Refusing to Drown in Worry| By Zuzana Niedelová

You know that feeling when everything just works out, God is providing and you don’t have to worry too much about anything? That genuine happiness and thankfulness for all that you have?

That is what I felt, or at least, what I thought I felt. When people asked how I was doing, I would talk about the great job I have, or my ministry that is going so well. I would say I had an assurance of knowing I am in the right place even though not everything is perfect, and of God’s guidance and peace.

I truly meant all that I said, but I had not yet realized there was more to everything that I had not yet seen.

It was only when my mentor mentioned something small that he noticed and valued about me that I could not hold back the tears. It was in that moment that I realized there was something more, something deeper that I was holding back not only from others but from myself as well.

I realized I felt unappreciated, overlooked, undervalued, not known or wanted by anyone and most of all lonely. As if it that is not enough, God revealed even more; He showed me I was also hiding this from Him too. I did not want to disappoint Him after He gave me so much! I felt like I had to be thankful for all I have and hopeful for what is coming.

It was unacceptable in my mind to not enjoy my life after being brought to a stream while wandering in the desert. I knew what I needed to do – God had been teaching me this for a long time. I had to be honest with Him and to know He loves to hear how I am and what my desires are. So there I was, kneeling in front of God, crying my eyes out, and telling Him all about how I felt. I did not know what was to come, but once again, I trusted that He has me in His hands.

To be honest, not much has changed. I am still insecure about my future in my job. I still long for seeing more growth in my ministry. I still miss having close friends who live at least in the same country, and I am desperate for the freedom to be myself without being misunderstood or judged by everyone.

However, one thing has changed. I am no longer alone for all this. I have my good Father by my side who is ready to fight for me, to take care of me and to give me everything I need even if it is not exactly what I asked for.

With God, we have the freedom to feel our feelings whatever they might be. Freedom to come to Him with everything that we are and pour our hearts out to Him because only He knows how to turn our worries into blessings and our battles into praise.

A while ago, God gave me a picture of me drowning in deep waters, gasping for air between the currents pulling me down and letting me go again and hopelessly reaching out for someone – anyone to take me out. Right after, there was a different picture. I was enjoying a gentle rain coming down on me during a hot summer day. Every one of us desires that rain that comes in just the right moment, so refreshing and joy bringing. Drowning, however, is not so pleasant at all.

God does not want us to drown in the worries this life brings. He wants to refresh us with the water but by His own terms not ours. He wants it to be life-bringing and easy. Although the outcome of drowning and the rain is the same (you’re soaking wet), the process makes a difference between death and life.

Maybe your desires are good and Godly, but if we try to force the blessings to come into our lives, if we try to do it all alone, if we pretend we are alright and if we deny our need for God, we are willingly jumping into the deep waters, willingly drowning just for the sake of getting to that water.

God invites us into a deep relationship with Him. In this relationship we can be real and open without any fear of judgement or disappointment. He invites us to look up to Him first and to trust Him that He will let the water come down in just the right time and in the right form, that will not be harmful but will bring us life in all its fullness.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

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Let’s Be Honest| By Chelsea Verdin

I was always afraid of those “TBH” posts that hit the internet some years ago. Giving someone permission to tell you exactly what they thought of you was not the best idea in my opinion. I would intentionally avoid these posts unless I knew I could get a really good response. My strategy was if I just avoided everyone’s honesty of me, then I could pretend everything in our relationship was okay. I could cover up and hide from all the things that I assumed people thought of me.

And if I am being honest, I would rather avoid honesty than confront every ugly lie that has taken root inside of my heart. Not because I prefer to remain some broken girl, but because honesty is painful. It exposes every single motive inside of my heart and causes me to really challenge myself on issues I would rather bury. It brings up past hurts, present pride, and future fears in ways that make me feel attacked.

Honesty is like eating right. We would all rather eat the cake and feel the regret of all the calories we gained, knowing it is the wrong choice, than to eat our veggies that taste like they are trying to kill us even though it provides nutrients. Honesty is the healthy foods we try to avoid, but all know we need more of it.

Recently, Jesus spoke to my heart about the importance of being honest with myself, Him, and others.

Honesty with ourselves reveals our motives and exposes sin at the root in order for us to begin a healing process.

Honesty with God helps us to enter into worship and prayer with authentic intimacy. Not just obligatory seeking, but pure-hearted hunger because we’ve let Him strip us of our masks.

Honesty with others breaks down walls of perfectionism and allows others to see that we are real humans who are figuring out this journey too.

In Lysa Terkeurst’s book “Uninvited”, she states, “Honesty is a suitor with piercing vision who isn’t swayed by pretending and positioning.”

Honesty is not phased by our charm but is moved by vulnerability.

Ephesians 5:13 (ESV)  says “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible.”

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 (ESV)

Lysa goes on to say, “As long as I suspect that honesty’s intention is to expose me and hurt me, it will always feel like a dangerous thing.”

Honesty is a form of light that shines on those areas of darkness that we try to hide from. Honesty calls it as it is. It does not dress it up, but rather it strips it naked. Jesus’s intention was always that we would expose sin and areas that hinder us from walking in His fullness. This way we can address it, make progress to heal it and realign with Him.

This feels painful because we think honesty means looking in a mirror and pointing out every flaw and imperfection we have with the intent of being abandoned, but it really means unwrapping wounds and allowing them to heal so that we can accept the full love of God.

It is easier for me to lie to myself about my motives and the things hindering me than it is to honestly say I need help. It is easier to avoid them and ignore them than to expose what is truly been breaking me. But honesty and vulnerability go hand-in-hand, and when done with the understanding, that honesty is not trying to destroy me, it is actually trying to restore me. I come to realize that honesty is my ally, not my enemy.

Have courage my friends. This is not some overnight fix. It certainly takes lots of practice and dedication to allow the Holy Spirit to work on your heart. If you are in a place of excuses or justifications for the things in your life, maybe it is time to get honest. Maybe it is time to reevaluate your priorities so that you can realign yourself with God’s promises. I know that honesty helps get us one step closer to His perfect will.