Proving a Point

Still sharing from past personal journal entries…this entry is from mid-December 2011:

I’ve often heard from friends and acquaintances how God had to “strip” them of things taking priority in their lives….jobs…possessions…lifestyles…

The story of Joseph shows us many things and one aspect speaking to me are relationships.  In my last blog, I wrote about refuge…willingly leaning on God through the storms of life and recognizing one area of testing would be relationships.  What a great example Joseph gives us!  His family was stripped away – not that they were taken from him – Joseph was cast out; his siblings turned on him and sold him into slavery.  Throughout his trials…no matter how stormy life looked, Joseph pulled on a strength only God can provide.

Scripture shows us throughout Genesis 39, in spite of his circumstance, Joseph held fast to God and it was evident to all the LORD was with him:

“The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.” Genesis 39:2-4 (NIV)

“But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. ”  Genesis 39:21-23 (NIV)

During all of his trials, Joseph knew was never alone!  He knew AND believed God was with him – he knew AND believed God had everything under control – no matter the circumstance.  Joseph held firmly to the belief that no matter what, God would never leave him or forsake him.

The enemy loves to challenge our belief that the same God who was with Joseph during his most trying times is the same God who is with us today and we all have Joseph opportunities in our walk…

People will fail us – we will fail others…God’s love NEVER fails – His mercy endures FOREVER!!!!  In spite of the best intentions, no human can fulfill all our needs – we can’t do it ourselves and others can’t either…. fleeting moments of faithfulness will occur, but we cannot endure on our own.  Often we need God to show us when we’re attempting to go it alone…

Towards the end of 2011, I went on a trip… I was so focused on what I wanted from God…I wanted a future husband who was committed to serving Him…a man who wasn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd… a man willing to challenge me and simultaneously nuture my walk.

I have no doubt God will give me the desires of my heart and more, but in hindsight I was trying to help God by forcing puzzle pieces together that weren’t a part of His picture….of course, all the while clueless it’s what I was doing!  Back to the trip…I wouldn’t trade that week for anything…even moments that weren’t “easy” and moments that left me “empty” – the following is directly from my journal:

I have to admit, there is still a big part of me that wants the wordly “romance” of a relationship – I have such a longing to feel loved that when I don’t receive the physical affection I so desire, I do one of three things: I invite myself to a pity party of one OR I pull away OR both –  yes even with those I love dearly!

But like every other lesson God seems to have to show me time after time (circling that mountain again!), I’m looking for fulfillment in the wrong place! Until I give up (surrender) trying to fill the void in my heart with anything other than God’s love – my deepest needs will not be met.

Crazy as it may sound, I’m thankful (today) I wasn’t shown the affection I wanted: holding my hand, putting his arms around me, telling me he missed me….the list goes on and on…I’m thankful because, you see, I have to fully receive God ‘s love first.

It’s hard writing this – it’s hard admitting how self-centered I can be: the last day of my trip, we parted mid-afternoon…AND HE DIDN’T COME BACK!!! I was crushed! I spent the next TEN HOURS crying over lost expectations – consumed by what I didn’t get – crying over a void I wanted filled….but my focus was misplaced – it wasn’t on God filling the void.

In my pity party I was thinking, “Well, I’m being stripped of other relationships, so it shouldn’t surprise me I can’t have the affection I so desperately want from the man I love either… for Pete’s sake, he introduces me as his friend! Does he really even see me as his future wife????”

Yeah….not exaggerating about the self-centered comment! Maybe it’s my skewed perception, but doesn’t my response prove the point????  Any efforts I attempt to fill the void are futile.  On the other hand, God will never leave me nor forsake me; His love truly endures FOREVER.

All these feelings??? This emotional roller coaster I seem to ride time and again???? I only find myself on board when I’m looking to myself or others to fulfill needs reserved for God! Will I ever consistently get my priorities straight?

