Friday, October 2, 2015

Rejection Leads to Confidence

God has used rejection from people to build confidence in me that could not have been made any other way. Now I am still trusting that God will bring people into our lives that we will be able to fellowship with on a more consistent basis. However I do believe this time alone was God ordained just as Jesus, John the Baptist and Paul were alone in their wilderness seasons. 

My hope is for people to see that God can and will use everything that happens to us for His good and that includes the rejection we may have experienced in our lives too.

Ultimately God wants us to learn to depend on Him and that usually includes taking us out of our own comfort zones. Each of us have our own comfort zone and God will tailor the challenge specifically for us. 

God wants us to surrender our lives to Him. He wants us to willingly come to the place where His will is more important than ours. He wants us to leave the comfort zones and learn to trust Him into the calls He has placed on our lives. 

The Devil Wanted Me Dead

Looking back now, I realize the devil was out to get me in my junior year of high school. At 16 years of age, the devil wanted me broken and dead. 

During marching band camp, I started to have symptoms (fainting, lightheadedness and heat intolerance) that would eventually be diagnosed as Postural tachycardia syndrome.  No one (not even doctors) listened to me back then and I suffered undiagnosed with this condition for 8 years. I still suffer with this illness today.

I also found myself in a very controlling relationship for a few months. When I tried to dump that boyfriend, he threatened to harm me and harm himself. It was also during this time where a family member psychologically abused and raped me. It was a traumatic time for me.

It felt like a horrible nightmare except it wasn't a dream. It was real life. 

As all of this was going on, not a single one of my friends (nor my family) knew anything about it. I suffered in silence in my junior and senior years of high school. People just knew that I became an emotional, broken and messed up person who wanted to die. I couldn't talk to them about the symptoms I was feeling nor could I tell them about the events that took place. Unfortunately those friends stopped talking to me in my senior year and I was alone back then too.

Thankfully when I was born again, God was able to heal me of the trauma from that season. 

After high school, I entered into the work force and was going to college full time. I started to feel increasingly unwell though. I first quit college in the beginning of 2004 and then eventually quit working all together at the end of 2005. At the age of 21, I was already disabled and unable to hold a job or go to school. Looking at my life by worldly standards, I had absolutely nothing going for me. I was a burden and waste of space. 

As I got sicker, I started to look online for support and answers. It was on forums, yahoo groups and websites that I started to make friends with others who had the same story as me. It was great! I was so happy that finally there were people who understood chronic illness and its limitations at a young age. 

For about 3 years I had many wonderful chronically ill friends online. I became a researcher and guinea pig. I subjected myself to treatments in hopes that I could help others. I was part of a community and felt like I belonged. I finally thought that I was making some sort of contribution to the world. Not everyone agreed or liked my style, but I talked to people on a daily basis online and considered many of them great friends. 

In this time frame, my husband also became chronically ill and times got much worse. We entered into a new level of hell.

Things Got Harder After I Was Saved

When I came to believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 2012, God called me out of those chronic illness communities. I had to stop looking at treatment protocols and researching potential cures for chronic illness. That did not go over real well with my chronically ill friends and I walked away from many friendships there. It was hard, but it was part of "taking off the old and putting on the new". God was very clear to my husband and I that we were forbidden to go back to these groups and we were forbidden to even discuss these things with people. I still hold to that today.

I was a new believer in Christ and started to become more active in Christian circles. I figured making friends was going to be much easier. I was wrong. Very quickly I realized that many people want to use you in the Church too. 

They want you to be a testimony for their ministry. 
They want you to join their church. 
They want you to participate in events and ministry. 

With both of us having unpredictable chronic illnesses, we knew it was not going to work well. My husband and I were the odd people out, often times sitting outside during worship because it was too loud. The noise sent my body into sensory overload and it caused horrendous pain in my husband's ears. It was a mess. 

Just a few short months after being saved, I began to write on my blog about things God had shown us. 

This was not a comfortable place for me to be in. I had little to no bible knowledge, little experience as a born again Christian, zero experience in ministry and yet God said to write! I had to extensively research, pray and wait on God to write every post. It is hard writing deep theological posts with migraines and brain fog, but somehow God gave me the strength to it. Although I have many unfinished blog posts that hopefully one day will be published...haha!

In May of 2014, someone locally unfriended me due to one of my blog posts and it caused me to begin questioning everything I thought I heard from God. I was close to shutting down my blog and forgetting about it all. I was in total anguish. 

This brought me to a fork in the road and I had to make a decision. 

Was I going to listen to the people who were upset with me? Was I going to let fear of man take over my heart? Was I going to follow God and continue to speak regardless of it being out of my comfort zone and regardless of the potential fallout? 

I didn't have an answer to those questions at the time. I felt so lost and confused on what was the right thing to do. I didn't want to make people angry, but I also did not want to be silenced either.

What I have learned in this season is:

If we choose to remain silent when God tells us to speak it is disobedience.

If we choose to remain silent for fear of what men will say it is disobedience.

Fear of man may disguise itself as humility, but it is actually false humility! False humility can lead us into a place where we are pleasing people at the cost of obeying God. This is what the devil was after in my life. He wanted me to turn from God and to listen to the other voices around me instead of the only One who matters. 

