Chicken Circles

16 07 2014

The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over, yet expect different results.

It is not uncommon for those in recovery to do this very thing. We do the same old thing and expect a new ending. We’re not the first generation to take this approach to freedom.

For instance, in Genesis, we find the Israelites happily living in Egypt. Life is good, all is right in the world.

Life was so good that the people were multiplying like crazy. Pharaoh became concerned and realized that if they kept increasing in number, there was a good chance that they would become powerful and overtake him, so he ordered the death of every male newborn, and made the Israelites his slaves.

God had other plans, and Moses was spared…and brought into the household of Pharaoh to be raised by his daughter as if Moses were her son.

Eighty years later, having completed his “leadership training course,” Moses returned to Egypt with a one line message for Pharaoh from God: “Let My people go.”

Pharaoh took a little persuading. In the end, the Egyptians were glad to see the Israelites leave – and loaded them up with gold, silver, fine fabrics, and all sorts of goodies.

The Israelites had seen God at work – He was hard to miss, what with the water turning to blood, several plagues, and the death of the firstborn of any house that did not have blood on its doorposts!

Then there was the scene at the Red Sea. What was it like to walk across on dry land, I wonder? It wasn’t a narrow corridor, either. The path was two or three miles wide to allow the passage of so many people in such a short period of time. I’d have wanted to be on the outer edge so I could check out the wall of water!

The sea back in its place, Pharaoh and his army drowned, the people were free…

…physically.

Mentally, they were still slaves.

They fought God every step of the way into the Promised Land. It took them forty years to make an eleven-day journey. In the end only Joshua and Caleb were permitted to enter the land.

At every turn, they kept defaulting back to their old slave behavior. Even though God provided food for them on a daily basis, they complained and stated that they preferred leeks and onions in bondage to “What Is It?” (manna) in freedom. When they thought they’d been abandoned by Moses, they went back to worshiping their old idols.

No longer would they feel the sting of the whip on their backs. No longer would they toil in the blistering sun to make bricks for their harsh taskmaster. No longer would they have to scrimp and save to clothe themselves.

Instead of gratitude, they grumbled and complained. Despite the many miracles God performed on their behalf, they struggled with being able to trust Him.

Once they discovered giants living in the Promised Land, that they would have to fight to take possession, they sat on their backsides and whined. That was their undoing.

It can be ours as well.

We can take away many insights from their story, but the one I want to focus on today is that of possessing our possession.

The land was theirs – guaranteed freedom, a land flowing with milk and honey. With their own eyes they’d seen evidence of what awaited them.

There was one tiny problem…

…giants.

This became my problem as well. In a most amazing way, the Lord led me out of captivity to an abusive marriage, through the wilderness where I literally had to rely on Him for every meal, and assured me of a Promised Land here on earth.

Once I was free, though, I kept returning to what I knew – old coping mechanisms, false idols in the form of men who would be “able” to protect and provide. It was easier to default to the old known ways than to face the giants before me.

The first giant I had to face was in the form of an apartment manager! When I met her to get an application for one of the townhouses, I should have worn an overcoat. I later learned that her tenants called her the Ice Queen.

I filled out the application and returned it to her. My attempts at friendly chatter were met with cold, clipped responses – or icy stares. I went back to my parents’ home and said, “There’s no way she will rent to me. She hates my guts!”

After two weeks, with no response from her, I assumed that we would have to look elsewhere. What a shame. After living in a broken down trailer where neither the water heater nor heater worked, and we were often without propane, so I cooked outside on a BBQ grill, the thought of living in a brand new townhouse thrilled me.

What could I do? I was helpless in this situation.

I went through some mental gymnastics as I worked my way through the thing.

Had she turned down my application?

No.

Did she threaten me with bodily harm if I came back?

No.

What was the worst thing she could do if I asked if she would rent to me?

Say, “No.”

That wasn’t so bad!

If she did? And no one else would rent to us either?

We would be homeless.

What’s the worst thing that could happen then?

We might die…

and live with Jesus.

Oh. No more worries. Well then, what do I have to lose?

I picked up the phone and gave her a call.

“I approved your application a couple of days after you dropped it off. I was wondering if you were still interested,” she responded. “You have a choice between these three units.”

The next day we moved into our beautiful, brand new home!

That episode caused me to wonder how many opportunities I’d missed because of a lack of courage, and a mindset that there was nothing good in store for me. Since that time, I have learned to talk it through. In every instance, the worst thing that could happen is death. Jesus removed death’s sting, so that’s not much of a threat in my book!

 

At the core, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of fear. I’d rather learn from their mistake than to experience this for myself.

I don’t want to go around in circles for the rest of my life because I’m a chicken!

 

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3 responses

17 07 2014
cshowers

Dear Tami,

What a beautiful post, filled with much wisdom and instruction. Though the lesson in this story is not a difficult one to comprehend in our heads, for the heart, it’s the exact opposite. Our minds can understand logic, but our hearts rely on things in the soulish realm. The heart will often blow things out of perspective, creating mountains out of molehills, and when the spirit of fear is allowed to enter, there is no reasoning with it…

Perhaps that’s why the Lord says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Thanks so much for sharing this message. It was a much needed reminder that I need to, “5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” God bless you, beloved sister, and don’t stop sharing these much needed messages from God.

Love,
Cheryl

17 07 2014
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for the encouragement, Cheryl. Learning to conquer fear has been my battle for all of my life. That era was the beginning for me. It was the scariest time of all!

I’m glad God wasn’t content to leave me as a ‘chicken,’ but puts me into situations that require courage…then they were the sort that others would laugh at because it seems so silly. Today’s challenges contain a much greater element of risk – if viewed from a human standpoint.

If I step back and consider the greatness of my Father, and what He can do, though, it becomes a no-brainer!

\o/

16 07 2014
Yoshiko

Praise God and thankful for the lady as well 🙂 for you to rent a flat

Yoshiko

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