LL School Day: Anger at God

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Image courtesy of Ben Schonewille at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s been a difficult week. My car broke down to the tune of $2,000. I finally got it fixed, and got it back last Friday…only to have it break down again on Sunday–the problem related to something they were supposed to have just fixed. And the mechanic that’s been working on it is closed this week.

Because I had just dropped most of my savings on my car, I didn’t have the money to rent another car. So I’ve been taking the bus this week and depending on the kindness of my friends.

On Monday, I waited outside my job for 30 minutes for a bus that never came. I had been trying to deal, but I lost it. I came back into my place of employment, sat in the basement room where the tourists come to watch a brief video on the history of the place, and I bawled my eyes out. It was the third time in 24 hours that I had done that.

Life is difficult. As Christians, we have zero promises in the Word about an easy life. Instead, we are told, “Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows.” (John 16:33–thanks, Jesus.) It also says that Jesus has overcome the world. But I have admit–in the moment, it just doesn’t feel like it.

And I think that’s okay. Because feelings pass. I was very angry at God for a couple of days–like full-out-cussing-and-refusing-to talk-to-Him-without-using-four-letter-words angry. I’m not ashamed to admit that, because I think it’s important that I have a fully encompassing relationship with God. If I have the capacity to feel it, it’s because God created it and gave it to me. So obviously, He can handle it. Yes, I sinned in my anger, but I also asked for forgiveness and am allowing God to heal my heart and love me again.

I’m not saying it’s right or wrong to be angry with God. I’m just saying that if it happens, God is God enough to handle it and forgive us if we sin in the midst of it. I’m getting better about dealing with trials (I was angry for two days instead of two weeks this time); but in the meantime, I can rest in knowing that God can take a shoving and keep on loving.

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LL School Day: No Respect

Read this in a blog yesterday: “Adultery is no respecter of persons.” But really, I thought it should’ve said, “SIN is no respecter of persons.

My friend has a husband who loves guns. She’s always nervous because she has two small kids and he can be somewhat careless with his guns. Once she asked him, “what if you have an accident?” And he said, “I won’t. I will never have an accident with my guns.” What he fails to recognize is that accidents aren’t planned; you don’t get to decide if an accident happens to you; they just do. They happen to everyone, because accidents are no respecter of persons. And the same goes for sin.

Look, I don’t care who you are, you’re going to fall in sin. The Word says that “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). The great thing about sin is that everyone on this earth struggles with it. Doesn’t matter who you are; you just do and you will until you die. Sin is like brushing your teeth before bed; you wake up in the morning, and your teeth need to be brushed again. “How did that happen? I was ASLEEP! I didn’t eat anything!” But yet bacteria and germs festered in your mouth overnight, and now your breath is funky and you gotta brush again. That bacteria doesn’t say, “oh, that’s Michelle. She’s a good girl; we are going to let her off the hook and give her sparkly fresh breath every morning.”

Again, the same goes for sin. Sin doesn’t care who you are; sin just says, I’m going to fester and grow. Doesn’t matter if you are a scholar, a homeless person, a mom, a dentist, or a BMX biker. Sin affects us all. You can’t escape it.

But I’m glad Jesus is my toothbrush!

 

LL School Day: Being Lovers

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image courtesy of Terrapun at freedigitalphotos.net

It’s a leadership lesson school day! These are going to be short blogs I write during the week with leadership lessons I’m learning (and believe me, I’m learning a LOT these days). They’re not going to be connected in any way, except for the fact they are all lessons.

Read recently: “Love isn’t what I have the opportunity to GET from this world; love is what I have the opportunity to GIVE.” (1 Corinthians 13)

Well, if that one didn’t punch me in the face, I don’t know what will.

One of my biggest issues is being loved, and subsequently, loving others. And I feel plenty of love from plenty of people in my life, but I have always been a seeker of love. My complaint to God has always been that I want someone to love me.

Now, I have PLENTY of people who love me. But you know, I’m usually talking about THAT kind of love.

And one of my other issues is that I know deep within me that I am always seeking to feel loved. But this quote challenged me: how much am I seeking to give love away? Not much. That’s because I’m always withholding love for fear of rejection. It doesn’t matter if it is with my family, my friends, or potential suitors, I have the tendency to be more closed off and unavailable to them than they are to me. I have known that I am afraid to love, but I didn’t realize how much I would hold back from being myself, from expressing myself to others out of that fear of rejection.

