Honest Expression

God really loves our honest expression. The truths in our hearts and the way we choose to live these out. 

So often when we open up our hearts and are really real, something comes along to try and shut us down. Accusations, someone pointing out our flaws, mockery, disdain, rejection…

We have a choice about how we will respond. And it’s so natural to close up! To get hurt and so respond by putting up walls, building pride or judgment and holding pain, resentment, unforgiveness. But God so gently beckons us to come to Him and be real with Him because He promises not to judge us. 

The wicked watch the righteous, and seek to kill them. The Lord will not forsake them to their hand, nor condemn them when they are judged. Psalm 37:32-33

We just need to let Him in, be real with Him, release our hold on those self-defences and let Him restore us again. 

Continue in our honest and heartfelt expression. 

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The Substance of Absence

I’m gonna be really raw and honest here. Just a quick health warning. 

‘Fear is the substance of things not hoped for.’

I read the above in a book that God clearly highlighted for me to buy this weekend. It made me stop in my tracks. 

Fear is the substance of things *not* hoped for. 

For a long time, actually as long as I can remember, I have struggled with social anxiety. At times it has been so bad I have basically been a recluse. I would feel this state of panic stepping out the front door, I would freeze at the thought of speaking to people and I would quickly spiral into a state of depression and inadequacy. 

Other times I would have some relief, either some self-medicated solution (hide behind someone else, hide behind a facade, hide behind my self-efforts…) – actually yea, hiding came into it big time – or I would receive some freedom in prayer and ministry…

But I have never seemed to be able to fully maintain it. 

The thing is – if I’m totally honest – I don’t actually have any expectation for people to like me. I don’t think they’ll want to be my friend and I certainly don’t think they’ll find me fun to be with. My self-esteem has been so low it has not allowed room for hope. 

So I’ve been drawn to people who just need someone who will care for them, you know, broken people who are looking for compassion – because that I can give. 

Or at least, I thought I could. 

Turns out my own insecurities don’t hold up too well under the storms either and compassion not rooted in love may as well be false. 

If I have no hope in building friendships and being able to relate to people well it’s because my faith has been placed in the wrong god – a god that ends in death and does not embody perfect love. A god that is neither a perfect father, nor a source of life, nor unconditional love. 

And that is not who my God is. 

I feel challenged to the core. I have so much to learn and so much more to love. 

But hope is the key. 

So strip off that striving girl and let hope arise.