The other day's post, entitled, Another Breakdown, received various responses. My point wasn't to make everyone feel sorry for me - I hope you know that! My Mom even called and said she was so worried about me. What I want everyone to know is that I face real and often painful challenges, but that I am continually finding courage in the Lord! And I also find encouragement from my friends in the Lord. Do you know what "encourage means?" It simply means to impart courage. How simple is that? When I am starting to waver in my faith, a friend can impart courage to me from his or her own store of courage.
God has been working on my heart in the area of self-pity. Last December, I had the privilege of receiving prayers for deliverance with 2 of my dear and God-fearing friends. If you aren't familiar with the concept of deliverance, it is NOT exorcism, and it does NOT mean I was demon-possessed (although I may appear that way when I freak out as I described in my last post). Deliverance is like deep spiritual housecleaning. When I clean my house, I usually dust, sweep, vacuum...you know, make the place look presentable, at least. But when I do deep cleaning, I borrow a carpet steamer and suck all the junk out of my carpet from the last year. I take down curtains to wash them and I vacuum the walls and ceiling (OK, I'm a little OCD, but the dust is also very visible on our dark walls). I clean up corners and baseboards with heavy duty cleaner.
That's what deliverance is like: getting really deep into the stuff that is messy and dirty in my life. I regularly try to repent and receive forgiveness for my wrongs. I go to Confession once in a while and I find this Sacrament of my Church tradition very freeing. But I have many dear friends who aren't Catholic, and I trust that they, too, have some means of cleaning their souls on a regular basis. But deliverance is addressing patterns of sin and temptation, coming against Satan and breaking his power in areas where he may have gained a foothold. Jesus gave us this authority and we can use that authority with confidence, in Jesus' Name, to command Satan to leave us alone!
So, as I hobble through the challenges I face, I am trying not to convey self-pity. And if you catch me in the act of true self-pity, feel free to give me a slap on the wrist! I just want to make that clear. I would welcome your feeling "sorry" for me if it meant you were inspired to pray for me. I would prefer, insteading my friends saying, "Oh, poor Jen," they would say, "Hey, Jen needs some prayer so let's get to it!" <3 br="">3>