Sometimes it is really hard to fit in with the people around you. You feel like everyone around you has a different way to say or do things. You feel like you are on the outside looking in. You feel judged and looked down on. This can make it hard to go to a social gathering or hang out with “friends”. You try to put on a good impression for those around you to think that you are having a good time, but you actually aren’t. You feel unheard and ignored. No one takes your advice or hears out your opinions. You feel like you still need to please them, even when they don’t respect you.
This has been my struggle over this last month. It has been really hard. But I know God, by His strength in me, brought me through the worst of it and taught me so much through that. The biggest step I took was talk to my housemates about it. Apologies are the #1 healing key for overcoming this hurdle–asking them for forgiveness and forgiving them, as Christ has forgiven me. Through sharing with them and a couple other people, I have felt better and less overwhelmed with this struggle.
Yes, I still struggle with it, but it is going to take time – God’s perfect timing. God has reassured me a ton lately that I am created just the way He wants me to be, in His image, with the personality of exactly who He wants me to be… I am just going to be myself. I am not going to care anymore what other people say/do/think about me. I’m just going to be who I am, who the Lord wants me to be…
Making that decision and being reassured that God always loves me, no matter what I’m like, has also helped me to know that He also loves them all, too! Even if I see that they are different than me and I have to fight so hard to get along with them, God has taught me to have grace for them – even when I feel like they have failed or have not done things the way I think is right. No one has done everything perfect; I know I have not. Jesus, perfect and sinless, offered so much grace and forgiveness upon His disciples and us believers, so how much more should we, imperfect and sinful, have grace and forgiveness upon ourselves and those around us. I am reminded of a very good example of grace and forgiveness… Jesus says we are to forgive seventy times seven, meaning numerous times over and over. I have learned to accept people for who they are, and by God’s marvelous grace upon me, I am now able to have more grace towards myself and those around me.
So, I want to encourage you to be yourself! Don’t be ashamed of who are and what the Lord has created you to be. Don’t let the people around you judge you and try to change you into something you are not. Live the life the Lord has in store for you. . . And I used to think I wasn’t very emotional. But I have come to learn that we all need our emotions. Emotions are the glue, the main key, that connect us to other people and build relationships. So, find just one person (even just your mentor or pastor!) to be open with and process those emotions.
Recently we did a study on the Book of Philippians. It was so good–what amazes me is that Paul was still able to write such a letter like this, full of so much joy, gratitude, hope, and encouragement, while in the midst of difficulty.
Paul writes this letter while in prison about 54-62 AD. He wrote it to a church community in Philippi that he had planted on one of his visits there. He wrote it to build his relationship with the church body there, to update them of his situation, to thank them for their support in his ministry, to increase their faith so that they could face threats, to give them peace so that they get along better, and to inspire them to live out their faith.
his joy for his fellowship with the Philippians, and the good work the Lord is
doing through them. He also rejoices in the fact that Christ is being preached.
Paul give us the
following instructions: Be united. Be selfless. Be considerate of others. Be
humble. Don’t complain. Rejoice in the Lord always. Be cautious of the enemy.
Stand fast in the Lord. Be anxious of nothing. Let your requests be known to God.
Meditate on good and true things.
Paul says that our work is not the result of our own effort, but that God’s work in us is what gives us our energy. What we do in life is an expression of God’s saving work in Christ. We find strength through God’s power in us. Believe that God will complete the work He has started in you. God’s work begins in the individual life but is to be lived out among other believers in fellowship with them. All our work is God’s work and it is continuous until the Day Christ returns. Paul tells us that the most important motivation in our work should be love. So, since our work is of God, let us strive to work and serve Him in a worthy manner. We should be like-minded with the other believers we work with.
Having the mind of Christ is to think of others before yourself. We need to be humble and considerate not only to our Christian friends, but all of those around us. Jesus died on the Cross (the lowest humility ever!) for the sinners, not the righteous. In everyday life, we have the choice to humble ourselves and give others the credit for success, ultimately God. Or to be selfish and take all the glory and credit.
Leaving my home in Idaho to come to GFA School of Discipleship and everything that that step of faith entailed–being away from family, work, my church body, friends, the list goes on–has really showed me how near God is!
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! Lamentations 3:22-23
I have felt His presence so clearly, and it has been such a delight, knowing He is with me, no matter where I go, and who else is with me. He is omni-present, and is wherever I go. Psalm 139:7-10 tells us, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Or Where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” This passage been such an encouragement to me while being here, away from what is familiar to me.
I have been experiencing so many “God-Moments” and seeing His power displayed here so vividly! He is so faithful. I have learned to worship Him more, even in the smallest things. I have learned what it means to earnestly pray, which we do a lot of here. God is so powerful! I am in awe now. God is definitely working through GFA, and I feel so honored to be a part of and witness it.
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ’til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds you
That you’re an overcomer
Five years ago, a friend shared this song (Overcomer by Mandisa) with me, and God is still using it in my life this year. It had been my theme song for January. He has given me an abundance of strength and lavished His love on me to overcome so many struggles this last month. What a privilege to know I have victory in Him!
We read through and discussed K.P. Yohannan’s book, Touching Godliness, talking all about submission. Ultimately to God of course. But then to the authority He has delegated above us. “Bitterness leads to rebellion. And that rebellion to man leads to rebellion to God.” God taught me so much through that book! At times, I felt like it was too much. But He always showed Himself faithful. He caused me to humble myself under Him, and those in authority over me here. I have overcome so much through Him! And He has given me strength, hope, and faith to keep fighting, reminding me that He is holding me in His arms this whole time. He has saved me and bought me with his precious blood, and I have victory in Him! He gets all the glory for all I overcame last month.
Yes, I still have a long way to go, as it is a lifelong changing process, but I am praising Jesus for how far He has brought me. He is so victorious! He loves me, and has bought me with His blood. What keeps me going and gives me strength, by God’s grace, is pressing forward. Not to look back in regrets, but keep moving forward, remembering all God has brought me through. So don’t give up! Keep fighting. Make little moments matter. Look to the little things.
Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever He sought me and He bought me
with His redeeming blood He loved me ‘ere I knew Him
and all my love is due Him He plunged me to victory
beneath the cleansing flood
(Victory in Jesus by E.M. Bartlett)