So when I saw this quote, I immediately thought…how can I move from trying to get love to trying to give love? Immediately, God told me to text someone and tell them how I was feeling/what I was thinking. So I did. The response was less than stellar/accepting, but at the same time, it was the response I needed. Because God wanted me to understand that it wasn’t about their response; if it was about their response, then it was what I was getting in return. Instead, it was about my choice to GIVE, regardless of the outcome. And that is a hard lesson, but a good one to learn, nonetheless.

So…how are you giving love away today–without expecting anything in return?

The Trio: Coworker Coexistence

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image courtesy of satit_srihin at freedigitalphotos.net

Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. (Romans 12:6, The Message)

I struggled with which of the Trio to begin with because I have a lot to say about each of them. However, I’m starting with the coworker, because though I met him last of the three, he is the first one who influenced me deeply.

The Introduction

Coworker and I met on my first day on the job. I knew from the first moment we met that he was a mercy gift; I actually told my friend that my coworker was a mercy male, and I knew it was going to be difficult. He is my age—we graduated the same year, but he is already in a high ranking government position, making hand-over-fist money-wise, and one of the smartest people I know in his area of expertise. One time, he was talking shop in my office, and I thought, “wow, this guy is smart, good-looking, and wealthy–what is wrong with him?”

I quickly found out: he lacks identity in Jesus.

Within one week of working with him, I could tell that my coworker was rebelling against his mercy gifting. I could see it in his lack of compassion for others; the way he shuts everyone out, the way he refuses to let anyone care for him at all; the way he treats the people who work for him, the almost robotic nature of his relationships with others; the way he wraps his identity in his job; the rumors about his sexuality. I could see the struggles he was having, even though he tried to hide them.

The Involvement

I began praying for him and speaking very heavily into his identity as a mercy male. I wrote him notes to thank him for showing generosity and to encourage the compassion within him that I knew was there. We had a bit of a dispute—which is NOT the mercy’s strong point, as they just can’t deal with the emotions of conflict—and I made it a point to come into the office on the weekend, when I knew I could catch him, to talk the issue out with him. He hugged me (something that no one in our office has ever experienced, EVER), and we resolved the issue. I spoke life-giving words to him whenever I could, and my other coworkers noted that even they noticed the difference in him.

But after six months of praying fervently for him and speaking into his identity, I stopped. I found myself dealing with feelings for him that I did not want to have. I struggled so badly and felt so despondent about the experience that I asked a friend to take over the prayers and I pulled back from him significantly. And I watched much of the positive changes in him fade away.

During these last six months, I have seen him become even more withdrawn, argumentative, and wholly focused on himself. He has distanced himself from staff without reason and refuses to engage them when asked. He recently said that he could “take care of himself, because he had been doing so his entire life, and he didn’t need anyone.” And even worse, as I have not prayed for him, I have seen my own heart harden towards him.

The Importance

Praying is imperative, and one of the things that I said I was going to do for the mercy male, regardless of what else I felt led to do, was pray for them. And one reminder I gave myself was, “what if I’m the only person in this entire world that is praying for him?” I don’t know that his parents are Christians, and he doesn’t have many friends. So pondering that question drives home to me the importance of bringing him before the Lord. But I’m also under this realization: prayer is not sovereign; God is sovereign. God doesn’t need me or my prayers to work in my coworker’s life. God needs me to pray so that I can cultivate a better relationship with Him and become more like Him in my daily interactions with everyone, including and perhaps especially with my coworker. I want to see him walking in His God-given identity as a mercy gift, and doing so cheerfully (Romans 12:8). I want Him to know the Lord as I do.

I was worried that I was getting too close to my coworker through my prayers. Now, instead of worrying, I am learning the importance of trusting the Lord to protect my heart as I fulfill His directive to pray. And though he doesn’t know it, I have my coworker to thank for this invaluable lesson.

Blogger Interrupted

Allow me to apologize for not blogging again last week! It was fully my intent to get back into the blogosphere with a vengeance, but I was interrupted by a ma$$ive car repair. Lucky me, God is using it to refine me in the fire! While I’m waiting–for my car and my Lord, I fully expect to post this week. Thank you for hanging in there!

