I was sitting to tea with a beautiful godly friend of mine and I gained the most loving perspective on how God views my obedience. So much so, I was completely thrown into a joy-filled outburst of laughter that overwhelmed me with amazement and tears for over 30 minutes.
Iced tea in hand, I shared a piece of my struggle in regard to a person I respect deeply. I didn’t understand how come so many of our conversations would stir up such strong emotions of inadequacy and rejection.
Not wanting this person to be seen in a poor light, I slowly began my attempt to share my heart. I began by reminding my friend of this person’s character, their integrity, their godliness and the way they are good by using deliberate and very intentional word choice—as if speaking slowly and purposefully would make my point better.
I spoke of a few times when I have felt rejected, the times when I have extended an invitation and I have been denied. I don’t often ask others to join me in life. It feels vulnerable to me to share myself with others.
That being said, for those that I have the distinct privilege of journeying with—I am thoroughly convicted to show up in an authentic way, instead of leading life the way I grew up, with many masks and lies. As a result when I ask someone to do life with me, it has been not only well thought out with regard to the impact on my life (and the life of my daughter as well) but the request has also been steeped with prayer.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
I had been feeling like I was doing that which God had put on my heart…so in these last few weeks I began asking, why was I being denied? Was it really just me who wanted to pursue relationship for merely selfish reasons? Was it my own wants and desires and not really God’s?
This is the heart in which I came to tea time with my friend. A heart that felt broken and unsure. A heart that desperately wanted to do what God was asking…but now was questioning if what I did was right to begin with…was it what God was asking me to do…a heart searching for an answer that could only come from God.
After sharing my doubts about whether or not I was doing the right thing, my dear friend challenged me with this—
You are working for God. Not for this person. When you ask if God wants you to do it again, knowing that your invitation will be rejected and He says, “Yes, I want you to offer again.” Know He doesn’t reject you. Think about His response to you. When you go to that person and make the invite because He put it on your heart, and that person declines—is He proud of you?”
She left for a few moments.
Stunned, I sat in silence trying to wrap my head around that thought…God…proud of me? It honestly never even crossed my mind to consider…I thought, “Why would God be proud of me?”
As she got back she continued, “When I said that to you, I imagined Him as your dad—[her statement of “dad” made me sharply suck air into my lungs].”
It felt like her eyes could see into my heart as she lovingly said, “Him saying, ‘You need to go invite her’ and you going and doing it.”
“Then being told no and you coming back to Him and Him saying, ‘Good job! You did a great job’…”
As my friend spoke, I could see myself as a younger child of 8 who was being guided by a holy and loving Father. His words and loving gestures leading her to do what He knows is right. Asking her to go and invite someone into their time together. She goes, the person she invites says no. It seems clear that the child doesn’t have a complete understanding of what’s going on because with a hurt expression and tears stinging her eyes she rushes back to the open arms of her loving Father and buries her head in the folds of the cloth at His shoulder. I see tears in the child’s eyes as she whimpers to Him, “I was told no, again…” And He tenderly wipes away the tears while looking on this girl with compassion and empathy. The gentleness and heart toward that little girl consoled my heart.
I was reminded as I saw that vision play like a movie in my mind, that God is incredibly good. I somehow knew that that little girl was me. I was reminded in such an extraordinary way of His tender, pure and devoted love for me…that my only response was to weep…the realization of God—tender and loving and proud…of me…His girl…as I moved in obedience to what He asks me to do. I laughed…relishing in the joy…of seeing an affectionate, kindhearted and completely safe Father…something I never really believed was humanly possible.
I felt so much joy right at that moment that I told my friend I felt like I wanted to make snow angels made of sunshine!!!
God touched a part of my heart that I had closed off for so long that I forgot it even existed…and I couldn’t help but weep with utter wonder as He filled it with an incredible love that only He can give.
What an awesome day—I got to have time with my Daddy!
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
Psalm 126:2 NIV