Tools of the Trade–Mirrors or Hammers?

On the heels of an amazingly extravagant weekend celebrating my daughter’s 5th birthday came blowing in the whirlwind of rejection. Don’t get me wrong—our weekend in Disneyland and California was fantastic; wonderful memories were created and I’m sure my daughter will remember it for the rest of her life–as will I. But the joy was tainted by a letter of “rejection” received just a few moments ago. And while I knew this was a possibility, and it’s not the first “rejection” I’ve received, it stings nonetheless.

Satan uses one rejection to bring up memories of others—people rejection, publisher rejection, performance rejection…etc. Feelings of rejection began early in my childhood. I was a heavy kid with bad acne so the attention I got was not the kind I wanted. I learned how to be a people pleaser very early so I could receive at least some positive reinforcement. Everyone likes to be happy, right? So I went out of my way to help the people around me be happy. It’s what I wished someone would have done for me.

All weekend long I had been thinking about a recent “people-rejection” situation in my life. I prayed over it continually and asked God to help me move past it. Just as I was getting “over it” I received a letter of rejection from a publishing company. Another gut blow.

Satan uses people and circumstances in our lives to assault us with a common “theme”. The theme assaulting me throughout my life is “you are rejected” and “you are not loved”. Even though I do my best to “live peaceably with all men”, trying  to recognize and acknowledge my faults, apologizing, trying to make amends, and continuing to encourage others, I find I am still misunderstood more often than not. My intentions are questioned and my motives are doubted. Through all of this is the same message, “you’re not good enough and nothing you do or say ever will be good enough”.  Over the years these feelings catapulted me into severe depression, physical self-abuse, and even attempted suicides.

I have since learned to ask God to show me how to deal with these feelings biblically (What can I learn? How can I allow God to change me through this situation?). I also ask God to prevent me from being used as an instrument of negativity in someone else’s life, because we are all being assaulted with a message from our Enemy. I do not want to be used by Satan to deliver a message to someone that they are not good enough, loved or appreciated, or whatever the message may be. I realize that many times I have been this “tool” and I continually ask God to open my eyes and eliminate these occurrences from my life.

Perhaps God is calling you to the same area of self-examination. You see an individual  or think of them and immediately have unpleasant thoughts. Maybe you think they’re out to get you, out to hurt you, or that they’ve rejected you. If you feel this way you may be dealing with un-forgiveness. Ask God to help you deal with these people as He would have; treating them as you wish they would treat you (Matthew 5-7).

And if you are battling rejection either relationally or circumstantially, ask God to help you deal with those feelings biblically. It may be tempting to retaliate against such people—wanting them to feel the way they make you feel by ignoring them, sending hate mail, “unfriending” them from social media and the like, but there is a reason God has allowed it and you will never grow spiritually in that area if you pretend like it isn’t a problem. When we fail to see people (or circumstances) through the eyes of Jesus, we will likely face similar situations again and again until we learn to deal with them appropriately. God never gives up on us or teaching us His ways, and I am thankful for that even if it hurts!

Whatever you are feeling today, whatever messages your Enemy has tried to send you or use you to send others, God wants to help you recognize and combat them with His word of truth. If no one else ever understands or accepts you, God does. He will never leave you, forsake you, reject you, misunderstand you, or ignore you.

So, the next time you’re tempted to react a certain way, ask God if you’re being His tool, or a tool of the Enemy in that situation or person’s life. What messages are you delivering with your words and actions? I recently read something and it’s a good thought to end on:

“If my life was the only source of God someone was introduced to, what conclusions would that person make of God’s character based on my reflection of Him?”

In other words, is my God a God who rejects, withholds love, criticizes, assumes the worst, and condemns, or is my God a God who forgives unconditionally, displays compassion, and gives grace? Am I a hammer or a mirror?

“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” Psalm 116:5

“In the same way, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

 

New Life

I think I am still “hungover” from Sunday, that is, emotionally hungover. Despite my exhaustion yesterday, I felt as though I were soaring with the eagles. I’ve been trying to stay integrated in the truths that have allowed me to receive the freedom Christ provided.

In The Steps to Freedom in Christ, there is a list of lies believed about God, and the corresponding truth. I have been reading them (out loud) over and over again since Sunday.

I renounce the lie that my Father God is absent or too busy for me and I choose to believe the truth that my Father God is always with me and eager to be with me.

“‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.'” Ezekial 34:11-12

As I was stepping into the shower yesterday my daughter said, “Mom wait! You forgot to get on the scale!” I stood there dumbfounded for a moment before responding, “You know what? Mommy doesn’t need the scale anymore.” She shrugged her shoulders and climbed in the shower with me. At that moment I realized how my behavior had been affecting my child. She was so used to seeing me get on that scale every day, she had been stepping on it right after me. She is only 4! “Oh God, forgive me for teaching my daughter this harmful pattern, help me create new habits for myself that she will want to mimmick.” One of these new habits is reading out loud The Overcomers Covenant in Christ. Samantha enjoys sitting with me while I read it, and asks me questions about it.

It’s not enough to eliminate bad habits, they must be replaced with new, wholesome habits.

I renounce every unrighteous use of my body and I commit myself to no longer be conformed to this world, but rather to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, and I choose to belive the truth and walk in it regardless of my feelings or circumstances. – from The Overcomers Covenant in Christ (Neil Anderson)

Today is a new day, the second day of my new life, and I am seeing things with a new set of eyes. My husband came home and I had a new love for him.

I look at my daughter and see radiating innocence and beauty.

I look at food and see nourishment, not punishment. For as many ups and downs as I’ve had in my Christian walk, I have never experienced the life I am living now. I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6) and for once I believe that is true for me, not just everyone else. I am God’s temple (1 Cor. 3:16) and I am complete in Christ (Col. 2:10).