Why does it seem like there are more women in church than men? It seems like its more difficult for men to live for God than women and I can’t help but wonder why? Is it a pride thing or fear of what the “fellas” may think? I’m curious so I just thought I’d ask……
I hardly know what to do with myself these days. There is no imminent crisis or catastrophe on the horizon, nothing to fear, no storm to weather, no ugly secrets to guard. And yet, the absence of all that, so familiar throughout my life, has left me scratching my head and examining my heart because I feel somewhat unsettled.
Someone waved to me. But was it really to me?
A woman I know only by name and by sight initiated a friendly pre-church chat. Why? She must have some ulterior reason because otherwise why would she bother? Bother with me?
Greetings galore. New friends. Changes, good changes. It’s so much! I don’t know what to do with it all. And strangely, with all the overwhelming good God is working I want to react the same way as I did to all the dark and stormy circumstances my life was all about for so long. I have the overwhelming urge to run and hide somewhere. And I have been wondering why that is.
I think it is because I have lived almost my entire life with ‘ugly’ branded on my heart.
Aesthetically speaking, I leave much to be desired but I’m talking about ugly that starts on the inside, in the core of my being. My heart and soul were crushed early on in life and I could never live above the identity it gave me. I simply grew into the identity it branded me with. Ugly. Garbage. Useless. Waste. Pathetic. Loser. These were just a few of the things I thought of myself.
When God came into the midst of it all it was incredible. It continues to be incredible. I have learned that He is faithful in the big things and in the little things. And still, I want to hide from Him at times. Some days I don’t and I run to Him. Other days I want to run from Him hard and fast because I feel like he will reject me. I forget again that He loves me with a perfect love. I forget that He is capable of seeing a heart in me that I can’t even see because I grew up with ugly in my heart and so I still can’t see beyond that. I forget that He can. And when I forget, I can’t stand the thought of Him seeing what I still see because I have practiced seeing it so long that even when it isn’t there anymore I still see it. Like staring at a lit light bulb at night and then suddenly switching it off. The imprint of what was is so much etched into your vision that you continue to see it for some time after even when the situation has completely changed.
Trusting God is a moment by moment exercise. He loves me. He forgives my past. I don’t have to live in the shadow of it. He already set me free from it and put me on the path to full healing.
So much has changed all around me. So much has changed in my own heart. All I have to do is look onward and forward and not backward. I guess there is just something about the human condition that looks for the familiar so often, even if it is a bad familiar. I guess that is why it is a near impossibility to change on our own; why God is the only way to real change and to true healing.
Post courtesy of AmazinglyBrash
Recently I found myself very disappointed in someone I considered a good friend. They did something to me that I felt (and still feel) was totally unacceptable and it was hard for me to swallow. I knew that I needed to forgive them and let it go but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it at the time.
Not wanting to hold a grudge, I began to quote any and every scripture I could remember (and maybe a few I made up) on forgiveness. But it seemed the moment I stopped quoting scripture, I got mad all over again.
Throughout that week, I kept rehearsing what happened and when I shared it with my husband and my sister, I got even angrier – it was like every time I told the story, the fire was being fueled. So I decided that I needed to stop talking about it because that was not helping the situation.
I’m sure you have all been there before …maybe it wasn’t a friend, perhaps it was a sibling, a co-worker, a neighbor or even someone at church. Whoever it was, they crossed you in some form or fashion and raised your blood pressure. You found yourself on this never ending cycle of anger because you couldn’t quite let it go.
In time, I realized that forgiveness is very hard in our own power… and at some point, I cleared my head and took it to God in prayer …and yet again, God amazed me with his ability to bring an inner peace in the midst of any situation.
Prayer is by far the greatest weapon we have. Prayer causes you to change your perspective on things.
While in prayer, God reminded me of the many times I had turned my back on Him. The many times I had disappointed Him. Yet, not once has He held back his forgiveness towards me.
He also reminded me that no one except Him is flawless, so I must not put people on a pedestal or expect them to never let me down. Yes, we expect certain things like respect from our friends, however at some point, we have probably all disrespected someone we cared about. How is it that we expect people to always be willing to forgive us but when the tables are turned – watch out!
Through prayer, I realized it was alright for me to be hurt by the situation, but it wasn’t alright for me to dwell there. God healed my wounds and gave me the courage to step back out and not allow this situation to dictate my mood, attitude or behavior towards the person who offended me.
There is something to be said about the power of prayer …next time I won’t wait so long to use it!
Written by Tanya James, Founder and president of The Master Plan. Tanya James is the author of From Promiscuity to Proverbs 31: Getting Off the Fence of Sexual Immorality. For more information about Tanya, log onto www.armedanddangerous.biz or www.themasterplan.biz.