As I planned on leaving the only job I’ve known for years, I realized I had this big fear of being the new kid again. I’m stepping into a new arena where I might fail. I might fall flat on my face, and that’s ok. Coming to that realization was a huge thing for me. Not wanting to be a failure, or have others see me fail was a big part of my people pleasing. Being raised as a missionary kid, I always related to God as my Father. That’s just who He’s been to me. I left for boarding school at a young age, and since I was separated from my parents for long periods of time He became so much more than just ‘God’ to me, He became ‘Dad’. And so I never felt like I had to earn God’s favour, but somehow I shifted that to earning man’s favor. One of the main things I’ve been freed from is people pleasing; that side of me is totally gone. I don’t have to serve to the point of exhaustion anymore.
For a long time I think my arms have been so full with the stuff I picked up, I didn’t have any room for the things God wanted to give me. It was like I looked at what He offered and said, “Oh yeah, thank you! I’m just carrying this right now.” Before, it was as if I needed people to see my faithfulness. I was always so aware of people watching me, I would think, “What if I make this big step of faith and I’m following my heart, and I fall flat on my face and we can’t pay our bills?” God’s taken away all of the ‘what if’s’ in my life. I was resisting stepping across the Jordan River into His promises because all I was seeing was my giants; so God had me list all my giants, and then He just cut them down one by one.
I realized that sometimes our excuses and all that stuff becomes our comfort. I felt so comfortable slogging through trenches, simply because that’s what I knew or what I thought I deserved. But as soon as you step out of that mindset, it’s certainly not comfortable, but it’s so exciting. I have this buzz of anticipation all the time now! I’m excited about finally seeing changes in my life. I’ve been stuck for so long and fruitlessly trying to get myself out of it. I’ve watched other people step into freedom. I’ve honestly had the phrase go through my head: “Why does everybody get to be free but me?” The biggest shift happened in my life when I realized it was me holding myself back! All because I wouldn’t receive and listen, which is nothing! Create space for God to speak! It seems way too easy.
God gave me this picture of a seashell, only I didn’t realize it was a seashell at first. It was just a dark hole with gross spidery things trying to crawl out of it. In the picture, I kept trying to push them back inside this hole, but they kept popping back out. Finally they crawled out completely, and then this wave came and washed everything out of the hole, sand and sediment and all. That’s when I realized I was looking at a shell. I asked God: “What was that thing that left the shell?”
“I was washing out the judgments of other Christians. Now look, there’s
more room for My love in you!” I kind of looked at the shell and laughed.
“Yeah,” I admitted. “But that’s just one shell; it can’t expand or grow. So that doesn’t expand my capacity for love very much.” Then it was God’s turn to chuckle. It was like He zoomed my vision out, and suddenly I saw an entire beach full of shells. And He said,
“When you’re ready we’ll go dig out the next one.” I think the most beautiful thing about that entire picture is that it’s in my timing. He’s not just going to rip stuff out of my life whenever He feels like it. When I’m ready, it’s as simple as me asking the Father, “What’s my next shell?”