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Monday, October 6, 2008

Warning Signs

About a year and a half ago, my carbon monoxide detector began going off. I climbed on a chair and tried to get it to shut off, but I couldn't find a battery. I called a friend's husband. He came over and showed me how to reset it. It turned out that it was hardwired into the house. There was no battery I could simply pull out.

Every day that detector went off. and every day I climbed on the chair and hit the reset button. I was telling someone how annoying the sound was, and she was incredulous that I hadn't gotten it checked out. I was in the midst of depression. Honestly, I didn't care much if CO was a problem. Life would be so much simpler. This wasn't what she wanted to hear. She made me promise to get it looked at the next day.

I found it impossible to find a non-emergency local fire department. They were the only people I could think of to call. So, I had to call and clearly state up front that it was not an emergency and that I was okay. But they were concerned enough to send someone out.

Well, I expected someone.

FIVE guys showed up to "clear" my house! The CO detector was pronounced defective but I had to get it fixed that day. CO is pretty serious business.

Have you ever tried to ignore the warning signs in your life?

I have. Particularly with depression. I know what it does and how it makes me feel. I often know the precursors, but often times my denial is larger than my sense of self preservation. Sometimes I ignore the tone in someone's voice and state my opinion too loudly or harshly and provoke a fight. I ignore the hardness in my heart when I turn away from the homeless man.

Jesus said that it is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean but what comes out of him makes him unclean. What comes out of him is a sign of a diseased or healthy heart.

The Bible is full of stories of people who failed to heed God's warnings:
  • Lot's wife turning back towards Sodom and turning into a pillar of salt.
  • The Israelites who grumbled again and again against God and his people.
  • Over and over in the Old Testament, the Israelites are told to "remember," but by the time King Josiah came around, they had lost the book of the law and hadn't had a Passover celebration in ages.
  • There is the rich young ruler in the New Testament. He wants salvation on his timing. He is proud of what he has done and asks a good question, "What else must I do?" Jesus looks at him and loves him and then says tells him to give his wealth to the poor and come and follow Him. And the rich young ruler, more concerned with this life than heaven, turned and walked away.
You get my point.

The Bible is full of stories where warnings go unheeded.

So, what warning signs are you ignoring?
Bible study slipping?
Resenting your family?
Allowing unforgiveness?

For me at the moment, the signs are wrapped up in the fact that I am turning 40 in December. Happily, I still get asked if I just graduated from college! But I can feel the resentment building. I want a husband and kids and the white picket fence. I know it isn't a perfect life, but going to bed alone and getting up alone and eating most meals alone is not pleasant.

The warning sign is that I am focusing on all that I WANT rather than what I HAVE and what God has done in my life. The "I'm feeling sorry for myself detector" is going off, now I need to choose how to replace it.

I haven't decided yet, but I am considering doing "40 to 40" on my personal site. For the 40 days before my birthday I am thinking of committing to write one thing I am thankful for, some way God has blessed me, and pleasant memories. I'm still mulling it over. But I think it might replace that detector!

So what warning signs are you not heeding?

What can you do today to begin to correct that?

God's Work In Progress,

This year I'm focusing on hope. I'd love for you to visit my personal blog:

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Blogger teagirl said...

I too have battled with depression. One year I told God that I had had enough! Either help rid me of this unbearable depression or kill me. I went to a church service not long after that and a lovely elderly woman who always appeared to be full of joy gave a testimony about recently being depressed. She said that for 30 days she would look up a scripture every day that had the word "joy". I decided to give it a try. I started a journal writing out the scripture and my response. I was about halfway through when I hit Zeph. 3:14-17. "Sing, O Daughter of Zion, shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem!...The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." I proceeded to tell God that I didn't feel like he was singing over me. For the next twenty-four hours, God showed me the ways in which he was singing over me. It healed my heart. I pray that your 40 to 40 brings the same healing and joy. There is hope. I'm living proof.

With all God's love,

October 6, 2008 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Bless you sweetie, praying for you.

