In order for me to love well I must first receive love. This is not easy for me. I am a lot more comfortable with giving rather than receiving. Receiving love leaves me feeling vulnerable. Receiving love leaves me afraid of trusting the giver, scared that once I do they will leave or that I will become to dependent on their giving. Because of my family of origin I know my mind is hard wired with these fears, but God in His love re-wires me.
Proverbs 3:11 “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
God uses the painful things I go through to teach me. They are an opportunity to correct me, correct how I think and act as a result of my faulty thinking. For me, nothing triggers faulty thinking like pain. When I lost my grandmother something in me shifted, it triggered some really faulty thinking, fear and pain. Pain that I believe God wanted to use to help me grow, but I didn’t like the pain. I didn’t want to feel the pain and in my anger at Him I no longer trusted Him to use it for my ultimate good. I lost sight of Jesus’ understanding for my pain. I wanted someone else to take my pain away, someone, an actual person, who knew what the pain felt like, someone who could physically hold me in his arms and tell me everything would be ok. And for a while he did but because he was never meant to carry my pains and fears, he crumbled under the pressure of trying to love me through it. As I wrestled with my fears and my faith I brought him down with me.
1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.”
Lysa TerKeurst wrote, “Pain is the invitation for God to move in and replace our faltering strength with His.” I am learning a lot as I lean into pain in this season.
In my pain, God has revealed my pride. I had lost sight of my purpose, and instead of living out of love, I began to live out of fear and anxiety. Instead of leaning into the pain and discomfort necessary for my growth, over a year ago, I started leaning into stopping the pain myself and looking to someone else to take it away.
James 1:5-7 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.[..] But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”
As I wavered in my faith I became double minded and more and more unstable. When I asked myself if my actions were getting me closer to what I wanted, there was no answer because I was stuck in fear. I lost sight of who I wanted to be. My actions did not align with my words and I was all over the place in my emotions. This was very taxing and painful for those close to me.
As I heal and address my fears it gives me more clarity as to what I want. The focus shifts from what I want from someone else to whom I want to become. This shift allows me to let go of fear and control. It’s less about controlling circumstances or people and more about allowing things to just be (insert a deep exhale here).
Pv3:3 “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablets of your heart.”
As I lean into faithfulness and love again I am learning how to just be on my journey, and in turn, allow others to just be on theirs. When fear and pain come, which they still do, I am learning to articulate and address them instead of acting them out.
I am powerless over others responses or reactions. I can only control my own. When I do this it allows others to be 100% themselves on their journey, while allowing me to be 100% myself on mine. No person is responsible to take on my pain or faith. These are mine to carry to God. We can travel together each their own way at their own pace and rhythm. The common purpose of the journey then becomes a sharing of love. The wounds I carry are not for the other to fix, they are for me to bring to God.
It’s taken a lot to get here and I am forever a work in progress. The discipline of this pain is not pleasant. The cost was high. I’ve been so humbled. It’s been like rubbing salt into my wound so it would heal without infection, painful but necessary.
I am still amidst my pain but I can see and feel transformation coming. I can begin to see God’s love for me again. As I doubt less and less each day. I see it as I make choices that are more loving towards God, myself and others. As I chose not to linger in thinking or take actions that will fuel my fear, insecurity, self hate or doubt, but rather that which will fuel faithful and loving thoughts.
Rom12:2 “[…]but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
As I focus on letting God heal the wounds of my past I stop trying to fix myself or look to someone else to take the pain away with their imperfect love. I now desire to share common purpose instead of common pain. The woman I am becoming can love and accept the people He brings into her life for who they are. She can bring her fears and pain to God and share them with others in more neutral and honest ways. This is the power of God’s transformation. The consequence of my sin is that those I hurt in my pain may never see this transformation but I am also learning to trust that God has a plan bigger than me. Their own transformations will come in their time and God’s.
In order to be patient, kind, forgiving and humble I must first connect with how patient kind forgiving and humble God has been with me. I must first see myself the way He sees me. I could not force this no matter how hard I tried. I could only surrender and accept it.
Pv 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
The prayer I have been praying a lot has been this, “God, I don’t understand right now but you do. I surrender any and all fearful thoughts, thoughts that don’t honor my heart and how you see me. I release the idea that I know better than you. You have a plan and I am willing. I will grieve with your grace and keep my heart open. Amen.”
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