I hate insecurity. It’s a plague, a virus, whatever you want to call it and it’s everywhere, especially in me. I hate that side of myself that is constantly worried about where I stand with people. I hate to see it in other people as well. Musicians and singers are some of the worst about insecurity. I’ve worked with lots of musicians over the years and we are constantly fretting about our role on a team or in a band. I would think that this is only an issue with “sensitive” musicians but I’m pretty sure athletes and business men deal with the same kinds of fears, competitiveness and anxieties. Basically, it’s universal. Everybody has a little bit of it whether it’s about relationships, work, or ministry… there has got to be a list compiled somewhere of things people get insecure over.
Last week the Lord told me to start reading the story of Saul and David. He said He wanted to speak to me about love. So I have been reading and praying through 1 Samuel slowly. Yesterday I read chapter 9 where Saul is out looking for his dad’s stray donkeys. He and his servant have been looking everywhere. Saul doesn’t want to come back home without the donkeys because he’s scared his dad is going to freak out. But as they wandered through Israel, Saul’s servant mentioned that he knew about this prophet guy who always had the right information. Surely, if anyone knew where the donkeys were, this guy did. That’s when they met Samuel on the road. Samuel looked up at big, strapping Saul and made a statement to him, “you are the desire of all Israel.” Dang. That kind of sounds like a big deal.
Of course Saul’s reply was somewhere along the lines of “Are you serious? You’re full of crap! My tribe is the smallest tribe in Israel and my family is the least in that tribe! You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I thought about that statement and how Saul’s insecurity emerged that day. He let that insecurity drive his whole life. He let that insecurity open a door for a murderous spirit that eventually led to his own demise. He let his view of himself as a weak, unimportant, unworthy man overpower the Word of the Lord that he had a massive call on his life to lead all of Israel as their king. He was sure that somewhere along the way, others would discover his unworthiness and all of what God had promised would be taken away. And because he believed that, it happened.
Saul didn’t get that his call as king wasn’t about him anyway. And that’s where the subject of love comes in. When we’re being loved in a way we’re craving to be loved or when we are receiving recognition for our accomplishments it can create this temporary relief in us… relief from a lie we’ve believed about ourselves. But eventually something else will happen that will pound the lie deeper into our souls and all of that relief that we have felt will be instantly evacuated. But when we know our identity and believe the truth about ourselves and the promises He has spoken over us, we are wide open to love others well. Suddenly, it’s no longer about us anymore. We’re okay. We’re secure in His love. Now it’s about someone else that needs to be loved and to be shown God’s love.
Who is this coming up from the wilderness
leaning on her beloved? Song of Songs 8:5
This morning I caught myself praying some sort of twisted prayers… “Jesus, make me like ‘this’ so that I can do this.” If you saw what I had asked for which was really just that I would love well, you probably wouldn’t be very shocked. It sounds like an honorable prayer… like something that would be good to pray. But I felt the Holy Spirit tap on my shoulder because in that request was a hidden agenda that I had somehow missed. He started to talk to me about Saul and David and how Saul always had an agenda and David just loved. He just loved and obeyed and that was it….
In my head came images of my time in Kansas City, sitting in the then-blue chairs during my internship and feeling the presence of God on my heart. All of that time I got to waste on loving Jesus with no agenda. It was before I was singer, before I was a prayer room team leader, before I led in the student internship. I can’t tell you how amazing that time was for me and how much it changed my life. But along the way ambition and the need to feel in control of my life kicked in. It came on me subtly. We can always use the excuse that we are “building the kingdom” and I guess this is true but is God really pleased with our service if it’s not done completely out of love for Him?
As I was reading my 1998 version of Mike Bickle’s Song of Songs manual, something he said hit me,
She sees her strengths as that which can hinder her in her deep life in the Holy Spirit unless they are consciously submitted to Him
I don’t know if you subconsciously do this but I think I can take some parables out of context like the parable of the talents and believe it’s all up to me when God gives us a gifting or “talent”. But I’m feeling more and more that as we lay those things down and allow Him to fill us back up with Him, He can actually use us to build His kingdom through that gifting. It’s like we completely empty ourselves of anything that is out of our own ability and ask Him to fill us with Him so that true anointing can flow. Not only in a skill but in relationships, friendships, creativity, career, communication… it all works the same way.
