It's true. I see dead people.

It's not a daily occurrence but on average every couple of weeks or so.

I have to wonder why I am privy to see them.

I didn't ask for this and I certainly didn't expect it to happen.

When it first happened, about 3 months ago, I was quite shocked and was very moved emotionally.

It took me back to the time when I was a child and my grandmother died.

I wept bitterly.

I recalled the last time I held my nineteen-month-old son, who had just been pronounced dead.

The pain was so deep, I couldn't cry.

I'm at a hospital five day a week. I see these dead people covered on a gurney waiting to be transported to a funeral home. Or I will see them being rolled down the hallway to the morgue. I find that I want, at the same time, to look and not to look. I find it odd to see that it is routine work for the nurses, doctors and morticians. The bodies are prepared to leave the hospital nearly as fast as the sheet covered the lifeless corpse. In a moment, all that is left is the memory of that person. Good, bad or indifferent, it is only their memory that is left.

Not knowing if they are a man or a woman, I find myself wanting to know about these people. Were they young - old - married - single? What kind of work did they do? Did they die happy or with much grief? So many questions and none answered. Were they rich or poor? Did they love and were they loved? Did they know Christ and if so did they truly follow Him?

I find myself not wanting to forget them because I don't want their bodies stored six feet under like an old photo album lost in a junk closet.

As I write about this, I think of myself. I wonder if, when looking in a mirror, am I seeing a dead person? Sure, I know Christ as my Savior but do I know Him to the point where I am living the life He has called me to live? Do I know Him to the point others see His life in me? Do I know Him to the point I am peaceful in spite of circumstances? Do I know Him to the point I hear His still small voice in the midst of a storm? Do I know Him to the point I trust His path for me more than my own? Or am I dead to all His love, goodness, peace and direction for my life?

Hebrews 12:1-2Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

In this new year I will be looking at the dead areas of my life. The areas in which I may have lost faith due to fear, worry or weariness. I will be considering areas of my life I may have given in to hopelessness and shame.

Last year my life theme was to "Run the Race to Win". In "running to win" I may have focused more on running performance and not the Goal. I may have been looking more at reaching my own, or others, desired performance levels and timing than on Christ. This is the kind of thing that brings on the encumbrances and shame that the previous scriptures talks about.

The Strong s Concordance defines "encumbrance" as: a mass (as bending or bulging by its load), that is, burden(hindrance): - weight.

This year I will look to the Spirit to show me what I have trying to take on myself. For in doing so, I have been loading weights on me that are bending my spiritual back and slowing me down. This leads to another problem.

Shame.

When we create our own expectations or try to live up to others expectations of us and fail, we open the door to shame and the enemy will try to beat you down, telling you over and over how you have failed God. Shame brings with it the evil brotherhood of fear, worry and weariness. And the brotherhood beats you and shapes you like a ten pound sledge hammer beats a length of steel and bends it till it breaks. At the very least the steel is deformed or fractured.

This is what shame does to us. Breaks us or deforms and fractures our faith and belief that our Father is good, merciful and loves us deeply. Shame distorts the map of our life leading us find the path of our future by our own instincts and abilities. It leads us on the path of forever striving to do and be better on our own accord and this path leads to death. And the weight of death breaks, deforms or fractures our relationship with Christ. It's the goal of the enemy to bring this shame on us but it's the Fathers plan to have us despise the shame and lay it aside.

How do we do this? The Spirit of God began showing patterns the enemy would use against me to beat me with shame. Once I began to see the pattern, I was able to renounce it and give it to Jesus.

This is what it looked like in my experiences. I would mess up in an area of life or someone would remind me of my shortcomings. This is when the enemy would start with the repeated script. "You're a failure!" or "Nothing has changed in your life.", he would say to me. Once I realized what was going on, I would start saying aloud, "No, I'm not a failure. I'm more than a conqueror through Christ!" or "Yes, the Father has changed me for He makes me who I ought to be and old things have past away, all things have become new. I walk by faith and not by sight.". Of course, at first it was a little awkward, but after a few times of doing this, I have become accustomed to doing what needs to be done. I would then tell the Lord that I lay down any shame that is trying to beat me down, at His feet. I tell Him I no longer own it. I release it and momentarily meditate on releasing it and thank Him for the release.

Ask the Spirit to guide you for He longs to guide you to freedom. Make this years resolution to run to the Father any time shame tries to beat you down and He will do what He does best. Lead you from death to Life.

Happy New Year!

Andy