Sunday, June 10, 2012

Journey to a confident heart

I am so blessed to have a great sister with a very expensive Master's Degree in Social Work who can talk truth into my crazy emotions once a month. I am also grateful that this craziness only lasts a day or two each month and I usually know when to expect it :)

I am also blessed by a loving God who uses these emotions to break down my walls - little by little. I have learned to try and be strong and hold it together all of the time, but I can always count on God to tear down the walls for a day or two before I rebuild them - not as high and not as strong. 

Today was one of those days that God used to break me down and removed my own strength so that I all had was His. 

Today we had a payer/healing service at church taken from James 5:13-16:

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

I usually go on Saturday night, but we went this morning instead. I was so excited to see my friend and her husband there together. They are living separately right now and this was a big answer to prayers - or so I thought. Once we sat down together, she explained that they come together every week and pretend that everything is okay. While disappointed that it wasn't more than that, I was blessed to see brokenness in both of them during the service. While he courageously went down for prayer, she wept by my side. No words were exchanged between us as I just hugged her (and I teared up too), so I don't know the reason, but I am confident that God was breaking down a piece of the wall she has up...and possibly some of mine too.

A Confident Heart by Renee Swope
I added this book to my Kindle a few months ago when it was free, honestly, thinking I would probably never get to reading it. I decided to start reading it today, and based on a conversation with my best friend yesterday, it is no coincidence that this book is in my hands.

The author knows me...knows what is in my head and what is in my heart. Really, God knows me, what is in my head and what is in my heart and He put this book in my life. Word for word, she describes my fears, my insecurities, my desires and the longing of my heart. I have a hard time crying (due to the walls of being "just fine"), but I just wept as I read chapter 2 of the book.

"Being honest about who we are and how we are doing is especially risky when it comes to 
our insecurities. We fear that if people know we doubt ourselves, they’ll start doubting us too...

...Pretending leads to hiding and isolation. What we need is someone who will pursue us and 
accept us even though we’re flawed. Yet most of us doubt anyone would ever stick with us if 
we let them get too close. So we put up walls and hide our struggles, even from God, hoping 
we’ll convince Him and everyone else that we’re fine. 

Eventually, though, we find ourselves in the shadows of doubt, convinced that we aren’t 
worth knowing or pursuing. Slowly we begin to believe we have to be perfect to be loved and 
accepted. We know we never will be—but we’ll die trying, won’t we?
For much of my life, I put expectations of perfection on myself because I thought if I let 
others see my weakness and insecurities they would think less of me."

The chapter also gave me a new perspective on the Samaritan woman Jesus meets at the well. Every sermon I hear tends to make it sound like it is her sins that have led to her lifestyle and, while that may be true, I had never heard her described this way. I have compassion for her. I see me in her.

"She’d been married five times. In her culture women could not divorce their husbands, so 
she had been discarded by five men and was now living with a man who didn’t think she was 
worth committing to. We meet her one day while she is running errands and running away 
from those who knew all about her flaws and failed marriages. Feeling imperfect and 
ashamed, she walked to the well alone that day."

Not only do I have a new understanding of "Sam", I have been there. I know those feelings all too well. I still experience those feelings too often.

I had a conversation with my best friend yesterday about this, the message at church was about this, I read this part in the book today and my sister spoke this same truth into me. I do not doubt the way God has used those four circumstances to reveal Himself to me. It has been disappointing to think I had not personally healed from so much of my past as much as I thought I did, but, I am so hopeful in that I actually have healed and now I am on a journey to be broken down deeper...a journey towards a more confident heart in Him. I resisted this pain, but today, I welcome it. I welcome the brokenness. I welcome my Father into it - without pretending and without hiding, but just me as I am - confident He accepts me and loves me.

"Will you let your desire to be known and loved just as you are lead you into a more 
personal and intimate relationship with Jesus? The first step is to embrace your imperfections 
in the light of God’s perfect love, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in 
you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6)."

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