So, now we come to Passion2010. I have had the amazing opportunity to serve college students that attend Passion Conferences for several years now, and EVERY SINGLE CONFERENCE ROCKS MY WORLD!! Primarily it shows me who God is and who I am not. Each one seems like there is a moment or several that he giggles and then says “Thanks for that creativity, but I’ll take it from here.” I love every moment that I get to serve those students and as a team lead, there is one perk that I treasure.
Every morning, we gather and one of the Passion board members will take that time to encourage us and share something that God has brought to their minds or laid on their hearts. Well, one of the mornings this past January, a board member stood up and started talking about holiness and how the inequities in our hearts could be limiting God’s power in our lives. For some reason, I couldn’t get these words out of my head, “Ask God what inequities are in your heart that are limiting his power in your life.” I mean, hard core could not shake it. Then one of my dear friends tells me that I can be so condescending and “my way or the highway” in my delivery of information. Umm, what?!?!?! Are you kidding me? I mean, I was only trying to help. Just forget about the fact that I have absolutely heard this before-not a good feeling since the more times you hear the same message from different folks, chances are the common denominator is you.
Well, God kept pushing this and when I got home from Passion, I read Ephesians 4:29-30: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Well, I knew for sure that if holiness & grieving the Holy Spirit was at stake, then I had to get rid of my coarse joking and unwholesome talk. God had other ideas… He actually must think my inappropriateness is funny, because he told me the REAL thing that was the problem was my anger, my bitterness, my incredible stronghold of self-protection. I had to get to the root of that, I had to find the root of the hurt and then allow God to heal it-to trust Him with my heart, to ask him to replace my heart of stone with a heart of flesh.
Yes, there were some folks that were REALLY mean to me growing up-I mean one girl made fun of the size of my nostrils in middle school (side note-really?!!?? that’s what you cared about???) However, one huge thing in all of this is that I realized when my dad died, my number one fan who was the one person who never tried to change me was gone. Something in me shut down when he died and until this year, I didn’t even realize that. I didn’t feel safe anymore and the only way I knew to deal with it was to shut down. I didn’t consciously realize I had done this, I just had. (another sidenote-I’ve always prayed that I would grieve well & this was just one more instance of God answering my prayer.) However, God revealed my stronghold to me because God didn’t create me to live in an iron cage void of emotions and protecting my own heart. He created me to be vibrant, alive, joyful, fully present, full of life, full of love for others, and fully engaged with the blessings with which he had filled my life.
So back to holiness-my self protection was blocking God. My anger and bitterness of deeply rooted hurts were grieving him. He used a 20 minute devotion this past January to start me on the path to figuring out how could I get to the holiness he has called me to. I can’t be holy if I’m bitter, angry, numb, task mastery, know it ally, and insistent on trusting myself more than I trust him.
I’m still working through all of this and continuing to pray for Jesus to be with me in this fight for my life. Not me being literally alive, but rather me being ALL of who he created me to be, fully using the gifts and talents he has given me loving the friends and family he’s blessed me with & not giving Satan one bit of ammo to fire at me.
Ahhh, good times…