If I were to sum up my entire year into one word or thought, it would have to be either healing, or finding confidence; as this year has had much of both.
My Grandpa asked me at the very beginning of the year if I knew what my verse of the year was going to be. Confession: I have never really done a yearly verse before. I’ve had a life verse and some verses that seem to stand out to me for different seasons of my life, but I had never really labeled them as my ‘verse for the year’ before. So I had to tell my Grandpa that I didn’t have one, but that we would see what the year would hold. Then along comes April. I was reading in Jeremiah at the time and one day, as I was reading chapter 17, I was hit really hard with verses 5-10. I had to read and reread them several times. It hit on exactly what I had been struggling with for years and I felt like it was put there just for me.
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him, He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.’”
The thought that pounded me most---I needed to put my confidence in God not man. For most of my life I have always done things for others to be proud of me, in particularly my dad. The past three years have been especially hard on me, because, I didn’t have that and to be honest, I may never again. Realizing, though, that his opinion of me or anyone else’s opinion of me, even my sweet husbands, should never matter to me more than God’s.
When I start doing things just to please them and make them happy, or avoid doing things so they don’t get mad at me, before considering what God would have me do, I have just put them in the place that God should be in. That is called idolatry. To which God says is cursed! My whole filter of life should not be through man’s opinions, but through God and His Word. My confidence needs to be in God!
To put it another way, if I care more about what people think of me and how to please everyone, I will end up dry and wasted. On the other hand, if I trust in God and put my confidence in Him, I can stand strong during the hardest times, I can even flourish and bear fruit!
So the next step. How do I do that? What does it look like to have my confidence in God and not man? To have my source of well being, security and hope in God and not in how people view me. To not let people determine who I am, what I am, and what I should or shouldn’t do, but to have that so deeply rooted in God that I can bear fruit even in the hardest times?
To tell you the truth I’m still working on it and I think it will be something I struggle with my entire life. For, and I’ll be the first to admit it, I am a people pleaser! I absolutely HATE conflict! I will try and avoid it AT. ALL. COSTS. even at great detriment to myself. I like making others happy. Though, that in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, in fact it can be a great thing, as long as I’m not putting them before God or using that as my source of life, identity, confidence or security.
One of the first steps in putting my confidence in God was to set up good boundaries.
Which for me, was really hard, as one of my biggest fears is rejection. I had to learn that if I wasn’t free to say no to something than I really wasn’t free to say yes either, and vice versa. I have to constantly evaluate why I am doing what I am doing. Is it just to make someone happy? Am I doing it because I feel like I have to? Or am I doing it because I genuinely believe that it is what God wants me to do?
Second, I needed to surround myself with good influences and strong healthy believers.
“Like a tree planted by the water,” I needed to be by those who practice good boundaries and who show the fruit of God in their lives. For me that included meeting with some strong Christian women monthly, being honest with them about the areas I was struggling with. Digging in and serving alongside a few of the women in our church and getting involved with a life group.
Third, but really foremost, by renewing my mind, forgiveness and digging deep into the Word of God.
I constantly have to be speaking truth into my life over and over and over again. Recognizing what is a lie and what is the truth. What is just a feeling and what is real. Recognizing that feelings and emotions aren’t a bad thing, they are usually really good indicators that there is something going on that I need to look into, but to realize that they aren’t to govern my life either. I need to know and believe what God says about me, not what people say.
Wow! So many things that seem so overwhelming when they all get put together! But this has been a whole year's worth of learning packed into one blog. So stay with me in the upcoming weeks and months, subscribe to my email list (if you haven’t already) so you don’t miss any, as I do my best to unpack some of these concepts.
Melody, a proud mother of three beautiful, adventurous children and the wife of one very loving and caring husband. Molded, daily, by the Maker of the Universe and longing to become more like Him.