When I got married my whole world flipped upside down. Most people can attest to how much your life changes when you add another person in the mix and then try and do life together. For me, it was even more intense. I added another life to mine, I lost my dream job in ministry, I was maligned from the pulpit and as a result lost the majority of my friends. All around at the same time.
I was paralyzed. I lost my purpose, I could not dream. Every belief I had about life and ministry and of course my naive expectations about marriage were all challenged. The people I went to for support, spiritual guidance, advice…gone. The people who would have been celebrating me, doing life with me, encouraging me…gone. I had no support system and no one to turn to except God and my husband.
Through all the hard times and the ugly times I chose to learn and to grow instead of staying stuck in my funk, licking my wounds letting things fester. Here are a few truth nuggets that radically changed me when they sunk down deep into my heart.
1). Rest. I do not have to work for God’s approval and I refuse to work again for mans approval. Grace is so real and tangible. I do not have to strive to be good enough for God to love me, for Him to use me, for Him to speak to me.
I was in ministry for a long time before all of this happened. I know how the game is played. The first service after I was ‘sat down’ from ministry, I showed up to help with set-up. I was going to prove to the leadership I did not need a title to serve. I saw the shock and approval in their eyes as I grabbed a mop and headed to the bathroom. There I was, so proud in my humility as I cleaned the bathroom. God stopped me dead in my tracks and almost audibly spoke to me, “Are you here cleaning the bathroom for Me or are you serving for them?” I dropped my mop and walked straight out of the building. My heart was so convicted, but in that conviction was a freedom. It does not do me any good to serve for mans approval and if I am serving to gain God’s approval there is no point because I already have it. I had spent years of my life serving, working for God’s approval and mans, I now had a revelation that I did not have to do anything to be worthy enough for God to love me or use me.
2) I do not have to be other people’s Holy Spirit. I trust the God in me, and I trust the God in you.
You may not be in the same place in your journey as I am in mine and that is OK! It is not my job to judge you, try to control, manipulate or punish you out of fear. I spent years on the receiving end of these toxic control tactics, it is not healthy. I can love you, support you and champion you even if I do not agree with your decisions or convictions. Disclaimer: there is a time and a place to confront people in love about their choices or lifestyle, but it is not my job to make them do what I think/feel is right.
3) My identity is not found in what I do or what people think about me.
I’d been in ministry in some shape or form since I was 17 years old. My identity and self worth was very much derived from what I was doing and accomplishing for the Kingdom. When that was all taken away, I was lost. The temptation was to find other things to do that gave me identity, but that did not fix the root issue. I had to find myself, to learn to love and appreciate all the amazing things about me, outside of what I do, and whether or not anyone noticed. I had to remind myself what He said about me and learned to walk in the confidence of knowing who’s daughter I was, what authority I walk in, what gifting I carry. There is no one else like me and I do not have to try to be like anyone else. I am awesome!
4) Assume everyone is doing their best. Forgive. Move on.
It is hard to think the ugly things people have put us through are offerings out of the best of themselves. People are products of their environments, knowledge and experience. They can not be better because they do not have better. They are doing their best in whatever stage of personal growth they are in. For example, my 4 year old son is not evil when he pushes his sister in an argument. He is frustrated or angry and does not yet know how to express and manage his emotions. He is doing the best he knows how. There are many adults who do hurtful things out of what they feel are justified means, good intentions, or because they have never learned better ways to communicate, act or react. What is done is done and it sucks. Acknowledge the hurt, process the pain, forgive and move on. What can I do now? I can not go back and change the past. I have to find out what I can do here and now to move forward.
My life has done a 180 since those first few months of marriage. God has brought so much healing I am now in a healthy enough state to start to dream again. I am finally starting to go after those areas of my life that I let die or that I thought were lost forever. Let me know if you have any questions and please let me know what you think. I will be writing a separate blog all about my marriage and our journey through all of the unfortunate events surrounding our decision to get married. Stay tuned!