(This is Part 8 of our devotional series “Press – The Musical”.)
Good morning, peeps!
“Til I become what He wants me to be ~ I press” – from “Press” by Fred Hammond
I think I get on my Father’s nerves.
This is the thought that came to mind yesterday as I responded to a comment on my blog. I think I really do. Not, “I think I get on God’s nerves”, but “I think I get on my Father’s nerves”. I was referring to the parental side of God. I thought about one time when my son was 4 and he asked if he could sit by me on the couch. Now that he’s a teen, I kid him by answering “Naw!”, which he ignores and plops every bit of his 100-something pound body not next to me, but on one of my thighs. Those little bony hips of his hurt! But when he was a little boy, there was no kidding. It actually hurt me that he felt he had to ask. Why would you ask me that? Of course, you can sit by me. I’m your mother.
“In the hands of the Master ~ it seems like you gotta fight and scratch just to remain”
I ended yesterday’s blog with “Good grief. Why can’t I just be?” I almost added “I’ll fast about it”, but I felt God’s eyeballs on the back of my neck so I didn’t. This is why I think I get on my Father’s nerves. He’s telling me to sit – as a matter of fact, He’s got a spot right next to Him that says “RESERVED FOR DEONE” and I still feel like I gotta do something first before I can sit there. God is probably like, “Oh my gosh!! Will you sit down already??!” He wants me to sit next to Him. He’s so tired of me and my Martha spirit of doing and not being that He’s actually making me sit.
I left something out in my story about Christopher. You remember I said that in order to get him to sit in the chair, I had to place my arm at the back of his knees. That didn’t cause his knees to bend – that only gave his legs something to bend on. What I did was pull him close to me. The combo of placing my arm under his knees and pressing him close was what caused his knees to bend. Pressing him close… I know y’all caught that. My peeps are quick!
Through this whole press, God has been trying to get my knees to bend. Knees that are stiff from distrust, doubt, lack of faith usage (this and doubt are two different things), fear, and pollution are hard to bend. They are not only hard to bend, but it hurts to bend them. I know what you’re thinking. “Um, why wouldn’t you want to “walk” without stiffness? Doesn’t make sense to me.” Well, it makes sense to me, but it doesn’t make sense. Freedom looks and sounds great, but it’s scary for someone who’s only known bondage. I know how to navigate bondage. Oh, there’s my favorite pit and my favorite stumbling block. We meet again. That “free to be” stuff? That is scary. You mean I can walk around here just being in God’s presence? What kind of hooky-pooky are you sellin’, sir?? Nah. I’ll just stay in misery because I know that and besides, having a difficult life just seems to be reflective of what Jesus had to go through and aren’t we supposed to be Christ-like? Let me stick with what I know.
God’s not having it.
“Your love never fails ~ You never give up ~ You never run out on me” – from ‘One Thing Remains’ by Jesus Culture
I’ve never felt far away from God. Not one time in my life have I ever felt like He and I weren’t close. I’ve always felt God’s presence. There have been many times that I’ve even sat down next to Him. I have had times when I’ve taken off my apron and sat at His feet. So what’s the deal, D? What’s this been all about? Have you ever felt unwelcome in a place you were welcomed into? I know you invited me, but the vibe I’m getting is that you really don’t want me here. You only invited me because you didn’t want it to look bad if all of our friends were there and I wasn’t. That’s where me and God were. He’s been inviting me to be around Him and I’ve responded, but I’ve always thought He just did it because Scripture says “For God so loved the world”. I’m one of the world people so He had to include me. Ever tried to hug someone who isn’t a hugger? Their body stiffens as you embrace them, doesn’t it? That’s where me and God were. He’d embrace me and I’d stiffen up thinking, “Okay. What is this?”
“Oh how I love this place of worship” – from “Place Of Worship” by William McDowell
I remember one of my friends praying over me this spring, “God, help Deone to be able to receive the love she freely gives to others.” I just thought of that. I am a giver. I am not comfortable with receiving love. It has always come with a string attached. And that string is usually dirty and tied to a cement block. I told you in one of these installments that I had just been set free from some stuff. That was the result of a long conversation I had with God on my way to see my sister two weekends ago. I was thinking about what someone told me was placed on her heart to share with me. She said that even married women need to fall deeply in love with Jesus to be complete. I struggled with this a little bit. I don’t know how much more in love I can get with you, Jesus. As I was driving, I began to pay attention to the songs I had in my “favorites” playlist. Every single song had a recurring message: Jesus loves me. Hmm. Sounds nice. Almost as soon as I realized that, I heard in my spirit, “It’s not a question of you loving Me, Deone. I know you do. Your life shows it. You just don’t believe I love you. That’s why it’s hard for you to just trust Me. That is why it’s hard for you to just be.”
I joined church when I was 4 and have been jacked up ever since.
Before I joined church, Jesus and I had a sweet relationship. He’d never let me down. He always told me I was special and I believed it. There was no doubt, fear or any of that stuff. I knew Jesus loved me and so it was easy to love Him back. But when I joined church… Let me clear something up. This has not been a blog against going to church. You should assemble together. You find strength among your brethren. This has been about how my view of God was changed after I joined. I no longer loved Him freely because of what man did. I no longer trusted Him because of what man did. I have dealt with a man-made health crisis my entire life and God said that enough is enough. This press not been about God pulling me closer to Him. Nope. I’m already there. It’s been all about that arm underneath the back of my knees: the arm of His love. That’s what I’ve been resisting. My knees haven’t trusted the strength of that arm. You mean you want me to be actually “leaning on the everlasting arms”? I thought that was just a nice hymn. You meant that? For reals? Yes. God has been waiting for that little girl to feel free again.
“There’s a voice that cries out in the silence ~ searching for a heart that will love Him ~ longing for a child that will give Him their all ~ give it all ~ He wants it all” – from ‘He Wants It All’ by Forever Jones
This is where I am. This is what this press has been about. About me giving it all to Him. About that little girl finally letting it all go. She’s been trying, but this adult has held onto some stuff because it’s familiar and what I’ve concluded is familiar ain’t always the best. Oh, there’s my favorite pit and my favorite stumbling block. We meet again. I shouldn’t always go with what I know. What I know is not all that great. During this press, I have discovered something else that is, honestly, scary as all get out: I have to relearn who I am. My identity or rather, my self-awareness, was lost when my innocence was taken away from me. Ages 4 and 5 are when this identity develops for a child. I didn’t get a chance to develop nuthin’. I was told who I would be. And God is now saying that this press, this bending, this surrendering, will be the start of discovering who I am.
“Til I become what He wants me to be ~ I press”
It starts with just being. No lie, I am going to have some relapses along the way, but I am determined to walk this thing out. It has to be intentional. I’m talking about breaking free from over 40 years of habitual living. I’m excited and scared. Keep me in your prayers. Love ya.