October 6, 2008 at 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Amy, thank you for the devotional. You have made some excellent points! I wonder if you could point me in the direction of the verse that states what you have written here:

Jesus said that it is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean but what comes out of him makes him unclean.
Thank you!

October 6, 2008 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger Amy L Brooke said...

Good question. I should have put it in there. It is in a couple places -- Matthew 15:11; Mark 7 verses 15 and 20.

Hope that helps.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

October 6, 2008 at 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Amy! I hope I didn't offend you in asking. When something strikes me, I like to be able to site the verses and know them. I really appreciate you taking the time to post them for me. :) Mark 7:21-22 sure gives an account of what can happen to this stuff once it goes in, too. Our mind can turn it over and over - whatever "it" may be. One thing I have been battling with in my marriage are thoughts that are just pure lies from satan. It's a long story and I plan to blog about it on my blog. But in a nutshell, I've been reading a really awesome marriage book and praying and working the scriptural practices into my marriage, and satan has just been attacking me. I know it's him because I WANT my marriage to continue to be glorious and I know GOD wouldn't tempt. me with these thoughts. Not thoughts of unfaithfulness, rather thoughts of "oh he really doesn't care because....(fill in the blank) when I KNOW this NOT to be true. Again, I plan to blog about this later to hopefully shed light to the subject for other women who may not know why they're struggling, etc.
Thank you again! God bless you and thanks for visiting my blog and letting me know you left the verses here. Hugs!

October 6, 2008 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

Wow, Amy. Thank you for being so candid and encouraging all at the same time. I feel like you've given me a "nudge." I have battled depression as well and I know the signs. I also know the signs of unbelief and lack of joy creeping in.

You have certainly made me think today!

October 6, 2008 at 6:58 PM  
Blogger sailorcross said...

Thank you, Amy, for posting on this subject!!

I've battled depression off and on since I was a teenager, and I'm now in my 50's.

I know the warning signs, the feelings of despair. I actually started "not" doing the things that brought joy into my life--attending fellowship with my spiritual family, staying in bed instead of attending worship, etc.

I feel as though Satan was truly weaving his lies into my life--"You're not good enough for God to love", "Why do you want to do that? You're so tired. Just stay home", even "Those people don't REALLY love you like they say they do".

One day, I just lay in my bed praying, and I felt filled with God's love. I hadn't prayed in quite a while. I got up, said, "Enough, I'm getting my life back!!" And, off to church I went!

Now, I'm not saying that life is always easy, because it's not. The Bible tells us "when trials come", not "if" trials come.

But, I know now where to turn when those trials arrive--God, the Bible, my spiritual family--to uplift and encourage me.

Thank you, for uplifting and encouraging me this morning.

A thought just occurred to me--I've been looking for a Bible site online where you can put a feeling--like feeling lonely--into a search, and this will bring up verses pertaining to this.

Do you happen to know of such a site? I wanted to be able to look up verses and journal them when these trials appear again, and I know they will!


October 7, 2008 at 3:24 AM  
Blogger mark savage said...

Hi Amy, You are a powerful writer. Thank you for the challenge today. I would like to encourage you to go for the 40 to 40 journey. It sounds exciting. I would even take that journey with you. I like the Internet Cafe site.

mark savage

October 7, 2008 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger needlewings said...

It's ironic that I came by your blogspot by accident, or maybe it was no accident at all! I have been depressed off and on and hit an all time low due to the economy more than anything. So perhaps this is a sign to many. Twice I had been to see a councilor in the past and all I did was talk and no interaction of how to work with me. I was about to give up and found another and seems this one won't give up and will actually have a plan. Thanks for your encouragement!

October 7, 2008 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

I love and appreciate your authenticity. If I were to be completely honest about how often I ignored my built-in detector, it would be humiliating. But my heart's desire is to improve here more and more as I allow the Lord to correct this in me. Impacting, meaningful, powerful post.

October 7, 2008 at 7:50 PM  

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