I have a love/hate relationship with computers. When they work and make sense they are amazingly fun and useful. These days online connection (like ZOOM) brings families and friends together as never before. When technology doesn’t cooperate…which can happen by a single keystroke…it becomes the source of all evil in my life (ok, that may be an exaggeration). Decades ago, I encountered my first computer. I was asked to write Kids Church curriculum on the church’s new computer. That was not a bad idea…in theory.

After hours of learning to turn it on and find the word processor (this was pre Microsoft or Apple), I began to write. I would pour my heart and brain into an idea and begin to develop it …and then. Then. I hit a wrong key and either lost it to eternity or it began to “loop” itself, repeating over and over. This happened several times. One particularly rough session I ended up sobbing…literally. I was sure God didn’t love me, my church was trying to drive me insane, and my children loved a different mother. Yes, I can get dramatic at times.

I called over the now ex-friend who had suggested this computer thing. He touched a couple of buttons and everything was as it should be. I punched him in the stomach. Okay, I didn’t punch him but I didn’t hug him either. I had done everything I knew to do and it only made things worse.

Several years later in a very difficult time in my life things began to unravel for me. My marriage was on sharp rocks, my kids were ok but I wasn’t connecting with them, I was weighed down trying to be a good church girl and my friends didn’t even know about it. I felt like a terrible wife, an inept mother, a pathetic Christ-follower and a lousy friend. I prayed, cried and begged God to fix things. Full disclosure: I asked God to take me to heaven in my sleep and give Budd and my kids a better wife/mother. I was done.

This ‘season’ carried on much too long. Then one evening after a church service I felt like God spoke to me through a picture in my mind. It was an old computer mainframe – the big kind like in old movies. It was unplugged. I felt God was saying to me, “Kathy, I have to unplug the computer that is you so that I can reprogram it.”  (This was not an audible voice like in the movies…it was just a sense of knowing.) The point is that I wasn’t doing a bunch of wrong things, but even the good things I was doing were for all the wrong reasons.

It is possible that God had been whispering to me prior to this encounter but I was so busy being ‘good’ that I couldn’t pause long enough to listen. So God, because he’s so good, took bold action…he unplugged me. My limited wife skills were depleted. My mothering was more survival than thriving, my Christian life was dependent on my performance, and my friends were kept in the dark. With no other power source, I surrendered to the outage. This began a season of de-construction of my beliefs about God and myself. Trust me, it is not easy to give up being good (on the surface). Over time I began to slow down my ‘love-earning’ activity and focused on learning who God truly is and loving Him with my whole heart. I asked God to show me how to love my husband. I began the process of loving my children as God’s little people and not as extensions of myself. One of the biggest things I learned was how to love myself…my weird, self-centered, broken self.

As the fruit of this new way of thinking began to take root, I realized that for the outside observer my life probably didn’t look that different, but inside everything had changed. I was learning to act out of the abundance of God’s grace in me, not trying to deserve it. You see, God loves me…and you…exactly as we are! That’s grace! The changes I encountered did not make God love me more but rather made it possible for me to experience His gracious love for me. It changed the ‘why’ and ‘how’ I live my life. I no longer need everyone’s approval in order to feel that I matter…at least not as much, I’m still a work in progress.

Do you feel unplugged?  Does it feel that everything you’re doing is draining and not life-giving?  As my friend who ran our Recovery Ministry program once said to me, “Kathy, stop ‘shoulding’ all over yourself!”

I encourage you to surrender to the amazing love and grace of God. He can handle your stuff.

Continuing on…

Further Reading:

Psalm 18:1

I love you, Lord; you are my strength.

Romans 8:39

No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 1:4

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

Psalm 29:11

The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.

Mark 12:30

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’

Deuteronomy 8:16-18

16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.

Psalm 22:19

O Lord, do not stay far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!

Psalm 28:7

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Psalm 29:11

The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.

Ephesians 3:15-17

15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[a] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

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