Last week was……..enlightening.
Had some ups (i.e. well, you know, I woke up every day, I have healthy children, a roof over my head, a vehicle to drive, etc); and there were some downs (i.e. got a negative report from the doctor, didn’t get the job, relationship problems, family issues—you name it, it was probably happening).
Exactly a week ago, today, something great happened that I knew from the moment it took place that I would need to share it with others.
How many of you know that when God has you going through your “process”—it is not easy, by any means. And honestly, I don’t expect it to be. What I have wrongfully expected, though, was that other spiritual people would somehow understand and be somewhat of a support system when I am experiencing hardships. So the most troublesome part, at times, is the lack of understanding from other Believers and their inability to see beyond the surface to what’s really taking place.
Some people assume that you go through things because you’re stubborn or hard-headed and haven’t learned the lesson; but that’s not the case for everybody. Now, some people ARE hard-headed and that’s why they “go through” for so long, but that is not always the case. The reason this situation helped me so much is because God told me that it wasn’t so much that I was doing anything wrong–He just wants more of me.
God allows some of us to go through things for an extended period of time because those situations are what’s going to produce the end result He’s looking for (i.e. long-suffering, crazy faith, patience, etc). God has called some of us to be overcomers on a whole other level; some of us are curse-breakers and are being used to interrupt the cycle of abuse, poverty, mental illness, or divorce—and do the think that the enemy is going to allow you to just come through, shaking up things without a fight?!
I’ve had countless people in the church try to tell me I must be doing something wrong if I’m going through all these things. I have to admit, at times—I want to give up, because this is rough! I’m trying not to give too many specific examples because they are stories all by themselves, but as an example: I’ve been going through it in my marriage. I actually have legitimate reasons to walk away…and more times than not, I’ve wanted to. But what’s the alternative? I could choose to go the easy route where it looks more peaceful and there’s less resistance; but I choose to follow the path least taken—where the outcome will lend more promising results for generations to come—not just my current level of comfort.
Another important aspect I want to bring up is that God KNOWS if you had to go through what I’m going through for AS LONG AS I’m going through it—it would kill you! When it comes to marital problems, some women have told me if I just did “X, Y and Z” then I wouldn’t be dealing with this. Little do they know, I’ve done A through Z—frontwards, backwards, and everything in between—and still there are things to overcome. It’s not about following a regimen, because there is no “quick fix” when God has you in your process. The funny part is, these same people who try to tell you what you should do are the ones who couldn’t walk a mile in your shoes. You’re still getting P.O.ed because the top was left off the toothpaste or he forgot your anniversary. Child, please…talk to me when you’re going through true spiritual warfare.
Stop judging people and situations that you don’t have the full scope on. (And really, only God has the full story on any of us). I’d rather someone simply tell me they’re praying for me than to try to pretend they understand or that they have all the answers.
And that is exactly what God gave me last week, someone who simply cared enough about me coming out of my process better than I was. I attended a women’s meeting last Monday and ended up talking to the host about some things that were going on. She didn’t judge…she didn’t try to throw scripture at me to seem like a know-it-all, and she didn’t feel sorry for me. She simply hugged me and said, “THIS I KNOW, God has you right where He wants you.” She went on to say that she truly didn’t know how to respond to my heartache but that she would pray for me and believed God would answer.
I got a call from her the very next day (last Tuesday), and she began to share with me what she believed God gave her to encourage me. She started off by saying, “This is not what my natural mind wanted to say. I was truly stumped when you told me all you’re going through, but I knew God would provide the answer. These words are not my own; I couldn’t even have made this up by myself. But when I went to the Lord, I feel like He’s saying…”
She went on to speak from the heart of God, who revealed that my trust in Him had to go deeper. I kept looking at the circumstances and blaming myself for why it all happened; but I was missing the point. It wasn’t about what I did right or wrong, it was all about being transformed into the image of Christ! Naturally, I blame myself for much of what’s wrong in my life, but God was showing me that this was His work being done! I couldn’t stop it if I tried! She went on to tell me things I had NEVER shared with her before—she said, “Every time you find yourself in [blank situation] you tell yourself you’re going to do it different next time, you’re going to respond differently, or not respond at all. And yet, nothing works. That’s because God is saying, ‘STOP trying.’ You thought you were giving it to God because you were praying, you were fasting, you would talk to Him about it. But He wants you to tell Him how you REALLY feel about it, and then trust Him to take care of it for you.”
She talked to me about God being my Advocate and gave examples of how she learned to do the same thing in her life. Wow…there was so much to it; I was in tears. As she was speaking, though, my heart truly surrendered to God in a way that I hadn’t fully done before. I had done it halfway—thinking I had fully done it, but I hadn’t. I said, “God, I give it all to you. I will not turn to the left or to the right. I won’t even walk or take another step unless you tell me to.” He said to me, “Are you willing to stand here even if it doesn’t get any better? If you haven’t heard Me tell you to move, will you stand still even when it’s painful?” I paused. I went over in my mind how much it would hurt to remain in these situations, and I cried. I just let it all out. I cried until I felt a release (which I don’t normally allow myself to do, because I feel like “I don’t have time.” I have the kids right here…I don’t “have time” to get in my feelings. I gotta keep it moving no matter what). After I purged myself through tears, I said, “Yes, Lord. I will stay if I haven’t heard from you to make a move—even if it hurts.” And in that moment, I felt like a weight was lifted that I didn’t even realize I was carrying. If I’m honest, I felt a little helpless. I felt like, “What now? I’m just supposed to sit here? Do you have any idea what that looks like? It looks like I don’t care! It looks like I’m being lazy! It looks like I’m just accepting the way I’m being treated, like I’m some kind of dog!”
