Its amazing how when I take these studies I’m never quite prepared for how much I’m going to learn, and how applicable it will be to my life and the very things I need to grow in. This past week (week 2), I’ve been learning from Priscilla Shirer’s Breathe Bible study about what our out of control areas really say about us. What does it mean when we’ve been packing our schedules too full, or obsessing over something we’ve lost in our life, or shopping when we really need to be saving, or arguing continually on social media? What does it really mean when we feel like we just have to do this? When we feel like we must say our piece to someone?
When we feel like we just can’t resist the urge to continue?
Priscilla talked about how the Israelites, after God had brought them out of slavery, were still stuck in a slave’s mentality. They couldn’t grasp the blessings God had in mind for them, if they would only slow down… and stop. Being slaves, they were never afforded the luxury of taking a Sabbath, of resting or resisting work that could be done. They were solely, SOLEY measured by their productivity, and were punished harshly – sometimes even killed – for their not being enough.
Not being enough. To me, that phrase has come to the surface as I’ve been studying this topic the past week. I often feel like I just can’t resist the urge to continue, because I feel the need to prove to someone or myself that I’m enough.
This last week, I had an experience that proved this fault in me undoubtedly. I posted one of my Marriage & Sex articles in an online forum that was talking a little about the topic I had covered in my article. One man in the forum started to get angry and began attacking me personally… my blog, my looks (I wasn’t pretty enough), my husband (he wasn’t alpha enough), our “shitty life” (it didn’t look “un-shitty” enough I suppose), and almost anything else you could think of. He insulted me up and down, called me several times a whore, a shit, and possibly other things I’ve forgotten.
I was amazed at my reaction… this has happened before… and I’ve usually reacted very harsh and have gotten myself dragged down into the mud with this type of person, in a sort of battle to the death. I usually feel compelled to argue to them my worth – instead of trusting in what God says about me, instead of believing that He is the only one I answer to, and who ultimately holds the verdict on my life. Before, I’ve honestly wondered (after the fact) why on earth I felt so compelled to argue with them, I knew deep down there was no way to convince them of who I really was, so why the URGE to continue?
Now I understand, instead of feeling complete and full without their approval, I felt I needed their acceptance and stamp of “Wow, You’re Enough!” on my life or my writings.
I did get dragged into the mud at first as I started to go down my usual path of trying to reason with someone like this. His insults got increasingly worse, and then I gave in to the temptation, and said some cruel words about his own situation – truly hurting him. He, of course, did not take my assessment of his situation well at all, and dug even deeper into his barrel of insults to fling. It was then that I realized what I was doing, and how wrongly I was portraying God to Him (and all the onlookers in this online forum). I didn’t want to, but I knew God wanted me to submit to Him, obey, and stop the arguing. It was clear by the way the man reacted at an even higher level of rage that I had truly hurt him, and it was clear to me that I needed to apologize and show him grace and mercy. My reply completely and utterly silenced him, the argument was settled, and even ended on the beautiful note of my offering him grace and mercy in the face of such horrible things he had said to me.
It felt incredible to submit to God, and trust that He was the One who ultimately had the last Word on my life. It filled me with so much peace and tranquility to know that I actually could (in Him) resist the urge to continue with this man down such a hurtful, unproductive, peace-shattering road. I knew I was responsible to God for how I chose to react, and so righting it and being a light to him and any others in that online forum (who knew I was a Christian), was directly related to how much I wanted to actually please God.
Maybe you’ve already learned this lesson, but if this resonates with you at all, and you find yourself thinking about a certain area in life that has started to destroy your peace, know that I’ll be praying for anyone reading this, that you find this kind of rest. That you understand that you can say “Enough is enough!” because He’s already made you enough. That you don’t feel the need to prove or argue your point anymore, because you understand that He is the one who determines your worth – it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
May you find peace in truly trusting God, and resist the urge to continue.
(Image from littletonhistoricalsociety.org)