I have to admit, I was a little discouraged.
The prompt for #livefreeThursday was “nothing holding me back” and I immediately felt a heaviness inside. A sense that I was somehow ‘less than’. That I didn’t measure up.
I felt a longing deep within for those words to be true of me, but I knew that this just wasn’t my reality.
There are, after all, things that I know still hold me back…
Insecurity. Pain. Times of deep sadness.
Difficulty coping with stress and dealing with conflict.
Trouble navigating relationships.
All stemming from the trauma that I endured as a small child.
It’s not that I don’t want these words to be true. I long for the day that I can boldly proclaim that nothing is holding me back. When my loving, heavenly Father has healed my pain and redeemed my brokenness.
The journey is well underway – of that I am sure. He has taken me by the hand and gently led me along the path toward healing.
I am learning to recognize the lies of the enemy, and to stand firmly against them by declaring the truth of God’s word.
I have found freedom from destructive habits, stemming from years of believing that I deserved to be punished.
And perhaps the most beautiful of all, I am learning the truth of the Father’s love for me. As I quiet myself in His presence and listen for His voice, I hear Him whisper words of affection to my heart of hearts. That I am accepted. Treasured. Loved beyond measure.
Yet, my heart longs for something more.
I have sensed Him speaking personal words of promise – that my brokenness will be redeemed for good, and will impact the lives of many who are hurting. That I will minister to God’s precious children, from a place of genuine understanding and love. That the evil which was meant to destroy, will become the very place where the light of Jesus shines most brightly into a world desperate for hope.
My loving, heavenly Father keeps reminding me of the words of 2 Corinthians 1:3-5,
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.
The trouble is, I don’t see it happening yet. At least not the fullness of the promise. I see glimpses, here, as I share my story of healing with each of you, but I often wonder how many people I am really helping.
If I’m honest, it often seems that I am the one who is benefiting most, as words of encouragement and love are lavished on me from week to week. The love of the Father shining through each of you.
But am I ministering to those who are hurting and broken? Am I comforting them with the same comfort God has given me? I’m not sure.
When I shared these thoughts on Facebook, I was encouraged by a sweet friend to trust in God’s timing, to be faithful where He has me, and to be courageous enough to “take those steps out on the water when He calls me to”.
It was a wonderful reminder that discernment is such an important part of following God’s will for our lives. We need to be still and listen for His prompting, taking care not to run ahead of Him – thinking we are doing His work, but acting outside of His perfect timing.
Immediately after this conversation, I had one of those amazing God moments as I read Chapter 7 of the Mended Heart – as God confirmed the truths that He had been impressing on my heart.
I was encouraged by the truth that although we may feel ‘stuck’ in our present difficulties, even the smallest changes, made incrementally, are moving us forward into healing.
Many of the emotional ties to my past had been loosened, and I was changing bit by bit. There were moments when I was surprised by unexpected confidence or a peace that swirled deep inside of me, like a cleansing rush. When I looked in the mirror, I embraced the message that my life was of value to Him. Momentum was taking place in my faith, and in my personal and spiritual maturity.
~ The Mended Heart (pp. 146-147)
What gloriously hopeful words! Momentum is taking place, and even the smallest of changes add up to a life transformed!
But what am I to do with the feeling that I am not doing anything of kingdom value, during this season of waiting on God?
Suzie shares how the apostle Paul is placed under house arrest because the authorities don’t know what to do with him, “Paul is in limbo. Not totally imprisoned. But not free.” She points out the frustration that Paul must be feeling, as his longing to share the gospel has been frustrated by long periods of being ‘stuck’ at home.
Yet, what came of those years? Of the times that Paul must have felt were wasted opportunities for ministry?
During this time, he wrote letters of encouragement and teaching to the churches in Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, Galatia, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica. And words of encouragement to ministers of the gospel – Timothy, Titus and Philemon. These words which make up almost a quarter of our New Testament.
What spiritual poverty we would live in without the gift of Paul’s words!
He could not possibly have imagined the impact of walking in faithfulness to the task God had called him to at that time. Aside from bringing the gospel to the Gentiles, Paul’s writing is arguably his greatest contribution to the kingdom.
Can you imagine the joy of the Father as He revealed the fullness of His plan to Paul in eternity?
I love the encouragement that Suzie offers…
Don’t underestimate what God is doing in you in this season. It might very well be the most powerful place of momentum as your ‘letters’ – the key place where God grows you and works through you – are written on your heart, and in your relationships with others.
~ The Mended Heart (p. 159)
What glorious truths will He reveal to your heart, dear friend, when you meet Him face-to-face?
May we learn to be faithful in the place that God has us – whether that be waiting on Him during times of limbo, clinging to Him during trials, or running with Him into all that He calls us to do – with nothing holding us back!
In His sweet love,