I have to go there. To the petty. Because all to often, I find myself residing there. In a place called pettiness. My husband can attest to that fact, too. He even voiced it a few days back, “Pam, it was petty then and it’s still petty.”
And he was right. I was in a stew over something trivial and it assuredly was not worth the space it occupied in my brain.
And so, I’m letting that one go…
But other things are not so easy to release. Other issues can be so deeply ingrained, they become a part of who you are. It’s what happened with me long, long ago. And it’s the thing my God is helping me overcome even now. As I type out these words…
He helps me.
He comforts and encourages me.
When I find myself unable to comfort and help myself, He does what I cannot.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7
Susan (my mother-in-law) said the above was her prayer for me. I didn’t like it. I wanted her to pray something else… like for God to give me the desires of my heart. Something along those lines. Instead, these were the words she lifted up to God.
When I asked her why, she couldn’t say. Today, though, I know exactly why the Spirit prompted her in that direction. Because this verse depicted me. In truth, I did not trust God. In Pam I trust could have been my motto for I trusted in what I considered my strengths (which is what horses and chariots represented). I depended on what I could bring to the table and the people that surrounded me.
These are the things that made me feel secure. These are the things in which I stood.
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the Lord. Isaiah 31:1
I’m going to get really honest here. It’ll show whoever chooses to read this just how petty I can be. But in order to get to the good part, I have to go here first. To the heart of my pettiness. Here goes…
I hate Facebook. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. Because it has the power to bring me as low as I can be. That’s because I’m a weak woman. As weak as weak can be. And truth is, I have lived most of my adult life in a state of insecurity. When I first began writing and opened Facebook, I didn’t know that. But as time wore on, it became increasingly clear.
See, what I know today is that stats and comments and likes and loves have served as my horses and chariots. Numbers were the source of my strength. They made me feel secure. And when I first began writing and Facebooking, things were pretty good. All the numbers were good. High. I felt the love, thus I was secure in my standing.
But over time, numbers began to fall. Likes and comments ebbed and when they did, my security waned. Throw in a few pictures of some of your pals hanging out (sans you) and you’ll really stumble.
And so, this has been my experience with Facebook. For some, it’s a great tool. A wonderful way to reach out and connect. For me, it can cause me great angst and loneliness.
I told you… it was petty.
Oh, I am petty.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Funny thing, God placed a desire inside me. Seems I want to help women. I want to go deep and connect spiritually. I crave community and friendship and long talks about things other than the weather. It’s what I set out to do when I came back home.
I became so busy trying to “help” women.
All the while, the pettiness was just below the surface. It was there the whole time I facilitated Bible studies and wrote stories and hosted an event or two. And it was there this past Summer when I planned to do “Helped,” an event for women.
But that’s when God finally got my attention. It was through the above verses, which happened to be the inspiration for helped. I seriously asked myself, “How has God comforted me?” Because I wanted to use that in helping others.
I hadn’t been helped. Not in the way I needed to be. And that’s when God said “STOP!” Everything. No more studies, no more activities, no more empty works. Not until I was still enough to receive the help He wanted to provide.
While we were still helpless [powerless to provide for our salvation], at the right time Christ died [as a substitute] for the ungodly. Romans 5:6
I realized I possessed a broken heart. It had been broken for most of my life, actually. And it was this broken heart that colored everything I did. It was the cause of my insecurity. It’s the thing that made me to be uncertain in my standing with people.
After much looking back, I know there are many factors that went into the breaking. However, one incident in particular was really piercing. It happened when I was seventeen.
My boyfriend had just dumped me. And that hurt. But what really hurt was my best friend left me home alone that weekend. The one who was supposed to love me the most did not show me love when I needed it. Instead, she spent the whole weekend with her previous best friend who’d come to visit. My friend didn’t even call to check on me. And though we had a standing “date,” spending ever single weekend together, this particular time, we did not.
