Have you ever had a string of events happen in your life that force you to ask yourself ‘ok, I am getting hit from all different directions, what is God teaching me?!’ I hope you have, because ironically, it’s one of the best places to be. Before falling asleep the other night, I was journaling about those ‘hits’ and I couldn’t help but feel thankful. I know what you may be thinking…. that’s a weird emotion to feel when you’re feeling beat down. But hear me out.
Through the beat downs, God is stretching me. He loves me so much that He gives me opportunities to learn, to grow, and to become more like Him. Think about it. In times of feeling like you just cannot get up one more time, it’s an opportunity to persevere. An opportunity to make progress. And no one gets tackled when they are sitting on the bench. The enemy will attack and attack again when we are progressing.
Through my journaling, I was noticing a pattern. The last few weeks I have had similar situations come up that have left me confused about what it’s truly like to do life in community. When we feel wronged or ‘beat down’ from others, our immediate reaction is to point blame and it can leave us a in a place of feeling left out, lonely, and less than. Right where the enemy wants us. Do you know where else the enemy wants us? The enemy wants us pinned against each other. And let me just tell you, we have an enemy that is alive and well but it’s not each other.
While I noticed that it’s easier to sit in a place of feeling wronged, God was too busy wanting to stretch me for me to stay in that place. He wanted me to make progress and it was progress I wasn’t expecting. He was propelling me into a place of wisdom that was marked with feelings of beat downs and setbacks and teaching me that it’s impossible to hold up the banner of victim and victory at the same time.
Now, don’t get me wrong, God sees our hurts and sees when we have been wronged by others. James confirms to us that there will be a time that the Lord will come and righteously judge those who have wronged us. But if you keep reading, James also confirms that we must be careful ourselves because the Lord will judge us as well. I don’t know about you, but that gives me so much relief. It allows me to focus on how I can be more like Him instead of waiting around for an apology (James 5: 7-8).
Once I surrender my pride, God is able to provide me with wisdom. I was learning that foolishness refuses to acknowledge that there is another way of looking at a situation other than my own. If I want to be more like Him, I have to seek out someone else’s perspective, even if I do not agree with it. If I want to keep the relationships in my life strong and filled with grace and truth, I have to assess a couple things. First, am I questioning actions without having all the facts? Secondly, am I assuming the worst about someone’s intentions instead of believing the best? By asking myself these questions, it allows for my heart to bridge the gap to a place of better understanding and grace. Two things that I would want from my community and two things they deserve from me.
Instead of waiting around for something I think I expect from someone, I need to take the initiative to be the best version of who God has created me to be. Below are a few questions that I wrote in my journal that I believe will hold me accountable to not only being a good friend but also make my heart look more like His- the whole point of this life, anyway.
Affirming questions to live in community as God intended:
1. How can I best encourage you?
2. Is there an area of your life I can better support?
3. How can I make our friendship more of a priority?
4. What is something in your life that we can celebrate together?
5. What is something you wish I didn’t do when we have difficult conversations?
If you are in a place of feeling like you are constantly getting beaten down, let me encourage you that you’re not alone. But instead of waiting around for someone else to make a move, lets decide to rise above our own vantage points in order to see the bigger picture… His picture. And sometimes it’s realizing that the battle God wants to win in you is way more important than the battle you want Him to win for you. What you think is coming against you is only training you for where God wants to take you.
With Grace and love,