Month: May 2017

Hopelessness – Snares in the Deep, Part 2

Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young Write from the Deep Podcast - Hopelessness, Snares in the Deep, Part 2

45 – Hopelessness – snares in the deep, part 2

There are dangers in the deep, snares planted by the enemy of our souls to entangle us and keep us trapped in darkness and doubt. Today we’re exploring the most dangerous snare of all: hopelessness. But here’s the good news: There is ALWAYS hope when God is on our side. So come join the discussion on how to avoid—or escape—the snare of hopelessness.

Show notes

In part one of our series on snares in the deep (episode 44, and I encourage you to go back and listen to that if you haven’t) we talked about the snare of resentment. While resentment can build feelings of anger and frustration, this week’s snare can suck all your feelings away and leave you in a wasteland. Empty. Starving. Hopeless.

And that, my friends, is the snare we’re focusing on today. Hopelessness.

Hopelessness can lead to:

  • Giving up
  • Being isolated
  • Being more vulnerable to attacks from the enemy of our soul
  • Depression
  • Despair

 

How to avoid the snare of hopelessness:

Keep your hope centered in the right place—on God

  • Psalm 25:4-5 says, “Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” We’re not to hope in things or people or circumstances.
  • Psalm 130:7 says, “O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows.” We can hope in Him because He loves us.

 

Ground yourself in the reality of God’s goodness

  • Psalm 145:5-10 says, “I will meditate on Your majestic, glorious splendor and Your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim Your greatness. Everyone will share the story of Your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about Your righteousness. The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation. All of Your works will thank You, Lord, and Your faithful followers will praise You.”

 

Understand that the deep is just life

  • It’s not necessarily a punishment. Jesus experienced the deep to the point of sweating blood. It’s not a declaration of your value, or lack thereof. It just is. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
  • You’re not alone. We all go through challenges and slide toward hopelessness.

 

Focus on things that you have, rather than what you’ve lost

  • Be looking for things that give you hope. Purpose to spend time every day doing this, even if only for a moment. Of course, look in Scripture, but look for hope in the immediate, too. In the physical world around you. In things like a child’s joy in the moment, or music, or nature.

 

Live with your focus on the possibility of the unseen too

  • One of my personal definitions of  hope is unswerving belief in future possibilities. God is an infinite, boundless God. Infinite hope, infinite possibility. He can do things we can’t see coming. Yes, we should focus on the good things we see, but we should also be asking God daily to help us focus on the things unseen, the eternal things He has for us.

 

Use Scripture with a truth phrase to create “Affirmations of Hope”

  • With God, all things are possible. My feelings don’t change that truth.
  • The enemy is a roaring lion, seeking those he may devour. I will NOT be devoured.
  • God cares. He loves me for me!
  • Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” I’m not alone!
  • Psalms 34:17-18 “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” God has promised to save me!

 

How to escape the snare of hopelessness when you’ve been caught in it
  1. Acknowledge it. As with other snares, it’s a feeling, nothing more. The enemy is doing everything He can to convince you it’s reality. But it’s NOT.
  2. Reprogram your self-talk. Every time you start to say how nothing will change, how you’re cursed, or whatever the lie is, combat that with truth. Use your Affirmations. Repeat them, even if you don’t feel them. Speak truth until you DO feel it.
  3. Realize that it’s God who will make you able to do that. Psalm 119:147 says, “I rise before the dawning of the morning and cry for help. I hope in Your word.” Cry out to Him and put your hope in His truth.
  4. Quit. A few weeks ago we had a guest, Alton Gansky, who said it’s okay to quit, just don’t quit for good. Maybe you need to walk away from whatever is feeling hopeless. Even if only for a day. Take a break. Remove yourself. Give yourself permission to quit. But don’t stay there. Remember, you need to travel. To move forward. So after you quit, ask God to show you when to start again. Or ask how He wants to redirect you.

 

God’s purpose for us in the deep is that we learn about ourselves and Him, that we go deeper INTO Him. But there are times when it just feels like it’s too much. Like we’ll never escape. Like life will always be in this deep, difficult place. Remember, those feelings are just that, feelings. Don’t make the mistake of letting those feelings wrap themselves around your heart and spirit until you feel there is no hope. Prepare yourself for the day you’ll encounter the snare of hopelessness. And, if you end up caught by it, remember: there is always hope with God. There is no place too deep, too dark, for Him to take hold of us and lift us. Rest in Him and His promises and truth. And let those things free you from the devastation of giving in to the lie of hopelessness.

 

We want to hear from you!

What helps you avoid the snare of hopelessness?
What helps you escape when you’re caught in the snare?

