Ever wish you had a “reset” button that you could push for life? It would just all go back together the way it used to be? Like that big red Staples button–everything becomes Easy again.
Well, we do. His Name is Jesus. Did you already guess that? You know, if you know me at all, you know that I can’t have a conversation or write anything that doesn’t involve Him. Because, well–He is just ALL THAT and a bag of chips…. I don’t know where that phrase comes from, but really. He IS the Great I Am!
I have been wanting and praying for a sort of “reset” for about a year now. Maybe more. And I haven’t felt like I have completely got there. I know I talk about Jesus a lot–well, more so in my writing, because in a lot of ways, I have succumbed to the idea that I should just be quiet because Jesus’ Name just doesn’t sit will with a lot of folks. And so I have stopped mentioning Him as much in conversation as I used to, when I was first saved.
Instead, I shut down. I stay quiet. I remain closed off and stay in my own little world. But that isn’t who I was created to be. Jesus chose me for a specific purpose, and He gave me the gift of evangelism for a reason. Because He knew that after what He did inside me, I would fall madly in love with Him and I would WANT to go and tell anyone who would listen what He did.
The problem came about when I actually started going out and doing this very thing. Imagine that. Satan doesn’t want us to talk about Jesus. Satan wants us to shut down, to corner ourselves off to the world and to just “exist”–sometimes to make us feel so bad that we decide to take our lives in our hands and not exist anymore. Because he knows that if we start telling others the HOPE that we found in Jesus, others will want to know about Jesus too! And being Jesus’ adversary, and thereby our adversary, Satan tries to disrupt us in every way imaginable. But his tactics are old, and once you learn what they are, it’s easier to step around them–or really, just over them. Because through JESUS, we have the power to overcome temptation. Even the temptation of being quiet–because “no one likes me talking about Jesus”.
But I am reminded of a Scripture that speaks to that. Though I don’t know the exact verse right now, it says something to the effect of: How will they know, unless we go and tell them?
How do we expect others to know about Jesus, unless we are willing to open our mouths and talk about Him?
Yes, living righteously is the biggest factor. I concur. I completely agree. If we don’t live righteous lives, we have nothing to offer anyone else.
Sometimes I take that to mean that I have to be perfect, though. And because I am not perfect, and I don’t do things perfectly, I have no room to talk. That’s a lie that Satan has bound me with, time and time again. But the thing is–JESUS breaks all chains. We don’t have to live succumbed to the lies, if we don’t want to. We aren’t supposed to. We are supposed to let Jesus take our battles and fight them for us. I have to learn (repeatedly) that Jesus will set me free–if I ask. Freedom from wrong thinking, freedom from wrong actions, freedom from wrong living.
So, it is my prayer that Jesus would set me free from the lie that I have to be quiet. I am not perfect. No. But no one is. However, I love a God who IS perfect. And who helps me, when I ask, to overcome the temptation to think that I have to be perfect before I can talk about Him.
Through Jesus’s shed blood on the cross for me, I’ve come a long way. I used to cuss worse than any man. I used to lie and not think twice. Even white lies–they weren’t really lies, were they? Yes. They were. They are. And now, I and when I try to do that, I am convicted every single time.
I used to steal from stores. I learned how to steal and not get caught–well, I didn’t get caught by the store. I didn’t need to steal. I did it because I could get away with it.
But God knew what I was doing.
Jesus also delivered me from a lifestyle that I had always seen as a permanent way of life. He gave me hope that there really was a future for me. Even though I thought He created me to be attracted to other women, He freed me from that desire, and He freed me from the lie that I had been created like that. He didn’t create me with evil intentions. No. He doesn’t do that. But, because of the fall in the Garden, I was born into a sin-riddled world and I have a heart that is bent toward sin. Like all of us.
We each sin differently. But the point is not “how do we each sin”. The point is simply in the fact: “Are we convicted when we do?”
