Desensitized, Numb, Oblivious – or Just Callous: What Are YOU Crying Out Against?

I wonder how you can effectively speak against something that still has a grip on you?  It’s virtually impossible – without being a hypocrite.  Selah.  It’s time to let God deal with the real, hidden matters of our hearts…

 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

(Ezekiel 36:26)

 “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”

(Ephesians 3:16)

I recently experienced an abysmal descent into self-destructive behavior that lasted for a few days.  What did it start with?  One simple (unwise) decision that caused me to let my guard down.  I knew it didn’t even look innocent, but I took the plunge anyway…starting with a single faltering step.

For me, the trigger was eating some food items – in larger quantities – during some “free” business meals – over several consecutive days – that opened the door to me getting reacquainted with my old “comfortable” (over)eating habits so quickly it made my head spin.  I went from desensitized to numb to oblivious in a matter of minutes.  Three days later, I found myself reluctantly (yet giddily) buying 2 tubs of ice cream (because it was Buy One – Get One FREE, of course…no other reason…yeah, right!).  I convinced myself that I was disciplined enough to portion it out throughout the week…with it in the house with me…over a weekend…who was I fooling?  Only myself.  Within 3 days, I could see the bottom of the Rocky Road container.  At that point, it felt like a downhill slide, so I polished off the 2 remaining cones “to get rid of them” (yeah, right!)…and last night, I just went ahead and polished off the rest of the tub – in what amounted to one bowl.  Oh, for shame!

At any point, did exercise cross my mind?  Not for one exhilarating, chocolate-filled moment.  Not beyond opening the drawer to get yet another spoon…but I guess that doesn’t count, eh?  I got so sedentary by having a “day off” (which rapidly snowballed into several “days off”) of my routine and rigorous healthy regimen that I looked forward to watching my TV shows on DVR – for hours.  But that activity (or inactivity) opened a door that I obviously didn’t need to walk through, because the next day, I was feeling downright cruddy.

Only when I was asked to pray for two separate situations of serious need did I break outta my self-induced funk and see the stealthy trap of the enemy for what it was – a snare intended to get me out of position with Christ.  Before those “calls to intercession,” I was so sluggish I could hardly hear the voices of my family members, let alone the Lord.  I was just caught up in the euphoria of “doing what I was big and bad enough to do.”  In this case, it was eating what my flesh desired without regard to consequences.  And yes, the scale creeping up instead of down provides irrefutable evidence of my indiscretions…sigh.

What finally snapped me back to the reality of being who Christ called me to be (24/7/365 – not just when convenient or when I feel like it) was 1) a web search showing the link between glutton and idolatry (which I’d been putting off, but gee, is it undeniable!), and 2) a web search that turned up the base, depraved status of people who call themselves the Lord’s church but are far from it.  So I was reminded of the critical importance of remaining steadfast and prepared – a vessel of honor fit for the Lord’s use whenever He calls.

I felt the cloud of heaviness lift as I called on the power of God to help me walk in obedience.  I confessed my struggle to my husband, who graciously covered me in prayer and reaffirmed his commitment to support me (including help with slowing down my ice cream intake – thanks a lot, dude – no, really, I mean it).  After reminding me of last week’s Sunday School title (“Get Back on Track”), he even brought in some fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden and presented them to me with gentle (yet firm) encouragement, “Go ahead and enjoy these today!” 

Whether you’re desensitized, numb, or oblivious in the midst of your own situation or struggle, there’s hope, friends!  Jesus came that we might reach out to Him and accept the lavish gifts of salvation, forgiveness, redemption, and restoration through His blood when we repent and receive Him – and of course, choose to turn from our sin.  When we receive Him, we are immersed in His extravagant, all-consuming presence.  Like a dry, brittle sponge getting saturated by the Holy Spirit, we are transformed and rejuvenated by His infinite power.  He is so refreshing.  Necessary.  Vital.  Imperative. 

Stay connected to your Source – your very life depends upon it.  I know mine does.

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”

(Isaiah 58:1)

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart

From Birth to Cap, Gown, & Tassel in 60 Seconds Flat

I hadn’t planned to cry.  I was genuinely excited about seeing all the “little people” (many of whom were almost as tall as me) dressed in white for the Kindergarten Promotion Ceremony.  As they began the processional, “Pomp and Circumstance” blared through the distorted sound system.  Uh oh – I reached for my tissue as I remembered holding my daughter as a toothless newborn what seemed like just a few months ago.  The music swelled and a drumroll signaled a crescendo; I remembered her first steps, eating solid food, first tooth lost…

I dabbed my eyes a bit more as I realized how much they’d all grown this year.  There was no chaos or extraneous chatter – the classes stood and were seated in the orderly manner they were instructed.  It was beautiful to behold.  The parents, on the other hand, followed directions worse – when instructed to hold applause until the end of each class’ names being called, parents began loudly calling out their children’s names.  I know we’re all proud, but really…a bit of decorum helps us all, folks.  However, I digress… She waved at me as she crossed the stage.  What a remarkably beautiful young lady she’s becoming…must not think of wedding yet…Sweet 16 comes first…oh Lord, help me!

