by Cindy Hester
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
I angrily pushed the end button on my phone conversation. How is it that after all these years I can still allow myself to feel so vulnerable, lost, and afraid? I thought I had come so far, but I blew it, Lord. The discussion was a valid one, but neither of us could see each other’s point of view because of emotional entanglements from the past. Arguments based on simple explanation somehow took a wrong turn toward the appearance of malice.
I jutted out my jaw taking on a tough stance in an attempt to appear strong. Inside I was crumbling. Tough love has never been my strong point, and being the Omnipotent Being He is, God has presented me numerous occasions to work on this issue. In an attempt to do better, I try to get tough...set boundaries...draw lines in the sand. Then comes the frustration as I begin questioning myself. Is this the right thing to do as a Mom? Is this the right thing to do as a Christian? Is this the right thing to do as a wife? The scenarios are endless, and the arguments complex. The bottom line is that boundaries and consequences are a necessary part of life. I do no one justice by holding back due to fear. However, how my mind and heart often accept this fact in two completely different ways.
My purpose in giving you this very personal revelation is to share something that reminded me how truly personal our God is. I want to encourage you with whatever issues you might be facing today by reminding you that He understands and cares about all details of our lives...even the ugly ones. You see, I struggled with this conversation and its results for hours into the night. In confusion, I rehearsed every word uttered and contemplated every possible consequence of those words. I wasted so much time fretting and worrying instead of going to the Source who provides peace and answers.
This morning, I awoke to read my morning devotional. I opened my Kindle reader to Sarah Young’s book, Jesus Calling: A 365 Day Journaling Devotional. God has used this series of books to greatly impact my life. I was introduced to Sarah Young’s writing at the time my Dad passed away. Someone had given Dad her first devotional book, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, as a gift. I heard him refer to it quite a lot during his battle with cancer. His life was touched daily in a personal way through the writings shared on each page. As I said earlier, her books have also affected my life, but today’s particular reading hit me square between the eyes.
“Beware of seeing yourself through other people’s eyes. There are several dangers to this practice. First of all, it is nearly impossible to discern what others actually think of you. Moreover, their views of you are variable: subject to each viewer’s spiritual, emotional, and physical condition. The major problem with letting others define you is that it borders on idolatry. Your concern to please others dampens your desire to please Me, your Creator.
It is much more real to see yourself through My eyes. My gaze upon you is steady and sure, untainted by sin. Through My eyes you can see yourself as one who is deeply, eternally loved. Rest in My loving gaze, and you will receive deep Peace. Respond to My loving Presence by worshiping Me in spirit and in truth.” Young, Sarah (2010-03-02). Jesus Calling: A 365 Day Journaling Devotional (Kindle Locations 3394-3400). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
A sense of peace and repentance surged through my heart as I realized how many of my decisions are based on an attempt to please other instead of seeking how God would have me handle the situation. I slowly began opening my tightly clenched fists relaxing in trust of His ability to work in the circumstance instead of my running around trying to defend and correct all things. My heart was confirmed that it is not only okay, but necessary to respect your boundaries and to expect others to do the same. The desire to please and be liked by all can be a hindrance to the work God is attempting to accomplish in their lives. God help me to be strong in You, not in others or my own efforts.
“Dear Lord, thank You that You know me so well, and that You care about the tiniest details of my life. Help me to entrust You with my life and the lives of all those surrounding me for whom I care so deeply. Help me to stand strong on those things You would have me stand for, and give me wisdom to know when to let go. You know my struggles, my failures, and my heart. Thank You for the promise You are always there waiting for me to run to You at any time. Once there, help me to stay close by Your side. Lord, it is so easy to wander. Thank You that You are ever watching and seeking us out with Your love. In Jesus precious name, Amen.”