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Squirming a little?

As a wee kiddo, my brother enjoyed pestering me from time to time. Nothing pleased me more! I loved his teasing, endured his tickle-fests, and absolutely adored his willingness to take time for his little sis. 
One of my fondest memories of Chris is his teasing - he liked to absolutely pester me in the most loving ways! Oh, don't get me wrong - even MY pestering him seemed to be enjoyed on his end! Most of the time, those 'pestering moments' would end in me being swept into the air, swung around, or pinned like a squished bug under the weight of his body while I had the giggles tickled right out of me. When I could barely catch my breath any longer, he'd set me down or let me loose. Some things in this lifetime "pester" us in a good way - others not so much!

When I was beleaguered and bitter, totally consumed by envy, I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox in your very presence. I'm still in your presence, but you've taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me. (Psalm 73:21-24)

Bitterness is one of those things that absolutely "pesters" us in a not so 'good' manner. The sad truth about bitterness is that it has a consuming effect. Try as he might, my brother could not totally make me disappear under the weight of his body during those tickle-fests - I just squirmed too much to be totally hidden! Bitterness is quite different - it has a weight strong enough and big enough to consume us totally! Whenever Chris pinned me down, mom was usually not that far away, watching over me to make sure the teasing and tickling didn't go too far. She would come to my rescue on occasion - hearing my cries for "deliverance", just not able to endure even one more tickle. There is not a whole lot of squirming we can do to get out from under the load bitterness puts upon us - it takes deliverance from the load - and a deliverer to get it off of us!

I looked up some of the synonyms for "beleaguer" and guess what I found? A whole lot of words which emphasize the complete and utter sense of hopelessness we feel whenever bitterness is allowed to take root. It carries the idea of being harassed, pestered, badgered, vexed, plagued and annoyed. Now, if you have never really thought about that weight of bitterness you might be carrying, those words might just say it all. HARASS - carries the idea of being tormented so thoroughly and with such consistency that it becomes commonplace in our lives. In other words, when we are feeling like there is no way of escape it is probably because of the repetitiveness of the attacks that bitterness wages in our heart, mind, and emotions.

Then comes along this idea of being PESTERED with persistent troubling of the mind, will, or emotions until the weight of the trouble is felt continually. An obsolete meaning of this word is to "overcrowd". This is how bitterness effects us - it overcrowds us with its worries and stress. It weighs us down because of the persistent attacks. Being BADGERED means that we are being 'baited' until we are so disturbed by the bait that we finally "bite". Bitterness actually "baits" us into responses we'd rather avoid. No fish on a hook ever intended to swallow the hook! They just wanted the bait! To VEX carries the idea of being stirred up, placing into motion what otherwise would have been left unaffected if left alone and not stirred. Gotta ask...what would be better left undisturbed in your mind, heart, or emotions today? Nothing delights the devil more than stirring up what should "settle out".

As with the other meanings, this idea of being PLAGUED has several meanings. In a medical sense, we'd consider this an epidemic or pandemic - capable of infecting a huge group of people simply by the actions of one 'infected' organism! Bitterness has a far-reaching affect, does it not? In the simplest sense, this is like a bur under the saddle - it annoys repeatedly until we worry on it a while - doing and saying things we'd normally not say or do. Before long, that one 'organism' of 'foul feelings' begins to multiply until it reaches astronomical proportions. That leads us to our last point - being ANNOYED by life. I was surprised to know the meaning of this word included the idea of being molested. Bitterness is kind of like an outright molestation - it "violates" us and others.

If our eyes aren't opened to just how much bitterness becomes a consuming and overwhelming force within us, we need to re-read these again! God says it is a consuming force and one to be avoided at all cost. When we don't get what it is we think we "deserve" in a relationship, don't we begin this course down the 'bitterness path' with perhaps the initial thought of "I deserve better"? If we are to be out from under the weight of bitterness, we need to do more than "squirm" around under its weight! No amount of squirming will help us get out of the building pressure. The squirming might relieve a little of the weight here and there, but we are still under the weight. My bro would let me "come up for air" once every now and again! But...until mom intervened, I wasn't out from under his weight fully! Until Christ intervenes, we are never fully delivered from the weight of bitterness and envy. "You've taken my hand". We actually need to be lifted up and led away from the hold bitterness has on us. This is God's work - deliverance involves more than just removing the weight - it incorporates the "relocating" of our focus. Eyes are turned to him - emotions are healed, heart re-aligned, and mind renewed. In turn, the weight is no longer a threat. It might just be time for us to realize "squirming" never brings deliverance! Just sayin!

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