I’ve been hurt, betrayed, and abandoned. I’ve had friends slander me and assume the worst. I’ve simultaneously craved relational intimacy and spurned it.
And I’m not alone in this. So many of us are maintaining surface level friendships, longing to go deeper, to unveil who we truly are and connect with those who love us, flaws and all, but fear of rejection continually gets in our way.
Can I just say, I get it. I understand your longing to be known fully and loved deeply, to find those people who not only get you but promise to stay.
I also know the fear that comes from past hurts. We all have scar tissue, and this distorts our perception. Makes us leery and self-protecting. So we step into new relationships with our running shoes on, ready to bolt at first sign of conflict.
But that only perpetuates the problem, adding hurt upon hurt, defensiveness upon defensiveness. Loneliness upon loneliness.
What if we did this whole friendship thing differently? What if we determined to stay? To push through the hard—to be the type of friend we ourselves long or?
On the night before His death, Jesus gathered His disciples together, and after having told them about all the difficulties that lay ahead—persecution, imprisonment, execution … He prayed that “they would be one” just as He and the Father were one. (John 17:21, ESV)
That’s deep, enduring unity—the kind that goes well beyond the casual friendships so many of us maintain.
To develop the type of unity Jesus prayed for, we need to love as He did. Less than twenty four hours before his execution, He washed the feet, an act normally performed by household servants, of Judas, the very one who would betray Him. Then, shortly after His brutal death, Jesus intentionally sought out Peter, the friend who’d denied and abandoned Him.
His love for them wasn’t dependent on their actions to Him. And He didn’t hold grudges or nurse wounds. When there was a rift, like with Peter, Jesus took the initiative to make things right.
That’s hard, especially when we’ve been hurt, but its oh, so necessary. If we don’t learn to do this, to press through the hard and hold tight to one another, we’ll never experience the deep connectedness our hearts long for.
The next time conflict arises and you’re tempted to self-protect and run away, press in—first to Jesus, and then into the friendship. Learn to hold tight. To work through the hard, surrendering your hurt and heart to Jesus, as you learn to live Wholly Loved.
And if this is an issue you struggle with and an area where you’d like to learn how to walk in deeper freedom, then join us for one of our upcoming Bold and Brave Conferences. You find out more HERE.
You can register for our June conference (at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Lincoln on June 23rd) HERE.
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My foot edged out of the airplane door in preparation to jump, the cold wind slapping my face and screaming in my ears. As I leapt, I glanced down and realized that I wasn’t wearing a parachute. I was gripped with terror!
Ok, so that was obviously just a dream. But we face fear or anxiety almost daily, right?
In the Bible, God repeatedly commands us not to fear. In fact, fear is such a big deal that Scripture mentions it at least 365 times (one for each day of the year). It’s easy to understand why fear is bad. For one, it reveals a lack of trust that God’s in control.
But, feeling frightened is human instinct, right? God, how can we possibly just “not fear”?!
I don’t think God is threatening, “Don’t ever feel afraid again … or else!” Rather, through Scripture, He proves that Christ’s victory over death is the reason we no longer need to let fear control us and equips us to strip away its power.
In my dream, I was free-falling without the proper protection needed to land safely. Honestly, I would still be nervous even with a parachute strapped securely to my back. But, I could quiet my worry with the knowledge that I’d dressed myself appropriately for the situation.
God calls us to dress daily…in His armor. You’re probably saying … wait, armor is for battle. Why do I need that? Fighting fear is a battle, my friend. And failing to put on the armament He’s provided is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute.
Ephesians 6:10-18 lists each part of God’s armor: the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, boots of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit, and how we can use it to stand victorious in Him each day.
Praying this protection over ourselves won’t stop bad things from happening or prevent us from feeling fear. But, fully dressed, we’ll have every weapon God provides us at the ready, so we can quickly recognize and put fear in its place….in His hands.
Are you controlled by fear? Don’t fight it alone. Instead, dress yourself in God’s armor and step into the battle alongside the One who will always win.
Do you struggle with fear? Want to learn how to learn how to live in greater freedom? Then join us for our next Bold and Brave conference, hosted by Good Shepherd Presbyterian in Lincoln, Nebraska. Find out more and register HERE.
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