When you are in your own world- isolated, focused on goals, and not connected to those around you -it can put you in a very lonely place. I did not know it then, but what I do know now is that I have missed out on a lot because I stayed to myself, determined to be successful and let nothing get in my way. I did not make an effort toward fellowship and I am seeing the fruition of that right now. Honestly, it hurts a bit to think about. I am not saying that I regret what happened, but I have learned so much and I am thankful, to say the least, that I have another day to do something different…by God’s grace alone.
At times it can be difficult to sit still, be patient, wait on God, and do what is necessary to build intimate relationships. Communication is a process and it is qualitative work that cannot be shuffled over or dismissed. There is difficulty and there is pain, but if you do not take the time to do what is necessary to grow and mature, then you can end up in a position where there is no advancement or development. Many times we end up in friendships or relationships where people are comfortable and are not interested in being inconvenienced. I used to try and force friendships or people to go in the direction that I thought would be best, and that never worked out. Only God can truly change and transform a person’s life. If someone is unwilling to grow, remember to do what you can and trust God to do what you cannot.
In other instances, people like to walk away from friendships or relationships because that is what they are used to doing when things get difficult. However, when you do this without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you may not just be walking away from that person, but you may also be walking away from yourself. I once believed fellowship was not at all necessary because being successful was more important. I did not take time to nurture friendships that could have pulled me out of life circumstances and situations that had me shackled. I tried to carry the weight of my problems and everyone else’s on my shoulders. It was painful, and spiritually there were times that I felt like I was literally carrying around another body because my burdens, sins, and the life issues of others were so heavy. This can leave us in a sinful state because we are not fully relying on God. Rather, we are leaning upon our own strength.
In such a time and space, we are enslaved and the sin has become our guiding force. We are unable to get out of captivity because it is dictating our every thought, feeling, and action.
Stop trying to carry what you were not equipped to carry, or fight battles alone that you are not armored to fight without God. Stop allowing people’s responses, reactions, or lack of control your life. Sometimes we give people power above God to set the atmosphere, and we end up carrying what they are dealing with and become a puppet in the show they are directing based on how they feel as a result. It is not worth it, sisters. Ask God to show you what love really looks like. There is a possibility that your idea of love, family, friendship, or a relationship can be off. The fog and the veil of deceit that has done nothing but cloud your life must come off so that you can see clearly.
“Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help,” (Psalm 107:10-12 English Standard Version).
The only way to be free is through Christ. Some might say, “How?” They would want me to list a practical, step by step way to freedom, but it does not work like that. I do not know the path that God has for you or what He wants to do in your life, but what I can tell you is to start by crying out to Him. We have to start somewhere. I used to ask people about their journey and although each story was different, their beginnings were the same. The stories always started out with a calling out to God. No matter how long it takes for you to receive freedom, I want you know that when you do, it will certainly be worth it. Things will never be perfect, but the journey towards your freedom will be worth it. I guarantee it.
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron,” (Psalm 107:13-16 ESV).
Even after reading this message, some of you may not cry out to God. You may think there is a better way than Christ. However, I want you to know that being in a relationship with Christ and surrounding yourself with people who truly want the best for you, difficult or not, is such a satisfying place to be.
Tomorrow is not promised, so make today count.
daily devotional Francine Ott