the good fight starts with losing

I have noticed a pestering issue over the last few days: feeling like I am not chosen.

To much degree, we see what we are looking for or are sensitive towards. Hence the verse in Jeremiah (29:13) saying that you will find the Lord if you seek him with all of your heart. When you look for something, you find it. In psychology, this is called a self-fulfilling prophecy (i.e. if you are wearing heels and think you may trip, you most likely will). When people see “signs,” I believe it is because they are already thinking about these things and you are apt to see what you look for.

So, as I have come to a place of constant digging and being in a place of consistent vulnerability, I see and hear messages about the Lord and relationship often. In the most recent messages, I find myself at a loss. There’s a lot to work on in myself. At times, I find myself beginning to turn my frustration on to others in my life who I feel have locked me out, who have chosen to not include me, who have made a choice to leave me as a friend. This makes me feel as though I have done something wrong in being myself, that there is something about me that is not enough. And I feel more anger than I feel comfortable handling.

This theme of being chosen over, being left out, is hurtful. So I have begun to practice some of the tools I have learned recently and what I will be teaching soon. That is, looking back at when this first started. I found myself reminiscing about a specific childhood memory. There was a boy on the playground that used to make fun of my freckles. (I know, who makes fun of freckles? They’re so cute!) As I was sitting at dinner that night, and my parents asked about my day, I remember sharing this particular incident with them. In my child-like frustration, I felt attacked and as though I did not measure up to this person’s opinions of what was acceptable, as though I was somehow not good enough. My parents, in their humor and desire to see me develop into a strong woman, did something I’ll never forget: they gave me permission to fight. I was instructed that if that boy was mean to me again, I could punch him in the face- but I had to make sure he wouldn’t get up again so I had to mean it when I punched him. The next day I saw this boy on the playground. As he came near, in my new found permission and confidence, I told him that my parents said I could punch him if he messed with me again. He didn’t say a thing to me for as much as I can remember.

Being called out for being different, being set apart, being spoken to in a way that points out what someone would consider a flaw- that is hurtful. But I do not have to sit in that place. I am given permission to fight- to change that situation.

This is good. However, I saw the power that speaking up about my ability to fight had; it scared the boy away. My ability was not only empowering, but scary. I can now see in my life areas that I fight (and have fought) and scare(d) others away. It’s a learned reaction of defense that kicks in when I feel vulnerable. I can also now see how my speaking up about my abilities isolated me- using my freedom and power to push others away. I can see how I began to be quiet in an effort to be included. I began to hide my power so that I wouldn’t scare others boys away.

And, looking back, I can see that the fight didn’t end; it then turned inward between God and myself- a civil war. I began to fight with him about what he has called me to do, what he has given me, what he has crafted in me. Living in a place of constant resistance will rub one the wrong way and wear you down.

I’m thankful for the Lord’s stubborn pursuit- that he did not give in, that he fought with me, for me, and won me. What I first considered a loss, a defeat, I have reconsidered and now accept as the first step in the right direction and a move of love towards love. When you lose what you have, you find what you need. When I lost my fight, I found that God wants only good for me. He wants to be in relationship with me, not in a war with me. He does not desire for me to struggle, but his desire is freedom for me to pursue him and walk in that freedom.

But that means I have to stop fighting with him and move from this place of fear of how I am made, to delight in my weaknesses and perceived weaknesses. He can do a lot with my weaknesses. It is in my weaknesses that he can shine. If I am always strong, how can others see the Lord move and work? If I am never in need, how to people perceive the Lord? As unnecessary? That is absurd; I find myself in ever more need of the Lord day-by-day.

I do have power. I have a lot of power. I have the power to fight. But when I release my defaulted nature of fighting and boasting about my own power, the Lord then has access to use that power in more effective ways. I can fight for others. I can fight for what I believe is true about the Lord. All of that energy that was being used to fight against the Lord is now accessible to the Lord to use to fight with him.  

And when I let go of my own fight with the Lord, another amazing thing happens: I am able to more clearly see him in those places I feel alone. I am able to see how he meets me in those moments I feel as though I do not measure up. I am able to invite him to come close because I am no longer resisting him.

Taking a few moments to dig into memories about feeling attacked and hurt, then becoming frustrated and angry in my hurt and believing that I was capable of fighting against that vulnerable feeling- that I could handle it on my own- that I could make the pain go away; leading to a place of realizing that the fight that started on the playground as a child has been ongoing in many areas and relationships in my life; learning that I do not want to fight and recognizing that this allows the Lord to do more and to come closer; which is ultimately what is the deeper desire; to be accepted, to be enough.

There is much power to be found in admitting I am weak. There is much to gain from losing the fight.

 

 

 

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