Most people who know me are aware that I love summer.
It's my absolute favorite time of the year.
I know many of my friends are thrilled to pull out their sweaters and boots and decorate their houses with gourds and hay, but it just isn't for me. It reminds me that I will soon have to pull out a winter coat and endure the sloppy, wet, cold winter days.
That's why even though it's raining outside, I'm actually sitting on my back porch writing this blog—-I'm trying to soak in every last bit of the warm weather before someone makes me put my sandals away for good. Hmmmm….I love summer.
And I had big plans for last summer.
There were things I wanted to do. I had jobs I wanted to tackle and projects I wanted to accomplish. I was also determined that this would be the year I'd return to some of the more domestic things I did years ago. I had it all laid out.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), my plans were not God's plans.
Can I be vulnerable and say that this really annoyed me?
Actually, I was more than annoyed. When it became clear that the Holy Spirit was leading me into a time of discovering more healing and freedom in my life by facing truth and working through difficult memories of my past, I was angry.
I didn't want to do it.
It was summer—-I had a plan.
I didn't want to waste the summer going through the process of overcoming some truly painful memories, crying, and working through feelings of anger on my way to forgiveness. I didn't want to spend days journaling and talking to trusted friends about some of the most challenging times in my life.
Was God serious???
Why not uncover deep, dark family secrets on Christmas morning? (Oh wait, we already lived through that—read chapter 4 in Finding Healing.)
But honestly, this is how I felt. I didn't want to deal with these issues. I had a plan. I had an agenda. Didn't God understand that I wanted to freeze corn, beans, and broccoli, and I couldn't do this if I had to spend all my free time overcoming issues in my heart?
(Okay, it sounds a little funny now, but it's how I felt then.)
If we are all honest, it's how most of us feel about inner healing.
It's rarely something we plan for—most of the time, it's not something we want to go through.
So often, our first reaction when the Holy Spirit brings up issues in our lives or shows us that we need to work through the biblical steps to healing to overcome or even go to a counselor to overcome, our first response is, "I don't have time for that."
One of the biggest tools the enemy will use to keep you from walking in health and freedom is the lie that taking the steps necessary to overcome your past and heal your heart and mind aren't unnecessary. Thoughts will go through your mind like, "Why are you being such a baby? This is not a big deal--- you're just being a drama queen. You don't need to journal or, talk to someone or find a counselor. These problems will go away on their own."
What I've learned over the years is that these thoughts are just lies from the enemy who wants to keep us bound in whatever is hurting us.
However, because God is love and wants what is best for us, He wants us to walk in healing and freedom.
Whenever I submit my will and my plans to God's plan and agree to face the memories or pain or sin and go through whatever is necessary for Him to remove these things from my life, I have found that what I see as an interruption is actually an answer to my prayers.
This was true this summer.
You see, "my plans" for the summer included finding solutions to some issues and figuring out how to grow and expand in other areas. I could see room for improvement—even that improvement was necessary.
Here's what I couldn't see—while I wanted to change, I had absolutely no idea that things in my heart from my childhood and teenage years were blocking the change I wanted in my life.
Thankfully, God saw what I could not see and interrupted my timetable and schedule to answer my prayers.
Here's another interesting facet: While I was busy working on the areas of my heart that God wanted to heal, He worked out the areas I thought needed to be addressed.
As for the corn and beans and broccoli that didn't get frozen, it turns out that I only wanted to do it because I was afraid God wouldn't provide it if I didn't. Also, as a child, I was taught that this is what women of God do—they provide for their families by freezing vegetables. As God helped me overcome these issues in my life, I began to see that I didn't even want to freeze the vegetables…I just thought I should. And God can provide for my needs as I follow His plans for my life.
Ultimately, I'm glad that God interrupted my plans for the summer because His plan was so much better than mine. As it says in Isaiah 55:8-9:
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord.
"And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT)
Throughout my life, I have learned that whenever I settle down and submit my plans, my schedule, and my thoughts to God's plans, it is always for my good. I always look back later and say, "Wow, God really did know best…I had no idea."
So here's my challenge for you today: How will you respond if the Holy Spirit interrupts your plans or your schedule to work on issues in your heart and mind?
What will you do if the Holy Spirit says, "Here are some areas I'd like to look at and heal?"
Will you be angry, annoyed, or refuse to follow His plan?
Or will you submit your will and your agenda to His, knowing that God's plan to heal your heart and help you experience freedom is worth the effort?
As someone who has experienced both responses, I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life.
The truth is that pursuing healing is NOT a waste of time.
No, it is an investment in your most important asset---your heart and mind.
When you sacrifice the time to really pursue freedom, it's an investment that will pay off for the rest of your life. Not only your life but also the lives of every generation that comes after you, who can then build on your foundation of freedom rather than having to blaze their trail of overcoming the sins and bondages passed down from generation to generation. It's an investment in God's kingdom, as God uses your testimony to bring healing and freedom to others.
Freedom and healing are ALWAYS worth the investment! So don't believe the lies. Instead, pursue healing with everything that you have.
And enjoy your Fall!
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."
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