Field Notes From A Prayer Warrior

I choose joy!


I choose joy…GRRR!!!!

–me in traffic

Joy is a focus, before it’s a feeling.

–Pastor Steven Furtick

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

–Psalm 51:10

In the last episode of “Decluttering My Heart” we left Shelbo giving the “Curtis box” the ol’ heave-ho and rejoicing as the Lord remodeled the newly-opened space.

But wait…there’s more!!

Have you ever been reveling in the completion of a chore and suddenly, BAM!, you do a double-take? “Where did that come from? How did I miss/forget about THAT?!”

One morning, in the thick of a “heart clutter” hunt/forgiveness session, I hit a wall of utter despair and discomfort. Staggering back, I somehow managed to eke out a “distress text” to a prayer warrior buddy. Within her prompt (thank you!) and lengthy reply there was a missile of Truth that handily smashed that wall into micro-dust…

“Have you forgiven yourself?”


I was so intent on emptying my storehouse of grudges, pain, betrayal, and resentment, that I’d missed a heap from a whole other category…hiding in plain sight! Daily, I’d unconsciously skirt around it, and if I stubbed my toe or banged my shin from time to time, I’d just soldier on…

Right past a whole stinking stack of boxes stuffed with shame and guilt.

Forgive others as I’ve forgiven you.

Um, I had kind of skimmed over that.

Okay, yes, I believed that He had forgiven me…but I hadn’t forgiven me. I wasn’t accepting His gift of mercy.

When someone gives you a gift, you don’t try to pay for it…yet, here I was…thinking I didn’t deserve that gift, unless I suffered just a little more, beat myself up just a little more, PAID just a little more…

Those boxes had made it to the doorway, but I hadn’t removed them.

I couldn’t…

Not alone.

So, in total overwhelm, I prayed, “Lord, please help me. You have washed away my sins, you have scrubbed me clean. now, HELP ME clear out this pile of toxic waste I insist on holding onto!”


And in my head, an image of a 1-800-Got-Junk truck was backing up to the door of my heart, and the Lord leans out the window and looks over His shoulder and says, “Done, Shelbo! Just drop all that guilt and shame on top of those fondue pots! Consider it gone…taken to the ends of the earth!”

And my junk removal contract with the Lord has no end date. Unlimited hauling services…for life. Guaranteed.

Psalm 51:12–Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.

I choose joy.

No…I don’t just choose joy.

I choose joy…over junk.

His contract officially grants me that freedom.

I am free…from death, from sin, from hate, from guilt and shame, from…junk.

And I am FREE…to live in Him, in His love, in His light…

In. His. Joy!



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