Being Real

When I was a small child I was for real, I was true to myself. Then I grew up, and somewhere along the way I learned to pretend. Basically I thought that I needed to be someone else to be loved, liked and successful. But even if I could pretend I was someone I wasn’t with others, I could never fool myself. I knew better, and therefore I didn’t love, like or approve of myself. I had so little love for myself, I’ve had to ask my heart for forgiveness later on. I hurt myself. It took me some time to learn to trust and love myself again.

Believing we’re not important, lovable, beautiful, etc., is so destructive, yet oh, so common. Look around and you’ll see it spill all over the place. Or, maybe you won’t even have to look around to find this belief.. ?

For years tried to prove myself, to others, to God, to myself even. I always improved, but never enough to fill the void on my inside. No matter how far I reached, total success was just out of reach.

Not long ago it dawned on me how little I know myself. I hadn’t allowed myself to have needs and wants for such a long time. I asked myself,

“What do I like?”

“What do I need?”

“What am I passionate about?”

These questions were hard to answer. It was hard for me to come up with any, or just a few “likes”, “needs”, and “passions” that I was certain about. Some things seemed so shallow, so meaningless. Then there were other things I felt I should feel passionate about, but wasn’t.

I had to come to terms with that, and it took me a while. I felt disappointed with myself, and a little despairing too, having a hard time finding anything at all that I could see myself being passionate about for more than a short season. The way I felt, Heaven would be like Hell in this state.

Slowly but steady, however, I got to know myself better. It was as if my heart crept out of its shell after being in hiding for a long time. I realized that I did indeed like a lot of things, but maybe not what I had thought. I had to be honest with myself and agree that there were things I felt that I should like, such as for instance being in the lime light, or preaching, that I didn’t like at all. I haven’t quit doing these things, and I will probably keep doing them, but I honestly would feel better about someone else doing it, and I’m more and more ok with admitting that.

I realized I had several needs that were being unmet, such as enough sleep, a good bed, or having good boundaries in certain relationships. Eventually I learned to love myself better, and acknowledge that I do indeed have needs. I’m not entitled to these, and I don’t expect to always having my needs met, but I now acknowledge that my needs are there, and that they are important, even if I sometimes (often) have to put my needs aside for someone or something else.

God created us with needs, for love, for community with each other. For us to help each other meet each others’ needs.

When you ask yourself, are you able to answer:

“What do I like?”

“What do I need?”

“What am I passionate about?”

If not, you should sit down and find out. Find out who you really are, appreciate and love yourself, and you’ll get so much further.

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Being Ministered To

(Written 2012)

God want us to be whole. Did you know that?

This truth really hit it home with me a few months ago, while I was on a ministry-trip.

Yes, a ministry-trip. Those trips where you minister to other people in different ways. I’m not even sure where this lie snuck in, but somewhere in life I bought in to the lie that I’m here to minister to others, and that I’m not that important. You’ve probably heard it; be a servant, be humble, love others, etc.

When you think about it, it doesn’t make sense though. I mean, none of us are going to care about being ministered to ourselves, but we need people to minister to!?! Where do those people come from? In this kind of mindset, you’re either a receiver or a giver, and you’re told you should be giver!!! So we’d produce a culture of givers, but with no one to receive..

I’ve been on a bunch of ministry trips over the years, and although I would grow from the experience, see great things happen, and overall be encouraged, I’d also always feel burned out by the time we were done, or even before we were halfway through. I had this mindset (unconsciously) that I could only minister to others while on a ministry-trip – or in any kind of ministry. My own needs were not important, were they sleep, nutritious food, being loved on by others, getting alone-time, or other things.

I wanted to love on others, but didn’t love myself much, or didn’t dare to! Jesus however, tells us to love others with the same measure we love ourselves (Luke 10:27).

Why?

Well, you can’t love others more than that! You can try, but it’s not going to work.

Back to the ministry trip:

The team leader told us (the team) that:

“I don’t care if you don’t minister to anyone on this trip, as long as you are being ministered to and made whole by God.”

To me, it was as if God Himself spoke through that man and directly to me. God told me:

“I am healing you right now.”

God wanted me to know that He wants to and can minister to me at all times.

He wants me to be whole, which means a whole, healthy body, soul and spirit, as I am a triune being.

I am important to Him!

How sad it would be if I was created only for what I could do, and not for who I am!

Then God would only like me for my works.

Instead, I’ve come to realize more and more how I am pleasing to God the way I am. And He wants to make me fully whole – for my sake, because that’s how real love is.

I have a full-time job; would you like to hear what it is?

To be loved.

I was created to be loved by God. This is not something I can only enjoy in my spare time.

No, it’s a FULL-TIME job!

During the afore-mentioned ministry trip, I discovered that God had set me up to be ministered to by Him!

It was like I couldn’t escape HIS ministry to me!

That’s the beauty of it – you can receive it anywhere. And from anyone!

One instance was as I stood in front of a congregation with the rest of the team, to prophecy over and pray for anyone who’d want it. The first man in my line didn’t come to get ministered to (this is highly unusual, by the way!)

He gave me a word, and left me baffled. And that was neither the first or last surprise ministry I got that day. God ministers through people. A whole lot.

Later that evening, our last evening there, I was planning on going out into the hot tub where we stayed, with some other people. As it turned out, no one else were going, and I was contemplating whether or not to go, after all.

Then I was reminded of this person I heard about who had had a God encounter in a bath tub. For me that was a green light, and I got up to get ready. Just then, a guy called my name and told me I should go in the hot tub even though no one else were going, because:

“I think God wants to encounter you there.”

Sweet.

Well, I went, and had a good time, feeling like God really spoke and ministered to me there. But that’s another story 😉