Season of change
So here I am, on my iPad 35,000ft in the air en route to Singapore in the middle of the night. You get a lot of time to think when you’re working in Business Class and I’ve just realised a lot of time to write a blog haha. All my passengers are fast asleep (must be nice). And I’m sitting here, thinking about how my keto reset #157 has been an easy transition compared to every other attempt. Tonight, I said no to the garlic bread, no to the ice cream, and no to the cheese and crackers. I’m chuffed.
The Holy Spirit sparks a word in my head as I think about that win,
“When you are able to practice self-control in areas of your life that have been a struggle, everything else will become easier.”
WOW. Did the Lord just speak to me? I’m literally taken back but over-joyed that I can hear His voice. Elated, I get up and check out our latest selection of magazines on the shelf. This month’s NEXT magazine catches my eye and as I flip the cover I’m drawn to these words:
SEASON OF CHANGE!
THE FREEING FEELING OF LETTING GO.
I look around and laugh. Um, okay Lord, are you trying to tell me something else? The words stir something deep inside of me and I know He is trying to prompt me.
The Holy Spirit then whispers to me and very gently says,
Big milestones have changed in my world and just like the four interchanging seasons of the year, life can drastically change for each one of us in a short amount of time.
The Lord has gently reminded me about how I am living in my own season of change. In this new chapter, I entered wedded-bliss, and married the love of my life in March this year. I also put on my big-girl shoes and moved out of Mum and Dad’s after being under their protection and love for 29-years.
Change for me is scary. The whole fear of the unknown. And I questioned how I’d ever adapt without being in the comfort of my old ‘normal’? A lot of work needed to be done internally, and it all started with a massive spring clean of the heart and mind.
It’s been a while since I’ve felt this urge to write. During the last couple months, I’ve felt God hold me back from posting on HER and I truly believe He had to fine-tune areas of my life that I’ve been struggling with. The real heart stuff.
During this time, I was still holding on to a lot of junk from the past and was still trying to take control of my life. The result: I was never fully submitting myself to God and letting him steer the way. And so, everything became a struggle. A struggle to lose weight, a struggle with my walk... basically struggle street was the destination and I was well on my way.
During the lead up to the wedding, two crucial tools allowed me to let go of the baggage I was holding onto. The first being premarital counselling where I was able to offload things I’ve held onto even before being with my husband.
Secondly, my husband and I started attending a Discipleship Course (bible study class) every Tuesday. Committing to this meant we were getting into the word. As a result, an internal shift allowed me to start to hear God more clearly in my day to day living. Something I had never experienced before.
The late Pastor Paul (who would run the course) shared on the week of Easter, the importance of letting go of all our worries and giving it all to Christ. He said as Christ died on the cross for us, we too must nail every worry and every struggle to the cross.
The sacrifice that Christ made for us has allowed us to offload all our baggage and mess directly to Him. He takes EVERYTHING that has held us hostage and that in itself is so freeing.
Pastor Paul said, “Look at the cross in times of worry or whenever you are tempted to sin.”
With just one look, the power of the cross through my struggles gave me the courage I needed. I visualised it and knew God’s plans were bigger than any setback.
Over Easter weekend, I truly renewed my thinking and I finally allowed God to take it all. Today, I now walk in a freedom and peace that I have never experienced.
Galatians 5:22-23: But the Spirit produces nine fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control.
Self-control is something I have always lacked haha. It is also one of the fruits of the spirit that I have the most struggle with. A recent example links back to wedding prep and the mental struggle I had to kick-start the “wedding-shred.” So many factors/stresses held me back from just starting.
The battle of flesh and self-control go hand-in-hand. And for me and many others, I know the battle of the flesh is an area of discontent. The desires of the flesh connect with things that may be holding you back from living in spiritual freedom. It can come in the form of alcohol, toxic relationships, addictions, drugs, pornography, laziness – the list is endless.
Galatians 5:17: For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
As humans, we have a tendency to do whatever feels good for us in the moment. Desiring the flesh more than the Spirit means we’re just leading meaningless lives that is charged by pleasure seeking.
God wants so much more for us.
Self-control is us firstly giving up TOTAL CONTROL. This means submitting ourselves fully and whole heartedly, allowing Him to guide the way. It also means saying NO. NO to worldly pleasures and anything of the flesh that doesn’t please Him.
Titus 2:16: That grace instructs us to give up ungodly living and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright.
The enemy is always ready to attack when he senses weakness with matters connected our heart or mind. Without self-control we allow ourselves to open doors where he can manipulate and control. And that is why it is so important for us to practice this fruit in our daily living.
Proverbs 25:26: If you cannot control your anger, you are helpless as a city without walls, open to attack.
HOW TO GET OVER THE MENTAL BATTLE
I have received so much revelation during this change in seasons. Especially hearing His voice gently remind me to use this gift of writing for His greater purpose.
Secondly, embracing change and trusting him wholeheartedly broke the chains of bondage where I would replay certain moments in my life over and over again. But again, God is always ahead of us and enables us to overcome any area of struggle.
Without letting go of all this mess inside, I would never have been able to encounter the gift of self-control. Giving Him total reign over my life has given me a huge sense of peace whenever any thing comes my way. I hope part of my story encourages you to keep fighting through any trial in your life.
Here are some tips that I have experienced useful through times of hardship:
Know your triggers
What triggers you into temptation or a battle of the mind? Once you are aware of what they are, pray over them and put in road blocks that will stop you from going down that path. Even if that means blocking certain people or detoxing your body – God will provide a way.
Read the word
Delving into the word and joining a bible study group has transformed my thinking HUGELY. I have been given the tools and encouragement to fight through every battle. And I am still learning so much to this day. The truth is all in the bible. Many Bible apps have free devotionals that can help you start reading the word – get into it, and even better that it’s all for free!
Surround yourself with like-minded people
Who are you surrounding yourself with? Do they speak life into you or are they just a good time? Recently, I joined a connect group with my best friends and we’ve created a safe environment where we read the word, pray together and fellowship. This has had a ripple effect with all my relationships. Being able to speak life and do life with people you love is a bonus!
Look at the cross
Like Pastor Paul said in times of struggle, visualise the cross. Know that when you see the cross in your mind, God has nailed every worry, stronghold, tear, heartbreak and sin to that cross. He sacrificed himself so we may walk in freedom.
If at first you don’t succeed – Try AGAIN
Exercising self-control is hard. And just like yo-yo dieting, there are going to be moments where you fail. The beauty in this is that God is not looking at the moments you fall for every moment means you’re a step closer to your breakthrough.
Thank you Lord for your plans for me. For this season of refinement. For guiding me through my darkest days.
For this new journey with my husband. I am so so thankful.