Laying Aside Every Weight - Part Two

This is a different kind of post, but also a very special one.  I thought I was going outside to do a little writing for fun yesterday, but God had something much bigger planned... 

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Instead of trying to write about it, I decided it would be better to post it directly from my journal as it actually happened:

November 29, 2016

Ahhh...I just had to get outside!  It’s one of the few pretty days left outside this year.  Sunny and in the 60’s.  A perfect afternoon for writing...

Coffee (check!)

Notebook (check!)

Ink pen (check!)

The breeze is heavenly.  The sun....perfect.  Even the hay in our back field is blowing like a work of art. 

Father, now that I’m writing posts and write to eventually publish, I long to just write for pure fun without the filter I use when knowing it will be made public.

I guess really these journals are always that way.

All the talk of love I’ve been reading in Ann Voskamp’s book, “The Broken Way,” has really got me thinking...

Me, the loner I’ve always been—never really feeling that connection to others.  Except my own family, a few close friends, and my husband. 

But everything

Ann Voskamp

says about love

is that it’s all about


suffering with others...

the broken way.

I know in my heart she must be right because that is the example Jesus set for us. And You, Father…for You so loved the world that You gave Your only begotten Son to die for us.

And it’s in the

suffering or “given-ness”

that true life and joy

are found.

Father, I feel like I am broken in the way of love.  I can’t do it right.  How do I change and become someone who loves others and gives to them?

Only Jesus in me

can do that.

He must increase but I must decrease. (John 3:30)

Yes...I can write all about how to overcome addiction, but still haven’t overcome the fear of man.

If I never learn to love instead of fear, I will someday die very alone.  The bad thing is I don’t mind living alone...but dying alone? 

That seems like a failed life...but alone is a failed life, isn’t it?

I’ve just never been a “people-person.”  That’s just how I am.  I’ve always felt drawn to dreams and ideas more than flesh and blood. 

But does that mean I don’t know how to love people?

Without the ability

to love

I am nothing.

I don’t want to

live or die alone.

Father, could it be this is the next lesson you are teaching me?

I want to learn! Will you teach me how to love?  Will you enable me to love?

It feels so good being outside right now.  I am giving myself to being in this moment and yielding to the experience.

I could have chosen

to stay inside and

just simply see it

all through a window. 

But that would not feel anything close to what it feels like to be out here in the breeze, feeling the sun, drinking the fresh air in through my lungs.

Why is it I always feel closer to you when I’m outside, Father?

Okay, I know even as those words poured out just now, that you are going to use them to show me something about love.

Living life the way I always have...never liking to take chances on love or people...

Safely staying “inside” and settling for viewing life through the window of my fears..

I’m missing real life...

the living, breathing,


beauty all around

like artwork-thing

called love!

That’s what

love is like?

I brought Patches (my dog) out here to run loose for a while, but now she’s been gone out of sight too long.

Found her!  I just put her back inside where she’s safe.  She loved running free!  But I have to take care of her.

Am I trying to take care

of myself that way?

Only going "outside" for short amounts of time, but quickly returning to my "safe place" away from people?

Closed off.

Walls up.


But safe?

I definitely won’t be posting this!  My soul stripped down naked.  No, I tell myself.  It can’t be this bad. 

Is this really me,


All I’ve ever focused on was my fear.  Not my lack of love.  But isn’t the one the cause of the other?

Or could it be the other way around?

I feel like I’m

sitting at the feet

of Jesus right now.

I can hear Him saying, “Julie, fear isn’t causing your lack of love.  It’s your lack of love that is causing your fear.”

Perfect love

casts out fear.

Love is stronger.

As I try to understand this, I start thinking why?

Why do I have this problem?  Echoes of psychology and self-help books begin swirling around as I try to calculate: who’s to blame?

Suddenly tears begin falling down my cheeks, glistening in the sun with all their beauty...

Beautiful because they are seeping through the openings...

As my self-built shell begins breaking open now.

Father, You look

on the heart.

Not my

outer shell.

I’m always trying to make my outer shell look good.  But it can never hide my real heart inside.  It shows through in the things I say and do...or don’t do.

Father, I didn’t know when I came outside to write that it would be like this!  This is huge! It reminds me of when you showed me my sin of addiction for the sin it really was.  Are we talking about sin here? Sin?

My lack of love

is sin?

My fear is sin?

They are

sinful choices?

Just like

my addiction was.

Father, it’s hard to see this truth.  For so long it’s been my plague...yes, just like addiction was until I saw it for what it really was: a sinful choice.

Repent?  That’s how I overcame addiction.  I saw my sin for what it really was.  I took responsibility and stopped blaming others for it.

I cried out for forgiveness, You forgave and cleansed me.  I was set free!

Father, is that how this will be too?

See the excuse for

the sin it really is.

Accept the blame.

Ask for forgiveness.

Receive cleansing.

Then depend on You

for my strength and power

to overcome that sin.

How could I have chosen this sin my whole life and not known it was sin?  I have felt guilty and convicted that I don’t show love like others do.  But I’ve always excused it because I have a problem with fear. 

But Father, You’re showing me now that the “fear” problem is because of my “choosing not to love” problem. 

Love one another...

the 2nd greatest


Jesus said unto him,
Thou shalt love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind.
This is the first and
great commandment.
And the second
is like unto it,
Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself.
— Matthew 22:37-39

Love is a commandment.

Choosing not to love is a sin.

Love is a choice.

Father, will you give me a love for others instead of the fear I have?

I understand now, loving others is a choice to obey You.

I know what I must do then.  I confess to you, Father, my sin of not loving others.  It’s a terrible sin.  The sinful choice of disobeying your 2nd greatest commandment.

I repent—I do see what a terrible sin it is against you and against others. 

I have been deceived thinking my lack of love was not my fault. 

Just like I did with my addiction—I blamed it on a bad childhood or a personality-type.  

But the truth is it’s sin.

I see, I confess, I ask for forgiveness and ask for cleansing. 

Create in me a clean heart, O Lord.

And renew a right spirit within me.

Father, thank you!  I will remember this day, sitting under this tree on a sunny November afternoon...the time and place where you have shown me my sin of not loving others.

Now, I know what I must do.  I need to start listening to the Holy Spirit when He leads me to do something kind and loving for someone. 

I can already think of the times I’ve felt His leading but chose to forget it or put it off.  Why? 

Because those things would have been inconveniences—missions outside of my safety zone. 

I need to start seeing

my safety zone for

the prison it’s been.

Father, as I go back in the house now, I go inside with a new heart, a knowing heart, a repentant heart, and a willing heart.

Thank you for

loving me enough

to show me the

truth about myself.

I love you, Father!

Dear friend, I hope my sharing this has been a blessing to you.  I am learning that even though the adversary tries to make us believe we are the only ones struggling with something—that’s not true.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:
— 1 Corinthians 10:13a

I'm so thankful that we have a heavenly Father Who knows how to speak to our hearts and help us see the truth about ourselves!