It was her choice, not mine.
The message I received? I was not preferred. I was not wanted. I was second choice. I was not fun. I had nothing to bring to the table. Even my very best friend wanted to spend time with someone other than me.
Petty? Maybe. But I was devastated and suffered my first real depression that year. Weeks and weeks of lowness because I felt so undesirable.
And it’s this sense of rejection that has spurred me on at times. It’s driven me to do more and be more because maybe if I were fun enough, or funny enough, or smart enough, or deep enough, someone would prefer me. I’d be someone’s first choice.
Then, there’s Facebook. And if anything can open an unhealed wound like a broken heart, it can. It’s what it did to me…
Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place beside Me, and you shall stand there on the rock… Exodus 33:21
I mentioned God is helping me. This past month has been quite amazing, actually. Started when I had a dream one night. Over and over, I heard Him calling me: “Draw near. Draw near. Draw near.” I’d wake and go back to sleep, each time hearing those words.
Later, circumstances revealed to me God was pulling me in for an embrace. My Lord was hugging me.
And then, when I was reminded of my wound of rejection, He brought me back to 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. The inspiration for helped. I learned that the word “comfort” means to call near, to invite, to call for, desire. And to my soul, I know God was comforting me.
See, the world may not draw me near. And Facebook (at times) may paint a picture that says I’m not wanted or received. And I may feel slighted or ignored a time or two by someone I prefer. Loneliness may pervade my spirit. But God tells me through these verses I am desired. And He invites me into His world. And though I may not get a phone call from someone I want to hear from, He calls for me.
He calls me near.
Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. Hebrews 10:22
I love to read different versions of Scripture. Some read, “let us approach,” and others, “let us draw near.” Whatever version you choose, though, it’s all the same. We are all welcome in His presence. We are all able to draw near to God. He invites us to.
This is what God has done for me this past month. It’s how He’s helping me. He assures me I can boldly approach Him whenever I want. And I never have to wonder if He wants me around because He does. Moreover, my standing is secure with Him.
I am secure in Him.
Exodus 33:21 assures me of my security. Though that verse has always been meaningful to me in passing years, this week I realized there’s a treasure in that word place. Because it means “a standing.” And this is where I’ve stumbled so often.
I’ve never, ever been secure in my standing with people. It’s that old wound that causes me to doubt myself and others. It goes all the way back to the time I was seventeen…
Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Romans 5:2
You know, today is Good Friday. Today is the day we remember how our Jesus entered the tomb. And in remembering that, let us go back to why He had to do it.
It kind of goes to that trust issue… trusting in horses and chariots. Because before the Messiah came, people trusted in the law. They trusted in the tabernacle and then the temple. They trusted in their works and what they could bring to the table. This is what made their standing in God secure.
Adherence to the law.
Even then, only a select few could approach Him. There was an ark in the Holy of Holies hidden by a veil. Only the priests could draw near to the ark where the presence of God was.
But then, Jesus died on a cross. And when it was finished, the veil in the temple was ripped asunder. The picture? We have full access to the throne of God. Because of Jesus, we can draw near to God. Boldness to approach…
And we are secure in our standing with God because we stand on a rock. The Rock. We trust in what He did. Simply, we trust in Him.
And there’s nothing petty about that.
As to the petty, though, the place I often reside…
God calls me to leave that locale behind. The land of insecurity and doubt and broken-heartedness is no place for His daughter. He calls to me and says, “Leave it, child, and come.” He says, “Here is a place near me. Stand beside me.”
And this is not just for me. He calls out the same to each of us.
And I can attest to the truth. In standing there, beside Him, I find the help I’ve been seeking and striving for. I find the security I’ve been hoping to find through Facebook and activities.
So rather than trusting in chariots and horses a/k/a stats, comments, and likes from here on out, instead, I choose to trust Him.
I trust in the name of the Lord my God.
And this is how I am helped…
This is how God helps me.