Category Archives: Vulnerability

‘Tis So Sweet: ‘Neath the Healing Flood

ID-100463957“Oh how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood!”
-‘Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus,  Louisa M. R. Stead

“And the Lord said to tell you that THIS TIME, your MIND will NOT get in the way!!”

My friend said those words forcefully during the prayer night as she spoke about THIS MAN. How did she know?, I thought to myself. I laughed a little bit as she said it, remembering all the past hurts I had experienced with guys and how I would obsess to the point of allowing even the smallest perceived rejection to send me spiraling out of control–to reject before I could be rejected. The most recent hurts, even though they were a couple of years in the past, were still on my mind a little bit. But I was pretty much over that stuff, fully accepting of myself and ready to date. So I agreed fully–she was right, God was right. I was in a much better place, and this time, my mind was not going to get in the way.

Honestly, I can’t decide whether I am naive or ignorant. I mean well; I’m not purposely thinking of myself as better than anyone else with regards to how I handle life. I guess for some reason, I believed that when the Lord said “My mind would not get in the way,” it meant there would be no issues or struggles. But that’s not what my friend said, and even more so, that is not what He meant…because that is not how He works. He works by bringing our core issues to the forefront so that we can work them out with fear and trembling. And that does not happen often without struggles.

So the first time I began to experience even a modicum of perceived rejection from THIS MAN, I freaked out a little bit. Mind you, I used the word “perceived” because that is all it was–my perception. A friend that I had (finally) confided in reminded me astutely: “Your mind is not going to get in the way.” I took this as a word straight from the Lord and let it go. But I was not as lucky this past weekend.

I was having my 10 percent day, and in the midst of it, I was feeling again a perceived rejection (again–PERCEIVED) when my flesh pounced. Instead of walking away from the damning thoughts, I waded neck deep into them. I stayed away from church, from the people who love me when I am at my deepest place of despair. I stayed in bed all day (since I hadn’t slept the night before), and I cried the majority of the day. I plotted and planned on how to make an easy escape from the difficulties of facing myself and THIS MAN; how to reject him before I could feel that rejection. I ruminated about it the entire day, making up excuses for why I could never be close to him–my personality was too big for him, he wasn’t mature enough, we didn’t have anything in common–and verbalizing why I perceived he was choosing not to be close to me. I obsessed and spiraled out of control, remembering the hurts that had been piled upon me from past relationships.

Normally, I would’ve done something extreme during those hours–unfollowed him on social media, sent a regrettable message, made my rejected feelings known in some way. But for some reason, I didn’t take any action. Then suddenly towards the day’s end, I started repeating Isaiah 26:3 to myself:

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

It was almost immediate, the wave of relief that came over me. I felt like I had been literally plunged into His healing, cleansing flood. Peace washed over me as I settled down. My anxiety faded. My heart relaxed. My mind became focused on the immovable grace, peace, and love of Jesus.

And that was it. He was simply waiting for me to relent, to return. Waiting for me to come to the end of myself. Waiting to remind me that there’s so much more work to do in me than I even can see. And waiting to tell me that no rejection, real or perceived, from THIS MAN or any man can replace the acceptance He has given me as His precious daughter. I just need to trust Him and let His love heal and cleanse me.

I realize now that I will struggle, and that my mind may get the best of me on some days. But as long as I continue to trust Him, my mind will not get in the way. Not this time.

Advertisements

The Trio: Safe Supervision

ID-100375213

image courtesy of lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Introduction

The first time I met my boss was during my interview; he had his head resting on his hands the entire time. He was exhausted, and there was no denying it. When you’re in politics, and a mercy gift to boot, it’s highly likely that you’re doing some people pleasing–and that was definitely the case with my boss. A compassionate man, he is always willing to listen and give people his time. Everyone who calls our office claims to be “a good friend” of his, and he knows more people than I ever will. (But like a true mercy, he has very few who are actually close to him.) He has told me many times that he needs a great deal of time to process, and he is married to a prophet woman who does a great job of giving him many of the things he needs. More than just compassionate, my boss is caring and has grown into his mercy gift at age 61. He has something that the other two in the trio do not yet have: maturity. And beyond that, he has what my coworker lacks: acceptance of his gift.

