God may be calling you to a new journey or you may be in the middle of a journey and you’ve lost your mojo. You want to turn back, but you’ve come too far and experienced too many changes. I understand. I urge you to keep going, and to take that next step forward. I believe you can do it.
Below is a portion of my article on Precepts & Life Preservers, my friend Christine Duncan’s website. She is hosting a month long series: “God in the New Journey: Being Brave Enough to Step Out,” she kicks off the series with this post and Julie Loos wrote a beautiful piece highlighting Rahab’s choice. I hope you will be blessed, inspired, and challenged.
“Imagine the Israelites as they victoriously left Egypt. They’re dancing. Celebrating. Pinching themselves because reality seems too surreal. Until they stop abruptly at the edge of the Red Sea.
And just as abruptly their rejoicing changes to clamoring. A chorus of complaints rise up instead of hallelujahs. Rather than see the excitement of freedom they see certain death—drowning or by sword.
An option they never considered occurs, a miracle: the splitting of the Red Sea. They bravely stepped into the miracle. They bravely trusted God to hold the wall of water firm. Their new journey began with each faith step forward.
What about us? What’s the new thing God is calling us to?”
Rejection lurks and lingers, taunts, and threatens to show up where I least expect it. It’s a cocked and loaded weapon aimed directly at my heart and I walk through life with hands held up ready to surrender my identity, my purpose, and my relationships.
I’ve called myself names, I’ve believed I don’t have anything to offer, and then I’ve believed that my gifts and talents don’t have as much purpose as yours.
Rejection steals my identity in Christ because my security is in Him.
Rejection kills my purpose because of the impossible cycle of pleasing people.
Rejection destroys relationships because I view them through a fear-filled lens.
Do you live defensively expecting to be rejected? Do you approach relationships planning to be rejected? Do you self-condemn so rejection doesn’t surprise you?
I’ve self-condemned, self-sabotaged, and self-hated. Have you? But God wants us to be filled with him. He is our defender so we don’t need to live defensively. He is our greatest cheerleader so we don’t need to be afraid to step out onto the stage of life. He is our greatest champion so we don’t have to worry whether we win or lose because our hearts, our life, is safe in his plans. God becomes who we live to please—not ourselves and especially not what other’s want us to be.
We don’t have to enter every friendship with the expectation that it will end in rejection. We don’t have to hold ourselves back from relationships, isolating us further into self-condemnation.
You see, when we self-condemn, we partner with Satan’s three tools of destruction: to steal, kill, and destroy, but when we partner with God we are given freedom, joy, and life.
Our minds and hearts work together and we must realize that our self-condemnation is a default response to our fear of rejection. The way to be free is to have our mind renewed.
The most effective way I’ve found to renew my mind is through transformation and captivation.
Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore….present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
2 Cor. 10:5, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
My thoughts transform as I submit my life to God’s holy and acceptable way of living. Living fear-filled is not holy and acceptable. We are called to faith-filled and courage-filled and trust-filled lives. God finishes what he starts and works everything out.
Self-condemnation is not a holy and acceptable way of thinking. And those thoughts—the ones that tell me I’m no good or not enough need to brought into captive obedience to Christ.
Today, right now, offer your life as a living sacrifice.
The pain of rejection is worse than letting God touch those tender places in your heart. As you lay your fear down, step back, and turn your eyes on Jesus. Let his heart for you wash over you. And when you’re tempted to self-condemn, bring that thought captive and make it obey Christ. It looks a little like this: instead of saying, “I am a screw up,” Say, “I’ve messed up, but God loves me, messes and all, and I run to him instead of hiding in my shame.”
Those thoughts we have about ourselves? They’re going to come, but as we learn the process of captivity and obedience we will experience transformation and then become the fear-fighter we want to be.
I feel myself pacing back and forth at the base of what seems to be a mountain to climb. The path that God has me on is leading straight up, but I keep putting off putting one foot in front of the other.
So I find a boulder to sit on and sometimes I look at the climb and sometimes I turn my back and pretend it’s not there. Sometimes I wander to the side of the path looking for an alternative route, but no.
The path I am on leads straight up.
Or so it seems.
I keep waiting for a miracle to happen and the path will level out, but what if I need to walk that climb and the miracle will meet me somewhere between here and there?
What is this climb I am scared to climb? It’s my twelfth year of homeschooling that has me avoiding my reality that the path I am on leads straight to a climb up a hill, a mountain, whatever. Only it’s not a short climb, it actually looks like a long journey, but it’s an incline all the way.
I feel weak and powerless and fearful.
But my God is strong and powerful and faithful.
I hear the voices in my head saying, ‘Are you sure God called you to homeschool?’ ‘You don’t have to do this you know.’ ‘You chose this path so you have no right to complain, suck it up and shut up.’
But my reality is that God did call us to homeschool so questioning that call does a few things for me. It tempts me with disobedience. It fills me with doubt. I spend too much time longing for the time my non-homeschooling (sane) friends have. I become discontent and fail to hear the encouraging words of my God.
What is he whispering? Well, I wish I could say I knew, but I can’t, because I have been sitting with my hands clapped over my ears and saying ‘la, la, la’. (I am an adult, really, truly I am).
But I think I am tired of acting like a three year old. I think. Even if I’m not, the time has come to believe what God has said.
He has said he will never leave me.
He will never forsake me.
He will be my refuge.
He will be my strength.
He is my joy.
Whether I feel any of those things doesn’t change the fact that they are true. It’s also true that I have a tough year of school ahead of me. It will require more time. It will require better time management. It will require consistency. It will require much of me.
But this I know: I don’t go forward in my own strength. I don’t have any strength. But my God does. I am going to throw myself onto him and trust him to take my life and make it much.
It’s time to put those hiking boots one, hitch up my pants, strap on my backpack, grab my Lord’s hand, and take that first step.