Last night, I got home to a beautifully painted sky overhead as I challenged myself to mow my lawn. The day had been exhausting–stuck in my head in a world where I didn’t belong. I felt I had accomplished absolutely nothing.
Over and over again, I felt God tell me, “you need to open your heart up to someone and let them know what is going on.”
Because you see–I couldn’t pray for myself–I didn’t even want to. I wasn’t even able to really praise Him. Though I tried—I listened to some praise music, but it was not stirring my heart. I felt dead inside. I was stuck. I was living in a fantasy land where my heart and my head had no place being. And I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to break free. And as scary as that was, I couldn’t do much about it. He kept laying it on my heart to reach out to my sisters in Christ–and yet, i was refusing.
That big spring of pride was just pooling and pooling inside my chest, until it was overflowing and spilling over onto everything around me.
You see, I thought I had come out of this deception already, the day before. But the thing was, I knew even then that I wasn’t free entirely. I knew in my heart that I would still be facing this yet again. That’s why I reached out when I was “on top” to ask for prayer over the next few days—prayer that I wouldn’t try to go jumping back out of His arms again, in search of those chains at the bottom of the ocean.
And, I had. I was there, again. (can you say stubborn???? Hard-headed???? Yeah—my family sure can!! My friends are also learning the meaning of those words–to a level they’ve never known before.)
Here I was, back at the bottom of the ocean, locked back in my shackles again. And I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t—because I didn’t want to.
And yet, He kept telling me to reach out.
—-And, I kept refusing.
This battle in my head ensued almost all day–until there were only a couple of hours left in my work day. Then, He just finally got tired of waiting for me to make the first move. Instead, like the loving Father He is, He reached out and tried to get my attention in a more obvious way.
He sent one of my dear, dear sisters in Christ to stop by my office and ask how I was doing.
“Great!” I said, knowing inside that my heart was contorted, confused, and distracted. Knowing that I needed to ask her for prayer, but I couldn’t. Knowing that she would have been all ears, and would have intently listened to whatever I wanted to share with her, and I had no fear of judgement or condemnation.
However, I wanted to appear that I had it all together.
So, I lied. I made small talk, and she went on her way. “Dodged that one” I must have thought to myself. I was still in protection mode.
Protecting my sin, protecting my heart from—-from what? From God? I was hiding things, or I thought I was, from Him. Holding onto those thoughts tighter than I was holding on to Him. Turning my back to Him, and holding onto these thoughts so tightly that i couldn’t see anything else. (Can you say idolatry?) I certainly couldn’t feel Him in that state.
Despicable? Yes–truly. Shameful? Undoubtedly.
But to be honest, I can almost bet anyone and everyone has done this very thing. We have all been in the Garden at one point or another, I dare say. Hiding. Thinking that God–Almighty Creator God–cannot see what we are doing. It’s a lie, though. And even though we know it’s a lie, we still do it–why? Because we are still deceived–at one point or another, either in the head or in the heart, we have disconnected from Him, and we think He has disconnected from us–however briefly.
But He hasn’t.
–And, He won’t.
He is there, and He is grieved by what we are doing.
My heart dropped after she had walked away. “There went my chance” I said to myself.
I’d already been freed once this week, and I went and jumped BACK into the waters, and went and found those shackles again, and put them on—like I belonged there or something! Shameful. Disgusting. I fell for the lie.
I knew I needed those chains to be broken again. But, I had disconnected myself from Him, and I was not in a position that I could really pray. I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I was being defiant–that I was being rebellious in my heart. That I was reverting back to old patterns of thinking and that I needed to be freed from those chains–yet again.
All I could say in my heart to Him was “If you want me to do that, then you are going to have to make me do it–You are going to have to help me. Cause I’m stuck”
‘What kind of Christian was I?’ ‘How dare I tell my very own sisters in Christ what was going on in my head?’ ‘What would they think of me?’ ‘Hadn’t I been delivered from this already once—and then I went and jumped back into those chains willingly?? Really?’ ‘How dare I go and tell anyone what I did–shame shame on me.’
(Can you say “lies of Satan”? Exactly. ALL of them–LIES.)
Because that’s exactly what I needed to do. The truth is that when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. The truth is that sometimes we need to confess our sins to our brethren, and be healed. The prayers of the righteous avail much. Sometimes we just need that intervention of someone else’s prayers to break the chains that are holding us back from praying ourselves. And sometimes He brings us into the paths of someone else who can pray for us in that way, offering up prayers that break through our chains quicker than we can when we are in that state.
And the simple act of confession in and of itself is power–admitting that we have sinned against God and acknowledging our wrong before Him is vital to ever finding forgiveness.
I can imagine it wasn’t but an hour later–maybe not that long, when I decided I was going to get up out of my nice comfy chair at my nice comfy desk and meander across the department to go check on another sister who was having a rough day.
I didn’t realize that it was God moving me.
I didn’t realize that He was making my feet walk over there
—and right directly into the path of my sister who I had just lied to moments earlier.
