when words fail me or I can’t articulate what I feel, I’m bravely allowing breath to bring me home – to usher me into God’s presence and his heart.

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Devotion and Emotion. Movement and Breath…

All of this feels new and foreign and yet none of it is new or even foreign. They’re old truths and old practices. Ones that find homage in many homes and hearts and cultures and religions. And yet Im learning them with new intensity and intentionality.

I am a student of rest, learning to mother herself back to Love.

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I’d love to know:

  • How do you intentionally connect to Love?
  • What rhythms of rest has God led you to implement?
  • How has sabbath become a lifestyle rather than just a day?
  • How is God teaching you to mother yourself to wholeness?

We’re in this together- sojourners on the pilgrimage to Christ.

 

When you realize you’re in a pit and depression seems plausible

I’m only now, just coming to terms with the probability- that I struggle with depression and could, from time to time. 

It’s entirely circumstantial- emotional stress, without a doubt….

It’s me carrying burdens I’m not meant to carry – things too big and outside of my control. 

Like people’s salvation and the world’s rejection and misconception of Jesus. It’s me thinking it’s my responsibility to save/change/convince people to Christ and manage outcomes. 

It’s yucky pride and me still trying to measure up, to make Jesus proud.

As much as I hate to admit it, this bout of depression is necessary: another layer God needs to shed, in order for me to walk in freedom and know Him deeper.

‘Cause I beat myself up when I see the darkness still inside me- as if on this side of heaven, I can obtain perfection. The lie that because I’ve experienced transformation and freedom and healing in Christ, I should have it all figured out now and no longer require grace or forgiveness. 

The realization of my sin sends me into deep grief.

And it’s that grief, when carried too long, that turns to depression. 

I see the light out of this pit- Jesus has begun to reach down and pull me out. But if I’ve learnt anything so far, it’s this:

It’s time to let Him move the reality of grace, from my head down to my heart. 

 


After writing this post, God led me to a one day silent retreat at home, using the following resource. If you’re feeling down, irritable, angry, weary, or fearful, I’d encourage you to set a day aside to be alone with Jesus. Go somewhere that inspires you or send the kids out for the day… I received the grace I needed- I walked away with quiet joy and peace knowing that this is not another thing I need to “fix” about myself- that God is sovereign over the dark, just as He is the light. He will use every experience, including seasons of depression, for good and glory.

 

Alone with the Lord: A Guide to a Personal Day of PrayerAlone with the Lord: A Guide to a Personal Day of Prayer by Gordon T. Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A powerful, yet easy to use tool for a day of personal reflection, and encountering Christ. I appreciated the prompts and pointers, while still leaving room for personal application and interpretation.

I used this for my very 1st silent retreat- I didn’t know what to expect, really, but I left with joy, peace and clarity. Great resource. Will use it again!

View all my reviews

Flirting with Fire | When You Can’t Outrun Your ANGER

Anger is a funny emotion.

I’ve spent the vast majority of my life trying to suppress it – to secretly pretend like I don’t struggle with it and that when I feel it coming on it doesn’t consume me like a piece of parched kindling wood.

But the truth is, like an innocent wild fire, it can take nothing more than the tiniest culprit to send me into a blazing glory.

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On my best days, a bit of self-discipline and prayer can keep me in check, choosing to respond rather than react. But sadly on my worst, it’s takes an army of rescue crew to put me out.

It took me months to recognize the shame that I’d allowed to surrounded my struggle with anger-

The incessant self talk that told me if people really knew what I was dealing with inside and what I really wanted to say, they’d hate me. The lie that I am a bad person. Not that my behaviour is bad  (or some of the behaviour I choose to entertain when I grab the bait of temptation in anger) but

that ME – I am bad.

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But that’s a lie from the pit of hades! And it doesn’t hold one iota of truth when measured against the word of God.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.- Romans 5:8

Be angry and do not sin. – Ephesians 4:26

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John:9

It’s not the sinner that God despises, but the sin. And it’s not the emotion that’s the sin either…

It’s how we choose to respond in our emotional state that can lead us to sin.

God gave us emotions for a reason and 10 out of 10 times, our emotions are arrows pointing to our hearts condition.

Too often though, we choose to react on our feelings before stopping to do a quick self evaluation.

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Like battling an addiction, we can’t run from our behaviour or will ourselves to do better; nor can we simply run to God before checking our hearts motive. Because before we can ask for help, we need to understand what it is we need help with exactly. 

Emotions are meant to direct us to our needs. We just need to take the time to assess them.

And when we can’t figure it out, God is more than delighted to give us insight and wisdom.

 

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. – James 1:5

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Anger is no different than any other God given emotion. And he gave it to us for a reason!

Anger tells us something is wrong or not right inside us. It can be guilt directing us to confess and make amends where we’ve made a mistake. It can be injustice which can spur us to action or change. It can be pride that tells us we deserve to be treated better. And in my case, a healthy dose of all of the above. 

But I’ve found the times in my life when anger seems to get the worst of me is when it’s fuelled by events and circumstances that are out of my control, significantly more when it involves the people closest to me. And this is where the battle truly begins. 

Even when it’s tempting and even when it’s warranted, I must intentionally choose to respond in my anger rather than react. I must take the time to check my hearts motives and only when it’s fuelled by love, can I verbalize my anger to the one who it’s directed at.

(Note: I don’t mean we go and talk to everyone other than the person we’re mad at. I choose to talk to God first, then one or two close friends who I trust to give me a healthy (and biblical perspective) and aren’t afraid to tell me when I’m wrong.

And yes, I fail at this many times also, giving in to my flesh and reacting in anger. But rather than beating myself up, RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT, I try to thank God in advance that he is faithful to forgive me and is at work refining me until the day of Christ’s return.)

Like Solomon says, for everything there is a season. And friend, there is a season for (righteous) anger too….

2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace. – Ecclesiastes 3:8

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So if you too are struggling with anger and the nasty bits of guilt and shame that come along with it, please know you’re not alone.

I’m praying along with you that God would give us wisdom to recognize the lies, insight to our true hearts cry, self-discipline to respond rather than react and discernment to know when our anger is and isn’t justified.

 

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Please Note: This post was written in the wake of hearing and processing news that shook my entire world and turned my life upside down. What followed was the commence of a deeply personal healing journey and with the help of counselling, I was able to recognize this anger as a necessary part of not only the grief cycle, but of establishing personal boundaries.

After years of complying, their pent up rage explodes. This reactive phase of boundary creation is crucial, especially for victims. They need to get out of the powerless , victimized place in which they find themselves, forced by physical and sexual abuse or by emotional blackmail and manipulation.

They must react to find their boundaries, but having found them, they must not “use their freedom to indulge in sinful behaviour.” A reactive stage is that- a stage- not an identity. Necessary but not sufficient.  – Boundaries | Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

If you too find yourself in this place, (or if you struggle with anger or rage on a regular basis) please reach out to someone you trust. I would highly suggest seeing a professional counsellor in your area.