The Involvement

The involvement with my boss on my end has simply been that I have gotten to be led by a mature mercy male for the first time in a long time. It has been less about what I am doing to be involved and more about what I am learning through my relationship with him. I have worked under former mercy male leaders, and it has been disastrous in some areas. It is helpful that my current boss and his wife are devout Christians; that his wife has a solid identity and therefore does not feel intimidated by me or challenged by my involvement in his professional life; and that I myself am more grounded in my own identity in Christ. It is wonderful to genuinely care for my boss and see his gifts displayed in such a public way, with such maturity. He is incredibly good at asking for help in the areas where he does not have great control, like boundaries with his time. He is not only well liked, he is well respected by folks in all walks of life and is one of the humblest men I know. Working with him daily reminds me of how much I want a Jesus-loving, humble, grounded-in-his-identity, mercy male husband of my own.

The Importance

My boss represents something in a mercy male relationship that I have not experienced in a long time: safety. This is a stunning revelation to me, even as I write it. Last week, as I was thinking about this blog, I actually said to myself that I did not know what the importance of this relationship was–but now it’s very clear to me. Listen, I know relationships, people, even LIFE ITSELF is not safe. Nor did Jesus call us to a safe life. But I know that I have been avoiding mercy males–or at least keeping a safe distance–because of how many times I’ve been hurt by them. And while I am aware that Jesus assured us we would have a life full of troubles (John 16:33), I am also aware that we are to guard our hearts, because all of life springs forth from it (Proverbs 4:23). I am enjoying the safety of my relationship with this mature mercy male because we all need safe people in our lives. He does not flirt or lead me on intentionally or unintentionally; he does not use me to get his touch needs fulfilled; I don’t feel guarded around him because he is mature enough to set his own boundaries. That means I don’t have to guard my heart, because he helps in that area. So instead of feeling stressed and worried around him, I am enjoying a kinship with a mercy male, and our dynamic flows exactly the way God intended it to. We joke, we laugh, we share, and we naturally work well together but not in any kind of inappropriate or unhealthy way. In fact, he just got back from a week-long trip, and the first thing he did when he saw me was give me a hug. I did not feel used, I did not feel weird–I just enjoyed the cool, safe relationship I have with a mercy male.

There’s something to be said for feeling safe in a relationship. And while I know my ultimate safety comes from spending time in the arms of my Savior, it is nice to know that I can also find safety in a relationship with a mercy male who has no agenda except to care for those he leads. And that has been remarkably healing for this pushy prophet girl.

 

Jehovah Jireh: More Than I Asked

Whew, I know it’s been another long drought since I last wrote, and a LOT has happened in the last few weeks…but this one is worth sharing over and over.

One of the things I’ve wanted more than anything over the past few years is to share my testimony in my church. I wanted to do it for several reasons: first, I sat alone in a church pew for years believing that I was the only woman who struggled with pornography or sexual sin or fantasies…and when I finally found a home in Celebrate Recovery, I realized that I was NOT alone. And though their stories might have differed, there WERE other women whose struggles were similar. I think one of the tools the devil uses against us is isolation: “You are the ONLY PERSON who has ever disappointed God in this way. You are the ONLY ONE with this struggle. Your struggles are unique only to YOU.” And I wanted to see women freed from that isolation, freed from hiding away in their sin and darkness.

It felt like each time I lobbied to share my testimony, I was blocked. I shared it here, on my website, but sharing it in person was not allowed.

Until now.

This is one of those things where God is just showing off. I wanted to share my testimony at my church. God allowed not only for me to share my testimony in my church, it was shared across the five campuses of my church. The video director said that folks came to him asking how they could share it with other churches. And I believe that God is using my story to bring light into dark places.

I asked, and my Jehovah Jireh gave me more than I could have ever asked or imagined.

I just had to wait for His timing. I just had to be in the right place. I just had to keep praying and asking and believing. And here it is, the short version to my story, captured neatly on video for me to share with all of you.

Praise the Lord for His faithfulness! And thank you to my church, Faith Assembly, for allowing me to be vulnerable in hopes of making room at the table for everyone. (Click on the link below to see it!)

