Today’s blog is meant to be an altar, of the sorts they built in the Old Testament, to remember God’s faithfulness.
This week I am so incredibly grateful for my friendships.
I’ve cried to an embarrassingly large number of people about all my doubts, fears and frustrations. I’ve had really stupid, five-year-old like bad attitudes. I’ve fought back as people have tried to be there for me and point out the error in my thinking.
Through all my stupidity, I am inexpressibly grateful for those people who have been willing to duke it out with my emotions, to lovingly rebuke me and to take the hit of my false accusations. I’m so grateful to have people in my life who are willing to tell me exactly the opposite of what I want to hear.
I’m also thankful for the way they promote vulnerability and never turn me away in the moments when I am raw and real and not only speaking all the positive thoughts that I think people want to hear.
Three conversations happened this week that I think will be pivotal in what the next step of my life will look like. All three people probably touched on the same things, but I think God purposely honed in on one point at a time through each conversation.
The first was a conversation with an old friend who opened up about difficult moments she had in her journey with Christ and how he first had her face those strongholds and then how he delivered her into healing. This served me in two ways. First of all, it is so, so, so refreshing to hear someone say, “Lydia, I have been where you are and I can promise you that it does not have to stay like that forever. Healing is real, and I am confident that you will find it because I experienced it in my life.”
Similarly, it confronted my doubt. I have been dwelling on this doubt. Serious doubt. Thinking over and over that maybe I have just brainwashed myself into thinking healing is real. Maybe things never change. Have I ever really experienced God’s power in that way? Maybe I’m just hoping for something that’s not real because it feels good to believe it’s real.
I absolutely needed, and need, to be reminded that healing is real, and that God’s power and intervention is real.
It’s like a little hook from God that motivates me to continue pursuing and receiving that power in my own life.
The second conversation was with a friend who sat through a lot of back and forth between me defending my emotions and explaining why I feel the way I feel and him offering me alternative viewpoints and explaining why what I’m allowing myself to believe might be wrong. But you know what? That didn’t really take me anywhere. And he knew that enough to stop and call me out on the real issue—the way I allow other people’s opinions of me to define my worth.
It’s something I didn’t realize until last year. I thought it was normal; I thought it was right. It was just what always came natural to me. If people didn’t want to spend time with me because of the actions I did wrong, then it must mean that I am not worthy of spending time with. If they preferred to spend time with other friends over me, it must mean that whoever I am isn’t worth it enough to elicit a desire in them to spend time with me. If they always choose to work instead of spend time with me, then I must not be important to them and they must not see me as worth it.
You get the point.
Someone choosing to give their time and emotions to other things over me has nothing to do with my worth. I want to invest my time in learning how to establish and believe that my worth is exclusively defined by what God has spoken into and over me. It’s not something that has come natural to me in the past, but I want to choose to believe it from a spirit that has been made new in Christ and from a soul that is learning to fully live out my righteousness in Christ.
The third conversation I had was with a friend that I had unhealthily unleashed a lot of my hurt and bitterness onto through a lot of harsh and cutting words. I fully expected that she would turn me away when I asked to go over her house and talk. But she gladly opened her door to me and welcomed me in. She listened to me cry for an hour as I listed all the ways I felt hurt by her and by other people. She gently explained why those things happened and what was going on in her life. She offered to put effort into working with me and changing the actions that were hurting me. And then she exposed the heart of my emotional instability by pointing out toxic thinking patterns I have that will keep me obsessive and stuck in the same place for as long as I let them rule in my mind.
It reminded me of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 that says:
"For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ."
God had to feed me these three points in this order. He had to affirm his power in my life for healing to occur. He had to secure my worth in him. And he had to show me what practical step to take in order to see that power move in my life.
How beautiful it is that he used his body to do this.
How blessed I am to be part of a community that is living out these verses in Colossians 3, diligently accepting the renewal that comes with the new self in Christ and bearing with me, forgiving me, and teaching and admonishing me with wisdom.
"Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator…Bear with each other and forgive one another… And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts."
Friends having conversations served as such a beautiful display of Christ actively working in and speaking through his children, his bride, and his physical body on planet Earth.
What a grand opportunity it is to make yourself vulnerable to community and be open to receiving such tangible pieces of his grace.
Though daily I may doubt, God is always persistent in pursuing me and calling me deep into his heart.
This is my altar, the place I come back to when I need to be reminded that God is faithful.