First:There is a holiness to the name of God. I can actually see how frequently in my life I've forgotten this. His will is holy. Something else I forget. You see, often I'm that person that says "God has shown me..." or "The Lord has directed me..." and it has become a means by which I keep people out of my business. It's this safeguard, if you will. It has become quite convenient in my decision-making process. I simply stamp that statement on my explanation as if to convince myself and those to whom I'm speaking that I have this all figured out...and it's from God...so it's right. But I'm learning something. This has become a dangerous habit. Not only does it not require me to convey my true feelings about something, but it doesn't allow people to really see me, or guide me. It's rebellion.
I used it recently to end a relationship I was in. "God wants me to let you go." When the reality of the circumstance was that time, distance, and other barriers were not permitting us to grow together. We can't force something to work that isn't. Right? So yes, God gave me the brain to observe, think and see that something needed to change. But I took it from there and made it this emotionally charged "spiritual sacrifice". I was seeking to fix this unrest in my spirit. And I did not want to be wrong. So put the "God-stamp" on it. And it resulted in what I sought after, but with much less ease and grace. Action brings peace right?! Of course not. God brings peace-in His time-in His will. And peace is not emotional.
My pastor, in his book "Never Silent" tells the story of walking on the beach with his wife. They had just moved to a different state and "realized" they had disobeyed God. How did they realize this? They had no peace with the direction. Sometimes that merits trying doors, but other times, I believe God stirs our spirits in order to keep us alert. As it turned out, they were there in the very place where a mighty work began to establish truth in the church. It just did not look the way they expected it to.
If you look through the Psalms, David is VERY honest with God about his emotions. He bares all. And in that, He is able to see God's character-beyond his pain. He can see that God is faithful-and has been faithful. He doesn't use a sugar-coated phrase of "God just has me in a humbling place right now". No, he mourns, cries out. As did Jesus. So today I'm confused, overwhelmed, sad, and seeking. I'm functioning.
Buffering my convictions based on the response of other people is NOT the way to live. It only drowns out your ability to know what you truly believe and feel about a circumstance. Only then can we really bring this stuff to God. I've not had a huge problem with confrontation in my life. Most people who know me know that I'm bold-when it comes to others. It's a very plank-speck concept. But it has begun to take root in the way I express myself-or rather, the way I do not. It stems from a fear of rejection- a sick a habitual mindset that keeps me from actually stating what my heart feels. My agendas and emotions are coated in practical logic, action oriented thought and people-pleasing words. The approval of others, without even knowing it, has become something I thrive on. Again this past break-up serves as a wonderful example.
I came back from Mexico immediately met with the responses of people in my life. Some were extremely supportive of my decision, others sad, others still had their own responses. This is to be expected. But the problem was that in the whole sweep of returning, I forgot to actually take the time to think about how I felt about it. How can I pray about something if I don't know where I stand on the issue? Even if it is a place of confusion? In this, it is SO important to really take the time to own where you are on a matter of the heart. Because from that comes honest prayer. I haven't been able to "figure anything out" or come to some great epiphany, but I have been able to have a conversation with the Lord about it. And it has been me and Him.
My life is richly blessed...and I forget it every day. This evening, I was frustrated because I forgot to buy a toothbrush earlier. I begrudgingly put on my coat and made my way toward the store, but something came over me as I walked through the glass doors. I collected the items I needed and made my way to the cash register where a woman was checking out. I had a few heavier things I was unloading and saw that she had her purchases divided up into multiple purchases. And then I saw the food stamp checks. She had a few bottles of baby juice, 9 cans of formula, milk, a carton of eggs, some baby snacks, 2 packages of cheap meat and not much else. I watched her grace. She wasn't the typical image associated with food stamps. Problems kept happening with the machine, but she just smiled and gracefully apologized for the wait. I kept assuring her I didn't mind. During one of the delays, I asked her where she was from. She smiled and said "Afghanistan".
I checked out, swiped my card, went to my car, and drove home to a heated apartment- overwhelmed that I had $35 to spend on "stuff to pack for lunch". It's not a guilt thing. We have blessings and should receive and be grateful to the Lord for them. But it is so important to remember what He has provided.
Know that you are blessed.