A garland of grace and a crown of beauty. -Proverbs 4:9
My whole life I have loved everyone around me. I have discovered that I love people with my whole heart. I honestly thought that was how everyone was. As I have grown up, I have had many people share that they see this gift in me. Honestly, I’m super awkward at receiving anything that sounds like a “compliment”. Envision Chandler from Friends… Yep, that’s me naturally. Haha But, God has been trying to grow me in receiving “these gifts being called out in me”. I don’t know about you, but I’m someone who loves to praise people and call out the gifts inside of them, but when someone does that for me I have a hard time receiving it in the moment. It’s like I have a rush of feelings that includes a mixture of joy, thankfulness, embarrassment, shame for all the good feelings, worry of how to respond without sounding big headed and deserving. So by the end of their compliment. I have pretty much gone blank on what they even said to me. As I walk away I try to recall the words spoken to me. I ask God to help me to receive such empowering words because I know He made sure they were spoken to me through these relationships.
So when I say that I love people big that also means there is a lot of room for heartache too. I have an incredible friend who shared this revelation with me a few years ago, she talked about how the enemy can see gifts inside of us and he will do all he can to stop them from coming to light. We talked about how there have been many, many times in my life where the enemy could have succeeded in destroying me. Almost drowning more than once, extreme heartaches and betrayel from beautiful friends whom I still love to this day- some friendships He even redeemed because He is that good. Its like every age of my life- milestone time periods like preschool, primary school, middle school, high school, college, and of coarse even adult life. The enemy is never going to stop and that for sure stinks, but the victory and the joy lies in THE ONE who will never hurt me, my God. His love is pure, unconditional, overwhelmingly saturating, redeeming, and full of light and strength. He is the “I am” to everything I need Him to be. I see so many beautiful people from very young children all the way up to adults who are hopelessly trying to find someone to love them. They know their feelings because let’s be honest feelings are loud, and a lot of times to the point of barely being able to breathe. Just running through the motions. Silence and stillness are painful and uncomfortable, but you see, in that silence and stillness there is THE OPPORTUNITY to find peace the world can’t give. God already loves you, God already has the gift of peace that the world can’t give you.
I believe this deep calling on my heart for reaching people who are hurting is because 1) that love gift I was talking about earlier, and 2) every time the enemy hurt me deeply, I actually got stronger. I think it is so incredible how every assignment the enemy orchestrates to destroy us CAN blow up in his face. The enemy has to watch our Father’s faithfulness transform every single horrible situation into something more magnificent than it was before. It’s like the enemy pulls us down/ backward, but because he isn’t even in the same “division” as God (he isn’t even close to being a rival to God), God propels us even further forward! Envision an arrow in a bow and arrow set up. What happens when the arrow is drawn back? We are going to get pulled back in this world. The enemy runs rampant here, but what do we know about God’s word? Yes, we live in this world, but we are not of this world. Jesus overcame the world and He has already given us the victory and grace to experience His glory here on earth. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed- we can get back up!
So when the arrow is released, it’s propelled with even greater force to it’s target/ destination, right. We all have a destination and I’m not just talking about Heaven. We have a purpose, a target destination for our life here on earth. We can’t go anywhere like the arrow in the bow if we aren’t released. We stay drawn back, not fulfilling our purpose. We see our target ahead, but we can’t get there. No matter how much we want to get there, we can’t get there until someone releases us. Let Jesus release you today. He has seen your pain, and I know He has already shown you part of His will for your future. It’s good, isn’t it! It seems completely unattainable, and it is…… It is WITHOUT Him, without being set free by Him. An arrow held in a bow goes nowhere, but with God it is more than “attainable” IT IS SO! He has already given you all the grace you need. He has positioned you with the vision and the supernatural force to propel forward into His good plans for you! And the arrow not meeting the target doesn’t mean it’s God’s fault. There are multiple “oppositions” that take us down along the way, but that’s not where you stop. You aren’t lost in the ground wanting to be found. (Funny side story, my husband has always been an avid hunter. When we were dating over 12-17 years ago, he would practice shooting his bow and arrow, getting it sited in, etc. Sure, a few of his arrows would be driven with so much force into the ground a short distance before the target. Guess who went out there to find these arrows? Me.. haha but I honestly enjoyed it. I liked the challenge of finding this arrow completely hidden under the dirt.) God doesn’t have to go find you deep under the muck and mire. He knows right where you are and He is ready to retrieve you, dust you off and set your feet on solid ground as His chosen and anointed gift to the world. He is ready to direct you into all your “next steps”. There is not a single person on this earth that has arrived at their target. Not me, not your “rich friends”, not your “spiritual friends”, not even your pastor, but in each of these friendships God has given the grace to help each other to keep going, to keep going toward their target.
