As I was worshiping at church last month, I was thinking about how there’s always this nagging fear (the enemy trying to break into my thoughts) that the bottom is going to drop out. Things are really good right now and I’m pursuing the Lord on this new journey but then fear comes in and says that I’ll end up returning to the hell we lived in the last 3 years.
I know deep in my heart it’s not true but it got me thinking about how many of us live our lives waiting for the bottom to fall out because we don’t recognize the lie for what it is, a lie.
As I was thinking about this, the Lord gave me a scene in my mind – it’s this idea that we walk through our daily lives, treading slowly because we fear that around each corner something terrible is going to jump out and get us. If you’re honest with yourself, how many of you would say you live your life this way, to some degree or another?
But what God showed me is that He’s not a Father who’s waiting to jump out and “get you”, He’s a loving Father who is actually waiting around the corner with a gift to give you.
So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:11 (NLT)
I absolutely agree that sometimes life is hard. Sometimes it feels like there’s no possible way you can move on, or that you will survive what you’re going through but “to foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high, is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.” (Brené Brown)
We can’t just give up because life feels impossible, and we definitely can’t assume we know the bigger picture – what God is actually doing through our pain.
God doesn’t put us in a place of suffering because He wants to watch us suffer but when suffering takes place in our lives, He will always work through it and use it to draw us closer to Him.
But how many of you would agree that in our pain we assume the worst of God? I know I’ve felt that way. A few years ago I was pretty sure God had set me up for failure and the last thing I wanted to do was draw closer to Him. I filled my mind with so much noise – the lies replaying themselves over and over again – that I couldn’t hear what He was actually saying.
When we embrace the fear and the lies in our lives it’s because we don’t believe the truth of who God really is – we don’t truly believe that He loves us.
When we live our lives lead by the lies and fear, we will never find true freedom in the love of our Father because we don’t believe God is actually good, or that He really loves us.
The enemy loves to take our rejection and twist it into a raw, irrational fear that God really doesn’t have a good plan for us. This fear is a corrupting companion. It replaces the truths, with hopeless lies. [The enemy] knows what consumes us, controls us, therefore the more consumed we are with [the fear and lies], the more he can [manipulate] our emotions.” (Lysa TerKeurst)
I’m going to pause for a minute and share something really personal. This post took me days to write because every time I felt like I knew what I should say, I would pause and think about those I know who are in a place of pain, a place of suffering, a place of hopelessness, a place of believing the lies. And I just couldn’t bring myself to type the words I kept hearing the Lord say. In the midst of the days it took me to write this post I got a phone call from my parents informing me that my uncle had taken his own life.
He’d had a very hard life but it completely broke my heart to know that the pain and brokenness was so deep that he would take his own life. I kept thinking about the place of pain he must have been in, in those final moments, the moments when he put the poison to his lips, and then I started to get angry. Angry that the enemy could take all the rejection, all the lies, all the fear and boil it down to this one moment where the weight of it all was so great that my uncle couldn’t stand to take one more breath because to him there was no more hope in the goodness of God. And then my heart broke. I felt (a small portion of) the pain and anguish the Lord felt as He looked down on his son, so broken, so burdened by the enemy, and the Lord was weeping over him. It was in that moment I realized everything the Lord had been asking me to write was true. He truly is a loving Father whose heart aches for his children, but we live in such a broken world that my brokenness compounds your brokenness and so on and so forth until we are all so consumed by our fear, brokenness and the lies of the enemy that we think there’s no way God is a good God, how could he allow all this to happen to us?
But we have to turn to the Lord, because giving into all of this, and letting it take over, will kill us, some of us literally. What is the point of living a life full of fear and waiting for the next bad thing to happen? A life where the voice of the enemy is so loud that it’s impossible to hear what God is saying to us.
So how do we break free? How do we get to a place where we can actually draw near to Him, to see what He is really doing?
For everyone it will look different, but for me, it finally took getting to a place where I realized I couldn’t do it on my own anymore, and in desperation I cried out for help. It was a Sunday morning and the worship team was playing You can Have it All, by Brian Johnson. The words on the screen were –
You can have it all, Lord
Every part of my world
Take this life and breathe on
This heart that is now Yours
There is no greater call
Than giving You my all
I lay it all down
I lay it all down”
As I sang the words over and over again tears started streaming down my face. I sang the words with all my might, I wept and I told the Lord, He could have it all, every part of me.
The risk of giving it all to the Lord was terrifying but somehow it seemed a little less terrifying than my life of pain. By giving the Lord permission to have it all meant I was choosing to not believe the lies anymore. This is no easy task, and it’s a journey that took me months to start making headway on, but when I did, I started to see the goodness of God. It was the glimpses of goodness that encouraged each new step.
It’s a journey I’m still on.
It’s a journey I will be on for the rest of my life, because the enemy doesn’t want to see me walk in my identity and know who I am in the covering of my Father, but it’s a journey worth fighting for. It’s a journey that every day when I choose to believe the truth over the lies, I get a little stronger and a little braver.
I wish I could have been there to speak life, truth and the goodness of God to my uncle. It’s too late for him but it’s not too late for you.
My prayer is that no matter how dark it is, no matter how deep the pain is, no matter how loud the lies are, that you will cry out to the Lord and ask Him to rescue you. I want to leave you with this passage from Psalm 34 because it speaks truth about how God wants to rescue His children.
So listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress and He answered me! He freed me from all my fears! Gaze upon Him, join your life with His, and joy will come. Your faces will glisten with glory. You’ll never wear that shame-face again. When I had nothing – desperate and defeated, I cried out to the Lord and He heard me, bringing His miracle-deliverance when I needed it most. The angels stooped down to listen as I prayed, encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape. They will do this for everyone who fears God. Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God. Experience for yourself the joyous mercies He gives to all who turn to hide themselves in Him. Worship in awe and wonder, all you who’ve been made holy! For all who fear Him will feast with plenty. Even the strong and the wealthy grow weak and hungry but those who passionately pursue the Lord will never lack any good thing.” Psalm 34:4-10 (tPt)
Mimi Moseley says
Oh my gosh! I am in tears reading this. Anna, this is such an anointed post. The transparency and truth shared will seep into hearts with a freedom available. I heard a song recently which said, “I can hold your hand, but I can’t turn your face to freedom.”
Well done, dear one.
Beautifully written, my friend. I”m so glad that you didn’t launch into the cliches but you entered into the pain of others with your words, yet with hope. I love the passage at the end and your point about how our individual brokenness compounds on others and leads to a very very broken world. And that is why bad things happen. But there is the truth of a good God who is with us in the pain and the suffering and gives us joy. Thanks for sharing about your uncle.