52 Walking with the Shepherd

We spoke of hearing Jesus as the Shepherd last blog. We hear Him in His word. We also hear Him through nature and people. What is more, He informs our hearts and minds.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4

Jesus speaks. He speaks in nature. A thunderclap proclaims His power and majesty. Warm summer breezes tell of His gentleness. The brilliance of the Sun depicts Jesus. He is the light of the world. Black nights demonstrate the darkness of evil. The air about us reminds us of the Lord’s constant presence. The wind reminds us of the flowing of His Spirit into our hearts, bringing refreshment.

We can speak Jesus’ words, not only when we quote scriptures but as we live life. Obviously, Jesus will not contradict the Bible, His word to us. In addition, the Spirit gives wisdom and knowledge ‘for [our] common good’, so that we can strengthen, encourage, and correct one another. (I Cor. 12:7-8) He brings wisdom, knowledge and His refreshing and cleansing truth to our hearts. God created us in His image and snatches of His light appear through us, tarnished though His image may be. He utilizes us to speak His Word to one another. We need to listen to Jesus and what He may be speaking through each other. Therefore, we need to share ourselves with safe people and be safe people for others. As those struggling with perfectionism we, more often than not, try to do our relationship with God alone. We need input from others. I need and invite your feedback!

I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws. Ezekiel 36:27
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in heaven.” Matthew 16:17
[N]o one can say “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 12:3

God speaks directly to our hearts and minds. This isn’t just some mystical falderal. Our Western scientific mindset tends to discount God’s work in our lives. God can intersect our thoughts with His thoughts. As I Corinthians 12:3 shows, we come to faith through the Spirit’s intervention. We need to consider what God may be speaking to our spiritual ears.

We test what we hear by the Word and apply discernment as we walk with the Shepherd.

Getting my work out with the Shepherd,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com


51 Hearing the Shepherd

Last May, I thought, “These blogs are God’s ideas.”  That same week, a college graduate spoke and said, “It’s all God’s ideas!”  That day at a concert, Benny Prasad said, “It’s God’s idea!”

You do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:26-27

If we believe in Jesus, we are His sheep and can hear Him. Hearing Jesus is not mystical. Not hearing Him comes from denying His voice. Jesus speaks. We decide to hear Him or not. For a direct way to hear Jesus, open a Bible to the Gospels and start reading. He speaks throughout the Bible; His word. Jesus, our Shepherd, is the Word. (John 1)

Jesus wants us to hear and follow Him every day. He knows about everyone. “I know them” refers to a deeply personal knowing as in a marriage relationship. We respond to Jesus by asking Him into the depth of our being; our hearts. However, our relationship with Him will die if we do not spend time with Him. Jesus wants us to rest in Him, but not to be inactive. We rest as we walk alongside Jesus. (Mt 11:28-30) We can rest from the world and its striving. We can then seek Jesus and His peaceful knowing of the Father’s plans.

“Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” (II Timothy 2:7) Today I felt drawn to I and II Timothy and found this verse. It matched what was on my heart. We hear the Lord as we read and reflect on His Word. When a verse in the Bible sparks interest, be still, ask God to speak and wait on Him. This quiet reflection allows our hearts to hear Him. We may experience a rush of emotions, especially if we tend to ignore them. Noticing this will free our hearts to hear from God. Jesus wants to speak to us wholly. We may not want to feel, especially our pain. However, our ignored emotions do not go away. As we feel and give our emotions to the Lord we learn to let go. In His timing He will give insight into our uncertainties.

Keep in mind, Jesus will not contradict His own word. Spend time reading the Bible. Get to know Him through His word. Knowing the Word will aid us in discerning His voice from our own voice, or even from the enemy or the world. The enemy wants to accuse and will do anything he can to confuse and lead us astray. The Shepherd redeems, enlightens and leads us in paths of righteousness. Fellowshipping with other Christians brings us back to the Shepherd. We need to dialog with others who are ahead of us in our struggles. Like sheep, we need to flock together. Pay attention when a metaphor, picture or song speaks to your heart; focus on what the Shepherd may be saying. He will reveal deeper meaning to His word.