Now, I still struggle with wanting to steal things when I go to Walmart. I know how. The temptation is there. I stay away from Walmart, for the most part. I still struggle with the desire to smoke cigarettes and to cuss like a sailor. Well, not all the time like I once did. But, I struggle with wanting to. Sometimes I let a cuss word slip. But I know God can wash me, clean me back up, and set me back on that right path again.
I still struggle with the need to have love from other women. It’s not, I learned, a matter of God creating me with a bent toward homosexuality. No. It’s not that at all. What it is, is that I have a place deep within my heart that needs the nurturing and the hugs and the attention that I didn’t really get in my childhood. Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents. I love my brother. But we all have different love languages, and mine does not coincide with theirs. So, for this reason, I always felt like an alien in my own family. I never felt like I belonged. I never felt like I mattered. Well–I knew on the surface, I did. They supported me in every thing that I ever did. They taught me how to work hard and how to do things for my community. They taught me the value of doing what I said I was going to do. They guided me, they directed me, they loved me. Through and through.
So what was wrong? My love language is quality time, words of affirmation, and if you know me at all—you know I have a strong, strong love language of touch.
I need that confirmation from another human being that I matter. We all need that. We long for that, we crave that. In different ways, yes. And for some reason, God chose to put me in a family that did not need “touch” as much. That is such a big one for me. Why did God do that? Well, only He knows, but as I write about this, I can’t help but think that He put me into a family that was designed completely different, for the simple fact that they needed touch as much as I did. I don’t know.
So, all my life I have struggled with the idea of trying to measure up. Trying to get love from any kind of way I could. Trying to feel acceptance. And this led me down a path that I regret, but at the same time, I am thankful to be an Ambassador for Christ in this manner. I am thankful that He delivered me from a life of homosexuality–even before I gave my life to Him. It was one of my “if You really can, God, then do this” tests. He did. And in the process, He helped me to know Him.
I am thankful that I no longer have that bent toward wanting to be in a relationship with another woman. Do I struggle at times, separating the need for love and affirmation, with a need for an intimate, deep relationship like I once had? Yes. Just like I struggle in the U-scan line at Walmart, wanting to get something that I don’t need and don’t want to pay for, (because in my mind I am justified in my action, because they charge too much anyway). That isn’t right, and thankfully, I always remember to call upon Jesus during that testing. I always remember to ask Him for His help to get me through that line, and I can walk out that door with my head held high because I know I did the right thing. Because I am a child of God, and He gave me power to overcome that temptation.
I do the same thing when I get caught in the web of lies that threaten to take me back down that road of homosexuality. Oh, I did go down that road after coming to know Him–for a brief period of time. For a few months, I tried to find satisfaction in something other than my Lord Jesus. Because I was bound with the chains of lies telling me that I would not ever see Jesus–that I had done too much and that I could not be forgiven for the things that I had done. So, I tried to go back down roads that used to make me happy, in my former, Before Christ, days. I tried that road. I tried smoking again. I even tried smoking weed and I tried desperately to develop a drinking gene. (I never had one, and still don’t, thank You, God!)
But I couldn’t be satisfied with anything that was against God. Because the Holy Spirit living inside me would convict me every single time. I didn’t think it was Him. I thought He had given up on me and I thought “it must be my own brain making me feel this way, because I know right from wrong, after having walked with Jesus for such a short period of time”. Well, that was a twisted truth, distorted into a lie that weighed heavily on me for 22 months. A lie that eventually I asked Jesus to destroy, and He did.
I had conviction that weighed heavily on me during that period of my life. So much so, that I almost went to my brother and ASKED him to help me get out of it. In my stubbornness, I didn’t. But, I did go to God and ask Him. And Jesus, being the Ultimate big brother, did that very thing–in a matter of two weeks that relationship was absolved. I still have conviction when the temptation comes through my mind (brought on by the lies that Satan throws at me), but this time I choose not to act upon the temptation, because I recognize the conviction in my heart as the voice of the Holy Spirit, telling me not to go down that road. And I am so grateful that He has brought me back, destroying the strongholds that had set themselves up against me and between me and God.