God said, “It looks like you’re trusting me in a way that you haven’t before.”
Keep in mind, I’m still on the phone LOL so the lady on the other end says, “You just released something to Him, now trust Him to fight for you—you don’t have to do any of the work. I know it’s weird; you feel like you should be doing something, but God says He’s been wanting you to be just where you are now—having no one but Him to depend on.”
This is when God gave me the ultimate analogy! He always does this for me and it relates to something in the natural that I’m working on, which brings the message home for me.
He said, “It’s time to lose weight.”
And all I could do was pause for a second, because I have been trying to lose weight (physically) for a while now. Ever since I had my second child, I haven’t been able to lose weight. I realize to other people I don’t look like it—but I’m just about 200lbs. I’m not the type of person who typically gets bent out of shape based on the number on the scale, because I’ve always been “solid,” as they say. I mean, I was 125lbs in the 5th grade, so I’m not a skinny mini. My normal weight (pre-children) was always around 150lbs, but since having two kids—that changed (obviously). And because I’m just trying to be a healthier person overall, I want to address these issues now before it becomes an even bigger problem for me and my health later. The thing is: I’m a fairly active person! I’m always doing things with the kids, walking around the neighborhood, riding bikes—whatever! But I stepped it up a notch just to see if it would change anything; I’ve been running 3-4 miles every day for at least two months! I do strength training a couple of days throughout the week—with no success! Not a single pound was shed! It was being stubborn. It wouldn’t burn away. It wouldn’t move!
Turns out, I got a diagnosis recently that had a lot to do with why I wasn’t able to lose the weight (but that’s another story). I’m getting treatment and hopefully I’ll start to see some results from all my hard work soon.
That’s when God began to compare all that I was doing in the natural to change my physical appearance to what was taking place on the spiritual side. He said, “That’s right, you’ve been running miles, doing laps, training—with little to no results (in the way you want).” (Side note: While my stamina increased and my legs were stronger, it wasn’t as drastic a change as I wanted…or that I was working hard for).
He continued to speak to me and said, “You think I’m talking about the physical weight, but I’m not. I’m talking about the spiritual weight. You’ve got some stuff in there that we‘ve got to get rid of. Just like you’ve been trying various methods to lose the physical weight, you’ve been doing the same thing spiritually—you’ve been attending the prayer watches at church, you’ve been increasing your devotion time—because you thought you weren’t doing enough; you’ve been letting things go and forgiving even when you wanted to hold on to it. But still, it’s not lending the results you want. You’ve got some weight in there that you don’t even know about! You’ve had some things happen to you that you never fully processed and therefore, couldn’t properly heal from it. THAT’S the weight I want to get up off you! I want to replace it with true peace, love, joy, happiness. You weren’t doing anything wrong, it’s just that this weight it stubborn. You need my help with this. You can’t do it alone! You’ve been doing it your way for too long now, and it’s time for you to give it all to me. And when you allow me to truly transform you, the outside will MATCH what has taken place on the inside, so you won’t struggle with that anymore either!”
So I said, “I truly thought I had given you everything. What do I do? HOW do I give it to you? What steps do I need to take?”
And He said, “Nothing. I don’t need you to do anything but trust me.”
So let me pause here for a second: God was not telling me to stop doing the “good works” that I’m doing; He still wants me to pray, have devotion, forgive—all that good stuff. But what He was trying to let me know is that no matter WHAT I do, some things will only be lifted by His hand, and I have to learn to relinquish that control and allow Him to DO IT! Even if it looks like other people are getting over on me or mistreating me with no consequences—I have to trust HIM.
So before you judge me for being honest enough to outwardly express what it’s like to be in MY process—look inward first. The last thing any of us can do is tell someone else how to go through THEIR process, because how God moves in my life and your life won’t be a mirror-image of one another. We are all individuals and an extension of Him—so the process isn’t identical. Also, don’t get mad at people when they don’t understand your process. God will set us up sometimes to be in a position where nobody will be there to comfort or help us, because HE wants to be our only source! Isn’t that awesome!! (I know, I know…doesn’t always seem so awesome while we’re in it LOL)
Let me give it to you a different way: When you have a high calling on your life—you are going to GO THROUGH IT! And at the end of the day, it’s for (1) God to get the glory from it AND (2) so that you are equipped to help others when they’re going through their process.
The other thing related to this that God shared with me is that He wants to be my trainer throughout this weight loss journey. Here’s an illustration of how He showed me:
God – Coach
Jesus – Teammate
Holy Spirit – Trainer
I shared a mini vlog of this yesterday on my Facebook page, but I truly believe the written form lays it out in a way that I was unable to with my words in the video. I am honestly so excited now to see God work on my behalf and do a new work in me. I’ve gotten a few of the religious comments from a couple people (who I didn’t know but meant well) and say things like, “Yes, honey, you have to let Him do the work or you won’t grow!” And all that good stuff LOL and it’s just kind of funny because I know these people couldn’t handle much of what I’m experiencing. Not only that, but I want to be clear that trusting God isn’t a NEW phenomenon for me…God is simply trying to take me HIGHER! To new heights, new levels, and new dimensions! And for that, I am grateful.
1st Timothy 4:8
“For physical exercise has some value, but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.”
2nd Corinthians 4:17
“For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight or glory beyond all comparison.”