There I was, sitting in service feeling antsy and perturbed as testimonies went forth. They were testimonies of the goodness of God and His faithfulness. Testimonies regarding raises, promotions, new jobs, surprise checks in the mail, etc. Then when the Word went forth, things were said that pricked my heart but also offended me, making it almost impossible to receive what was being spoken, even though it was good and very timely.
The speaker spoke on the generational curse of promiscuity, leading to children being born out of wedlock and how that needed to be broken. He shared how this was a part of his story but would not be for his children. Instantly, I felt guilty, and my ears sort of tuned out the rest of what was said. Only because I was thinking of my firstborn daughter who was born when I was unwed, how that was not my testimony. The testimony of the others kept playing in my head and I started to compare my circumstance with theirs. I couldn't get past what God was doing in other people's lives. Then I felt in my spirit, "What about it? Are they you?"
On the drive home from church and even into the next day, I began reflecting on the goodness of God in my own life. I started thinking about what He had done for my family, for my marriage, our finances, and for my business. I was able to remember the doors He had opened and some He had even shut in our lives, for OUR good. And then, I felt ashamed about the comparisons. Even now I feel a little sheepish because I know what the Bible says about rejoicing with them who rejoice (Romans 12:15). Especially because in our Church, it is a known fact that when others are blessed, it's almost as if it's contagious like it rubs off on you by default.
Because of the stage of life that I'm in right now, where things are constantly changing and every day I find something new about myself, I started analyzing why I was feeling this way. Why did I have this victim mentality of "What about Me?" I knew instantly it wasn't a God trait, but my flesh crying out for attention. I knew I had to crucify not just the thought, but the feelings that came with it. My words changed to "Lord, I see what you have done for my brother and sister in Christ, and I know that they have been faithful servants not just in ministry but with what you have given them stewardship over. Lord, I know they deserve everything you have in store for them, what is wrong with me?" Except i heard this being said in my own voice which was a little bit more whiney and there were definitely some tears streaming down my face. What came to mind next was the fact that I was dealing with my own tests and trials, and those were what were coming to the surface. I was pitying myself just a little, but also not owning up to my life. I was ashamed.
This feeling of shame is something I've been dealing with for a while now. It’s something that I have allowed to hold me back from fully operating in my gifts. You see, when I ask “What about Me, Lord?” it really has nothing to do with God blessing me at all. I mean, I'm still alive and breathing, so that alone is a show of God's mercy and faithfulness. The truth of the matter is, “What about Me, Lord?” translated to “What About what I've done?” and “What about my sins, my mistakes, my transgressions?” “Can you still use me? Will you still use me? Promote me? Bless me in that way?”
In John 1:9 it says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Hadn’t I confessed my sins, all of them? And not just the sins from my past, but the ones where I had stumbled and failed as of late. The answer was, no, I hadn't, and that was really what was gnawing at me. “What about Me?” really meant; "is it too late for me?” Lord, I know better and sometimes still fail to do better, can You still do what You’ve done for others, in ME?
The answer is an unequivocal 'yes', but with steps!
Repent ! Repent ! Repent ! (Acts 3:19, 2 Peter 3:9, James 4:8)
Read God's word sis ! When's the last time you were able to retain something through osmosis? Yeah, that's what I thought to get really good at something you have to study up on it, you have to learn it, you have to KNOW it. (Hebrews 4:12, Romans 15:4, 2 Timothy 3:16)
Spend time with God in Prayer! Talk to God like you would talk to your friend, your sister, or even yourself. So many times we fail because we don't consult with God about our decisions and what we're going through. Yes, he knows and he sees but that doesn't mean he doesn't want to hear from you. (1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 56:8, Psalm 145:18, Colossians 4:2)
Surround yourself with like-minded people! You need folks to be talking, texting, hanging out with folks who are minding, speaking, and doing the same thing. An accountability partner who will pray with and for you instead of gossiping, someone who encourages, fortifies, and uplifts you and that you can do the same too. (Proverbs 18:24, Psalm 133:1, Ecclesiastes 4:9)
I do have to clear this up: Although God is not a respecter of persons, it wouldn't make sense for someone who has not put in the work to get more of a reward than another, right? We tell our kids that we don't reward bad behavior, so yes, your sister got them cookies and you did not because you did not do what you were supposed to. The same goes with God our Father...yes, we are to confess our sins, and yes, with that we are given a fresh start and new revelations. But we DO also have to put in the work. Period!
So I'm working on myself and writing it all out is helping. And as I write it out I search it out in the word so every time those thoughts come into my mind, I can counter them with scripture. I'm praying and talking to God so he is kept in the loop and so that the dialogue is constant. I repent when I catch myself and even when I don't I ask God to cover and reveal those sins that aren't apparent. And I am letting my girls in, being ashamed has kept me from opening up to those who love and care about me. As I've begun to do just that, I've realized I'm not the only one going through these trials, in some shape form, or fashion we all have our trials. Our brothers and sisters in Christ come alongside us and help us along the way and in turn, by being vulnerable, we also help them.
No none of us is perfect but we are seeking to be of a perfected nature, seeking to be like Christ. For now, I am taking it day by day and baby step by baby step. You are loved safe in the arms of the Creator. He doesn't see your sin but he sees who you were created to be. Be that Girl.
Who am I that you are mindful of me?
That you love me
That you've forgiven me
That you accept me but not to leave me the way I am
You are in pursuit of me
You are with me
Today I wrap your love around me like a warm blanket
Thank you for never leaving me alone
Thank you for being the God I can call my own