I crave affection, I crave hugs, I crave deep, intimate relationships with other women. Not because I want to go down those old roads again. But because I didn’t get that growing up, and it’s the only way I have of filling that void. Even though Jesus came and filled the voids in my heart, this is one avenue in which He is using other people to heal me. And not just any other person–but He is using those that He calls His very own, to walk this road with me, to love on me and to give me hugs and to tell me that they love me, and to point me back to Him when I start floundering. He gives me those who help me to walk upright. He gives me those that will hold me accountable. He gives me those that will love me, regardless of the past that I came from, and the mistakes I have made.
And a really big one for me–He gives me those that still continue to keep on loving me, even when I do mess up. Even when I have a big “FAIL” written across my forehead. He gives me those that will come alongside of me and let me share my burdens. He gives me those that love me with an everlasting love, because they love me not from their own hearts, but from His. Because He lives inside of them. And through the healing process, I have been gifted with so many friends, so so many sisters. I prayed for one as a small child. I wanted someone who I could look up to and ask those “big girl questions” to. Someone who intimately understood me, on a level that no one else “got”. And He heard my prayer. He gave me many, many, many sisters, years later—so many that I can’t count them, and if I try to, I always leave someone out–not intentionally. Seriously, I have never in my life had this many friends. And I am so thankful. So very, very thankful.
So, if you are one of my ‘sisters’, I love you. I don’t look at you in any weird way, and I don’t want you to ever worry about that. (That is another very strong lie that has bound me in the past. The old “what will they think of you?” lie. We all contend with that, in one way or another. Especially as women.) We all have different backgrounds, but one thing we have in common is the love that Jesus has poured into each of us, and the love that He pours out through us. And that is the love that I crave. I can’t say thank you enough for being there–I can’t say how deep my feelings go, because I don’t think anyone really just “gets” how deeply I feel, how deeply I crave love.
On a side note: Do I want to be married one day? If it is in God’s plan for me. But only if it is. I’ve thought about it, and really heavily considered that avenue before–but the reason that I don’t have it pressing on my heart is solely because I don’t want anything to be a distraction, to take my focus off of my relationship with God. When Paul said “i wish everyone were like me” when it came to being single, so that their devotion could be to God and God alone–I resonate deeply with that. Oh there are a couple of guys I’ve had my eye on, but God will do what God will do, and if they will come alongside me in this vision that He has given me and others, and He puts them in my life and has a desire for me to be married, then so be it. But, I can honestly say I get distracted of my own accord way too much. And I want to stay attuned and focused on the vision that He has put on my heart.
In the end, I just want to say if you have made it this far–I love you. I am thankful for each one of you and the friendship that we share. As much as I crave that depth of friendship in others that sometimes don’t share that same desire, I think over time it may lessen as the places that have been lacking in my heart over the years begin to fill and heal. And they heal by the constant reassuring, the constant being there–regardless of the stupid things that I say/do. Regardless if I have a big “FAIL” stamped across my forehead. Because, in Jesus, we are all wiped clean. We are all washed, and we all become a little more sanctified with each mistake we make, each step we take. Our goal is to help each other through this life, and to be there for each other.
If you are in ‘my circle’, just know this: Even if I am quiet, even if I seem reclusive or whatever, I don’t love you any less and I don’t love God any differently. Because of things that I have been told in my past (not by family, but by people that were very close to me, who didn’t know God) I sometimes feel like such a huge fraud because I can write better than I can speak. My words flow from my fingers, not from my mouth so easily. But, in learning and understanding my personality type, I have learned that what some might consider a ‘fraud’, it’s really just the way that God naturally wired me. He gave me a way of expressing my feelings, my words, my emotions through a written format. And if you are close to me, you know that I can talk just as much as I can write—but it might come out in a MUCH more jumbled mess. (Hence, I prefer writing.)
So, in the end, thank you for being patient with me, thank you for sticking by me, thank you for loving me, and thank you for reassuring me. Thank you for wanting to be my friend and for choosing to walk this journey with me. Thank you for providing a level of healing in my heart. I love you. Each of you.