The Trio: An Intro

When I posted a few months ago, I noted that I had been thinking and praying about the mercy male and his role in my life. What I didn’t note at the time was that I was feeling his influence so strongly that I honestly wasn’t sure what was going on. For such a long time I have been dealing with and wondering about the mercy gift and why I always ended up with this man in my life. I never have to look far for a mercy male, as they always seem to find me! I have always understood my own need for the softening of the mercy gift, but always felt like the inclusion of the mercy male in my life was for some torturous reason. Why torture? Simple. The mercy male and myself have a tumultuous and beautiful intertwining. The attraction between us is incredibly strong, whether it is friendly or professional, and I always struggle in my relationships with mercy males. I’m their touch magnet, their jokester, their boldness. They are my sweetpeas, my sensitivity, and my compassion. It becomes tumultuous when they, in the immaturity of their gift, cannot set boundaries, and I am forced to make difficult decisions for my own well being. They are a blessing, and yet also heart breaking. 

So imagine my chagrin when I moved to a brand new state and recently realized that I work directly for a mercy male boss, interact consistently with a mercy male coworker, and express myself musically alongside a mercy male worship leader. It’s interesting how the Bible sees the number 3 as a sign of completion, seeing as these three have completely driven me crazy over the last year! But there is something wonderful about realizing how complete this foray into the mercy gift in the mercy season has been for me. This Trio of Mercy Males has shown me the beauty and fallacy of the gift like no interactions with the mercy male has before. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more hypersensitive to their presence in my life, or if these three are just simply that much more pronounced in my life. But when I recognized that this Trio was having such an influence on me, I realized that God was giving me some answers to questions I had been asking for quite some time (see previous blogs). 

So this series is going to explore the Trio: the boss, the coworker, and the worship leader–three mercy males who are all very different and at various stages in their lives and relationships with the Lord, and yet influencing me through their leadership and lives nonetheless. I look forward to sharing what I’m learning and how I’m growing, and how the mercy male continues to shape this pushy prophet girl. 

Back in the Saddle!

Well, HEY! It’s been far too long since I’ve posted on my blog, and I’m ready to start blogging full time again. I’ve really gotten some intense leadership lessons in a trial-by-fire kind of way over my last year here in my new state, and I’m really excited to blog and share more about what’s been happening, how God is leading me and loving me, and the wonderful changes hat I’ve been experiencing. Though trials may come (and they will), God has been holding me steady. Looking forward to sharing with you all on a regular basis again!

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

 

Wow…

First of all, please allow me to apologize for not posting in MONTHS. I should explain quickly that I have moved to a new state, started a new full-time job, and basically begun a new life. I’m living with friends (very little down time or alone time) and I’m currently in the middle of a huge spiritual battle! So I can honestly say I’ve been a bit busy the last few months. It doesn’t excuse me for not writing, but I feel like it’s necessary to tell you what God has been doing in my life–and let you know I’m going to try to post more often!

First, one of the things that I had been praying and pondering over was the mercy male part of my life. I wrote that intense series a few months ago that began with a dream about Chris Evans and ended with me asking what the Lord’s  will was for me with mercy males. I think I have reached a really great conclusion on that–which I feel compelled to share in its own blog post. It’s coming soon, I promise!

Second, I’m so excited that I have this awesome new job where I am in a position of influence–and I never thought I would be there. If there is one area I would’ve told you I never wanted to work, this is it. But isn’t God funny? He threw me into a government position. Bless the Lord, oh my soul. 😊 If anyone was not made for government work, it is me. But the Lord knows better–He is in charge, not me, so we will see where it leads. 

And third, I can’t blog and not mention how amazing the Lord is and how He has totally provided for me during this transitional time in my life. When I decided to trust Him and make this move, it was unreal how He moved every little piece to cover every single thing I needed. I will likely blog a whole series about Jehovah Jireh, My Provider. Because if you don’t know him, I want you to!

Lastly, I definitely want to note how incredible it is when you speak into the areas of someone’s life and watch your prayers for them blossom and give a great reward. This happened to me recently. Being an identity coach who can see deeply into the lives of others can be burdensome or rewarding. I choose the latter.

One more thing: few things have surprised and blessed me more than the new church I’ve been attending. The pastor preached on pornography and sexual sin this past week, and he included women in the topic. This energized and encouraged me, and I was able to begin a conversation with him and his wife regarding helping women who struggle in this area. After years of desiring to see this happen in my former church, I can’t tell you how excited I am that this conversation is happening after being at my new church only a few months. Praise the Lord!

This is just a brief overview of things that are happening, so just you wait. New things will be happening with this website and ministry, and you will be hearing more from me soon. Thank you for hanging in with me during the transition!

