Sometimes I enjoy blogging for no other reason than to be able to look back at my “recorded” life and see just how far God has brought me. Over the past few months, God has really been pouring into me, so much so that I could probably blog all day about what He’s been teaching me. Even now, my mind is racing in at least 5 different directions I could go with this, and I just may if the pumpkin spice latte I had earlier kicks in.
But the subject that’s being pushed to the surface of my heart is one that requires more than just a tiny bit of vulnerability. As all of those who have intimate walks with Jesus know, so often, those times of overflowing in our lives go hand in hand with His lovingly bringing to light a glaring flaw. And that’s where I am. Because of the paths God has led me down, over the years my trust in the Lord has grown from almost non-existent to a sort of badge I unconsciously put on. I’m the girl that trusts Jesus with everything. I’m the girl that seeks the Lord in every situation. I’m the girl that waits on the Lord always. People see me as the strong one. The unshakeable one. And as much as I want that to be true regarding my trust in Him, it’s a badge I can’t wear.
You see, I have an almost paralyzing fear of abandonment. Yes, the strong one that needs no one and is pretty much fearless in most areas of life is terrified of being walked away from. Oh, not by God. Never by God…I believe His Word with all my heart and know that I know that I know He is always with me. But something I’ve been seeing lately is that I’m controlled by a fear I’d never even identified. I live in constant fear of bad news because my life has been marked by abrupt endings. One day everything was fine… the next day my world was turned upside down: an unexpected letter that instantly ended one of the closest friendships I’ve ever had, a phone call that told me a friend was gone forever, sitting down across the table from a best friend and standing up as she walked out of my life and took my world with her. There have been countless times where beloved ministries, guys and dear friends vanished so fast that my head was left spinning and my heart was left broken. Yet, as Romans 8:28 says “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” And I’ve certainly seen that. Because through those very situations, God was driving me to trust in Him alone. He took my tiny, tiny bit of trust and grew it into something beautiful with the tears of each and every heartbreak.
In fact, He did such a good job that for so long, it’s just been Jesus and I. He’s the only One in my life who has never failed me. He’s my Refuge, Fortress, Deliverer, Strength, Redeemer, Provider and Best Friend. Lately, I’m falling more in love with Him than I’ve ever been. I have to talk to Him, I have to read His love letter to me, I have to sit at His feet, I have to spend time with Him. I can’t get enough. The other day I was with close friends after a hectic day and suddenly felt an almost overwhelming urge to be with Jesus…I said my goodbyes somewhat hurriedly and couldn’t drive fast enough to “our” spot…my heart was beating so fast I could think of nothing else but being with Him. The second I got away from the distractions and it was just He and I, my heart was instantly flooded with peace and once again I was able to rest. I’m not just saying He’s my everything…He really is. I’m nowhere close to being perfect…but over the years, I’ve grown completely confident in the knowledge that He accepts and loves me just as I am. Skinned knees, tear stains, mistakes and all. I owe Him everything, and yet even if I never served Him another day of my life, He’d love me the same. Grace truly is amazing.
And that very knowledge that I’m loved perfectly, completely and wholly by my Creator is what opened my eyes to my flaw. Since July, three particular verses have been coming at me repeatedly.
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:15, 18
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
I’ve learned from experience that anytime this happens, there is always a reason. And finally, one day recently all of the pieces came together. As I struggled deeply with the Lord’s asking me to be vulnerable to people He was bringing into my life and even in certain directions I felt Him leading me in, I suddenly saw a picture of what my “trust” really looked like to God. I strive to follow Him in all areas, but in the area of opening up to other people, I want to know why and for what reason. I want to be guaranteed up front that these friends are “worth” it or that this path or that road won’t end up crumbling under my feet…simply put I don’t want to be in any position where I will once again live in fear of that moment when the rug is pulled out from under me. It’s sad to say, but I’ve come to expect it. With close friendships, it’s almost as if I carry around an hourglass…I have no idea how much sand is in it and so I mentally prepare myself for the unknown day when it will run out.They’ll walk away, but it’s happened so much that it almost doesn’t affect me anymore. I’ll be okay because I always keep a few walls up to protect myself. After all, I’m completely okay with being the lone ranger…just me and Jesus like it’s always been. As I considered other options, an ugly, panicky feeling swept over me at even the thought of it happening again and as soon as it did, another verse rushed to mind…”Surely the righteous will never be shaken, they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news, their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:6-7. No fear of bad news? As I pondered if that was even possible, I saw what the Lord was trying to tell me. They will have no fear of bad news if their hearts are steadfastly trusting in Him. It is possible to live without that paralyzing fear of loss, but my trust wasn’t ruthless enough for me to experience that peace. If my trust in the Lord was pure, I wouldn’t dread bad news. Plain and simple.
God is so good. In His perfect plan to bring to light something that has been holding me back for so long, He gave me the “formula” for healing beforehand.
In repentance and rest is my salvation…realizing my lack of trust in the only One who is trustworthy tore at my heart. After all I have seen Him do, how could I look into His face and say that I didn’t trust Him? Praise God for His forgiveness!
Perfect love casts out fear…when I truly believe in how much He loves me (He IS Perfect Love) then how could fear control me? Everything He does is in my best interest. I keep picturing a parent with a small child. With a smile on his face, the father holds out his hand and the little girl grabs it, her innocent mind knowing only that her daddy loves her. She’s willing to follow him anywhere. It’s a beautiful trust. The father would never place her in harms way, and he’ll always do what’s best for her. Certain things (such as shots) may bring her pain but he allows it, even initiates it, becasue it’s what’s best for her. Sometimes she may not get what she wants but he will withhold no good thing from his little girl. He disciplines her so that she may grow up strong. He laughs when she laughs and cries when she cries. If an earthly parent can love like that, how much more so our Daddy in heaven? From this day forward, I always want to take His hand and follow wherever He leads.
Be still and know that I am God…all I have to do is to remind myself of who He is. He’s the All Powerful God of the universe. When I can rest in that knowledge, do I really have any room for fear?
As I ran on the beach today, I saw a baby seagull struggling in the surf. A wave had come in and knocked it off its feet. As the little guy was struggling to get his legs under him, another shallow surge pulled him backwards. This happened several times. He struggled for a few more seconds then seemed to suddenly remember that he was, in fact, a bird. After all that time of struggling, he simply spread his tiny wings and flew right out of the water. I smiled as realized how much like that little bird I am. We’re children of the King of Kings…and yet how often do I forget who I am? How often do I forget who He is? Yes, He might lead me right into the midst of a storm but He’s given me everything I need to experience peace while I’m there. Because He’s given me Himself.
I’ll admit that this blog is more for me than for anyone else. I hope to one day look back at this post and mark it as a turning point. A point where I can say that I began choosing to trust my Saviour in every single area of my life, with every single fear. I hope that October 10, 2011 marks a point where I began to see His Power displayed in my life like never before because I’m no longer limiting Him and instead making the conscious decision to trust my amazing, completely trustworthy God.