Loving His voice,

Noah & Marguex Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com


50 Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.  John 14: 27

Last time I said that self-acceptance was not possible and then gave you the above verse on peace.  Perhaps you wondered, “How do we get that peace that Jesus promises?”  That’s a huge question.  Here are a few ideas in response.  Peace could be defined as self-acceptance or even ‘no internal conflict’.  That theoretical state may be desirable, but is improbable.  Consider the battle Paul talks about in Romans 7; that battle with our flesh or old self.  Then, consider the external conflicts; issues we have with others.  Conflict is inevitable.

Internal conflicts often lead to intense emotions from which we seek relief.  Finding the peace that comes from an absence of internal conflict is fleeting, at best, especially for reflective people.  In perfectionism we seek to resolve all conflict by finding the solutions to all of life’s problems.  This shows how prideful, grandiose and self-idealistic we can be.  If we can’t find a peace from resolving all of life’s issues, then how do we find peace?  We need the peace that Jesus gives rather than a peace that we strive to manufacture within ourselves.  His peace surpasses understanding!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

Emotions give us the energy we need to work through conflict when we find ourselves in conflict.  However, we sometimes cannot find solutions through the conflict in the moment of conflict.  Also, some internal conflicts follow us throughout life.  We need to talk through our intense emotions when we find ourselves ‘sitting and spinning’ or stuck in circular thinking, first with God and then with safe people.+

The above verses help us not only with anxiety, but also with any negative emotions.  As the old hymn goes, we need to “Take it to the Lord in prayer.”  We need to spend time with God, tell Him all about our struggles and ask Him for what we want and need.  He can say, “Yes.”, “No.”, “Not yet.” or, “I’m answering your request in this way.”  We invite God into our struggles and put our trust in Him, His resources, wisdom and guidance.  If we trust in our own resources we have reason to be anxious.  Subsequently, when we entrust our lives to God we need to thank Him for what He has already done for us.  In a posture of prayer and thankfulness we receive from God the peace that surpasses understanding.  He gives peace regardless of our circumstances and regardless of finding resolutions to conflicts.*

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true…think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8),

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

+ See blog #19 for Safe People.  Here is a link to it:  http://wp.me/p1Z40K-2s

* Following is a link to the sermon from whence some of these ideas come:  http://www.vineyardop.org/resources/multimedia/details?id=185630


49 Self Acceptance Curveball

Dear friends,  if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”
I John 3:21

Seeking self-acceptance is a useless battle. Emotional healing does not come through accepting ourselves. Healing comes from accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. We cannot heal ourselves. To try to do so would be wasted effort. Seeking self acceptance becomes a self-defeating trap. When we spend time and energy trying to accept ourselves, we frustrate, rather than heal, ourselves. Instead of striving to accept self, we need to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior—His will and His way. We may find partial success with self-acceptance initially, which encourages us to keep going, but we can never find it fully. Seeking to accept things about ourselves that we don’t like also leads to circular thinking.

For example, we do not like feeling emotional pain. We seek to stop feeling pain, don’t want to feel pain, and yet we do feel pain. We don’t like that we feel pain and do not like that we are so sensitive. People may not intend to hurt us, but we sometimes feel hurt by what they say. We may not like this about ourselves; we want to become less sensitive. However, in embracing the desire to not be so sensitive, we find ourselves rejecting our sensitivity and so not accepting self.

Alternatively, we choose to accept our pain and sensitivity and then we don’t accept the part of us that does not like pain and sensitivity, the part of us that wants change. We could try to be all-accepting of our own self, to try to embrace all of who we are, we could seek to accept that we feel pain, as well as not wanting to feel pain, but this solution does not feel possible. Intrinsic in feeling pain is the desire to not feel it. On an intellectual level we accept that we feel pain but in the feeling of pain we find the desire to not feel it! These two paragraphs demonstrate circular thinking.

The goal of self-acceptance is self-contradictory. The dictionary defines ‘self’ as “One’s total being” and ‘accept’ as “To receive willingly.” We feel pain, but not willingly. We definitely don’t want to get stuck in pain. On an intellectual level, we willingly understand that pain is a part of life. But on an emotional level, we feel the drive to rid self of pain. Internal conflict leads to feelings of pain, shame and other negative emotions which we seek to eliminate to obtain a state of inner peace. Negative emotions reveal problems.

Actually, I feel more self-accepting when I let go of striving to accept myself!

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. John 14: 27 (emphasis mine)

Learning to rest in His peace,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com