Spiritual Reboot- Control, Alt, Delete

This is going to be one of those “write it as I think it” posts.  Probably would have been more effective if I’d written it as I lived it, but I’m hoping someone can relate. I can remember the day I found out I wasn’t alone.

I was saved at 6 years old.  As I walked out of Jackson Memorial Baptist Church one night in Chesapeake, VA, staring at1456509_438987809556825_1650089405_n
the parking lot asphalt and holding my mama’s hand, the world seemed to slam on its brakes.

“We’ve got to go back in. I have to talk to Dr. Peverall.”

My mama is a great woman.  I think many women, myself included, would have probably said that we’d see him next time. She didn’t do that; instead, she about-faced and we walked right back into that building.  I sat in front of his desk, and asked about being saved.a359a22396238a60b888035a0eb27f2b  We talked about Jesus knocking on the door of my heart, and I looked at the infamous painting representing that moment.

And I did it, and I lived it and life was good.

Let’s be honest…it’s not really difficult to live a Christian lifestyle when you’re 6 years old.

Inevitably, however, I grew up.  We moved around (a lot), and things did get more difficult.  I was picked on a little, even through high school, for my beliefs.  I dated the same guy for 4 years, and didn’t have sex with him. He probably caught more flack about that than I ever did. I didn’t use a lot of foul language.

I was just me.

I didn’t have a real “I was (terrible place of obvious sin and destruction), and God brought me to redemption” story. I was just normal. I remember praying for God to give me a testimony, not realizing that my life raised as a Christian was a testimony. I’ve been known to pray for stupid things.

After graduation came college, and a bit of partying.  I also got married to my wonderful husband.  Slowly, but surely, my faith dimmed.  I remember feeling so separated from God, like I’d never even known Him.  I wanted to find him, but I seemed to be behind a big lead curtain.  I prayed, I read my Bible, I visited a church…once…but, I felt alone. My husband was deployed, and I fell into a really, really deep depression. I lost sight of my beliefs and my self-value. I was ready to be done.

God, however, was not done with me. Since those things are His call, I’m here to write this to you.

I lived for years behind that curtain. I didn’t run after God as tirelessly as I should have, but I dabbled in pursuit. I still prayed, even though I felt like I was yelling at a brick wall.  I was completely isolated. Was I forgotten? Isaiah 49:15 tells me that’s not the case.  It says, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”  If I’d dug a little deeper, I’d have realized that. I think we often times picture God as a finicky toddler. If we sin, He turns away and goes about handling other things.  If we do well and listen, then He comes and blesses us.  What I now know is that’s not the way God works.

What I needed was a spiritual reboot, and it came in 2014.  In January, I finally decided this was it and I began visiting a church with a friend of mine.  As the pastor wrapped up, he did the normal call to salvation.  While I felt separated from God, even sitting in His house, I knew I was saved.  What he said next, though, caught my attention. The pastor acknowledged maybe someone was already saved, but needed a “fresh start.” A do-over. A mulligan. A re-introduction to a God we used to claim.

That was me.

I needed that.

I raised my hand, and the tears flowed. I had no interest in anyone else’s reaction to it. He was talking about me.

It took me about another year to get to where I felt “right” about where I was with God. Nowhere near perfect, but much better than I was.

It’s impossible to be “on fire” all the time. I think we all see highs and lows in our faith.  Some weeks, especially Sunday mornings, it seems as if the world is waiting for us to share the gospel and be who we are in the Body.  Other weeks, the oppression gets to us, and it’s easier to just stick that little light under a bush for a minute.  I get that.

However, for the droughts where you pray for the rain of the Holy Spirit, I’ve found it’s imperative to hit “Control, Alt, Delete” and get a reboot.

  • Control– I am the world’s worst about having to be in control. A good friend of mine who works tirelessly on Policea42b43bb48d4268996d73c762dc18a79 Wives of Kentucky posted a meme the other day and tagged me. It was something like this one I found on Pinterest.  She knows!! I can’t help it. I want as many volunteers as possible, but I have a vision. Not everyone sees my vision the way I do, and I’m really learning to let go. I value other ideas, opinions, dreams and input. It just takes a me a minute to let go of my original plan, and stop being such a control freak.  If I’m that way with people I can tangibly see- it’s often twice as hard with a God for whom I have to patiently wait and listen.  Oh, but what a sweet, sweet outcome it is when I finally get over myself and hear Him out. Release that control.  Get on your knees and commit to listening to God’s input.  Mine nearly always includes the statement, “Lord, don’t forget I need big, flashing neon signs and lots of ‘can’t miss it’ direction.” He’s good to me. He knows how to communicate in a way I can’t argue.  Sometimes it’s a quiet whisper, and other times it’s a shut door.  Knowing that He is using all things for good (Romans 8:28) makes life so much easier.  I’ve given Him control of the wheel, and He laid the roads. Some days it’s very hard not to take it back. It’s a daily struggle for me. Pray about it. Praise in the storms, bring your cares to Him, listen for direction and have all faith in Him to handle what happens next. Mostly, trust the one who designed it all to know how to negotiate the curves and turns. Also noteworthy, Proverbs 3:5-6 and 1 Peter 5:7.
  • Alt– On your computer keyboard, the “Alt” button is short for Altmode. Technically, what it does, is give your keys another function.  Try holding the Alt button, and hitting the number 1 on your keypad. ☺ Here, however, it means alter and altar.  I have to do a self-check at this point.  Where is my time being spent? Who/what am I making an idol before God, by investing myself in most over Him? What can I give up or reschedule, in order to set my priorities in line? Am I giving Him my time first? Am I going to Church, and making myself a useful part of the Body? Or am I isolated, because I’ve let something get in the way? Alter my time and outlook, and make sure I’m getting to the altar. (Proverbs 3:6, Matthew 6:31-33, Proverbs 16:3, John 3:30)
  • Delete– This one is hard, but walks hand in hand with the above.  I have wounded bird syndrome. I want to take everyone under my wing and help them, which means I get drained and emotionally exhausted. I’m also easily distracted by what I feel I am doing for the sake of others, and it gets in the way of my walk with God. Moreover, I am human and can fall into a temptation for gluttony (in a sense of focusing too much, or doing too much, of something). I have to look at my “alter” priorities, and start trimming the fat (1 Cor. 10:13).  Take some people off of Facebook, so I’m not constantly tied in to their issues.  Delete phone numbers of people I probably shouldn’t be wasting time on. This is even rooted in my house! What can I get rid of, so that I’m not distracted by the clutter and feeling overwhelmed with what’s here? Whatever it is, let it go, Elsa. Delete it. Donate it. Send them on their way and pray for them. Paul tells us it’s ok in 2 Timothy 3:2-5 and Titus 3:10-11. We also see it in 1 Corinthians 15:33. Show mercy when you’re afforded that beautiful opportunity, but don’t let it be what anchors you.  If it’s a distraction from your faith, then say, “adios.” Check your emotions (Eph. 4:31-32) and see what you can delete there, too.

This isn’t a one-time fix. This is a maintenance measure. This is something I might have to do two Mondays in a row, or every day for a month. Also, check to make sure other blocks aren’t an issue as well.   Is your spiritual life “plugged in?” Are you participating in what’s offered at your Church, and being a part of its growth? Are you being a light to others (“tap, tap- is this thing on?”)?

Reboot, plug in, get your do-over. God hasn’t moved.  He’s just waiting for you to reconnect.

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