I realized today how long it’s been since I’ve written a post like this. I am most prone to attribute it to busyness, I am a very busy lil’ lady these days, but I honestly think it’s just because this is the first time since I can remember that I am truly happy.
For the first time in my whole life, I’ve had a season where my prayers were not begging Jesus for essential needs, though I still do have a lot of things that I need, but more simply thanking Him for what He’s doing in my life. I wake up in a very cozy and beautiful home in Nashville where, at least five days out of the week, I get to work on art for a living. On the days that I have to actually go into work, I go to Honest where I work with all of my best friends to serve coffee to a community of regulars that love me and support me… not to mention that Honest supports me greatly by letting me host monthly classes there, plus they sell my art and let me paint a giant painting every single month that gives me significant exposure. And on top of that, I am dating the actual most wonderful man I’ve ever met who cares for me and makes me laugh and is so handsome and supports me in ways I never dreamed were possible. Everything here is truly wonderful. Plus God’s given me a great amount of new friends on top of wonderful best friends who are present in my life and safe people for me, a church that I love, and a significant amount of clarity for my future.
But lately, I’ve started to have anxiety attacks again. Sometimes it looks like heartbreaking dreams that wake me in sobs, sometimes it’s not being able to sleep because I know there are people in my life who do not and will not ever care for me in the way I’ve always hoped. Though my Nashville world is two-shades-short of perfect (and only imperfect because my car and household appliances decided to break all at the same time LOL), I have been deeply hurt by people who should love me but instead do things they know will hurt me and then call me names when I’m upset. While everyone who knows me and experiences me daily here understands me and hears me and loves me, others assume the worst in me even while they aren’t present enough in my life to truly make a judgement of me.
And honestly, lately I’ve been feeling attacked by this. I feel attacked by opinions of me that shouldn’t matter, given by people who are neither present in my life nor safe people for me, people who do not support me, encourage me, or celebrate me. They tell me that I’m not good enough and that my hurts do not matter, all the while not even taking a moment to try to understand me.
“O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no salvation for him in God.’ But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy hill.”Psalm 3:1-4
But God. Though there are people against me, people who say that God will not save me and does not love me, the Lord my God is a shield about me. When I am cut down and made small and misunderstood, God is the lifter of my head. When I am belittled and brought low, I remember that God is my glory and portion forever. When I call to the Lord, He answers me from His holy hill, and salvation is His alone. I can sleep because God sustains me, and I will not be afraid.
And what is freeing about all of this is that when we remember all of these things and write this on our hearts, we can use these promises as a foundation to stand on and do the unthinkable: love our enemies and pray for the people who (even continually) hurt us. We have the ability to show compassion though we received none. We get to use God’s strength to be like Jesus to people who have really messed up (and will more than likely continue to mess up) and become people who live lives of walking forgiveness. We have the beautiful ability to live like the new creations that we are, even if others never take the time to understand us, affirm us, or encourage us. We can love without any expectations of reciprocation, knowing that in Christ Jesus we are fully loved and accepted and known.
Friends, this life is possible for all of us who love God and follow Him. We are empowered, not hopeless. We are cherished, not overlooked!! Take heart dear ones, the Lord has conquered and in Him we are already victorious, forgiven, and equipped to do good works… even the ones that are very difficult. We are free to not rely on the affirmation or acceptance of others, but instead are given the beautiful reality of living already loved and free to walk without the weight of anger. And when it gets hard we remember these things: that the Lord is the shield about us, our glory, and the One who lifts our heads.
Walking with you and praying for you always.
All my love,