Oh God, that I would learn to allow You to be my strength and to not withhold anything that is myself from You.
Several years ago when I was still in Kansas City, in fact when I was in my internship there, a friend of mine had “let me have it”. She confronted me about a weak area in my personality and I was mortified that she had noticed some of my “issues”. For days I paced the empty aisles of the nightwatch prayer room like a woman on fire, pleading with Jesus to help me be more like Him. Jesus, you have to help me. Just get rid of this thing. Change me! Help! I wanted Jesus to make me like some of my fellow interns who were sweet and gentle all the time. You know, the ones who are quiet and don’t try to pick a fight with the cute guys in the internship. I wanted to not want to talk all the time and I definitely didn’t want to be loud and aggressive. Finally, the Lord had had enough and he spoke back to me, Brooke. I made you like this. I made you to be aggressive and communicative for a reason. I don’t want you to change who I’ve made you to be and I need you to trust me with the things that aren’t working. I gave you a sense of justice and a passion to make wrong things right. I made you an excellent communicator. I’ll fix the rest of it.
I confess that I am still, after all of these years, a work in progress. I put up walls of sarcasm and pride, get irritated easily and if I see some injustice happening, I consistently move ahead of God in resolving the issue instead of waiting for His timing and His heart in the matter. But I have come to learn that as frustrated as I become with myself sometimes, faith involves knowing and believing He is resolving those things in my heart that need to be healed and sanctified. I have come to the conclusion that He is the one that developed my personality and to covet someone elses personality would be an injustice in itself.
I think we can apply this to many areas of our lives. We can also covet a gifting that God has not actually given us. This is harmful for both the individual and the body of Christ. While someone is trying to operate in a gifting that the Lord has not given them, there is a deficit in another area of the body because they are using all of their energy trying to be someone they aren’t and not walking in the things the Lord has called them to do. A church wouldn’t hire a children’s pastor that feels awkward around kids. They wouldn’t let someone cook at church functions if they can’t boil water. When we fail to recognize we aren’t gifted in an area, we may end up being the one who serves cornbread that tastes like soap and making everyone in church gag (ask me about that story sometime).
The point is, don’t try to be someone you would like to be but just… aren’t. If several people have repeatedly told you that you are not gifted in what you are doing, first pray about it and ask Jesus if it is true. Listen honestly to the voice of the Holy Spirit and remain humble. It may be that there are areas you need to grow in before you are released in that area or maybe it’s something you would just really like to do and aren’t gifted at. That’s okay. It’s not the end of your life. The Lord has given you awesome gifts to serve the body, you just have to figure out what they are! This is an incredibly fun journey to have with the Lord. And whether you are shy and quiet or loud and obnoxious, remember that the Father created you with certain personality characteristics and you should own them! Yes, you may still need to work out a few weak spots but don’t walk in shame because you think you need to be someone else. He loves who you are!!
Last week as I was consulting with my guitar teacher and friend, Jason, I expressed my need to throw my guitar across the room and smash it into a thousand pieces. After asking me why I was so frustrated he went on to explain to me that I was moving much further ahead than what I had been assigned to do. I wasn’t ready yet for what I was attempting to accomplish. But I wanted to play real songs… any songs… not just one or two that happened to have the right chords in them. I confessed to him that I was an extremely impatient person. But Jason decided to turn the guitar lesson into a Sunday School lesson…. or a counseling session would probably be more like it.
“Brooke. I think the Lord is using this experience to do something bigger in you than just learning guitar.” He went on to explain that there were so man spiritual analogies with this journey. What if God felt toward me how I felt toward my guitar? What if He was as impatient with me as I was with my instrument? What if he tried to force me to do ten minute licks when I hadn’t even learned bar chords yet?
