I was writing in my prayer journal this morning and the Lord just impressed upon my heart to share what He has been teaching me. I'm so thankful for Shannon and Abigail (fellow bloggers) and the way they have always been open with their readers and talked about the things they struggle with. That is a gift to be able to do that and one that I have been trying to cultivate in my life. So I'm just throwing a "thank you" out there to the two of them! They have been an encouragement and blessing in my life because of their openness with their readers!
I can't say that I like to admit to failures in my life...yes I have a lot of them and will willingly admit to my physical failures, but the nitty gritty ones about how I view myself or my fears (about so many things) are not usually out there for people to see. I only allow people so far and then (imagine whatever sound you want that brings forward images of a brick wall being built) a wall comes up. Yeah, I don't like to be vulnerable, open and yet I know that is what God is calling me to do. How can we minister to the hearts of other people and expect them to open up to us, if we never allow them to see within us?
I sat down and started thanking God for the ways he has worked in my life over the last year. I thanked Him for the many, uncountable times He has helped me through a situation (oh, if only I had asked for help from Him sooner, rather then later), opened my eyes to the spiritual battle that is swirling around us and my need to renounce Satan through Christ's power. He has taught me so many things in the past 12 months that in many ways I am a very different person from who I was 1 year ago.
I thanked Him for the little things that were making me smile as I continued to write..things like warm, sunny rays that warmed me on the outside but that seemed to continue right through and touch my heart. Things like my sister's dog, curling up against my legs as I got some extra sleep this morning...Things like genuine laughter with friends & family.... I thanked Him for mentors and the people in my life who truly want the best for me and have taught me so much...people who have made me feel safe enough to open up to them, people who I know love me for who I am - with all my faults - and accept me where I am at. No judgment, because they know that we are all on a journey and none of us are perfect.
Can you tell I started getting deeper in my conversation as I went along? :)
I thanked Him for specific people like, Eric Ludy, Adrianne & John Shales, Paul & Jenny Speed (All people who I have impacted my life through their messages)...People who open up their hearts and lives to Christ, fully surrendered, OPEN about their sin, BROKEN over it and living in FREEDOM. They trust Him with their future, past, dreams, failures, heartaches, joys...life...and then are vulnerable and humble enough to stand before other people and share their stories!
I thought of one of my instructors and how he can stand before our class and pretty much say "this is who I am, take me or leave me." If someone doesn't like him, then it is their loss, he knows who and what he is and is comfortable with it - His confidence isn't shaken if someone doesn't like or approve of him.
It hit me...How much more should I, who know God as my Savior, Creator, Commander & Guide be unmovable in my beliefs and not care what others think of me, because I know who I am in Christ. I know what the end goal of my life is. I have the most powerful battle partner on my side and I know who will win the battle in the end.
Why do I fear rejection, persecution, judgment & criticism? Why do I hate the thought of being
God chose me before the foundations of the world were formed. He loved me, accepted me, forgave me so much that He killed His Son that I might spend eternity with Him. I need only to ask Him for help, strength, courage, you name it, and He is there, helping me conquer the lies and fears Satan is hurling at me.
I know that my confidence, courage, peace, joy, strength and validation should all come from HIM ALONE! Not my abilities, not others words or treatment of me, but the knowledge of all the truths listed above should keep me in perfect peace.
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26:3
"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation." Isaiah 12:2
One of the biggest lessons I'm learning, is to being ok with who and how God has made me. It is so easy to get caught up in what other Christians expect of me, what the world expects of me, even what my family expects of me and try to fulfill those expectations allowing those people to validate me in stead of my Heavenly Father... I realize that my focus needs to wholly on Him, my reasons for doing something must be for Him and the way I do those things must be for Him.
These were just some of my thoughts this morning! May God Bless All of You!