Thursday, February 26, 2015

When The Bible Bites Back...

*This post is dedicated to my fella, Brian.  Thank you for being patient with me as I am slow to process and apparently slow to learn.  I love you and am grateful for you!*

It is no secret to those who know me, who have to hear me speak, or who have been through a Bible study with me to know that Philippians is my favorite book of the Bible.  If you haven't read it, do!  It's not a long book, the words are not beyond understanding, and it is so applicable to everyone.  Not only that, but having the knowledge that the author is writing this letter from prison because of his spreading of The Gospel, yet he still writes with such joy and encouragement, should place the trials of our lives in perspective.

When I was in my later teen years, I had several life-changing events happen in succession.  I had major surgery on my vocal cords, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Colitis, I was married, and I moved from Asheville to Chicago and away from my family and friends.  During these times of change, I clung to God's Word, and I read and re-read Philippians.  My favorite verse, my adopted life verse is Philippians 4:19..."And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus."  During my adult years, filled with many more life-altering events, I have held that verse true in my heart.  God has definitely proved His ability to provide over and over again.  Through medical emergencies, through the birth of children, through the loss of pregnancies, through moving all over the East Coast, through separation and divorce, through living in a big house to living in a cozy apartment, through losing loved ones, through single-parenting, through new love, God has been right in the middle granting His incredible provision.  I hold this verse and it's meaning sacred in my life.

Imagine my shock when this verse was recently used against me!  I have call on my life to be transparent.  And, I don't shy away from letting people in on my life with the hope that I can help someone in their life.  I am in no way a perfect person.  I am a complete mess of a girl who believes in the love, grace, and forgiveness of the great big God.  Because I don't have it all together, because I struggle, and because I would like to try to keep myself from becoming a perfect storm of constant crazy, I seek help from HOPE Network, which is a Christian counseling service housed at Biltmore Baptist Church.  (If ever you should need help navigating through this insane dance called life, I highly recommend the wonderful people of HOPE Network).  In counseling, my counselor and I cover a multitude of things.  Recently, I was explaining how I have a self-preservation tendency to want to run away and to isolate myself.  In my head, I want to protect other people from what's going on with me, and honestly, I want to try and fix it all on my own.  At the same time, I become frustrated when I want help, opinions and insight from others and I don't get it.  Well, I don't get it because I am locking myself away and not allowing anyone to share their gifts with me.  My incredibly wise counselor said something to this effect: "You have needs, that does not make you weak.  God created you with your own unique set of needs.  What's even greater is God designed other people to meet those needs."  Then, in all of his audacity, he quoted Philippians 4:19 to me!!!  To me, the one who clings to this verse daily!  I laughed out loud after he quoted that beloved verse.

In case you've never been to counseling, laughing at inappropriate time immediately leads to a follow-up on why there is laughter.  I told my counselor, "I just think it's funny that God has to use my favorite verse against me."  Of course, I knew He wasn't using it against me, but He was using it to get my attention.  My counselor and I went on to discuss how God is so great and creative that He designed each one of us with our own set of gifts, talents, needs, etc.  And, God is so good, that He brings people in our lives who needs our gifts to be shared with them, who benefit from our talents, and who are equipped to fill our needs.  It was like a giant "a-ha" moment for me.  It was so simple, yet so deep.  God is continuing to provide for me.  He is continuing to show me Philippians 4:19 in my life.  He has united me with people who are gifted differently than me.  He has brought me a special someone who can meet the needs that I can't meet on my own.  I felt humbled, foolish, and selfish when the pieces fell together in my mind.  My God does supply all my needs...He does not want me to figure things out on my own.  He does not want me to run away.  He has provided me with such love and support from incredible people!  He is still supplying my needs through the saving grace and unparalleled provision of His love.  How great is our God?

My challenge to you is how are you serving God by using your gifts and talents that He has supplied you with?  How are you being the person helping to fulfill His plan and purpose in your life and in the lives of those around you?  Are you allowing other people to use their gifts to bless you?  I'm not preaching...these are the same questions I'm having to answer right now.  Know this, you are wonderfully made!  You have an unique design!  You are intentional!  You matter!  Open up your heart, seek God's face, and let Him use you...not only will you be fulfilled, but you will get the awesome blessing of bringing fulfillment to others!

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