I hope y’all are just grand. Lol. I contemplated long and hard about whether or not to do this post or to just stick with the video version and I think its best to do both.
First things first, thanks to all of you for your support of my devotionals and the different ways God is using me in ministry. It means a lot to have people see God in you and working through you and actually encourage His growth and changes in you. I have lost a great many friends through either lack of support or just growing apart and for those of you that have supported and encouraged what God is doing in me, I am grateful to you.
I am in a place of praise and worship of God, just gratefulness! I have been just so grateful for the revelations He has given me and how He has changed me. At the beginning of the year, I told you all my one word for this year would be "live" and I can truly see how I began to live and to live for God now! My life is so simple now till its ridiculous but its in the simplicity of just fellowshipping with God alone that I have gained peace and comfort. He has truly been my constant companion throughout all the trials along the way.
I began reading a book called "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan, that of which I paused on in February to read several other books. That book speaks of having radical faith to love God and do what He leads. I haven’t finished but I see now that I had to look at my relationships to be able to go forward reading that book. For many years I had everything out of order, seeking people instead of pursuing God. But I am grateful for this season of learning. If you know me, you know I love learning and reading. Well, God saw fit to do several things through the books He had me read. First, I read halfway through a book on codependency, "Codependent No More", where He has shown me how He has healed me Himself from several attitudes and behaviors I had (like saving everybody and allowing my own problems to flounder in the background). I continued reading the daily devotional, "The Language of Letting Go" and also "Battlefield of the Mind Devotional" and those have aided in my healing and growth. But it was because of that book, that I finally picked up another book I had purchased, "The People Factor", and began to evaluate the relationships in my life, past and present so that I can be better equipped for future relationships. The biggest lesson it drove home was having my vertical relationship, or my relationship with God in proper perspective.
You see, the codependency issues I had caused me to stay in unhealthy relationships for the sake of helping and loving others because I thought I had to stay. The motives were not wrong but I truthfully was not allowing God to be God. I had not fully surrendered then and truthfully I was not allowing God to be my all. I was looking to people to fill the voids. I was hoping that God would heal me in my helping others; sometimes God will do concentrated surgery on us.
I will say God taught me a lot through all my failed relationships, which brings me back to my topic. Because of my past, I saw in reading "The People Factor" that God qualified me to share with others lessons on relationships through my faux pas.
My lessons learned:
1) I learned to love God first and to love others as God loves us. It finally hit me yesterday how much God loves us. Through my failed romantic relationships, giving the guys chance after chance and forgiving them, I saw how much God loved me and gave me chance after chance. I was in tears all day yesterday because I was so hurt after realizing how I had hurt God with my disobedience. I realized I no longer wanted to aimlessly choose the wrong people to be in my life to have people around just to defeat the attacks of the spirit of loneliness. Instead, in this season I allowed God to be my comfort and my friend. Now, I talk to God about EVV-ERR-RRYY-thing. I truly learned to cleave to God. I learned to let Him validate me. I learned to let Him heal me. I learned to feel and deal and move on. I learned to love and have joy and peace again. Who knew all that could be achieved by being alone in His presence. It’s like I had all the puzzle pieces for a while now and over the last few months they finally fell into place. I no longer hurt. It’s a miracle to even be able to say that. I remember how my heart cringed every time I heard someone bring up one of my exes (outside of my first). With one, I would be reminded of all the ways he hurt me and I would be filled with rage and with the other, I was reminded of how I longed that he would get it together and had hoped that things would ended differently. Thinking of it, I would feel a pain in my heart and be sad. Now, thank God that’s gone! Now, I can respond in love and pray for them and wish God’s best for them. And I believe I am finally free to move on, in God’s timing of course…and I can actually say I’m content with me, myself and I!
2) I learned to trust me and the Spirit of God leading me. I cut a great deal of relationships off. I just stopped communicating with people. Because I was such an open book before, I gave too much of me to people and when they betrayed me, I was deeply hurt. Then God revealed I needed to just shut my mouth. I hear my daddy saying, sit down somewhere and shut up! lol. And I did that (thanks to a revelation in "When Women Walk Alone", another excellent read), and I began to talk more to God and journal and pray and talk to the right people, as He led me. Through reading "The People Factor", God confirmed in my spirit that I did the right thing for me. I trusted His voice guiding me, showing me things about people that were not ideal for any kind of relationship and that those were people that I was not to be in relationships with. I also learned I didn’t need to respond to every person. Some people are not worth the energy and aggravation, especially if you are in different places spiritually. While those in my innermost circle have greatly dwindled–as they needed to, I can say that those remaining relationships are worth cherishing and worth the time put into them.
3) I learned to not give up hope and to keep on standing in faith. As God moved people out of my life, He brought even better people in to give me a glimpse of my future. The love I have for my nieces, the new friends (and solidified originals) and my immediate family are surreal. I learned to nurture those relationships and to give love freely, knowing that I will always get it back regardless. I consider the time, love, and affection I sowed in the wrong relationships or people I ministered to a seed sown. Because God is so amazing, so great, and so good, I know I’ll reap since it is God that gives the increase.
4) I learned that anyone can be a teacher. So I am a self-admitted know-it-all (because I like reading) but I learned and accepted against my will, lol j/k, many years ago that I don’t know everything. However, I prayed for a teachable spirit and I learned that you learn more if you’re quiet, listening and observing. You cannot always see your flaws; using others close to me in addition to my regular prayers that God shows me myself has been life changing. And what a blessing that has been for me.
5) God reaffirmed to me that you cannot help everybody; instead praying for them is the best way to help unless He directs you to do otherwise. Sometimes I would get so frustrated (codependency issue) when I helped people and they made the same mistakes over and over and over and over. I won’t lie, I would be pissed if God had me share what He showed me to them and they ignored it. Yet it did something to me too; it caused me to feel guilt and remorse over all the times that God has done the same thing with me. I would ask for His forgiveness for me but it also freed me to turn them over to Him. So I just started praying to God that He show that person the issue Himself and it gave me so much peace. I realized everybody does not appreciate or respect the works God has done in me and so as such cannot receive from me. Like Jesus said, a prophet goes without honor in his hometown, and if they did it to him, why would I expect people to listen to me. I accepted my responsibility is only to be a vessel and relay the message. Putting the responsibility on others to be responsible for themselves made life so much easier!!
It is crazy how God will put everything together. I had this heaviness yesterday but as I cried and prayed and worshipped Him yesterday, I felt His peace flood me. I was genuinely so happy this morning and I felt it in my praise and worship time. I love where He is taking me!! I can’t wait to see what this next decade brings for me.
So now, I encourage you to 1) seek God for yourself and develop a deeper relationship with Him so that you can 2) evaluate your thoughts and those relationships in your life that may be hindering you from His greatness. It’s time to start putting the puzzle pieces together; overhauling those thoughts and people holding you back now will set you up for the breakthrough and blessing in the long haul.
Have a great day y’all!! Love you!!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. Jeremiah 29:11-14a