I have entered a new world of “diet.” It’s called eating right without counting calories. Can I get an “amen”? I can’t even begin to tell you the freedom I feel away from the food scales, the calorie apps, and the nutrition logs. This yeast-free, grain-free diet (Know the Cause Phase 1 Diet) may seem restrictive to some, but I feel absolutely liberated. All I have to do is choose food that is free of grain and yeast (sugar is a grain!), and I can eat whenever I want and (for the most part) how much I want, which has resulted in a loss of 25 pounds in about as many weeks. Ah…the sweet life away from keeping tabs. It’s enough to make a girl smile.
Now while that little bit of info may seem delightful, can I tell you something that has freed me even more? The liberty of not tallying rejections! You cannot even begin to imagine the playground taking place in my heart because I don’t have to foist guilt on others nor tote bitterness around upon my shoulders. I get to be free. Oh yeah…that puts a grin on!
Needless to say, this didn’t happen overnight! By the time I first said my prayer to ask Jesus to be my Savior and King, I had gone through much pain and rejection…all by the ripe old age of 19. Though I didn’t understand it at the time, I had learned to carry an inordinate amount of pain, which meant that until I grasped how to offload my inner torment to God, I experienced a near-extreme breakdown over the smallest signs of rejection. My limit for pain and rejection had reached capacity.
Yesterday I randomly recalled a memory from an event that took place after I had been saved about five years. My husband and I had been asked to host a table at a church dinner…and no one sat with us. Well, one friend, but she was in the choral assembly and only sat with us half of the evening. I remembered the hope I felt each time someone came near and the excruciating disappointment each time they sat someplace else. Try as I might to contain them, those tears determined to flood my eyes.
Reflection has taught me to see that though our table was in the front near the stage, it was completely opposite of the door, which allowed people to inevitably find seating before our table. Also, I’m certain that if those dear coordinators knew what inner griefs tormented me, they would have done everything they could to put me at a table nearer the door. The pain of the evening was not intentional, yet it did happen.
Fast-forward many, many years to another dinner at our church. Yet this time my husband served as an associate pastor. As we wended our way through the tables in search of seating, we get offered seats at the head table, which we declined…mostly because the darling hosts who extended those seats to us would have had to vacate them! No! Not for us. Then our eyes fixed on a table with a cute young couple seated all alone. The sweet young wife carried a hopeful, longing expression that I remembered so well. On the way, friends pulled us aside to tell us that two seats remained at their table, but we knew we had to decline. Our choice had been made. One big table with one sweet couple awaited.
As I sat there, I could not help but wonder at God’s goodness. Had I never known the pain of a lonely table, I would never have looked for the hosts who sat alone. Never. My husband and I would have sat happily surrounded by friends and gone home content, naively ignorant of another couple who may have gone home with broken hearts.
I learned one of my life’s most valuable lessons that evening: a pain yielded to God reaps a bounty of graciousness.
Because I had determined early in my Christian walk that if I was to be God’s, He had to have all of me to do with as He saw fit…including my pain. He had shown me such continual faithfulness and love that I felt safe in laying down any deemed entitlement to pain and rejection. Over several growing years, I learned (repetitively, too, I must say) that because my pain is precious to me–for it often came at a cost–it is precious to Him…and I can trust Him with it.
Since I expect absolute honesty from myself, you need to know why this all came up lately. Plus, I want you know I’m not serving up leftovers here–these inner meditations result from a current struggle with rejection, from which I repented of my feelings of entitlement and pride but this morning. May God strengthen me by His Spirit even now.
In my past two and a half years of, more or less, living a primarily solitary life filled with extreme exhaustion which often precludes me from the simplest tasks, I have received very little encouragement or assistance from those outside my home. I receive invitations to events, but no simple note to cheer my weary soul. I receive tons of “hellos” sent via my family each Sunday, but rarely a quick text or facebook greeting. My heart feels pricked when I know of others who get sick for a couple of weeks or face a time of trial and have help with dinners, while I have received maybe four…about one every seven months.
Now please understand…I’m not complaining…I’m merely attempting to paint a portrait of my circumstances so you can glimpse the surroundings from which my heart must find succor. And know this–the moments of feeling spurned arouse themselves so infrequently that they do hardly make a dent in the overall makings of me. However, I paint them here now because so many experience such pains…and they don’t know how to stop counting them up and then putting them on others.
Please enter the real deal, my highest solution…well, to pretty much anything: I spend each morning with God. Through His word I glean some key truths on which to hang my hopes:
- My Father sees (“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” 2 Chronicles 16:9a.)
- My Father understands (“You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you understand my thought from afar” Psalm 139:2.)
- My Father cares (“Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7.)
My Father God has a plan plotted out for me to conform me into the image of His Son, which stands as His purpose regardless of the actions or inactions of others. I get to stand alone before God in my circumstances and inquire of Him what He sees and holds just for me. I don’t have to tally anyone else into the equation. My God + me = freedom from the tyranny of painful rejection and joy in the knowledge that He’s making me like Jesus. Woot-woot, ya’ll!!
So now we come to a second of life’s most valuable lessons (two in one blog–who knew?): we can choose to bind the responsibility of our pain on others or release them and trust God–we cannot do both.
Isn’t it interesting how a healthy diet for one’s body and a healthy diet for one’s soul can run so parallel? In both areas, if we dine on the right stuff we don’t have to keep track of the wrong stuff. And God’s word filled with God’s wisdom is the very best of stuff. In addition, when my soul is hungry, I can eat anything I want from God’s menu to my heart’s content which will result in the transformation of my mind until my inner being looks more and more like my Jesus!
I now find myself at the final of life’s most valuable lessons for the day (That’s three for those who are counting!): Freedom from harboring the pain of rejection allows me to walk through life’s situations with a heart to minister to others rather than wondering who will minister to me.
Stop counting sins (and calories!). Keep reading God’s word. Start serving instead of expecting to get served. And never forget that God’s truth in God’s way brings the most exhilarating freedom…always!
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1).