Michelle Hill’s Testimony

 

Pardon My Hiatus…

ID-10062977

image courtesy of digitalart / freedigitalphotos.net

Oh friends, it’s been a crazy 2015. I didn’t plan on taking such a long break from blogging and writing, but it happened nonetheless, and I am truly sorry for such a prolonged absence online. I have been coaching and also working full-time at a job I don’t really love while looking to move down south away from a climate I don’t love (snow?! NO!). I have been helping a friend with her kids due to a herniated disc in her back. (Yes, me! With kids! I’m really awesome with them, haha!)  I have been tired.

But most importantly, I have been learning several tough but necessary lessons about my life, about my gift (and all the gifts), about the Lord. The most recent one was yesterday…and I plan to share much of it with you over the next several weeks. I’m going to delve back into the spiritual gifts, because they are so much a part of who we are and who God created us to be…and because I KNOW they are such a large part of my calling and my passion. Your spiritual gifts are, perhaps, the most important part of your PureID™. So I am going to talk about them and share more and more about them with you.

I look forward to being back here with you–and perhaps even sharing shorter posts more frequently–very, very soon!

The Porn Identity: Being Vulnerable

ID-10056400

I have a problem with being vulnerable with others. I rarely share what’s going on with me; I have walls around my heart and I’m careful with my feelings. After a friend told me I was missing out, I began considering how I could be more vulnerable, open, and intimate with others. Then, the other day, I had the opportunity to share my feelings with someone, and I did: “…I just want to spend time with you,” I said as I was walking away. It was the truth and it was from my heart. It was also met with a joke, and then deafening silence for weeks. I told my friend, seems all I was missing out on was pain.

I understand the desire to withhold vulnerability—having experienced tons of hurt in my life from other people, it seems better to hold it in and lose myself in a fantasy world, whether in my mind or one that porn created. But the porn identity has taught me some false ideas about being vulnerable with others:

  • The porn identity says that vulnerability is controllable. Porn creates a “safe” environment for its users, a place where I control the intimacy in my life. You don’t get “hurt” by people in pornography. You are in control of your pleasure receptors. But in real life, intimacy is uncontainable, wild, and overwhelming. Sometimes it releases those pleasure hormones, and other times, you are writhing in pain from the hurt. It is not safe or controlled, and there is no guarantee you won’t get hurt if you actively participate in love and intimacy in the real world. Here’s the good news: Jesus promises us that though we will experience hurt and suffering, He has overcome the world (John 16:33). It’s easier to say than do, but resting in that promise is something I’ve been trying to do recently. And Jesus didn’t say we might experience hurt, He said we will. But how we will handle it?
  • The porn identity says that being vulnerable isn’t worth it. Right now, I am fighting against this old identity, asking whether being vulnerable is even good. If people are going to ignore or pay no attention to your feelings, is it really worth it to open your heart to others? It doesn’t feel like it. It feels safer to stay behind the safety of my walls. But here’s the good news: God tells us that it’s worth it to trust in Him and give our hearts to Him (John 12:23-25). And if I could just focus on that—if we could just focus on that—then human responses to my vulnerability would matter less. Instead of letting humans tell me what is worthy, I need to focus on what God says is worthy. And He says that being vulnerable, honest, open, and accountable with Him is worth it—especially since He made the ultimate sacrifice of vulnerability for me.
  • The porn identity says that you deserve vulnerability in return. It’s funny that I would say, considering that pornography offers you nothing real in terms of intimacy. But because porn preaches that you deserve fulfillment, you begin to believe that you deserve it in all areas. However, life doesn’t work like that. Sometimes, people hurt you and they don’t return your intimacy. What then? Then—the good news: the cross reminds us that being vulnerable even when others reject us means we are becoming more like Jesus (Isaiah 53:3). The key to life is godliness—becoming more like Christ in everything we do. It means changing the way the world—or pornography—has said to do things and focusing on doing them God’s way. Jesus still suffered death on a cross for every person on earth, even knowing He would be rejected by many. We are called to die to ourselves, our wishes, our expectations—and live for Jesus.

I don’t know if I will continue to be vulnerable with this person, but I do know that, after a few weeks of hurt, I have reached out to others and let them into my pain. I realize it’s important to grow in this area, and as God continues His challenging work in my life, I know I must continue to be vulnerable, even at the risk of rejection…because that is the God identity I want to embrace!