You’re Probably Not Going to Like This.

“Practically perfect in every way.”

A friend recently asked me if I could help her in the area of freedom and acceptance of herself. She wants to love herself more and love others better. She wants freedom from wanting others’ approval and that being her focus – she wants to focus on Jesus.

You’ve just tapped into the heart of the matter my friend.

I’m honored that she would ask ME to help her.  However, I am NOT perfect, neither is my life, and promptly told her so. I have problems and hard stuff I go through and fall into those old patterns of wanting others’ approval all the time. Sometimes I don’t like myself.

I told her that it isn’t what she’s going to expect. That it won’t be this clear cut, 1-2-3 step process and voila! You’re free!

A while ago I realized that the verse in James 1:2-4 was 100% true, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

It will be the hard times that ultimately give you freedom – that and your response to them.

By the grace of God he showed me that everything I go through can either grow me or get me down. If I allow the hard times to be a growing experience I will grow, but if I respond with anger and resentment and complain the whole time I will go through those same situations AGAIN AND AGAIN because I am not learning the lesson I need to.

Do you ever find yourself going through the SAME kind of situation over and over again? Its like a cruel joke. Only its not, God is allowing this kind of hardship in your life so that you can learn from it. The Bible says he disciplines those he loves.

This is probably the point where you are saying, yep you are right, I don’t like this.

I didn’t either. Until I started taking responsibility for my actions and choices in life. It took me awhile to face the music, and then I started to see the patterns in my life. Going through the same kind of situations over and over again. Until I started to respond differently. I started to ask God, “What do you want me to learn from this?”  THEN I started seeing the immaturity in my life – and followed Jesus out of it.

This has never been more true than the past few weeks. With new responsibilities at work I’ve certainly felt the pressure to be perfect and not mess up.

Those old feelings of identifying in what I do and finding my worth in my performance and work popped up. I was pushed out of my comfort zone yet again and all I wanted to do was run and hide.

I didn’t have that option though, it was either cling to God or drown.

“Faith must be tried to its limits before it can grow beyond those limits.” – Christine Caine

Just like when Peter stepped out onto the water in the middle of the storm. When he took his eyes off Jesus and noticed his circumstances he started to sink.

I prayed for this. I prayed that God would grow me and draw me closer to him. I prayed that he would show me more of my purpose and calling. That he would heal my heart and give me more of him.

“With greater strength, we can handle increased responsibility.” – Christine Caine

God has been strengthening me with each trial and each hard task. I’ve had plenty of opportunity to feel inadequate and fear messing up. The strengthening happened when I chose NOT to give in to those feelings. When I chose to trust God in the midst of the storm. Sometimes we have to give up old ways of thinking and behaving and respond differently.

When I keep my eyes on Jesus – I feel the clouds go away. Light and joy enter my world – doubt, insecurity and fear flee.

When my eyes and my heart are fixed on Jesus, I’m reminded that he is always with me – filling me up with his strength, cheering me on, growing me, loving on me, and working everything for my good.

My moments suddenly have clarity and perspective. I feel capable and sure of who I am and the task before me. I notice the lies the enemy was trying to get me to believe are uncovered and all that is left is me and God.

The truth that I am loved and redeemed, lacking no good thing, have no condemnation. That I am cherished, adored, beautiful, wanted and valuable beyond measure fill my mind and my heart with beaming light and joy.

Peace surrounds me and I know that everything is going to be ok. Just keep pressing in, keep pushing forward. Never give up. Always cling to Jesus. Whisper his name when I’m feeling unsure or overwhelmed.

Strengthening happens. Growth happens. Trust and faith happen.

Its all worth it.

Those moments when all you want to do is check out and not feel. Don’t. Turn to Jesus. He is our ever help in trouble.

Don’t fear the hard times. Don’t run from the hard times. Face it head on and deal with it. Until you do, you will not grow and you will not experience freedom.

Its not what we always want to hear – but we need to hear it. More importantly we need to DO it.

Find out what Jesus is saying about your situation and then press in to his truth and promises in the midst of it. Ask him what he is trying to teach you through this and then let him grow you. Respond.

You are so very loved.

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