The Envious Eye

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image courtesy of nirots / freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve been really discouraged and frustrated lately about being single. The older I get, the more it becomes a real threat that I won’t have a husband or family. I know God calls some people to singleness, but I have never felt that call on my life. In addition, the Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:9, “But if they cannot control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.” And believe me folks, especially in the last few months: I’ve been on FIRE, out of control, and more than a little ticked at God about the whole thing.

For Christmas, my bosses gave me some little hand lotions and a spa gift card. Now, I don’t use conventional hand lotions because of all the chemicals, but these were really nice sets of lotions and I wanted them to go to a good home. So I stopped by a few offices on my way through the building last Friday, eager to give out these little lotions to some friends and coworkers. At the last office, I stopped and gave the last few lotions to the two secretaries that I always chat with when I visit that office. They were excited to have such a nice, little gift and very thankful that I thought of them.

As the two secretaries were sampling the lotions, another girl—we will call her Gina—came out from her private office and asked what everyone was doing. One of the secretaries answered, “Oh, Michelle brought us some lotions.” Immediately, Gina began to make a big deal about how I didn’t bring her anything, and I should have shared with her and not just these two girls, ad nauseam. When I pointed out to her that I was the giver, and she did not get to dictate who I gave anything to, she got even more incensed. I also noted to her that I had given her really nice gifts in the past, and she replied that that was “a couple of years ago.” I also pointed out to her that she had acted in this way before when I gave something to someone else—she had come in and started taking things that I had purposed for someone else. She then stated that the person I had given those things to had WANTED to share them with everyone. At this point, the two secretaries were so undone at how Gina was acting that they offered up their lotions to her. Then she made a big deal of not accepting them because that wasn’t what I wanted. The whole situation was totally embarrassing for Gina, even if she didn’t realize it or think so.

As for me personally, I was livid, really. You see, I had given to Gina in the past, and I felt it was pretty crappy and ungrateful for her to interrupt a thoughtful moment with her incredibly selfish banter. I was mad mostly because Gina is a Christ follower, and that kind of nonsense makes believers look incredibly petty—it was trial size hand lotions, for crying out loud. As I was recalling the situation and my anger to my mother, I said, “My gosh, does Gina act this way when God gives someone else something that He doesn’t give her? Because that would explain a lot!”

A few hours later, as I was stewing and trying to pray about this matter, God nudged me about that particular comment. He said very clearly to me, “But Michelle, isn’t that how YOU think? Don’t you believe that I should give you a husband and kids? Don’t you look at other people and go, they have a husband and kids, why don’t I?”

And that hurt. Because (as always) He was absolutely right.

I tend to believe that I am not all that selfish, but it’s really not true. My selfishness comes out in different ways—in fact, I act towards God like Gina did to me. I may not do it over hand lotion, but recently, I’ve definitely been doing it over getting a new job, having my own place, moving to a warmer state, and having that elusive family/husband. And though the Lord has provided so much for me—both now and in the past, I tend to interrupt any kind of thanksgiving with my own selfish banter about what I want and need right now that He has not given me. Or what someone else has that I want. And when God gave me a brief glimpse into that, I was embarrassed—this time, for myself.

Matthew 20 begins with a parable about a vineyard owner who is searching for laborers to work his fields. He hires three sets of laborers at three different times during the day, and each group he agrees to pay a denarius. The other groups are not aware of what each is getting paid. So imagine the anger of the first and second group when the third group gets paid exactly what the first two are getting paid. The owner doesn’t want to hear their grumbling. He is basically like, “Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? So then take your money and go.” But then he says something that catches my eye and rifles through my heart like a shot: “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15)

This is the point that I tried to relay to Gina, and it’s the point that God in turn relayed to me. Gina had an envious eye, but so do I—and maybe you do, too. Wanting something that God hasn’t decided to give me yet isn’t the sin. The sin is seeing God’s generosity in other people’s lives and being envious that those gifts haven’t been given to me. It’s okay for me to want to be married and have kids and to have my own place, etc.—as long as I don’t want those things more than I want Jesus, as long as wanting those things doesn’t become the focal point of my life, as long as those wants aren’t what compel me. Seeing others get what I think I deserve—that is the real sin. What I truly deserve is death. Anything I get beyond that is gravy!

Mostly, I need to make sure I am taking pains to pluck out the envious eye every time it surfaces and regrows in my life. Because when you have an envious eye, you’re not going to see anything the way it really is—you’re only going to see what you didn’t get or what you don’t have. And by doing so, you’ll miss out on the real blessings God is showering you with every single day.