Everything and nothing less.
Alright guys, I am going to be honest here. This blog has become a place where I can write out all the great truth I have been learning and all the wonderful things God has done in my life. And that has been an amazing ministry for me. But it’s time to flip the page so to speak. It’s time for me to be brutally honest and real with you guys. Vulnerability, right? Cool. So here goes nothing.
I haven’t written anything in a while because I didn’t think I could. I have been knocked down for a bit; yep, I let the enemy get the best of me and I failed in that aspect. But I started to notice a trend in my life, one that I still am battling. I came to the realization that I will not talk to people about issues, problems, anything that is CURRENTLY going on in my life. I have no problem talking about the fact that I was abused, or what that did to me, or all the heartache, bullying, etc.… but what I won’t do is talk about what I am struggling with RIGHT NOW. I had this standard in my head that I based everything off, this thought that I HAD to have everything figured out before I could open up to someone. This mindset has left me many days and many nights convincing myself that I am all alone, that I am not worthy of anyone’s time or that people simply take no interest in me at all. Lies you guys. LIES! I can say that with the knowledge in my head but my heart does not seem to be on board. My heart totally believes these things. And that is the exact reason I have been putting off writing this blog post. I knew what the Lord was asking me to write and boy I did not want to. The other day, I went home for the weekend. That was a bad idea for me, and I knew that going into it but yet I went anyway. While there, so many new and old stresses popped back up and I just wanted to get out. I came back from the weekend feeling drained, feeling empty and alone. I thought to myself, “I have no friends. I have no family to talk to. I am alone.” Shortly after this I remember going to dinner with my roommate, and I told her that I can’t talk about what’s going on because I don’t have it all figured out yet, and she looked at me and said “well, that’s prideful.” And I have been pondering ever since. My not wanting to talk about my issues roots in me not wanting people to see my weakness. I am afraid that if anyone knows I am broken and sinful and falling apart that everything else I say will become invalid. I am afraid that I won’t be taken seriously because people only listen to those who have it all together. I don’t think I can do the ministry God has asked because I fail. I was out much later than I should’ve been the other night chatting with another friend of mine, explaining a little bit of this to him and he said “Ione, you do realize that if you don’t talk to anyone about these things, you will start to convince yourself that you are alone in it all? That’s how Satan gets in ya know.” He didn’t realize it but that is exactly what had been going on ever since I got back to school. So I started to ask myself why do I not talk to these people? I know I have friends that I could talk to but why don’t I? Thinking this over I finally boiled it down to the main issue. Trust. Oh boy let me tell you that right now I am cringing at even bringing this up. I have always always always avoided being the girl with trust issues. Which is probably why it festered for so long and caused deep wounds. My entire life has been filled with hurt from the people I learned to trust the most, so what would change now right? But that created anxiety within me like what? I have to go my entire life alone, with no friends that are true and genuine and real? I mean I am all for the God and I mentality, but sometimes I wonder if maybe friendship might be important for our growth. With a series of chapel messages, sermons, and just random conversations clarified that yes, friendship and community is indeed crucial to our journey. Okay, but how do I overcome this fear of trusting others? Well, in my case, God decided to directly nip this in the booty. A week ago, on Friday, I sat at chapel with my roommate long after everyone had left. I didn’t know why but something just had us both stay there. These girls came over and asked to pray for me. As they started to pray, a powerful presence made itself known and I was overcome with emotion as these ladies poured truth over truth over my life. I mean, they were touching on subjects I had NEVER spoken of to anyone, not even my mom. But the one thing I am going to touch on that they said was this. “Ione, God wants you to know that yes, you can trust these people I have placed in your life.” Immediately as these words were spoken, six very distinct images flashed in my mind of six different people in my life. And I have been coming to a place where I am telling my heart no and deciding to open up to them. Maybe I won’t be alone anymore.
The next thing I want to talk about is something I am very insecure about. In fact, I stopped writing the post here a few hours ago saying nope I am not talking about this. But here I am.
Things have been going on at home and I for whatever reason opened up to one of my friends about it not that long ago. As I talked and talked and talked (as I do), she listened and responded with these ideas I had never ever ever knew were there. And it is these two right here.
- Growing up, there was this term used in my household, “money in the bank.” It was this idea that in order for me to earn approval or receive some kind of gesture of affection, I had to do a series of things to stock these points up. Most of the time when I went to cash in, I was met with a “nope. You have no money in that bank.” And I had no idea that I viewed God in the same way. I believe that I have to do a series of actions in order to earn God’s approval or gesture of affection (blessing). I think that if I mess up, if I do something bad, then God won’t talk to me that day or I am not worthy of being called to anything in this life. If I mess up then I have no purpose to being here.
- After I escaped the horribly abusive situation back in high school, this tiny little shell of a girl crawled out to talk to a person in her life who was supposed to support, love, and protect her about what happened to her. Nervous, shaking, and afraid, I finally ,after years, was able to come to a place where I could speak of the horrors that occurred. I was met with one statement that has left a deep scar on my heart to this day. They looked at me in the eyes and said, “Well, if you had been stronger, than this wouldn’t have happened.” That little girl who just desperately wanted someone to be angry for her, who just wanted to be wrapped up in big protective arms, was met with blame. And that has been a wound that never healed, because I never talked about it to anyone. I never realized that this too would affect my relationship with God. When I come to God with my hurts, my brokenness, my fears, I have no faith that He will do anything about them. I believe that when I seek the Lord, He looks at me and with a turned back says “well Ione, if you had just been stronger, better, more of this or that, then this wouldn’t have happened. Therefore, you do not deserve anything from me.”
And I am struggling now to live in the truth of the promises of the Lord. I struggle to trust God at His word. I do not believe that God will do anything about the brokenness of my family. I do not believe that God will actually allow life giving friendships in my life. I do not believe that there is a man out there for me who will love me well. I do not believe that I have a higher calling in my life. I do not believe that God gives His love freely. I do not believe that God works as much as people say He does. And this all boils down to my levels of trust. Just as I cannot talk to others until I have everything figured out, I also do not talk to God until I have things figured out. So then, where does God even fit into my life right now?
I cannot end this post on an encouraging note. I have no answers to these, I have no idea of how to practically change this all around. I wish I could say “But now, I am fully doing great and God has showed me amazing new truth” because that is just simply not the case. I can leave you with this though, I do know that I cannot do this alone. I do know that I must learn to rely on the Holy Spirit to do a work in me because there is just absolutely no way possible that I am able to fix this all. I do know that God has placed people in my life to push me, challenge me, and love me as I attempt to navigate this next season. And I do know that the enemy will do all that he possibly can right now to seep in and keep me here in this place. Armed with these truths, I am confident that this next season will bring even more confusion and doubt BUT that God will not let me down.
“The Lord protects the simplehearted, when I was in great need, He saved me.” (Psalm 116:6) From a different blog post this verse comes. Simplehearted means “honest, open, straightforward.” And that is me right now. Therefore, my first act of trust is in this promise. He will protect me, and He will save me.