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Day 30: introspection

Psalm 43:5 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!

"Prophetic Shifts" by Tom Sheets

Happy Thirtieth Day of Thanks Everyone!

Woohoo! We made it to the very end of this year's journey! Clap your hands! Give yourself a pat on the back! We have finished what we started!!!!! (Don't mind me celebrating myself for a moment. I have learned that I have to celebrate my victories even if I'm celebrating by myself.) God must have known how hard it would be to stay steady and faithful until the end so His very word and message to me this year was "finish what you start!" I'm celebrating because, in spite of all the chaos and warfare surrounding this year's journey and all that could have prevented it from happening, I'm very excited that I can say that finishing this year's Thirty Days of Thanks journey has been accomplished. 

When I see the analytics of how many people took the time to go to the blog ( and read it or how many folks read the excerpts on my social media platforms or how many have invested in buying the paperback or audio book, it has been real discouraging. Some days, I questioned my obedience to God for putting in the hard work and continuing this journey, since it was only for an audience of one. But, I had to remind myself that my "obedience [was] better than sacrifice;" my success wasn't predicated on someone else's  reading my reflections but was found in obedience to doing what God had told me to do; if no one else had grown, matured or developed as a result of the journey, I was growing and maturing and developing; being steadfast, committed, dedicated and ready for the long game, when the harvest seemed far off or that it wouldn't yield anything, prepared me with patience, endurance, and would teach me how to really celebrate the victories won and earned; joy is not happiness and remains in spite of what is happening; when breakthrough and harvest comes, I'll have someone wonderful stories about "the climb."

Today, I give thanks for introspection, the examination of one's own mental and emotional processes. At the end of this journey and usually at the end of each year, I do lots of reflection and introspection. I start scouring my heart to discover if there are things that I still need to address in my mind and emotions. One of the resounding themes that I've struggled with this year is disappointment. I've had repeated heart checks, what I call my truth/purifying sessions with God, where He's told me to bring my disappointments to Him.  I have found my self on many of days quoting David's psalm and putting my name in it, "Melissa, why are you discouraged? Melissa, why is your heart sad? Praise God! Put your hope and trust in Him." I encouraged myself in the Lord and kept going even when I thought I couldn't. 

When I was down in the dumps, feeling the weight of walls caving in and wanting to quit, God would step in and say, "Bring that pain/hurt/disappointment to me." I'd spend hours in God's presence unloading all the emotional baggage that I had no business holding on to in the first place and talking to God about how much of my frustration was caused by waiting on Him to do what He said He would do. In actuality, my mind was staying to do God's will, when my heart and emotions wanted to abandon ship. I wanted certain things to finally happen because I spent so many years waiting for them. Yet, I felt stuck and stagnant in a waiting game. The wonderful thing about God is that He listened. He held me and let me cry it out until I had no more tears left to cry. I stayed in the safe place, hidden, until I was rejuvenated and refined and my will aligned itself to obey God.  God's will and agenda had not changed for my life. It was still the same. And it would still be carried out in His timing. So, I still had to wait. (Now, I understood Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Although Jesus, in His flesh, did not want to die, He had to keep praying until His will aligned with God's plan.)

Many avoid talking about the pain and frustration of waiting because we know how hard it is to hope and see very little or no progress into a thing that one has poured so much. There is a principle that forever stands: for every seed sown, there will be a harvest. Every farmer knows that when they sow seeds in a ground, there must be a harvest eventually. Thus, it is hard to go to the field repeatedly after some time, expecting to see a harvest, and see that the soil has yielded nothing or very little. Yikes!

During this year, I found my heart full of hurt because the harvest I was expecting, aftering putting in the hard, gruesome work, wasn't produced YET.  It is very hard surrendering to the idea that God has a timing for everything under the sun and that many times that timing doesn't meet your expectation or anticipation. I've sat many hours asking God what I had done wrong, if I had missed something, and asked why I still wasn't ready for the harvest that was supposed to come. Many times the response was "it's for my glory." I hadn't done anything wrong. I hadn't missed anything. I wasn't praying amiss. My fervent, persistent prayers and fasting  did count. It just wasn't the right timing yet. Although it didn't feel good to me, in my suffering and obedience God was receiving His glory.  The hardest thing to accept is that picking up one's cross is never easy and never without pain. If one is not careful to do the proper introspection, that hurt and disappointment, can turn into a deep depression and despair from which one will not come back.  It's so much better to examine oneself, assess one's soul, and address all of the hidden hurts, disappointments, dark secrets, and be free.

I'm thankful for introspection. Taking the necessary time to examine my heart throughout this year has allowed me to see the reality of where I am, get the necessary help that I need, do the work to heal, and gave me the strength to continue enduring until the end.

Thanks for staying along during this year's Thirty Days of Thanks Journey. I love and appreciate you and will see you soon. 

Love ya,

Have a Great Day of Thanks!

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