"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
I have to admit, I was pretty unsure about writing a post. I am far from eloquent and although I’ve been a Christian my whole life, I don’t feel even half as spiritually mature as these wonderful women that have been writing posts so far. I had to actually scour for a Bible verse that that could be my muse so I would even know what to write about. I found this one and I dare say, it is one that I will carry with me forever. I have heard and read this verse before, and have actually heard it my whole life, but somehow never let it sink in and let it speak to me. But now? Boy oh boy, is it speaking to me. So thank you to Chris Baxter for "nudging" me to write, because it stretched me and helped me grow in an area I didn't even consider.
To explain why this verse is speaking to me so directly, I’m going to break it down a little bit for you. First of all, for the majority of my life I have been very fearful and timid. A doormat even. My mother was, (and still continues to be) very over-protective, and although she meant well, she didn’t do me any favors. I lived at home until I was 21 and then when I decided to move from Michigan to Tennessee to pursue a career in Christian music, I had to learn very quickly how to take care of myself. I thought I was being bold and brave but little did I know how much bolder and braver I would learn to become little by little.
Every job that I had here in Tennessee stretched me just enough out of my comfort zone to make me grow in my confidence without even realizing what was happening. If someone would’ve told me at age 21 that at 47 I would be the owner of a quickly growing dog boarding facility that I started from scratch with my husband, I probably would’ve passed out with disbelief and fear.
Fast forward to today and I can see very clearly all of the stepping stones that God put in my path to make me grow not only as a maturing human being but also spiritually. Now people that haven’t known me my whole life have a hard time believing that I was ever shy and timid. It actually makes me laugh to hear people’s shock. My pendulum has made a full swing, almost. But God had to move very slowly with me because I am an introvert and an HSP (highly sensitive person). It doesn’t take much to overwhelm me, (i.e. noises, smells, light, subtle body language, etc.) which is ironic because this business that I’ve been pouring my life into for the last seven years has been very overwhelming to say the least, even though this was (and is) our dream and passion. I always like to joke and say that my life has gone to the dogs. It's been overwhelming not only physically but emotionally and mentally. And I’m not gonna lie, my personal growing process has not always been pretty and I have not always been a gracious student. I’ve gone for months and months, being irritated and cranky and downright ugly at times. My poor husband. Lol. What is the exhausted and tired version of "hangry"....Tangry? I digress.
But the power, love, and self-discipline part of this verse is my anchor, I have found. I have felt God‘s power through me and have learned more self-discipline then I ever thought I’d have in some areas of my life. Love, for some reason, is the part that I’m struggling with still. More than the other parts. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a people person. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love the people close to me but I gotta tell you, the general public can really get on my last nerve. And I know absolutely with all my heart that as a Christian, that is not a good recipe for “loving as Christ loves”. I am aware of this issue and I’ve been praying about it for years. Working a lot in the world of dog rescue, I think has made me a bit jaded. I’ve seen too many results of abuse and each and every one of them makes me lose my faith in humanity. But then I connect with fellow rescuers that are REALLY in the trenches and my faith in humanity is restored again. And every time this happens, I can feel God nudging me as if to say “See?” And this is how He is slowly but surely growing my love deficiency.
I still have a loooong way to go but I’m to the point now where I’m excited to see what area God decides to cultivate next in my heart and mind. Of one thing I am sure. He has never left my side and never will. Whether or not I turn my face away in frustration is up to me. His unbelievable patience with me, humbles me and always brings me back to look full on His wonderful face.
For further reading:Colossians 1:9-10, Colossians 2: 6-7, 2 Peter 1:5-8
Oh my Lord and Friend,
I will never be able to thank You enough for Your undying patience. When I doubt that I can handle the next day's foreseen load of frustrations and tribulations, You always get me through somehow. Why do I continue to doubt when I've seen first hand the miracles, big and small, that you weave into my life. Please help me and my fellow Soul Sisters and all those that are near and dear to us, to continue to grow in You. Prune away our fear and timidity and fertilize us with power, love and self-discipline. These 3 things can only come from You, as I know I do not have these virtues in me on my own. Cultivate us and grow us into the beautiful creations that You have in mind and help us to get out of our own way and let You do what only You, our holy, loving Father can do. In Jesus' precious name, Amen.