Y’all, i’m going to be honest … I haven’t been doing great. Over the past three weeks, I can probably count on three fingers the days that I haven’t felt this looming lack of peace and contentment. It took until now for me to even connect the dots and be honest with myself—a sin that I allowed into my life and the shame surrounding it has been eating away at me just under the surface.
Two weeks of feeling just not right brought me to last week, feeling downright just about to lose it. There were numerous days where I would cry at considerably silly things. Like, I couldn’t find the unit number my connect group was meeting at….and it took me three failed attempts to finally get into a parking space at Whole Foods…. Worst of all, someone asked me the dreaded, “Is everything ok?” (Cue the hysterics).
Realizing that I shouldn’t break down in tears or feel such heaviness, for no apparent reason, only fueled the fire more, bringing thoughts into my head like “what is wrong with me?” It’s not a good place to be when you’re legitimately questioning your own mental stability. Let’s be real.
Then finally came Thursday. This is when it all came to a peak; my emotions came pouring, in a very unwelcome fashion like all of the rain we got last week, and I woke up on Friday with the puffiest face you’ve ever seen.
I had been looking forward to Thursday, the night of my church’s Sisterhood event, ever since they announced it. Come the actual day of it, and of course I was not feeling nearly as excited. Somewhat out of strictly wanting to honor a commitment I had made to serve as a host, and totally by the Grace of God, I reluctantly but definitely made my way to the church. A part of me was expecting to walk in the doors and feel an immediate rush of okayness. Instead, I walked in feeling defeated and empty as ever to a room at near maximum capacity of ladies who were overflowing with beauty and joy and purpose. That’s all it took to finally bring to the surface and make evident to me the root of all this pain I was feeling: my deep seated struggle with worthlessness, inadequacy, and rejection. It’s been lying dormant for a while now, and typically does so; but hidden pain doesn’t get dealt with. We don’t go to the doctor for healing when we aren’t experience negative symptoms. (Mark 2:17) Thankfully, grace put a spotlight on it, and now I can make the conscious decision to seek freedom.
This is all in perfect timing as we continue to discuss preparing our hearts for the journey into our promised-land. We have to recognize what is the old land and be ready to leave it. Mine is a place where comparison, jealousy, fear and doubt reside.
At Sisterhood, the pastor’s wife, Oneka, brought an important message about bearing good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). Two things she said that really stuck with me were,
Don’t despise the pruning
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” James 15:2
And, Remain in Him through every season
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
One too many times in the past, I’ve allowed the enemies lies to drown out the truth and keep me stationary. I’m definitely guilty of growing weary and/or resentful during pruning seasons—thinking that these are instead, times of punishment and neglect by God.
It is going to be absolutely imperative for us to realize that when we start praying and asking God what we need to leave behind in order to inherit our new land, things are probably going to start getting shaken up in us, and it’s going to be really uncomfortable.
But we can’t let that discomfort discourage us and cause us to remain in a place we shouldn’t be settling in. We also shouldn’t let anything that comes to light during this time cause us to feel shame that stops us in our tracks, or sends us going backwards.
“There is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ. His spirit gives us life and has set us free from the power of sin that leads to death!” Romans 8:1-2
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
What we need to do—what we are going to do—is REMAIN, steadfast and strong, trusting in our God and His perfect ways. We remain in Him by staying close to Him. We stay close by reading His Word, talking to Him, and worshiping Him above all else.
We are going to have faith and BELIEVE that He is leading us to new territory, and that soon there will be not a single trace of the old. Complete transformation is imminent. (Matthew 17:20)
What I am going to pray, and what I invite you to pray as well, is that God would give us the strength to remain; That He would make us brave to not only stick out the storm, but to conquer it; That we would keep our eyes on Him and His promises; And that He would open our eyes to see evidence of His glory, even in dark seasons.
Love you, ladies!!