With my history of losing friends, the devil just kept telling me how much of a bad friend I was to everyone. He kept telling me that I should have kept my mouth shut. He kept saying,  "See what you did!". On the other hand, I knew the things God had shown us were truth and important to talk about.

I was being pulled in all directions and at that point my own heart was betraying itself too.

A Prophetic Word Changed It All

I thank God for a perfectly timed prophetic word in July 2014. If it were not for that word, I truly believe this blog would no longer exist. That single prophetic word changed everything. It gave me the confidence to continue to open my mouth and speak as God was commanding me to do so instead of cowering back. 

God said to me in that word, "When you feel insecure, when you're pushed back on stand in the confidence of the Lord and open your mouth and do the things that he has given you to do."

However when I opened my mouth, I heard from people around me....

...You are just "hurt". 
...You are "critical". 
...You are being "judging".
...Who made you judge?
...You are casting stones!
...Who are you to speak?

Nowadays when these accusations and labels are thrown at me, I know they are originating from the flesh or the devil. I simply continue on speaking what God has called me to do because I know that those people are not hearing from God. 

When I no longer needed validation from men and knew God was with me, it gave me the confidence to speak.  It doesn't make it easy or fun. I still have feelings, emotions and can be hurt by words said to me by friends, family and strangers online, but now I know I'm in God's will. That is the most important thing.

Sometimes I make mistakes and ask forgiveness where necessary, but when I make a mistake it doesn't mean I should stop speaking all together. The enemy wants us to feel insecure, so that we stop speaking.

I truly believe the enemy will speak to us through other Christians to get us to second guess ourselves and to second guess what God has already spoken. He will bring back old labels, old hurts and old wounds that God has already healed. He wants us to begin to believe those lies again about ourselves so we do not continue on in our calling from God. YES the enemy will use a Christian to do it too. I've seen it time and time again with the emails I've received from strangers via this blog. 

Some of the most demonic, twisted words have come out of the mouths of Christians and Christian ministers in this season!

I admit, I'm a broken disaster on most days. Sometimes the attacks take a toll on me. It just shows me how much I need to depend on God to do any of this. If I had my way, I'd never speak out ever again. Yet because I have walked through this season with God, I know that I can't walk away. If I have truly laid my life down to Him, then I must speak.

With everything that has happened to me in my life and the way that God has redeemed it, it has given me a boldness in certain areas that scares people. I think most people would expect me to be hurt and unhealed emotionally. I think most people would expect me to be a doormat. I think most people expect me to be depressed and constantly negative. I think when people meet me in person, they are shocked of the joy and the smile on my face despite the hardships I write about on my blog. 

How did this happen? Only God can do it. You can't learn it from another.

You have to get to a place where you have nothing to lose anymore. 
You have to get to a place where doing God's work is more important than having men on your side.

Thankfully I know I can trust in God. I know that God has different thoughts about me than those around me who yell and curse me. 

Somehow in His amazing ways, God can use everything that I've been through in my life and use it for His good. He has used all of this to prepare me for the call on my life. 

I now have compassion for those who have been the victim of incest. 
I now have compassion for those who are chronically ill and doctors cannot help.  
I now comfort those who feel alone in their walks with God. 
I now comfort those who have been believing God for healing and it has not yet come.
I now point people to the One who truly matters; Jesus Christ!

It was in this season where the dependency of man was removed from me and I've had to learn what it means to really truly depend on God. That involved tears, pain, frustration, anger, lack and confusion at times. It is a normal part of the process!

When I stopped looking to men for my help,  I stopped sending others to men too. 

I started telling them directly about Jesus Christ and did not refer them to a book, teaching, video or healing course. These days I'm rather selective of the things I recommend to my friends, strangers and family because I know the impact it will have on that person's walk with God.

You don't learn to trust God by watching a video or reading the latest Bethel book or going to the next conference. You learn this by surrendering yourself to God as you go through tough times in life. There is no other way and no shortcuts around this.

What the devil has tried to use to literally kill me, silence me and wound me, God has redeemed. The devil sends his little minions from time to time in the form of baby Christians to attack me personally, but I just sing praises to God that the enemy lies are just that..LIES!

It is in this season where I had to decide if I was going to let the words of people get me to back down. Do I care that much about what people think about me to disobey God? Would I allow false-humility to keep me from fulfilling the call of God on my life? 

For some what I say looks critical and judging. 
For some my testimony and who I am today is offensive. 
For some they say I'm too young to speak.
For some they say I haven't been trained properly to have an opinion or voice.

There is always something that people will say about you, but the only thing that truly matters is what God is saying. It is common for people to label others with terms that have negative emotions or connotations attached. They do this to write you off, to discredit you in order to do character assassination. 

Jesus tells us an important lesson in Matthew 10:24-28 (emphasis mine).
24“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25“It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! 
26“Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27“What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

For those who God has called, there comes a place where you have to simply say to the people...."I'm continuing on and doing what God has called me to do. You can smear my name. You can do character assassination. You can even kill my body, but I'm going to continue with what God has called me to do!"

Once you are truly able to get to this place, then you are free. It doesn't mean the words won't hurt or you won't have dark days, but overall you realize that only following God and fearing God is what matters.