Ever wake up feeling like this?
I often wake up with yesterday’s stuff hanging over me. I remember how I suffered over something and can’t imagine doing that for another day. I remember how I let my heart and mind wander away from the One that I need most of all. I remember how bitter I’ve become over repeated failures on my part or someone else’s. I remember the gall, the irritation that I let go unchecked. I remember all of the selfish and unkind things I did and said.
Sometimes a cloud of guilt smothers me and I fear that I will repeat the same failings again in the day that is dawning. God calls to me, to come and meet with Him, but there are times when the distance between us feels insurmountable.
What a great word for the morning! We may wake smothered with yesterday’s disappointments and failures, but there is more to remember than just affliction and gall. Jeremiah writes in these verses that He calls to mind something that gives him hope.
He remembers… and his heart once again embraces the truth that God’s great love and mercy keep us from being consumed by the residue of yesterday. His love is more than enough to keep us from being consumed by the things that await us in this new day.
There are many things that threaten to consume us: fear, insecurity, addictions, obsessions, desire for control, anger, negativity, perfectionism, analyzing, and more. What is it that threatens to take over your heart, mind, and behavior?
Food is something that has the capacity to consume me daily. It begins as I wake and review what I ate (or didn’t eat) yesterday. It intensifies when I am feeling down, and I go to the refrigerator thinking that food will make me feel better. The reality is that the opposite is true… once I get into emotional eating, I usually end up feeling lousy and I get distracted from the relationships and responsibilities in my life that are more important. Once I turn to food, I have a very hard time stopping the compulsive behavior. It truly does consume my time, thoughts, and attention.
Can you relate? Is there something in your life that presents itself as help, but ends up consuming you? Maybe it’s a behavior, or maybe it’s a thought process.
God has shown me that there is a defining moment each day when I open the door to my obsession with food and become consumed. I believe wholeheartedly in the truth of the Lamentations passage above: His mercies are new every morning. God has shown me that, by His grace and mercy, I wake up free from compulsive eating, no matter what occurred the day before. So, each day presents a new opportunity to live in freedom. Sometimes, I walk in freedom the whole day long. On the days that I walk in compulsive and emotional eating, I can look back to one moment in the day when I opened the door.
It might be that I turned to food for emotional comfort instead of turning to God or reaching out to a loved one. It’s often happened when I ate something that triggered an addiction-like response in my body (something primarily made with white flour or refined sugar). It might be that I opened the door to my food obsession by eating when I was not hungry, or continued to eat when I was full.
This insight from Him about opening the door has been very helpful. At first, the awareness kept me from getting consumed with food. But I soon discovered that awareness alone is not enough.
I spent several weeks trying to manage the door. Trying to avoid opening the door. Trying nailing it shut once I had cracked it open. Trying to blame God for allowing the ding-dong door to exist in the first place. I was missing something.
When He brought me to Lamentations recently, the pieces came together. Remember verse 22?
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed.
The verse above does not translate as “because of our self-control, we are not consumed.” Stop and think about that. It says that God’s great love is the force behind our freedom. He loves us so much that He wants us to be free. His lovingkindness and mercy, and His affection toward us, are the vehicle in which we travel in freedom. His love is a buffer between us and the things that are not good for us.
The key to freedom is not self-control.
While we might white-knuckle it through one day and avoid the thing that threatens to consume us, is that really freedom? Isn’t that trading one obsession for another? We become consumed with not being consumed.
Now, before you think that I’ve exhausted this topic, let me share one more insight from the Lamentations passage.
When Jeremiah writes, “His compassions never fail”, he uses a word for compassion that is often translated as pity, mercy, or tender mercies. It indicates God’s motivation to rescue us. Not only does He see how lost and consumed we are, but He reaches out in response.
What I found interesting is that this Hebrew word for compassion is also translated as “womb” four times in the Old Testament. The etymology of the word indicates a relationship between God’s love, mercy, compassion and the protection of a womb.
This resonates with me as I consider that God’s love and compassion keep me from being consumed by the forces of my flesh and this world. It also reminded me of these words that Jesus spoke:
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
Now remain and abide in my love.
Abide in His love as if it were the womb protecting you from things that would consume you. Remain in His love as if it were the womb where you receive the life and breath you need to continue growing in Him. Be conscious of His love, declare and claim His love, direct your thoughts toward His love. As I shared in my last blog, allow Him to convince you of His love.
If you wake up tomorrow feeling consumed by failures or anxiety about what’s to come, like Jeremiah, recall and return to the truth that will give you hope:
Because of His great love, we are not consumed.
tylerdog5 at wunderground.com [wildflower sunrise]