“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” 1 Samuel 15:23a
I mentioned before that I have begun to find myself having an unanticipated crisis of faith. Truth be told, I am probably just now experiencing what most adult Christian converts experience when transitioning into a new life. I’ve always questioned things and reasoned through my doubts and faith– but what I am experiencing is not a matter of questioning but of submission.I am fighting a rebellious spirit.
Last week, after visiting my husband’s family we went to visit mine. While this should have been a pleasant affair, (enjoying watching my kids play and encounter the farm and the truly picturesque mountains) it really wasn’t for me. I found myself falling prey to my anxiety, depression and for a short while, desperate feelings of despair. I told my best friend I felt like I was slowly being poisoned. As each day passed I was consumed by regret and an accompanying despair that I’d never achieved what I had set out to do. Forgotten were all of the things I have done, all of the mountains I have climbed and all the blessings that God has granted me. Instead, was a growing feeling of resentment toward all that I have, because I could not be where and who I had once wanted to be or with the people I had wanted to surround my life with. I was obviously becoming moody (moodier than usual) and even went on a solo car ride where I drove around weeping asking God why I couldn’t start over………
Where was this coming from?!! Yes, my life took an unexpected uncharted swerve from what I’d planned: I am not a star reporter and I haven’t graduated from seminary yet. But what I do have, is; a husband who miraculously loves me, two beautiful, wondrous children, a home, and a found vocation in teaching that I am actually good at. On top of this a have a family of friends who support me through neurosis and I am blessed. In my darkness all these things were lost in a mist.
Our last day there, I got stung by, what I think, was a honey bee. I was walking through the yard to hand the phone to my mother and while walking through a clover patch I stepped on something that stung me. I hobbled back up to the porch and grit my teeth waiting for the pain to subside. Surprisingly, after about ten minutes the majority of the pain was gone. I was just left with a large red welt on the bottom of my foot. The next day as we packed up our things, it was a mild bother and emotionally I found anxiousness and depression lift with every mile we moved closer to our home. I thought I was going to be fine.
A day after being home, the bee sting site seemed to just flare up. It began itching like crazy and if I scratched it, it began throbbing and aching worse than it ever had when I was initially stung. I thought I was going to go nuts, hopping around the house trying to figure out how to get it to stop….doing whatever it was doing.
Eventually, the inflammation subsided and it healed, and I began to see the correlation between my feelings for being home and my body’s reaction to the bee sting. The discomfort of being at my childhood home began with one thought…. not a lurid, necessarily sinful thought, but a memory that rose up and had planted itself in my mind. A brief glimpse of a happy time when I thought I had it all figured out and, what some could categorize as nostalgia and reminiscence, instead brought up feelings of regret and remorse for me. And what did I do?…..like the bee sting; the initial pain subsided but the thought remained and I clung to it, letting it resurface over and over and before long the snowball effect took hold and a moment of sadness turned into anger, bitterness and despair. The thing is, I could see it coming and I couldn’t turn it off. In my mind, I would compartmentalized and one moment I would pray, “Dear God, change my heart!” and the next moment I would choose to dwell on all the things where I lack contentment. Little things, would irritate me and I would consciously think “God, I don’t care, I don’t want to do all this anymore.” By choosing this rebellious attitude I was making myself ill…emotionally and physically. Not to mention the pain I caused those around me. I owe my family an apology.
In the Old Testament, Samuel has to deal harshly with King Saul, explaining to him that despite his greatness and all the blessings God bestowed him, he would lose all of it (and he did) because of his rebellion toward God’s authority, and his pride. The prophet Samuel likened the sin of rebellion to being a form of witchcraft and stubbornness to idolatry. This is a sobering thought. Many times in my life, have I subconsciously and consciously self-sabotaged and came precariously close to losing many of the blessings and good things in my life…..solely because I was determined to have my moment, and my way….. and be able to succumb to how I felt.
And once again, it has crept up on me and this time the stakes are higher. What could I lose? ………… amongst everything else…..my soul.
As I spent a few days mulling over all of these thoughts, God seemed to want to further get my attention. The sermon we heard yesterday was extremely convicting.The minister shared a quote by A. W. Tozer (which I am paraphrasing) that said, if God is not in control of all of me, chances are He is not in control of any of me. While I may say my prayers each day, commit my job, and my children to Him…..my stubborn spirit that holds on to all the little things (or the big things you don’t talk about) could jeopardize my faith. Every time I face a mountain, a mole hill or even a bump and I think “why God?” and then “I can handle it……” or “I don’t want to….” according to scripture, that rebellious, poisonous, sinful attitude (call it what it is) is no different from me actively engaging in occult or satanic behavior. That’s what witchcraft is isn’t it?
So how do I
“fix” correct a rebellious attitude? Submit.
That’s hard. I’ve prided myself in being independent, hard-working….. and non-submissive. I never wanted to have to rely on anyone…..honestly I guess that included my God to some extent. But, how can I believe in a Savior if I won’t let Him save me?
Proverbs 3: 5-6 says: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” If I were willing to hand over my regrets of my past and fully trust Him with my present and future, He has promised to lead me in a straightened path toward Him. Which is exactly what I want.