Saturday, April 5, 2008
Learning to Live a New Life
I thought I'd spend some time this evening listing things that have helped me the most on my journey. It's probably good for me to take a stroll down memory lane, and remember Who it was that set me free, and what has helped to keep me that way.
1. If you've done any reading here, you may know what this one will be! Of course, it is daily bible readings. Reading my bible every day brought rock solid stability to a mind that hadn't been sound. The word of God has the power to transform your thinking, and to lift you up out of the muck. When I was depressed, my fleshly mind would naturally gravitate to anything negative, pessimistic, and miserable. Now as a well woman (who wanted to stay that way) I had to learn a new way of thinking. The bible is truth: it was the only thing that had spiritual power to change my mind, my brain, and my body.
2. Words. Interesting, isn't it? When I was healed, I had never thought of praying aloud, or that if I did, that it would be any different than if I just did it in my head. But that was one of the big revelations I recieved then: that to say words out of my mouth carried a different degree of power than if I just thought them. At that time I was reading Living Free in Christ, by Neil Anderson. Each chapter had a truth-revealing message, and a prayer or renunciation at the end. I would say these aloud, and I found that this was really setting me free. Not just to tell God that "I was sorry" for my sin, but to RENOUNCE it- to commit to turning away from it completely.
I also found that I could change the way I felt, or what was going on in my life spiritually, by SAYING THINGS. I would talk to myself outloud, and tell myself who I was: "I am God's friend", "I will live; I will not die", "I am not among those who shrink back, but among those who believe", "I am NOT CRAZY!" And so on. I found that by speaking the truth to myself this way, I began to grow stronger in how I believed it. I read something in the BVOV magazine recently (in an article by Charles Capps) saying that we are more inclined to believe what comes out of our own mouths, than what someone else may tell us. He said we will certainly benefit from someone else telling us the word of God, but when we say it ourselves, out of our mouths, we believe what we say. After all, it's US.
3. I changed what I listened to. So, so far we've done what I was reading, what I was saying; now what I was hearing. The bible says that faith comes by a person's hearing. Just so, I had been developing my faith, but in all the wrong things! Watching X-files will not give you the faith you need to be healed. It will give you fear. In a similar way, I had to turn off all the old melancholy songs I had listened to all my teenage years, and throw out dozens of cd's. I changed what I watched on TV. --I'll be honest, this was the hardest one. It was easy to stop bringing home movies like "Scream", but it was still pretty alluring to just sit on the sofa every evening with a remote in my hand, watching sitcoms. I actually think that TV can be more attractive to someone who is depressed, because it releases all kinds of stuff in their brain that they are deficient in. This, however, does not mean you should watch TV! It seems that all that inactivity just leads to more inactivity, and it trains the brain to get a buzz off of watching a screen, not going out for a walk with your family. The TV isolates.
So I weaned myself off the TV over time. Now I often watch the Miracle Channel in the evenings, and lately Jed and I have been watching Creflo Dollar (Changing Your World) podcasts on the TV in the evenings. I sometimes watch a Joyce Meyer podcast when I'm on the treadmill. They're free, on I-Tunes. Elijah (our twelve year old) lets us use his Ipod, and he has a cord that plugs it right into the TV!
I had to change who I was listening to. Once I was healed, Jed and I made sure we never missed a church service, or a bible study. We started listening to older, wiser counsel. There were voices in my life that I had to distance myself from. It was for my benefit in the long run, because I couldn't have that weak, depressed, dependant message in my life anymore. I had to get up and walk.
Well, now for some tips on the resources that have helped to shape me over the last 10 years.
1. The Message, by Eugene Peterson. This is a paraphrase of the bible. I needed something simple at that time in my life, my brain had been so taxed, and drugged. I couldn't read anything more complicated, but I read the Message New Testament over a period of 6 mo., and it was revolutionary for me. The second bible I read was a Life Application Study Bible, in the NIV translation. I did find it harder to understand, but I found that as I read it, my intelligence, and my ability to understand was actually increasing! I've heard people say that depressed people should exercise their brain, well this was the best exercise I can imagine. That experience changed me; it changed my brain's capabilities!
2. One of the first books I read at that time was Living Free in Christ by Neil Anderson. I had been saved when I was 14, but I knew almost nothing about being a Christian, and this book opened my eyes to what Jesus had really done for me, and what was the authority that I had in Him. It also helped me to leave behind the old sinful patterns and beliefs that had been imprisoning me in depression. I also had a workbook by Neil Anderson, called Steps to Freedom in Christ, and working through it helped me to turn my back on sinful, occultish activities that had plagued my life.
3. I didn't find Kenneth Copeland's teachings for another 4 years, but again, this was a pivotal moment in my life. At that time, I had felt like I was sinking in fear, but I "just happened" to see one of Kenneth Copeland's programs, and he was preaching on fear. I ordered the cd's, and to hear God's Word preached that way was something I'd never encountered before. It began something of an addiction for me (listening to preaching cd's), because I felt like I'd found the answer I'd been searching for all my life. I had known before that God and His word were my answer, but when I heard Brother Copeland preach, it was like I could see the bible in a whole new light, and realize that I had not known God very well up to that point. Besides that, I had been believing things about Him and His word that were not true. I had grown up hearing teachings and ideas that were based in tradition, and not on true knowledge.
One of the first things I remember hearing from the Copeland's teachings was that God is Love. This meant that wherever in the bible I saw the word God, I could substitute the word Love, and it would mean the same thing! As I did this, I began to see that God's only motive toward me was loving kindness! He wasn't a big, scary Daddy who would fiercely punish me if I got out of line. I saw that He had taken the punishment on Himself, and now He wanted to show me how to live free.
I hope I can do a post like this again, because there's just so much I need to add here. Feel free to comment if this connects with you. : )