"I want so very badly for this to be a great year and a year spent in victory and overcoming defeat and strongholds."
Wow! Forget resolutions and lists, let's do THAT for 2013!
Strongholds seems to have been the theme in my life for quite some time now. Identifying them, overcoming them, ridding myself of them. So often when I am defeated and discouraged after committing the same sin once again, I will beg of God to obliterate this mess within me. Oh how right Paul was when he warned against the sin that so easily entangles! (Hebrews 12:1) Often I get it so tangled up around my feet that I fall flat on my face, again and again.
How thankful I am for a Savior who keeps working on me! Those areas that are a constant between me and my Jesus--those strongholds that are stages of war within me--are the areas where I meet his grace. Where I fall and am lifted up again and where I will emerge victorious.
Anger is a big stronghold for me. Oh, how I hate how it bubbles up inside of me! It wasn't until adulthood that this anger first revealed itself within me. I didn't get to experience a lot of emotions growing up because I was so busy keeping my family (who are not well known for their even keel of emotions) calm. I didn't get angry or upset over much because everyone else was getting angry and upset enough for a whole town of people. Boy, have I made up for lost time. Now I have fits all the time. I HATE it about myself. I get so mad at being mad that I can't separate all the madness out.
I so want God to do away with that ugly portion of me. I want to be known as someone who has a calm and gentle spirit (1 Peter 3:4). I want to rebuke gently (Galations 6:1) and disarm anger in others with a gentle word (Proverbs 15:1). I think more than any other stronghold (trust me, there are many), overcoming my anger is the one I most want God to work on this year.
May Ashley's words ring true this year; may it be a year spent in victory!