I saw my other sister, busy at work and didn’t have even a second to look up. I knew in that moment that I hadn’t come to talk to her. I realized in that moment that I was being brought face to face with my sister who had just stopped in to check on me. I knew that she would talk with me and somehow I knew that she held the words that I needed to hear in that moment.
She looked at me with that look– you know, that “what’s up? / what’s wrong?” look. And I broke. That big wall of pride came crashing down. All i could do was wrap my arm around her shoulder and say “pray for me”. She hugged me and told me “I always do.” and added, “what’s going on?”
Immediately, the Spirit inside me was spilling my guts to her—-I didn’t even know the words coming out of my mouth. They just flowed out. And i admitted that I was reverting back to old thinking patterns and behavior. I admitted that I was being defiant–and I didn’t understand ‘WHY’ I was being defiant.
She listened, understood, and comforted me with her concern. She ever-so-lovingly encouraged me to get back on track with these words, “you are still a babe in Christ–you are in that “i want to rebel” stage. Remember when you are a kid and rebelling felt good?” She reassured me that I was just being brought through trials to make me more mature in Him.
Ahh hah!! No WONDER I was going through this. My biggest fears of “am i really God’s child, since I am doing this?” were quelled. Instantly.
Later, after work, I met my brother for something, and I spilled my guts to him, too. Again, not something I was planning on doing, not something I wanted to do—but the Spirit inside was NOT going to let me go through another moment, another night, another day living apart from Christ. Living in my own fantasy world where I could control my future—No. He is in control, and He was going to come and rescue me from the destructive path that I was on.
On the drive home, the walls started breaking.
I started just crying, overwhelmed with God’s love pouring down into my heart. Overwhelming my soul, flooding my spirit.
I just started praising Him for everything He is–I started truly, praising Him from my heart. Asking Him to forgive me for all that I had done, all my obstinate ways. I’m not really sure that that moment in time if anyone was praying for me–it’s very possible that some of my sisters from before were praying for me, or my sister that day, or my brother… but i felt overwhelmed with a peace and a love, and a joy that I hadn’t been able to feel since I had started down that path on my own, away from Him. All of a sudden the chains had been broken again, and this time there was no time in between the chains being shackled around my ankles and wrists to me being lifted out of the water. It was instant. All of a sudden I found myself on the shore again, and I was overwhelmed with His peace. I even walked inside my house and it felt lighter, it felt that He was truly there, waiting on me, protecting me, healing and surrounding me, keeping the enemy at bay.
When I got home, I immediately went to work mowing my lawn. Something I’d been putting off for awhile. In that process, I burned quite a few calories I’m sure, and felt much better after having the whole evening full of exercise, burning off those unneeded and despicable thoughts, and having my attention refocused onto matters that were weighing on others’ hearts, offering up prayers on their behalf.
Through not only
- His still small voice;
- but Him running to me in the form of my sister coming to check on me;
- Him making me get up and go seek help–though I didn’t realize that’s what was happening—
- and through the evening full of exercise that I was not really planning on, but desperately needed–
- and through the prayers that I was able to offer up to Him on behalf of another dear sister—
–He showed me His faithfulness, His mighty acts of Love…all in one day. It doesn’t matter to Him how stubborn I am–He will find a way to break through my stubbornness and pride, and reach down into the depths of my heart, and pull me out. That is what His painting represented to my heart. His multiple layers of Love that He had showered down on me that day, even in my darkest and most defiant hour–He was still pouring out His love to reach me again.
You probably wonder why I’m so open and honest about my struggles, if you’ve taken time to read this far.
Hey, there’s no shame in my game. If whatever I say can be used to benefit someone else–that’s the reason I write it. That, and for me it is a therapy of sorts—a “finalization” of sorts. Hey, after all, the story is not mine. He is writing a story throughout my life that one day will minister to someone else in need.
If it can save someone else some heartache somewhere along the line–well, then it’s all for His glory anyways. What can I say? I am just living this life the best I know how–and sometimes I get completely off track.
But GOD is faithful. Even when I’m not. HE is forgiving, even when I can’t forgive myself (He will show us the way–because this is something we MUST do–forgive others, and ourselves). HE is merciful, even when I don’t deserve His mercy.
And HE will pull you through, too! He has no favorites—we are ALL His favorites! Jesus died once and for all–for all who would believe and truly, truly give their hearts and their lives and their wills to Him. asking Him to change them into His new creations.
I’m thankful for the Love that He gives to each of us—even when we are being defiant, He sees right through our facade, and He comes and calls to us in our Gardens, “Where are you?”
He knows—Oh yeah, He knows. He is living inside of us.
He knows exactly where we are. He created us.
–But He needs for us to acknowledge that we have gone astray, that we have gone off course. He needs for us to admit to Him our frailties before He will act.
——And sometimes, when we are so stubborn that we are downright refusing to—He will stir the Spirit up in us to ask for His help to make us move. “Lord if you want me to do this, You are going to have to help me. Cause I’m stuck”.
That’s all He needs. He just needs permission. Because He will not force Himself upon us. But He will allow His Spirit to work within us to call out for His help–even in the tiniest of our inaudible whispers of our heart.
GOD is Faithful!