“God doesn’t love me. He loves the world. Not me.”
My mouth dropped open and I worked to recover from the shocking words spoken from a woman I’d known for many years.
I wish I could tell you why certain truths stick with some people and not others. Or why a fear sucks life from one once-exuberant heart but leaves another person trying to ignore it.
My stomach flipped upside down, but I wasn’t on a Ferris Wheel or a rollercoaster. A battle raged inside of me. I wanted to understand and live a good Christian life but there was a big problem.
Confusion. Frustration. Dichotomies. Perplexities. Imbalance.
I often felt like I was trying to put a puzzle together using pieces from two different boxes.
My friends planned to go to the theme park. They didn’t include me. Who had I offended?
How could she not have invited me to the party? I immediately felt unloved and unwanted.
Did the invitation for the wedding go to the wrong address? I felt sure I’d done something wrong.
Other friends spoke of a conversation they’d all shared. I hadn’t been included.
I've been very impacted by this song by Steven Curtis Chapman. I hope you'll take a moment to listen to it today. Let's rise up and fall on our knees.
Schedules. Lists. Watch the clock, and stay on task.
It’s how I grew up. I love, let me say it again, I love checking an item off a list when I’ve accomplished it. What a sense of well, accomplishment.
In the past, I set times in my day to pray, read Scripture, and memorize the words God gave. Another feeling of success came when I finished and could retain an entire chapter. Then I could recall those verses whenever I needed. Made sense to me.
You see, I am a rule follower.
Best. Better. Top. Favorite.
That’s all I wanted. Was that too much to ask?
I deeply desired to be a favorite aunt of one of my nieces or nephews. I craved being someone’s best friend … above anyone else. I wanted to win a writing contest.
It all circled around the same thing.
Attention. Accolades. Applause. Significance. Acceptance.
My voice shook as my diaphragm trembled. Panic gripped my throat as I worked to get the words out while fearing I wouldn’t be heard. I pushed harder, cupped my hands around my mouth, and pressed for sound with all my strength. From the next room, I heard my husband’s response, “What did you say?”
Excitement? Trepidation? What is this spinning inside? The date for a new Bible study at a different church loomed ahead. Because of the last time I’d ventured into a new space like this, I had mixed emotions. Would it be the same negative experience as before? I wanted to get to know new people. I even desired to apply what I’d learned myself. (See Fear vs. Truth 1/25/19)
I began to pray. (I know … God idea, right?)
I stood against the wall watching women greet each other, chat a moment, and sit together continuing their conversation. I told myself I could do this—go into a new group and make friends. After all, it was a Bible study. How hard could it be?
The woman was sweet-natured, giving, loved by so many who met her, efficient in what she did, and had a good business.
But fear threatened to snuff out the gifts and abilities in her for one simple reason: lack of confidence.
After years of living under lies and fear, I have found truth and victory in God.