My people and I have started a thing in our group. Once a week someone is the person of the week. That week they tell their story, whatever story God has for them to tell. The rest of us pray over them that week and come back to speak words over them, to them, of what we think God needs them to hear.
This week was my week. I actually got an extra week so I pretty much agonized over what story I would tell for the better part of 2 weeks. Basically, I argued with God that I was sure He could pick a better story for the better part of 2 weeks. This afternoon when it came time to do the thing, I did it though. And it was good. I mean the story was no different than the one I agonized over, but it felt good to tell it, to let them into that piece of the puzzle. To take down the wall a little further and be honest that, yes I struggle with my story and that it doesn’t always look like I thought it would.
After it was over, the things they said, the words they wrote, they spoke to my heart. It’s funny looking at them because some of them are the very things the enemy says I don’t do well, the things I am lacking in. Yet, those are the things my people chose to highlight, God chose to highlight. I will treasure these words.
Peace has been lacking lately, well for a while. And as the above quote says, that’s a sure sign the enemy is at work. I feel like I can never do enough or love enough or present myself well enough. I feel like I have no place sometimes, that I have too many roadblocks, and that my struggles are too much, that I’m too much. That I’m one more difficulty away from losing it all. And that makes me try harder, but I don’t find peace in that. And sometimes that makes me want to give up entirely, to lay down my sword and surrender. And that’s where the enemy gets me. He makes me feel like I am alone, unloveable, and I should really keep my problems to myself after all. Can I not handle things on my own? Well, these are lies, and the truth is I cannot handle it on my own, at least not well.
I need to rest in who God says I am, and in the security I find in Him (and in my people). Sure struggles still come; absolutely I can be better. But, ultimately He says I am His and that He loves me. My people say it too. When one of them pulled things from the book of Esther, I mean…God knows me. And that is my favorite story.
I look at those things though and I don’t always see that version of me, the one they see. I see the one who struggles, the one who could do better, the one who isn’t perfect. But if I was perfect, would I even need God? If I didn’t struggle, would I understand the sweet peace of resting in His promises? If I couldn’t do better, would I even try? Probably not.
I think it’s time to rest in who God says I am for a while, while leaning into what He has for me next. I still hope for less trials and more blessings to come. But maybe sometimes the blessings are in the trials. Tonight I am grateful once again for people who pour into my life and love me well, whether or not I am good at being loved. They teach me how to be loved and how to keep fighting this battle. They teach me that even if I need to lay down my sword for a minute, “God’s got you” (as one frequently says). As long as I promise to pick up my sword again soon, they will fight for me too. I can rest in all of that. Fight on, friends.