Tonight as I lay in bed allowing the Holy Spirit to examine my heart, I realized how hard I was being on myself knowing that Jesus isn’t the same way toward me. And the harder we are on ourselves, the harder we are on others. It just comes naturally. Self-deprecation and false humility are really just a disguise for our misunderstood identities. When we have a hard time seeing ourselves in the truth of who we are to Him, we fail to honor others for who God has created them to be. We fail to see beauty all around us.
What we do have the ability to do is allow Abba to pick us up, set us in His lap and tweak our strings so that we sound beautifully.
I’m not a fan of rhyming unless I’m writing a song but I thought perhaps it would add a tiny amount of amusement to a semi-morbid post on depression. Okay… So maybe it’s not as funny as I thought it would be.
This morning I listened to Mike Bickle’s message on encountering God in depression. I think most of us have experienced times of despair and depression… or maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better. Just imagine a really crappy modern scenario and you might begin to understand what David was feeling when he hid in the cave of Adullam. Imagine you ran from your murderous wife and all of your friends have abandoned you because they’re too scared she’ll come after them with a butcher knife too! On top of that you’ve been fired from your job and there is little hope that your career as CEO of the most powerful company in the world will be renewed. Your house was foreclosed on and now you are living in a cardboard box in Bedford Sty and your only friends are a band of raggedy, wild hobos who have been discarded by society and no one… absolutely no one understands what you are going through… well except for God, of course. But does He really understand? Because you haven’t been feeling Him around lately. You haven’t heard any direction from Him. You haven’t heard Him speak words of hope to you in a long, long time. His presence doesn’t seem to be a part of your daily routine anymore. So maybe He doesn’t understand. Oh happy day!
Who wouldn’t be depressed after something like this? I have to say, I have had a few moments in my life similar to this and I have to consider that God might be using these situations to train me and strengthen me for greater things. In Psalm 142, David is clearly depressed. This Psalm sounds like a great big complaint. A list of whines to God. But as Mike says in his message, it’s better to complain to God than complain to man. When we complain to man it’s sin but when we complain to God, it’s called prayer. Throughout his Psalms David repeats over and over who God is to Him, even in the midst of terrible events. He cries out to God to deliver him from those that are pursuing him and finally, he declares his future promises over his own life.
Because of Saul, David wonders if his promise to be king will ever be fulfilled. He wonders if God has broken his promise as Saul doesn’t seem to think David will ever be king while he’s alive. In the midst of pain, depression, and despair don’t allow ANYONE to tell you the promises spoken over your life are not from Him. In fact, during these moments use those promises and prophecies to keep you pushing forward. That’s what prophecy is for! And most importantly, say out loud who God is to you. He is your refuge, your strength, your deliverer, your defender, your high tower, and your peace. Pour out your complaints before Him and watch as He meets you in the center of them.
Fear is probably the most dominant struggle I have in my life. Having the fear of man has become so extreme that it has begun to rule many areas of my life… much to my chagrin. After reading my previous post, I realized that I sounded a bit trite when talking about difficulty and that maybe I sounded as if turning to God during painful seasons was a SUPER easy thing to do. Well let me explain further that it is NOT one of my greatest skills. But I have also learned that if I continue to put off turning to the Lord during difficulty and try to take matters into my own hands, my spirit begins to diminish and my heart will become weak.
I think most of us can understand the pain of the pressure that comes from fear. I remember feeling pain from others that was so great at times that I gave into relieving myself from it in a way that was just as ungodly as their behavior towards me. King David did this as well when he ran from Saul. When the prophet Gad told him to go to Judah, David didn’t remain there because of fear but instead found refuge in Gath, an enemy city. Instead of using the pressure of fear to drive him into the arms of Abba, David fled to a much more unsafe place, thinking Saul’s own fear would keep him out of Gath. Instead, David found himself in more trouble… just because He did not trust in God’s faithfulness and justice.
