Learning to have faith.

Having grown up in a great Christian home with strong parents who lived their lives reflecting God’s love, and teaching Biblical principles, it was not too difficult to have faith and believe in the things of heaven.  It was easy to take God at his word and trust him to come through for me when I needed him to intervene in a situation…although, the question of ‘when’ he would come through, usually lingered in my mind.

As an 11-year-old child, I went through a devastating time of rejection when my best friends stabbed me in the back and publicly mocked me…in front of me.  Heart-broken and lost, I turned to the only friend I had left – the only One who had not abandoned me – Jesus.  During the years that followed, Jesus and I cultivated an incredibly strong friendship, and I developed the gifts of a worshipper and a prayer warrior.  I was on fire for Jesus.  As an 11-year-old girl, I created a prayer-list and would fall asleep each night interceding in the throne room.  I received words of knowledge for people, and could hear God’s voice so clearly…even adults would come to me and ask me to pray for them for clarity and confirmation since God and I were so in-tune.

Years later, as I became a teenager, God and I remained incredibly close, but our relationship changed into something…deeper.  His voice suddenly seemed distant and harder to hear, and his words of guidance seemed delayed.  This worried me and I thought I had done something wrong.  But one day, he gave me a revelation using the analogy of a new-born baby: when a child is an infant, his parents are always close-by; holding him, protecting him, caring for him. The child does not have to think on his own because the parent is completely responsible for his helpless self. But when the child becomes a toddler, he develops a mind and will of his own.  He starts to think independently and does not need his parent to tell him what to do, how to think, and when to learn, etc.  He is given a certain amount of freedom to explore, learn, and grow. Does this mean the child can survive on his own without his parents?  Of course not, he’s 3-years-old.  But he has been given a certain amount of liberty and room to grow. His parents will stay close-by to keep an eye on him and protect him from serious danger, but they are not holding his hand every step of the way.  By this point, they trust him to know what’s right and wrong, and he needs to start figuring out who he is without them holding his hand.  (A person’s identity begins developing when they are small children.)

So using this analogy, God showed me that by not answering me ‘immediately’ and by not giving me immediate step-by-step directions, he was “stepping back” and allowing me to grow, just as the child’s parents stepped back and allowed him to explore.  God was obviously still there, just like the child’s parents were, but he was letting me step out and explore, and giving me room to grow.  He wanted me to develop a backbone, discover who I was both as an individual and a child of the King, and wanted me to be confident in making decisions for myself (something I have never been good at.)  He trusted me to know right from wrong and to make good, wholesome, healthy choices without him having to tell me every hour.  It was time for me to be my own person and to utilize the wisdom and knowledge he had instilled in me.

This new way of thinking, and making decisions in life, was challenging for a while, but eventually, I began to trust my “instincts”/conscience and learned to follow the spirit (the still small voice) instead of depending on the writing on the wall to guide me.

Then, when I turned 18, things shifted again and I was swept into another vortex of change.  With the personality of a hard-core introvert, getting out of my shell has been a challenge from day one. I never thought I had a choice in life; I took whatever was handed to me, and I was okay with that, good or bad. I did not realize that I had a choice (to an extent) to say “no” and refuse to accept certain things. I did not understand my power and authority that comes through Christ who dwells within me, so I simply accepted everything and allowed the devil to trample on me whenever he pleased.  I did not see myself as a strong person and did not think I possessed the authority to tell him to leave me alone.  Nor did I see myself capable of making good, logical decisions.  I allowed everyone else in my life to make decisions for me, as I sat back and reaped the benefit or consequences of their decisions.  I still did not believe I had any say.

But when I met my boyfriend (now my husband), Brian, that mindset did not fly.  He saw what I could not: that I had become a victim of the enemy’s lies: I was not smart enough to make solid decisions; every decision I did make, was the wrong one; if I made a decision, everyone would judge me; no one would let me have a say; etc.  Throughout our courtship, he noticed numerous times that I simply sat back and let others make up my mind for me.  He began to point out the times when I had the opportunity to make a decision and choice for myself, but didn’t.  Then he would ask me what I would have chosen had I thought I could decide.  The realization that I had the power to make decisions that effected my life both surprised and overwhelmed me.

So, what was I supposed to do with all this newfound “power?”  And was I really strong enough, or smart enough, to make healthy, solid, logical decisions for my life?

Read more about this journey of discovering my authority and strength in my next post:  “Learning to have faith… part II”

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