To the tune of “New York, New York,” they sang (as only children can), “Start spreadin’ the news, we’re leavin’ today…we wanna be a part of it, First Grade, First Grade…if we can make it here, we’ll make it anywhere…so here we come,First Grade, First Grade!”  That did it!  I didn’t downright boo-hoo, but I was much more emotionally sensitive than I expected to be.  The icing on the cake was when the principal announced them as the Graduating Senior Class of 2023 – I went there.  In an instant, I reflected on my own high school graduation and how my parents were so proud of me after all they’d put into raising me.  Now here I was full circle in the process.

The children turned the tassels on their plastic-coated mortarboards.  “Gee, they’re really growing fast!” I sighed wistfully as I prepared to return to work, beaming inside and out.  Next school year will be another new leg of this journey called growth, development, and maturity.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

(I Peter 2:2)

 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

(II Peter 3:18)

 © Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Success = Consistent Progress (and vice versa)

I have each child’s report card in front of me, and I‘m so proud that both of them received straight 3s (consistently meets expectations) for all 4 consecutive quarters of the school year!  Not that it was easy, but my hubby and I kept prodding them, and they kept pressing.  Their stellar report cards (along with quarterly awards recognition for Academic Excellence, Exemplary Citizenship, Perfect Attendance, and Accelerated Reader) provide an accurate reflection of the hard work they did all year long.

As a self-described “artistic type,” I had great disdain for consistency in my younger years; truthfully, I thought it was boring.  However, maturity has taught me that some achievements only come as a result of consistent effort and execution.  I relied too heavily on chance or being fortunate when I could’ve been assured of my outcome from the beginning if I’d been willing to do the same thing each time – start early (instead of waiting until the last minute), take time to study and do research (instead of cramming and flying by the seat of my pants on what I thought sounded good), and apply myself consistently (instead of being sporadic, unpredictable, and driven by whatever mood I happened to be in).

Funny how it took my own children in elementary school to drive this lesson home to me, but I’ve finally “got it” and I understand the importance of consistency.  I believe God uses our children to help bring us to where we need to be.  There was no way I could help my son do well with his Science Fair project if I didn’t face my own anxiety over the subjects of Math and Science.  I really can’t stand to dust and ironing is a foreign concept (though I love to vacuum), but that matters not since I’m responsible for training my children in proper housekeeping techniques.  So in order to accurately demonstrate the skills and provide a credible example, I have to get over myself.  May we as parents and leaders be ever mindful of the critical role we play in developing those following in our footsteps.

Congratulations to all graduates celebrating the fruit of your labor – job well done!  Be richly blessed as you advance to the next level of applying yourself to be excellent in Christ.  🙂

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

(Joshua 1:7-8)

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

(Philippians 3:14)

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Spic ‘n’ Span Clean: Reconciling From the Inside Out

Every now and then, we get a good wake-up call that reminds us of exactly where we are – and how far we have yet to travel on the path of spiritual maturity.  Whether it’s an issue of true forgiveness (not just that lip-service stuff), letting go of a habit we’ve been convicted of – multiple times (yes, change requires a converted heart), or just downright being obedient to the voice of the Lord (the first time), let’s balance the books and settle some things once and for all.  By dragging things out over time, we impede our own progress.  Resolutely determine that today will be a new start.  Put off the old man (Colossians 3:9) and be renewed in the spirit of your mind (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Let us take an accurate personal inventory and give the Holy Spirit free reign to ensure that we’re clean through and through – not just in the places where others can see.  There’s no need for hypocrisy (double standard, insincerity, pretense, two-facedness), for God sees it all, especially the hidden man of the heart (I Peter 3:4).

Father, help us to silence the tumultuous turmoil that bombards our minds, and toss out the accumulation of useless mental clutter that’s collecting dust and slowing our growth in Your Word.  We desire to hear Your voice clearly without interference, distraction, or distortion.  Wash us clean, Lord – from the inside out!  This is the cry of Your children’s hearts today…so we can remain in constant, unbroken, uninterrupted fellowship with You.  Amen.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 

Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

(Matthew 23:25-26)

 © Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart