A legalistic upbringing made her feel caged in.
“It’s my body, my life. I can do as I want.”
Told, “I wish you were never born”.
“I am unwanted.”
“I am scared of being alone. I have to be with someone.”
Sidelined while they fought their battles.
“I mustn’t deserve love.”
An alcoholic and abusive Dad. She turned to substances and prostitution.
“It (love) can never be for me. I am too spoiled, too ruined, too dirty.”
Abused by the men who ‘loved her’.
“Love hurts too much. I can’t let anyone love me.”
Their ugly divorce confused and frightened her, she started acting out. She was thrown out of home, and out of school.
“I am just trash to be thrown out.”
A childhood of abusive suffering. Looking for someone to blame.
“God must be cruel and vindictive.”
A beautiful face. Insecure, and unsure of her worth after her father left.
“I have to be beautiful to be loved.”
These lies have formed deep inside the hearts of some of my girlfriends. The words spoken or unspoken, the things done or left undone, have become the foundation from which they live. Desperate, they have adopted ways of thinking, feeling and coping to deal with the pain inside.
Knowing these things about them, loving them, sent me to God with the cry, “God, I know You are the answer. Show me…”
My own life was inwardly unstable. God needed to work here. My personal lies had much to do with my perspective of God. I had heard all my life, “God is love”, but love never really showed up when I needed it.
I remember well the rough experience with the birth of my youngest son: a difficult labour followed by a difficult and distressing recovery. I was exhausted from having a new-born alongside two pre-schoolers. Physically I was struggling and mentally, my emotions were frayed. I remember Christmas morning. My youngest was only 7 weeks old. Family was over to celebrate the day, and as much as I tried to be part of it, I couldn’t. Not only was I dealing with some physical complications of his delivery, I had pneumonia and a breast infection. I left my baby with my mother, sisters, and sisters-in-law, and fell into bed. As I was laying there my thoughts played out, the same way they always did when stuff hit my life.
What are You doing God?
Why aren’t You helping?
Why do You allow this stuff to happen to me?
Where are You in all this?
Don’t You Love me?
I feel like a puppet on Your strings and You are just a cruel Puppet Master, sitting up there in heaven playing with my life – doing with me as You please. I have no say and You are just using me for Your own warped pleasure. I hate You.
Could I even dare say that? Would I incur Divine wrath for my outburst and be struck down? Had I stepped over the line – would God punish me?
Lord, You know I love You, why don’t You listen? I don’t understand,
would be my eventual prayer as my anger calmed and I resigned myself again to a place of confusion with Him. This was how it always was. It wasn’t the first time. This was the cycle of my emotions and thoughts each time something went wrong.
My thinking was built on a wrong view of God – He didn’t really love me. He was cruel. He didn’t care. He was just playing with my life. He was a punishing God. These lies were the source from which I acted out and responded every time I was faced with trouble. I don’t really know when and why these lies formed, but they were the push that directed my thoughts and actions. If you can’t trust someone, if they don’t come through for you, if they’re not there when you need them, you have to take control of your own life. You have to survive the best you can.
Strengthen your Core.
A random Google search of these three words very quickly revealed that there were over 152,000,000 results, with the words Strengthen Your Core referring to the importance of the core muscles in our body: the rectus, transverse, obliques, diaphragm, and pelvic floor. These core muscles serve 4 important purposes – to give strength and stability to our physical frame, to expel waste, to protect our inner organs, and to define our shape. 152,000,000 sites that I could read up on how to strengthen my core, but not one of them referred to my inner self – that part of me where my heart, soul, spirit, and emotions reside. That part of my girlfriend’s inner selves that was falling apart and needed a new foundation.
Why was there nothing that spoke to our inner health, only to the physical? Could these 4 things relate to us somehow?
Jesus tells this story –
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash (Matthew 27:24-27, NIV).
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock…
Jesus has words to say. Listen up! The word rock here means solid rock. Rock that is firm, unchanging, faithful, and safe. It is God’s truth – the most important being the knowledge and experience of His Perfect Love. This rock is the foundation I should build my life on. My foundation was far from solid. My house was built on an incorrect perspective of God – of lies instead of truth.
“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house…
Storms come. They always do!
Storms come from above (rain). A rainstorm is not a gentle shower. It is torrential, heavy, and uncontrolled.
Storms come from below (the streams rose. Floodwaters NLT). The streams are no longer gentle, meandering waterways, they have burst the banks. The water rises high and covers everything, to the point that we feel like we are overwhelmed and drowning.
And storms come from all around (the winds blew and beat). Lashing winds beat and strike repeatedly with great force.
Storms by nature are a violent disturbance to the normal (against that house). The rain, the floodwaters and the winds that come against us – are just that – against us. They disturb, overwhelm, disrupt and attack our house – the dwelling place of our inner self – our body, mind, soul, spirit, and emotions.
Strength and Stability.
“Yet it did not fall…
It won’t collapse (NLT). The words did not or won’t are definite words, meaning, for sure, or, you can be certain. Really? I can be certain that my life will not collapse when stuff comes against me and overwhelms me – if I build my house on the rock?
Storms hurt, they are hard, they can overwhelm, but Jesus is saying here that I won’t fall down, crumble, crash or be destroyed if my foundation is built on Him – if my foundation is built on truth. The truth that I am Perfectly Loved by God! Perfect Love means that no matter what storm hits, I am completely safe in a love that provides all I need, for every situation I face, that speaks to the value of me, that is always there when I need it, that is for me not against me, that understands the unique me I am. I needed this truth to become the foundation of my life; it certainly wasn’t my current reality. I’d collapse into bitter words with God, angry, disappointed and disillusioned towards Him every time something went wrong.
“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand…
Ignorance is the reason. I don’t know God’s love, or my perspective is wrong, my walls are too high from the brokenness I have faced, my ruin is so great that “I couldn’t turn to God even if I wanted to” (Hosea 5:4), or I find myself on a blind pursuit trying to find love, help, and the answers to my deep questions anywhere but in Him. I act foolishly because of my ignorance.
Sand is large amounts of broken rock! If God’s truth is Solid Rock then anything other than that is broken rock: sand. Broken, as in worldly philosophies, things that sound good, make kind of sense, I like it, I have been told them by people in my life, or where I have been deeply hurt, and these broken ‘truths’ have become my inherent beliefs that I live my life by. Lies, like the ones formed inside the hearts of myself and my friends.
Storms will come (they always do) and when they come against us, overwhelm and strike at us, our shaky foundation of sand cannot hold us together emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually.
“And it fell with a great crash…
It will collapse (NLT). We get defeated by life. Unable to withstand the things that come against us we come crashing down. Our lives fall apart. Everything just seems to add to that lie we believe, and the walls go higher. Again, will is a definite word meaning, for sure. We can be certain of one thing – that we will fall apart, be unable to gain control, and be left floundering when the storms come (and they always do).
There are two types of foundations. The first is truth – which is from God. Which is solid rock. He is Truth (John 14:6, NIV). He is full of Truth (John 1:14, NIV). His words are Truth (John 17:17, NIV). And His truth is, “I love you”.
Then there is the foundation of lies that come from the Evil One, “Not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44, NIV). “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:1, NIV).
The lies I have believed about God, the lies my girlfriends have believed, are broken-rock truths. These have become the foundation that our ‘house’ – our life – has been built on.
If we continue to believe these, we will collapse time and time again. These lies challenge the Perfect Love God has for us. Instead of intimacy with God, we believe that we can do as we please with our lives and our bodies and that in this free lifestyle, we will find satisfaction. Instead of believing in the great value we are to God, we have this belief that we are of no value. We search constantly, therefore, in things that make us feel like we are worth something. Instead of a confident belief that we are Perfectly Loved by God, we feel like He is against us, cruel for allowing things to happen, wanting to punish us. We believe love hurts, and that God’s love must be the same, so we keep Him out too, it’s too painful to let love in.
If we build our lives on the truth, on the solid rock foundation, that most important truth to know – that His love for us is Perfect – our lives will have a foundation of strength and stability, and we will not collapse when life’s storms hit. Knowing this knowledge deep within, as Eve knew within the depths of her being, that she was loved, is what can dismantle the foundation of lies – the broken-rock, ruined, sandy foundation that has been my life.
The core muscles of my body also play the role of getting rid of waste out of my system. As I have the courage to let God love me, the lies (the waste) are identified in my thinking, and I begin to find confidence in the security of His love; able to expel wrongful thinking and replace it with the truth – I am so loved by Him. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV).
God’s love has begun to expose the lie, He wasn’t here when I needed Him most. He mustn’t love me, and replace them with truth. When I find myself in a desperate situation and think He doesn’t care, when I feel like He has left me to weather the storm on my own, when I feel like His love has failed, I am hearing now more loudly the solid-rock truth that He will never leave me or forsake me, and that His love for me is unfailing. I am so valued by God that He is always there, always right alongside me.
Protects my heart and my mind.
My heart and my mind are hardened and broken. I have put up walls in my life to protect me from hurt and from the ruined love I have experienced. Throughout my lifetime I have been hurt by others – their comments, their distractions, and disinterest, their cruelty, their lack of commitment to me, not seeking me out, not including me, not being trustworthy, breaking their promises to me, rejection of me – all have resulted in a hardened and broken heart. “Oh God, why do I feel so broken so often? Why do I feel I am of no value? Why is it that there is no one out there who finds who I am as precious? And when I think I have found someone, and I courageously risk giving a piece of my heart to them, and they mistreat that, or don’t treat it with great worth, my heart gets broken – again and again – and I fall to thinking that I must not be worthy of love”.
God’s truth protects when I learn to let Him love me. As I find myself being embraced by Him and coming to know more of Him, I begin to understand the value I am to Him, and I find that though this world’s version of love is so broken and continually breaks and hurts me, I can have strength and protection in knowing and experiencing first and foremost that God values me, and He loves me with a Perfect Love.
Years ago (beginning of time), it was decided that bodily shape was important. In the early 20th century an item of clothing became an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe. It was a core garment: a Roll On. This undergarment was designed to give good body shape and to hide any undesirable rolls. It gave sharper definition to the woman’s existing shape. It was called a Roll On because that’s what they had to do, literally. The woman had to step into the garment and roll it up into place. It was a tight, corset-type garment that was uncomfortable but it gave the desired definition of shape.
Emotionally, mentally and spiritually, we need to be defined by God’s truth. Truth says we are greatly loved. Truth says we are forgiven and no sin is held against us – He does condemn or punish us. Truth says that He has good plans for our life. Truth says we can be His daughters – a precious part of His family. Truth declares that God knows all about us and understands us completely. We need to be defined by what God says about us, loved, not by what others say or have said about us, or our minds shout and accuse and lie to us about. And as uncomfortable as it can sometimes be to be redefined, we need to step into love – and let it’s truth begin to dismantle our walls, expose our lies and become our new foundation.
Though I have discovered truth here, it is not easily received. The work of Love can take as long to heal as the lies did to wound.
Continued in next week’s Blog…