I am learning that relationships are strictly a “learn as you go” process. To learn how to do relationships, you actually have to have them… and having relationships requires lots of transparency and vulnerability and communication. Yikes. This does not sound like the most pleasant experience in the world. It’s scary. The truth is, all of us want people to choose us. We want to be picked. I don’t want to have to manipulate someone into having a relationship with me. Manipulation doesn’t validate our self-worth. In fact, when we manipulate others into having a relationship with us, we degrade our identity. We are saying to ourselves that we don’t have enough value or enough “likability” for people to connect with us. There is not a single person in the world God didn’t create for connection with others. All of us were created as relational beings in need of affection and love, as much as some of us would like to deny it. We need eachother.
When we are living in community, connection needs to happen within that community. Honesty and transparency need to be a part of our relationships. When transparency is not there, control begins to occur. Misunderstandings. Judgement. Confusion. Relationships turn into an avalanche of issues and feelings and negative emotions. People get hurt. Vulnerability ceases to exist. But community, when done right, is such a beautiful symbol of eternity. It is worth all of the rough seasons and the challenges that inevitably come with it.
Outside of our immediate community are relationships we have developed over the years. I’ve lived in a few of different places and been a part of different community-centered organizations. Some of these people I still have deep relationships with and some of them I don’t. It’s painful to look back on some of those relationships that I once enjoyed and see how they have shriveled to almost nothing. It’s hard to let go but that little wound in my heart that says I am responsible for the upkeep of every relationship that I’ve ever had despite the physical distance, is just a yearning to know my value. That I am still worth connecting with. At least that’s what the Holy Spirit has been telling me lately.
He says it’s okay to let go. It’s okay to move on and allow myself to connect with those whom He has provided me where I’m at right now. I think holding onto those past relationships has been sort of a defense mechanism. It’s a fear of connecting with my current community (who I really value and love) and taking a risk in my relationships. It keeps me from fully entering into what the Lord has for me.
As I sit here silently communicating with the Lord about His sovereignty in my relationships, I feel His honesty and His trustworthiness in it all. He is in complete control and my heart wants to be in complete surrender. My heart must have that.
I had a bad day yesterday. I woke up early on a Sunday morning to get ready for worship practice and it felt like this stormy, black cloud followed me all the way to church and back. I’m not sure where it came from because my week had been absolutely fabulous before that. I felt this deep intimacy with Jesus. I was hearing His voice and feeling His presence all week so whatever it was that was bugging me just didn’t make sense. At first I just thought it was hormonal. I mean I am a woman afterall. We have certain biological changes each month… ya know… but it wasn’t that. It wasn’t circumstancial because nothing had happened super recently to trigger a negative response in my heart. I just felt like poop (sorry that I don’t have a more intellectual description).
I’m not normally a very extroverted person but yesterday morning I was aching to be invisible. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t want to be vulnerable. I just wanted to be mad and for people to leave me alone. I don’t know about you but when your day starts out that way, every little situation can trigger an avalanche of emotion. After church I had a conversation with a friend and of course, in my state of mind, any conversation with a friend can turn scary really fast. I wasn’t understanding him and he wasn’t understanding me. I walked away frustrated at not feeling understood and as I sat at home brewing, my thoughts and fears started to get the best of me. So I sent him an email filled with lots of ridiculous things. It’s one of those emails where you think it’s perfectly rational at the time and then hours later you realize that you might possibly look a little crazy. Oh come on… you know you’ve done it too!
So today, after we had hashed some things out over the phone and he had brought me back to reality I started to think about how and why all of that happened in the first place. It brought me back to a couple of weeks ago when I had prayed with one of my pastors. Something she said struck me… that I had made an agreement with a lie somewhere in my past and attached to that was a demon that was constantly out to torment me until I acted on the anxiety that it brought. I know this sounds spooky and quite possibly flaky and weird to some of you but one thing that I have learned about the supernatural realm is that it is a very real thing. And there is nothing more that the enemy wants to do than to completely destroy your life and turn you into your very own demolition team.
Now, to teach you something I could quote Ephesians 6 and spout off some commonly used scripture, which in fact might be helpful because it is just that… scripture. But instead I want you to think about negative patterns in your life. What do you seem to be doing over and over again that is causing destruction? Maybe you have an addiction or a certain negative response. Maybe you are judgmental or critical. Maybe you have a hard time opening up to friends. Maybe you can’t seem to commit to a relationship. In the words of Alan, my pastor, there is always a reason. The truth is it’s not just the enemy’s fault that this is happening. Somewhere along the way you allowed him access to you and now your response should be to grab a friend along with your other Friend (the Holy Spirit) and search and destroy. We have something at Grace that we use called Freedom Prayer but if you don’t live nearby, just ask the Holy Spirit where the root is and invite Him to speak truth to you so you can fix it.