“Come unto me
Open up your heart and worship
I am drawing you to Me
Don’t hesitate
And you won’t be disappointed
I am everything you need…”

These may only be lyrics to a song, but they surely speak Truth!

“Come unto Me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28

God didn’t treat Joseph any differently than He will treat me – but He won’t violate my free will either. God will see me through whatever trials come my way – He’s calling me and He’s calling you into a more intimate relationship with Him.

Boot Camp

When last wrote, I talked about moving into the next phase of My Love Dare with God: Living My Love Dare with we go..

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,    my God, in whom I trust.’  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence..” Psalm 91:1-3 (ESV)

Allow those words to sink in  a bit…refuge – fortress – deliverer

I’ve known for some time 40 days of developing a deeper relationship with God was, for the most part, an outline of sorts – still an essential, integral part the journey; but a critical part..a connection with my heart and in my spirit, wasn’t there yet.

The real work was only beginning – taking the concepts introduced in the initial 40 days and putting them into practice – application is always a critical step of development.

My initial confrontation/realization came  last Fall —  my life was changing dramatically and the chain reaction was much more than I could have imagined.  The range of emotions seemed almost too much to bear at times.  I went from certainty to uncertainty  to greater uncertainty day after day.  I felt more alone than I had in a long, long time.  I would soon learn the loneliness I felt had nothing to do with a man – it was about me attempting to venture down a path without completely trusting  God as my guide.

At the time I wrote this entry, I believed I was planning to marry and embark on a new journey.  But the plans were falling apart.  In the blink of an eye, the wedding moved from 60 days away to an undetermined date.  I went from my future husband moving to Texas  to me moving away.  I went from transitioning away from the life I’d known with the help of a partner to feelings of abandonment – on my own to sell  a 30yr old home in need of much repair, moving away from a full-time corp career, being near family and friends, and most of all, remaining in close proximity to my daughter.   In other words, moving from my comfort zone to something unknown.

I was now being thrust into a position where all of the “things” I cherished would be stripped away and I would be responsible for the execution – no one here to physically push me forward.

It had to be intentional surrender and I was in a tailspin of emotions.

I felt abandoned by the man I trusted as a future partner and it was excrutiatingly painful – I kept thinking to myself, “I could do this if he were here.”

You see, even  though God provided great revelation in the 40 day Love Dare, the principles were still theorectical – I had no life application (yet!) and my old tendancies readily moved into play.

I found myself trusting a man…loving a man…an imperfect human more than God.  My instincts weren’t honed yet to look to God first and foremost for my motivation, strength, and support.

You see, God had shown me what was necessary to really take my walk deeeper two years before…

08/04/09: For God to effectively use me, He has to take me completely out of my comfort zone…that way I will be forced to lean on Him.

What does this mean to me? BIG change.

Interesting…I hadn’t read that note since I wrote it 2+ years earlier.  Am I  willing to embrace what God has ahead even if I don’t have a grasp on what the picture looks like?  No one else can do this for me – someone pushing me through won’t achieve God’s objective.

This leg of my journey is intended to be bonding time with God – much like the initial bonding between parent and infant.  In spite of past experiences, in spite of past perceived successes, this is a time of trials where establishing complete trust and dependence on God is critical – and no human can provide the incentive or fuel.

And so, God is providing me with opportunities to trust Him and depend on Him in every single facet of my life – to take refuge in Him when weathering the storms of life changes….

    • Relationships: uncertainty will inevitably create strain – can I trust God to manage it all?
    • Career: it’s not the career I love, but the confidence I have gained – will I surrender so God can redefine my sense of self-worth?
    • Possessions: I must de-clutter my life – voluntary purging of the past is essential for me to be fully available to God

I’m sure there’s so much more I haven’t recognized yet, but it is overwhelmingly apparent I’m not just moving into a new phase – I’m in boot camp to serve the Most High!

©  Celeta’s Journey & My Love Dare with God, 2012. All rights reserved.