I can describe some of those moments, like the one I had last night, where I knew that my only choice in moments of distress was to cry out to God for answers… to acknowledge my own inadequacy and brokenness before Him. I had to make a choice to trust Him instead of turning to ungodly slander (which I haven’t even come close to succeeding in previously) or some other method that would bring me comfort. I had to have the fear of the Lord that I would be disciplined for lack of obedience if I did not come under His righteousness. And finally, I had to learn to enjoy Him in the process of restoration. All of these things I am still coming to understand and just beginning to learn how to walk in.
So I’m challenging the rest of you out there to do the same. Take the opportunity, in moments of fear, to turn your face toward Him, to cling to Him with all of your strength. Don’t run to the TV, your many social networking sites, or your cell phone and start texting a bunch of gossip. Take hold of Him!!! When you feel that discomfort or accusation from others, acknowledge your fear to Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit who lives inside of you to rise up and take over your heart. He is faithful to conquer and to comfort all fear!
God doesn’t see as man sees. Imagine yourself as an older brother with several runts below you in age and stature. A famous prophet comes to your parents home looking to anoint a new king. Of course, you’ll get the title. The king is ALWAYS the firstborn. Everybody knows this. There is no question that you are the most qualified. But instead the prophet comes, sizes you up, and moves to the next oldest brother… then the next… then the next… then the next. After he has made his way down the row (and you are still seething that he did not choose you at first glance) the prophet asks where your very youngest brother is. The puny little brother, David. This is the brother that is so below you that his job in the family is to hang out with the smelly sheep all day, which was almost equivalent to a slaves position in that day. You try to rationalize why in the world God would choose David, of all people, and you finally come to the conclusion that the only reason David is chosen is because he’s a good-lookin’ kid… which makes you even more angry. So what do you do to make yourself feel better? You accuse him of pride and arrogance. I mean who does he think he is? He thinks he’s soooooo spiritual hanging out in the fields singing to God all day. He really thinks he’s something else. Spiritual pride. That’s what David has.
…… and this is the reason God did not choose Elia, David’s older brother. In fact, Elia had the same spirit as that of Saul, the current wicked king. What a train wreck Israel would be if Elia had gotten the position that he had wanted. He was full of jealousy and pride, himself… and God knew exactly what the state of his heart was.
David, on the other hand, had qualities that his family refused to acknowledge. But God saw them and chose Him because of these qualities. God looked at David’s heart and his family rejected him for it. God saw that David’s desire was to please Him and Him alone. His desire was to be holy… to not trust in his own accomplishments or talents but to trust that everything he had was given to him by God. David sought the Lord instead of the power and prestige of man. God chose David for His own pleasure. He knew David loved to sit under the pleasure of God and He knew David was grounded in the identity of His delight. This is what God looks for in a leader.
Over and over I have seen God choose those that others have rejected. In fact, in most cases, God chooses on purpose, and anoints those that have experienced rejection… at least the ones that refuse to have a bitter spirit. I have seen it in my own family, in fact. My great-grandfather, John Turner, was rejected and kicked out of his own home… he was ostrasized from His family as David was because of his true encounter with the living God. God went on to choose my great-grandfather to be the first spirit-filled missionary to northern India where the Lord used him to bring many to Jesus. Joseph, in the Bible, was rejected by his family and accused of pride. Every single one of the true prophets of Israel were rejected because of their rebukes to the leaders of Israel and accused of pride… and often murdered for speaking truth.
Bob Sorge in his book Dealing with Rejection and the Praise of Man, says that if you have a prophetic call on your life, chances are you will be rejected time and time again by religious leaders. Rejection is a training period for those who have a prophetic identity.
I know in moments of rejection in my own life… and I am currently still dealing with some of it that has happened recently… I have to really run to the Lord to learn how to walk out love and to continue to position my heart before the Lord, being careful not to grow bitter or to allow offense in my heart. It is rather difficult and I have repeatedly messed up but I know that without allowing the Lord to change my heart and help me to grow in love, I will not be pleasing to the Lord.