 

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Don’t let hopelessness trap you!

 

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Resentment – Snares in the Deep, part 1

Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young Write from the Deep Podcast, Resentment

44 – Resentment – Snares in the Deep, part 1

Being in the deep is bad enough, but what can you do when you find you’re trapped there? Caught by one of the strategic snares the enemy has planted? That’s exactly what we’re here to talk about. Join us as we discuss ways to avoid the snare of resentment. Or, if you’ve been caught in it, ways to escape. You’re not alone!

 

Show notes

In our last episode, we talked with award-winning author Alton Gansky about traveling in the deep. He had some wonderful insights for us, but it also made us think. Because we walk this fine line where we don’t want to strive to get out of the deep, we need patient endurance, but there should ultimately be a sense of movement in God’s time. Of progression, learning, and growing. It’s a journey. The trouble is, when we’re journeying in the deep, there are snares. And one of the most dangerous snares is resentment.

 

The Fruit of Resentment

Rebellion, willful disobedience, arrogance: These all lead to separation from God.

Which leads to: Physical consequences, broken relationships, loss of perspective.

And all that provides: A foothold for the enemy’s lies.

 

What Do We Resent?

That we’re in this deep place at all. We don’t deserve it.

But what does Scripture say we deserve?

  • “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Psalm 14:2-3
  • “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5
  • “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’” Romans 2:5-6
  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
  • It’s only by the GIFT of God that we can have forgiveness. We don’t—we can’t—earn it, and we don’t deserve it.

 

We Resent Being Punished

But Scripture tells us refinement isn’t punishment. It comes out of God’s love for us.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

  • “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
  • “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.” Proverbs 3:11-14
  • There is gain in correction. Whatever the reason we’re in this deep place, it will be ultimately used for our good and God’s glory. Even Jesus suffered.
  • “God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that He should make Jesus, through His suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.” Hebrews 2:10

 

We Resent Those Who Don’t Appear to Suffer Like We Do.

I’m way better than ______, and I don’t see him/her suffering like this.

  • The truth is that we don’t know what’s happening in another person’s life. Look at what Scripture says about focusing on self and our own faith, not looking at what God is doing with others.
  • “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” Galatians 6:4-5

 

We Resent the Feeling of Constant Affliction

We resent that we have to go through yet another struggle. “Haven’t I been through enough?”

  • The apostle Paul had constant afflictions, including getting flogged not once, not twice, but 5 times.
  • On top of that, he says,  “…I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
  • Paul turned his afflictions around—into a chance to bring glory to Christ.

 

We Resent that God Didn’t Save Us From it When He Saved Others

We ask ourselves, “Doesn’t He love me as much as He loves them?”

  • That’s comparing again. It’s taking our eyes off of God and His love for us.
  • “For great is Your love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.” Psalm 86:13

 

How to Avoid the Snare of Resentment

  1. Keep your perspective grounded in God’s truth. Not “Why me?” but “Why not me?” Jesus is our suffering Savior and He tells us we’ll suffer as well.
  2. Seek counsel. When the feelings hit, ask for prayer and counsel from those you know well and trust.
  3. Be aware of, and keep a check on, your expectations. “Not my will, but Yours.”
  4. Cultivate a spirit of gratitude, even in the deep. If you struggle with this, check out episode 22, “Count it all Joy.”

 

How to Escape the Snare of Resentment When You’ve Been Caught in It:

  1. Acknowledge it. It’s a feeling, nothing more. It’s not truth, it’s not reality. It’s how you feel, and that’s okay.
  2. Understand it. Ask God to show you the core of your resentment. The “why” of your feelings. Dig deep. Write it down. Be brave for this. We all have an ugly human side—that’s why we need Jesus. Don’t let this make you feel worse about yourself.
  3. Ask God to show you how to deal with that/those core(s). He wants to! He wants your restoration. Seek His forgiveness. Seek His truth. Seek His light. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
  4. Ask forgiveness from anyone you’ve harmed because of your resentment.
  5. Leave it with God, and move forward. Make a new game plan.

 

Conclusion

Being in the deep will happen for all of us at some point. The enemy knows that far better than we do. And he knows exactly how to set snares to entangle us. To keep us trapped and blind so that we can’t move forward or see what God has for us there. One of his most effective snares is the poison of resentment. But God is aware of the enemy’s plans and traps, and He’s already given us the key to avoiding those snares. And God knows there will be times we end up entangled, and He’s given us the way to escape. All we need to do is lean into Him, and let Him set us free.

 

We want to hear from you!

What helps you avoid and escape resentment?

 

Tweetable

Don’t let resentment endanger you!

Please share!
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