We get dumped, fired, or benched. For most of us, there will be a time when we get taken down like that, and it won’t be our choice. But giving up doesn’t have to be our option. When God created us, He created us with an intricate wiring system that gets activated when we get taken down. This wiring has fibers of resolve, tenacity, fortitude and fight. I’ve seen this in my life, the lives of people around me and most importantly, the life of Jesus. Around A.D. 30, Jesus was physically, relationally, socially and emotionally dumped, fired AND benched. But staying down wasn’t his option! And 2000 years later, He is STILL on his throne even though he got fiercely taken out. If you have a heart and Jesus is in it, you can tap into the same wiring He did, because you have it, and you have Him. That intriciate wiring flows from the deepest cavity of your soul – where no one can take it, not even the ones who took you out. Maybe being taken out wasn’t your choice. But giving up doesn’t have to be your option! I hope this encourages someone today.
In a counseling session, I had a revelation that made the session worth it. We were talking about fighting vs. fleeing. We traveled the chapters of my life, of the times I fought and fled. Fleeing was easy in the moment, brutal in the long run. Fighting was brutal in the moment, easier in the long run. When I looked at the totality of the times I had fought (for marriage, mental health, ministry dreams) I started to get emotional. Look, I don’t want to say I’m proud of the times I fought, because pride isn’t what I did it for. But I am thankful. I am thankful I fought. I am thankful that when the enemy shouted, “Give up,” “Why waste your time?” and “They’d understand if you gave up,” that God helped me hear HIM even louder. God promises that trials produce CHARACTER. God promises that his JOY is our strength. God promises that I (and you) are MORE than a conqueror! That one really motivates me! I can’t imagine what is “more” than a conqueror? A hero? Because if more than a conqueror means I’m a hero of my faith, then DJ and Andy aren’t just being raised by a mom, they’re being raised by a hero with a badge that says: more than a conquering mom. I don’t know where you are, but before you flee, just try one thing: get on your knees, and ask God, “should I fight?”
In July 2000, after I was released from the state psych ward, I was hypersensitive to mental labels. One time, I even left a room in tears when someone stereotyped the word, “crazy.” That was then. This is now. Words like “I’m going crazy” and “I’m gonna end up in the nuthouse,” don’t offend me any more. Hear me, if you struggle with mental affliction, it is not a laughing matter. It’s serious and needs treatment. But I do take it seriously and I have received treatment and I’m at peace with lighting MY mental load by jumping in on its slang. In short, it has helped me laugh a little more, it’s helped me make conversation with others not-so-awkward. It’s helped me–help others–understand mental illness better. If the world only knows words like “crazy,” then if I can use “crazy” to describe myself AND AT THE SAME TIME use that to educate them. Paul said, “I am not bound to obey anyone…yet I have freely and happily become a servant of any and all so that I can win them to Christ.“ Hey, if using figurative words like “crazy” (when I literally have been) helps one person take a step closer to the God, then I’ll speak it!
“He makes me lie down in green pastures.” (Psalm 23:2) Lie down? Why not sit down? Why not lean up against a tree? Why did God tell David to lie down? To help, let’s look at Isaiah 14:30, “The poorest of the poor will find pasture, and the NEEDY will LIE DOWN in safety.” Key word: Safety. It is safe to lie down. When we sitting up or standing we are targets for assault or activity. When we lie down, we are still. When we are still, God can speak; when God speaks, we can hear Him. Another operative word in Psalm 23:2 is, “makes.” Here, God is telling us, “Do it.” Let’s consider what God did not say: he did not say, “I’ll suggest,” “studies show,” “perhaps you should,” “if you want, you can.” In this Psalm of comfort, God says I will make you lie down. Do you know how a shepherd would sometimes make a lamb lie down if it kept running away, thereby, not resting? The shepherd would break the lamb’s leg. From my experience of running away and not resting, I can testify that if we don’t take time to rest, God can step in and make us. Because He’s mean? No. Because he loves us too much to let us run away.
Who we are when no one is watching is just as much as who we are when everyone is. Sometimes we act as though the things we do in the dark we do in private. Well, sort of. Who we are (or what we do) in the dark is hidden from people, but is clear as day to God. That’s why we sometimes feel bad inside. Because in the depth our soul, we know the Dad who created us, saw us. And the bible says nothing is hidden from Him. Is God a killjoy? No. When DJ was little and tried to sneak out of his bed at night, did I punish him because I’m a killjoy and didn’t want him to have playful, nighttime joyrides? Not at all. I corrected that “private” behavior because I love him and I didn’t want him to get hurt with what he was doing in the dark. God wouldn’t be God [he’d just be a man] if his sight was limited. If his omnipresence was only uni-present. God sees all, hears all, knows all. And loves us anyway! If who you are in the dark isn’t making you feel good about who you are, give it to God. Confess, pray, cry, vent, talk to God and find a pastor or counselor to begin to heal. You are never too old to start new.
It’s good to have a fearless friend. Like the Proverb says, a wound from a friend can be trusted. Even if that “wound” comes in the shape of them bursting your fear bubbles. My friend Monique is fearless. She hunts, fishes, dives, shoots, with tenacity! Her adventurous wiring has created her fearless womanhood. I’m not like her at all. I may be crazy but I’m not adventurous. Until recently when Monique invited me to “hang” for the day. I shoulda known better than to naively say yes without having something in writing that would ensure it wouldn’t involve “adventures.” But it did. You see, when you can get someone on a boat, you can get them to try anything (conquer fears) because where they gonna go?! The “wounds of a friend” Monique gave me was to “get over myself” (ouch!) “practice what I preach about courage” (ouch! Ouch!) get in that ocean water and snorkel! So? I did. And I actually enjoyed it. And if it wasn’t for a fearless friend, I never would have tried. #LessonLearned
Sometimes we get down because we don’t know who we are. We don’t know where we belong. We wonder why we are here. This confidence crisis needs First Aid! Let me preempt this by saying there is only one First Aid that has stood the test of time. It is the only First Aid that has sold the most “kits” of itself, the most often. It is the only First Aid you will find in every hotel room. It is the only First Aid prescribed by a Doctor who can created every patient and can heal any wound. This First Aid is the bible. And it is the greatest remedy for a confidence injury. On its “Rx Script,” it says YOU ARE…
A – Accepted, Romans 15:4, 13
B – Beautiful, Isaiah 61:10
C – Chosen, Colossians 3:12
D – Delivered, 2 Timothy 4:18
E – Empowered to obey, Philippians 2:13
F – Free, Romans 8:2
G – Granted grace, Romans 5:17, 20
H – His, Isaiah 43:1
I – Inseparable from His love, Romans 8:35
J – Joint heir, Romans 8:17
K – Kept, 1 Peter 1:5
L – Lacking no wisdom, James 1:5
M – Made alive, Ephesians 2:5
N – Not given a spirit of fear, 2 Timothy 1:7
O – Overcomer, 1 John 5:4-5
P – Purposeful, Psalm 138:8
Q – Qualified, Colossians 1:2
R – Renewed, 2 Corinthians 4:16
S – Strengthened in Him, Ephesians 3:16
T – Thought about, Psalm 139:17-18
U – Useful, Isaiah 43:7
V – Victorious, 1 Corinthians 15:57
W – Washed, sanctified, justified, 1 Corinthians 6:11
Y – Yielded to God, Romans 6:13