“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
2 Corinthians 10:5,
“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” The NIV version translates, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
My agenda for this blog is to face those thoughts that haunt me when I choose to coddle my flesh and feelings over Christ. It is nothing more than an added bonus if you are encouraged by this open letter to my inner thoughts.
What am I doing?! Who am I kidding? I am not equipped to carry the burden of serving an entire ministry…not even alongside my sister who possesses an admirable light-heartedness and connection to our target audience. I feel You pushing me, but if moving forward requires more responsibility and vulnerability, I don’t want to go. Of course, I won’t flat out tell you no, so instead, I’ll tell You things like, “I’m not a speaker, I hate crowds, and I fear the spotlight. I’m terribly flawed, temperamental, and the master of second-guessing.”
Condemnation. Any trial I face is punishment for my past sins.
Anyone’s rejection or disinterest is a reflection of me. So, I spend hours re-analyzing scenarios wondering if there’s anything I could have done or said differently? I look in the mirror and wander… (Not acknowledging the abundance of compliments and affirmation that I receive from family, friends, strangers, and JESUS!)
I have no relevance or identity here. Now that I’ve moved away from my parent’s I’m just a small fish in a big pond. I’m starting all over. Telling my friends, “I miss or need you” would reveal a level of vulnerability that I’m not accustomed to...so I don't.
You’re single because of you. Your friend’s relationships are thriving and you’re still alone. It must be something about you.
These are thoughts that I have allowed to consume my mind at night. When I decided to force them out of my closet into God’s lap, in return, He gave me His Word concerning such thoughts.
What am I doing? I’m doing what God has called me to do. It's not my ministry, its His. It's not a burden, but a privilege to be called.“You didn’t choose me, I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit…” (John 15:16) As for hiding, “If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness around me to become night – but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.” (Proverbs 139:11-13) Clearly, God doesn’t need my perfection, just my willing participation.
Condemnation. Punished for my sins? What sins? (Not to be taken out of context. We are in fact responsible for our actions and may very well deal with the consequences, but once repentant, God does not hold a grudge against our offenses.) “Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” (Micah 7:19)
Rejection is a reflection? Not quite. I am a reflection of my Creator’s workmanship. “You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it!” (Psalms 139:13,14)
My identity is in Christ, and my relevance is not tied to my location. God is with me wherever I am. “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
I’m single for now. There's no shame in that. I’m not alone…I am His. “…I have called you by name. You are mine. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:1, 4)
I am a living witness that the moment you decide to get OUT of your feelings and INTO the Word of God, He'll provide all that you need. His comfort is like no other. His conviction challenges my stubbornness. His Holy Spirit won't allow me to comfortably sulk. I've invested enough in others to let go allow others to pour into me when I'm low. To receive love requires vulnerability. I'm learning. Thank you Lord for the freedom and conviction that this has brought me even as I type. Amen.
Your daughter, Bri
One thing that I've discovered over the past few months is that when I'm in a hurry to make my room look decent, I begin to toss things in my closet and I try to hide the junk. It's a great fix when you're having company and the only path that leads to the bathroom is through your room. If only people knew how much laundry I had hid away in my closet. Just a whole heap of mess concealed from the public eye.
Well, that's sometimes how we treat our spiritual life. In front of everyone we look absolutely perfect. However, if someone was to open that "closet" door what would come tumbling out? Secret addictions? Hidden hatred? Un-forgiveness? What have you tried to stuff away into that hidden place? Are you hiding it so that you can handle it alone with God? Or, do you think you can hide it from Him too?
One thing that I have learned is that eventually what consistently maximizes normally over flows. Eventually, that hidden laundry wouldn't stay behind my closet door so I began to make piles outside of my closet door, but now people could see them. Sometimes, my friends would make comments on how it's time to do laundry and I would become offended. Who do they think they are to tell me what I need to be doing?
Just like I became offended with comments on my natural housekeeping I became offended when people began to comment on my spiritual housekeeping as well. I had some things stuffed so far in my closet that I was too embarrassed about ever revealing them. How could I, Monique, have something be wrong? I'm a fixer! I founded a ministry! If anyone knows Jesus it's me! Yet, I wouldn't even take anger off the hanger for Jesus to even rectify. I shouted on Sunday but wore the shoes of hatred and tossed them in the closet Sunday evening. A grudge so deep that I forgot that I had even put it away, but my closet was so full that every eye roll and smacked lip leaked out and showed what I had tried to hide.
Nothing fell out my closet harder than depression. I was so good at hiding it that I even convinced myself it wasn't in there. But God never forgot what I had tried to conceal. He kept record of everything I had tossed into my secret place. When my life began to leak out hidden laundry that I didn't want aired, he kept me covered. When my mind began to slip and I would wake up not knowing who I was, it was God who reminded me of my name. Nightly cold sweats and tears hidden in a dark hole in my heart and God was eagerly waiting on me to give him my hidden burdens...but I couldn't. I wanted to be perfect for Him. I wanted to be perfect for everyone so I continued to stuff things into my closet. Day by day, I had became a walking charade living in a closet full of despair. It wasn't until I decided that my sanity was more important than those embarrassing secrets that I realized it was about more than just me. I needed to rid of this laundry and empty my closet for those God wanted me to minister to.
We fail to realize as followers of Christ our first purpose is to gain believers for His kingdom. How can we be effective living a lie? How can we speak of deliverance to others and never be able to accept it for ourselves? It's imperative that we take care of 'us' too.
So I leave with this, don't allow your closet to conceal your reality. Sometimes it takes others to help you along the way and that's okay. How free it is to live an actual life of peace than to pretend to live in peace and suffer with a chaotic mind. God already knows what's in your closet. Allow Him to help you spring clean!