I saw this beautiful quote scrolling on facebook the other day, it said “a true friend is not someone we have chosen for ourselves, but rather someone God has placed in our lives for a purpose”. How amazing is that. I look at every friendship I have had in my life and I thank God for them and I even pray for them. That’s a lot of people, a lot of treasured friendships I don’t get to see in this season of life. Like I said, I’m 34. We are talking about friends from gradeschool, middle school, high school, and beyond.. Friends that probably don’t consider me their friend (because like I said, the enemy tried destroying friendships even at an early age), but I still love them, man I truly do! I’m not just “saying that” to sound “holy”, my heart literally swells in thankfulness for the time we shared and the hope I have for where they are in life and their families. I often times pray for God to flow through our connection no matter how far away they are. We were connected on this earth at a designated time for God’s goodness and purpose and that doesn’t’ stop the when I can’t physically pour into them. That’s the thing about prayer, there is no distance in the spiritual realm, on earth or in heaven. So when I send out a prayer for all these friends I had from when I was in 6th grade, 9th grade, 11th grade, etc, I know there is power released to them to see and experience God’s goodness.
Our Pastor shared this revelation a while back and it’s so true. “Don’t let your expectation for someone be greater than your love for them”. We have the grace to love others the way God loves us. He loves us far more than His expectations for us, far more than our own expectations for us. And don’t think that I have this nailed down, that I don’t struggle with any of this. Both offense trying to get in my heart and vice verse, if I have offended someone. I never try to, but I’m human and I need grace as much as you do. When I discover I have offended someone, I have struggled HARD with shame and disappointment in myself. The enemy is quick to “pick up the bat and beat me down” with past hurts afflicted to me and from me, but man Thank God, God is right there trying to get me to look at Him and hear the truth He is saying. My Father doesn’t hold back on bringing to my remembrance the good things He has been able to accomplish through me for people. I pray you listen to your Father, He loves you and He knows you much more than you think you know yourself. Let those around you whether it be an acquaintance or a developed friendship pour love and truth into you.
With that said, don’t seek them to fill you up either. God often times reminds me, I (sara) am not God. He is God alone. I am a vessel for Him to pour through, but I am not the source of life giving water itself. When others only learn to “draw from you”, they are hindered from learning to draw from God himself, through His word, and through His presence in His Holy Spirit. Ultimately you both will run dry. There is this fine balance that I’m even still learning when to lean on the friendships I’ve been given and when to lean on God himself. Through my life’s experiences, I’ve naturally developed this “independent” personality that can actually be hindering. It became my safe way to not get hurt anymore. To love on people with my whole heart, but not always allow them to love on me. Because it hurts when those you love the most “are used to hurt you”. In a moment when their guards were down, they allowed themselves to be used by the enemy trough their flesh. That doesn’t mean to go around throwing your heart around, guard it for sure. God says to guard your heart throughout His word, but always love people more than your expectation of them. If God has shown you these people are meant to be in your life, then learn to love them unconditionally. Love them the way God loves you, I’m not going to go into what that looks like because I have already written a small novel here, haha, but love them through that “soul” hurt. God’s love draws you in to repentance, so God’s love in you will lead them into repentance too.
Let God be your everything because He is everything you need.
Much love, Sara