Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ouch! Growing Pains!

God's been working on me these past few weeks.  It's always exciting to realize but sometimes it is a bit painful.  Just like when my little Evan wakes up grabbing his legs at night crying from the growth pains, I sometimes want to grab my heart and cry out!!  But it's necessary for his little bones to grow bigger and stronger and for my heart and spirit to grow more like Jesus.  Let's face it though, when it is pointed out to you glaringly that you are not doing what you should be doing, it hurts!

My 'aha' moment was two-fold over the past week.  Through the book I've been reading, "Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life" by Emily Freeman, God opened my eyes to see that I have a false sense of entitlement or 'right' to certain things.  It's been torturous to me for as long as I can remember to find out that I've let someone down, hurt someone, or that someone doesn't like me for some reason.  The thoughts surrounding any of these circumstances have driven me to some dark places in my past.  As I've learned about and accepted who I am in Christ - how HE loves me, accepts me, wants me, is proud of me - a lot of these circumstances that come up do not lead to obsession on my part.  But yet it still is something I struggle with and I still get a sick feeling and my heart skips a beat when I find out that someone has said something mean about me.  Why?

I have held myself to a standard that even Jesus did not attain on this earth.  Jesus was not liked by everyone.  I am realizing that I think I have a 'right' to these things:  a good reputation, to be accepted, to not hurt anyone or let anyone down, to be liked by everyone, to not have conflict.  Another way to look at it - I should be able to control these things.  I should be good enough to have these things.  Um, well, if I did not have the Holy Spirit living in me I might need to work so incredibly hard at these things.  But since I have Him I can release these burdens I've put on myself...  I am not a failure because I unintentionally hurt someone.

I do not need to run and hide back to my old way of life, much like Peter did after betraying Jesus.  Jesus will be standing on shore of my life every time I mess up ready to feed me - just like He was for Peter who felt like a failure and felt like he couldn't measure up.  Read this story about Peter in John 21.  "The Restoration of Peter"  I'd never really heard this story before and it was told to me twice this weekend.  Not by coincidence.  He wants me to relate to Peter I'm sure.  Peter denied Jesus (failed) three times.  Yes, on my own I can not attain 'like Jesus' status.  I can not keep a good reputation or not hurt others or have everyone only have rosy things to say about me.  But, if I let go of these standards and surrender these things to Jesus, He can take care of it.  He can act through me.  I can be at rest.  I can say, 'it's okay' - and mean it - when something is said about me that's not positive.

Jesus also did not live here on this earth without saying some hard stuff.  I imagine it even hurt some people. I know a lot of people didn't want to hear some of what He said and went the opposite direction.  But He didn't wring his hands and obsess about those who didn't accept Him.  He had a job to do and He could not lose focus!

God is revealing to me how saying the hard stuff will get me further in relationships than ignoring it or skirting around it.  And by further I mean either a stronger, healthier relationship or the assurance that I was honest even if the relationship is wounded.  I avoid confrontation like the plague...I always have - because IF I say 'that' to them (even in love) I may lose a friendship or hurt them deeply.  There is my perceived control and my self-made standard that everyone needs to like me.  I do have a few spiritually mature friends who are close enough that I don't have a problem saying the hard stuff - even if I shake uncontrollably the whole time.  But in three weeks time God has shown me in three separate situations that my lack of trusting God, my fear of man and my perceived 'rights' to a good reputation, not hurting anyone, and everyone liking me has damaged some relationships. If I would have been honest and said some things that may have stung instead of worrying so much about how to actually do it without hurting her, maybe things would have ended differently.  If I would have said 'Is something bothering you?  Things don't seem to be moving on the way I'd hoped and I think I may be hurting you?'  instead of just remaining quiet and letting the relationship fizzle things may be different now.  If I would have communicated the things that were bothering me instead of just retreating silently, maybe I wouldn't have been unfriended, on the receiving end of the silent treatment, and things would be different.  Ouch.

He so clearly opened my eyes this weekend and told me - 'Amy, if you are going to claim to be the transparent, open, and honest individual that you are, then you have got to be these things when it is uncomfortable and the threat of hurting someone with honesty is there.  You've got to be honest and transparent in all circumstances, not just the easier ones. You've got to let go of control and your idea that you must be liked by all.'   Agh!  Ouch!  Again, fear of man, has tripped me up - and He is teaching me even more facets of how it affects things.  And in two areas that I am most passionate about and want others to 'get':  who we are in Christ and how the world longs for real/transparent/honest people.  God taught me an important lesson in these last few weeks.  Yes, it hurt.  I hate that I didn't realize I was being that way - especially since it hits home in the two areas I'm most passionate about.  But - I am not perfect (another 'right' I apparently need to let go of!)  But praise Him that He gently showed me the truth and is refining me and preparing me for the future!

Image courtesy of  adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1 comment:

  1. "ouch" is right, Amy. I sure can relate....as I am sure many people (especially women?) can. Thank you for sharing.