Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Impressing Man or Impressing God Part 2

I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8: 38-39 (The Message)

How many times have we needed this reminder? My post yesterday highlighted my struggles over the past year. With social media today we seem to compare our lives to our closest "friends", yet we know those posts are our highlight reels in life. Who wants to see the messy life? I knew the purpose of this blog would not always be to see the pretty, but the real. I knew God had called me to use my life experiences. I have been terrified, but for all the wrong reasons. While watching a Netflix special with Brene` Brown last week I realized in order to be vulnerable we must have courage. I lacked courage and my trust in God, embarrassing, but honest.

You see we allow people to see what we want them to see. I had a friend recently tell me how she saw me as being a very strong woman as I was sharing with her some struggles I was walking through. I was explaining where I was in life and she very gracefully said you will be fine, you are one of the strongest women I know. It was such an amazing compliment, but I got into my car and thought, she has no idea. She doesn't see my weaknesses and fears. We tend to go through life imagining how wonderful someone else's life is or how amazing he/she handles life. In reality, we only see what others want us to see.

No one sees "me" the days I could barely pull myself out of bed or barely go through the motions of the day when life fell apart. The nights I fell to my face begging God to explain why these things were happening to me again and again, countless tears falling to the floor. Or the endless conversations with one of my prayer warriors as they walked me through yet another crisis or rejection, trying to reassure me why I had yet another hurdle to jump through, what God wanted me to learn from it. On the outside, everyone sees this strong woman, but let me tell you I am not strong, my God is strong! I can not breathe literally and figuratively without His strength in me.

My fears of posting my struggles became my focus these past few weeks. Do you know why? It wasn't what God would think. He already knows my weaknesses, fears, and shortcomings. He sees my everyday struggles and still loves me more than I can even imagine.

People, people's thoughts were my fears. When we slip people are right there to tell us or question our faith. Question our Christianity. Of course, not everyone, not even most people, but the enemy uses one or two and we begin to think there are thousands against us. We allow the enemy to attack our confidence and trust in God. We allow the enemy's voice to cripple us.

That's when we need to begin to pray purposefully. Pray for God to hear our cries and know we trust Him even when we aren't showing it or at the time fully believing. We sometimes need to say it out loud to believe it. Especially when we feel attacked in every corner, even though our heart tells us it was lies, not the truth. Nevertheless, the struggles are VERY real.

Nothing can get between God's love for us, but us! We walk away, we turn our backs, we doubt. We must remember all of us are human. We cannot put our worth in the words or actions of other humans. God NEVER leaves our side. He sits patiently waiting for us to return to him. Doesn't it feel great to fall back into His arms?

Of course, we will fail again. We are human and sinners, remember those impurities I talked about. The wonderful thing is our God loves us with ALL our impurities. He will teach us and help us remove them if we will let Him.

The important lesson we must learn is we can't live for man's approval alone. Although most people are good; we can't live for their approval  It is important to focus on God when we least feel Him in our lives (talking to myself here) and know when life gets tough we can't listen to the enemy and instead of walking away from God we run to Him because He is ALWAYS here with us waiting to embrace us with His unconditional love.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Impressing Man or Impressing God? Part 1

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10 NIV

Don't you love how we seem to want one thing, but do another? We want God's love and approval, but we tend to work for man's. I am a people pleaser. It makes me happy when I see others happy. It is difficult for me to see others hurting or upset. It is also very difficult for me to think I disappointed someone or hurt them.

The past four years of my life have been a time for me to stretch my wings and learn to live for God truly and not for man. I didn't intend or set out for that, in fact, I can say I have lived in a bubble of sorts. God has shielded me from the outside world in a sense. I feel like I have been in a tunnel, only seeing what is right in front of me. Don't get me wrong the past four years have not been a joy ride. As I posted a couple of months ago I am now digging myself out of debt and will be for some time. (I will post more on that too.) This time has been meant for the healing and restoration of my soul.

When we live for God and not man it is almost a magical place, but it seems we don't always remain in this place. During my "bubble" period, I was only able to concentrate on God, my kids, my job, and college (The same week my marriage was ending I was accepted to college to get my specialist degree). I had so much on my plate I had little time to think about people's thoughts of me and to be honest I didn't really care what people thought or said. I was numb. I knew MY life and what I had experienced and so did God. That is all that matters. So many people have asked me how do you know what to do when life is so tough you can't seem to breathe. My answer always remains the same, "Lean on God and when His answer is all that matters then you know." (That goes for anything we do in life.) For me, this means seeking God and not everyone else's thoughts. When we concentrate on what everyone else thinks about our life we begin living for man and not God. There comes a time when boundaries must be set and decisions made. I knew I had to live with my decisions. I just prayed for protection for me and my kids and let God take care of the rest.

You are probably asking how will my experiences help you? I hope you will see how difficulty doesn't always mean defeat. The past year (June 2018) has been the hardest in this newfound life of mine. I realized my marriage could never be restored. I also woke up and decided to look at my finances and they were a MESS!! I took chances in my career and got into the world of dating. I could say all of these things were failures, but they weren't at all. They were lessons on trusting God. Looking back I feel like God placed me on my own two feet and said, "Ok it's time for you to walk on your own. I am right here beside you, but I am not going to carry you anymore." I felt this way when my mom died and when I was going through chemo. God carries us in difficult times, just like we carry our children. As a parent, we know when it is time for our children to stand on their own and experience life on their own. We are always right there to help and protect, but we know they must experience life in order to learn.

June of last year until now has been a time of experiences and more learning, some I would rather not have experienced if I am being honest, but I know I will grow from them and hopefully through Christ help others grow too. Life isn't easy and living to impress and please others can complicate things even more. Being raw and taking chances to only be turned away can be tough too, but guess what with each rejection comes a time to reflect and learn. This year has been full of rejections professionally and personally, but with each one, God has given me the opportunity to learn and reflect.

Dear friend life is tough, God doesn't promise us a happily ever after on this earth. He promises us something SO much better!! Eternal life in Heaven! How much better can it get?

 Tomorrow I will share how through failures and defeat we can be stronger, more confident in Christ.