I’ve been waiting awhile to re-post, trying to assimilate my life back to my normal routine… which by the way has never been quite normal. Here are just a few of the happenings and thoughts that have taken place since the last time we talked:
- I started a new business! Check out my blog site for Blue Quill Writing Services. I offer copywriting and content writing services for businesses, organizations and periodicals. We’ll talk of other aspirations at another time.
- An old friend from IHOP, Luke Holter along with his wife Grace, launched their own prophetic ministry called Prophetic Sheep and came to visit this past weekend providing some much-needed encouragement and prophetic insight to our ministry and to many of us individually. For myself, it was a weekend filled with hope as Luke confirmed many things that the Lord has been speaking to me about over the last couple of months and even years. My heart to travel to other nations (not as a missionary plant per se but as a messenger proclaiming the love of the Father to those with hard hearts) and also, interestingly enough, confirmed my desire for a family (more on that subject later).
- Luke gave me a prophetic word this weekend about how I was like a cowgirl and well… he prophesied that I would marry a cowboy. Some may argue how little I am like a literal cowgirl but I think that many would be surprised at how accurate this word is. Not only did I have an obsession with horses and want to be a cowgirl when I was a little girl (we won’t mention that I also wanted to be a ballerina) but I still love being out in the middle of the wilderness by myself. I love nature and camping and am probably one of the most tough, resilient people I know. I have virtually no fear when it comes to adventure. I love roller coasters and rapids and canoe trips. I’ve done things like walk through Deep Ellum in Dallas by myself many times at 2 am having conversations with homeless men and have not felt an ounce of trepidation. Despite my somewhat prissy nature, I have always loved exploring and the possibility of danger has always been exciting to me. When I asked Luke this weekend if the vision he saw of me in the jungle was literal and if I was really going to be going to the jungle with my future husband, he responded that yes it was… and I believe him. It just sounds like something I would do. Therefore marrying someone that is similar to a cowboy sounds like a very attractive idea to me. I don’t want the wide-brim hat or the boots but someone who is rugged and resilient and adventurous and maybe a little rough around the edges like me.
- I’ve had some dreams recently that have caused me to wonder what the Lord is teaching me in the area of friendship. When I speak of friendship in this particular circumstance, I am referring to friendship with men. One of the dreams indicated that I would be learning something about this and a couple of my male friends would be teaching me. Guys have always been a lot easier to be friends with than girls have. They aren’t competitive and controlling. They are fun. They don’t get jealous (unless one of them likes you and you are getting attention from someone else). Let’s face it. It’s just easier with guys. So I guess I’m wondering what it is that I have to learn. I like and even prefer to have guy friends. But as I pondered this for a minute I thought about how I have had some seriously wrong perceptions of men in the past. Without going into too much detail, I’ve been inflicted by some pretty deep wounds from men and have had to walk through some bitterness and go through a stringent forgiveness process. Maybe I still have more to learn than what I originally thought.
I’ll leave this blog as it is for now. More to come later.
As a mark of the changing seasons in my life, I like to re-title my blog and give it a slightly new look. The last blog was entitled “Arise and Come Away with Me.” It was a theme that was consistent with the change that was taking my place in my life… leaving the “shade tree” of Song of Solomon chapter 2 to come alongside Jesus and leap upon the mountains with Him. The new blog appearance was taken from Misty Edward’s song, “Point of Life”. This morning marked the beginning of a significant journey with me.
I have been away from Ottertail for two and a half weeks now and have plans to make it back this coming Monday or Tuesday. Most of the trip has been utterly amazing. The first week, while in KC, I had a couple of dramatic encounters with the Lord during the Awakening Services. Life changing ones, really. The Lord clearly spoke to me about some things and I also had some powerful confirmation through several prophetic words. I love that Jesus knows me well enough that if He doesn’t confirm things, than I simply won’t believe it.
After coming back from a short Easter jaunt to Little Rock to see my family, I began having a really hard time. I’m not sure what happened but I went into panic-mode about coming back to Ottertail. Things seemed much easier for me here in Kansas City. Relationships were smooth. The atmosphere was drama-free… and it just felt good to be around people that have known my heart for three years. During the morning session today, I found myself worrying a lot about what I may be coming back to once I reached Minnesota on Monday. I thought about all of the ways I could put walls up. (Disclaimer: I believe that some walls are actually healthy… some may call them “screen doors”… there is a level of vulnerability but because of the fruit of the relationship, sometimes boundaries and self-protection are necessary) But during worship I stopped myself and asked an important question; Jesus… what do you want me to do about this?
And He gave me an answer I wasn’t expecting; Learn to love. Even if you are hurt again. Even if things stay the same.
Learn to love.
And I thought about the song Misty sang the night before…
Knowing you is the answer to
the riddle of the point of life.
The point of life is you! It’s you!
Knowing you is the reason
that I’m breathing. It’s the absolute!
The point of life is you! It’s you!
We spend so much time trying to save face and preserve ourselves from pain when there is a kingdom to build… when there is a beautiful God to be focused on, to sit before, to listen to.