I hope I have your permission to bare my soul, to use the next moment of your time to take you through a season in my life that became a daily routine I probably will never perfect. Settle back, get comfortable, I want you to fully understand what I am about to tell you. I pray that you can focus long enough to see what God’s mercy can teach and free.
I am one of those people that cannot hide her emotions, I have no poker face and zero filters. When I am happy, my face lights up and I won’t stop smiling, I also speak as if I am singing. I have this childlike joy that I share with people. When I am upset or grumpy, I completely switch, I am sullen, downcast and I draw into myself and become silent. I have a massive “Caution” sign on my face. These are aspects I have heard people use to describe me, they are not my own words, but I do agree with them… most of the time. These personality traits also impact my relationships and interactions with people, I am the type of person who you find helping a friend, cooking for people or giving my time to someone. You may want to describe those actions as kind, charitable, and even loving. At times I can really step it up for a friend, going the extra mile without giving it a second thought. Admirable yes? No.
That’s not how God looked at it, in fact, He used my outward displays for love, care and kindness to correct my behaviour, thoughts and soften my heart. He looked beyond the actions and words spoken and sort the real intention that was in my heart. His word says that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9. The passage further continues to say that God searches the heart, the kidneys and gives to every man according to his ways, to the fruits of his deeds. My Lord dug deep and even searched the hidden chambers that I did not want to be revealed and showed me that my outward expressions were symptoms of a deeply scarred woman who was seeking acceptance and love from others for the wrong reasons. Basically, I was buying acceptance and love, and when people did not accept or reciprocate my ‘love’ I would immediately withdraw, become sullen and silent. My Lord boldly questioned me “to whom do you do these actions to?” At this point, I knew I could not answer and had to allow His Holy Spirit to show me and faithfully it did.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Master and not to men – Colossians 3:23
I accept that I am deeply flawed, that I have learned and inherited characteristics that are negative and sinful. Most of us have suffered rejection in all sorts of ways, and it is not always initially welcomed. I have not been good at accepting rejection because I would intentionally do things for people with the expectation of being accepted and loved. Now, this is problematic as God showed me because people have free will, the freedom to choose and they can reject whom and whatever they want. That’s the beauty of being human, having a choice. What further made this problematic is that any goodness and love that I showed did not come from a holy source, being God, but it was born from a dark and carnal need to be accepted. Imagine if Jesus performed His own miracles of healing and salvation for His own edification but rather, He always spoke and exalted the one who sent Him, continuously giving Praise to God the Father alone. In Luke 2 we hear a young Jesus speaking to His mother about being concerned with the matters of His Father. His reason for loving on others, performing the acts that He did was not for Himself, but that God would receive all the glory. I was not glorying God in my actions, I was trying to heal my own hurts and insecurities. I had watched the world deemed as ‘proper conduct’ and I imitated it, I thought I was doing the right thing, but when the outcome was unfavourable, my reaction was negative. What the Father taught me was that, if I had done all those actions for His glory, onto Him, I would be satisfied with any outcome because my joy is in Him. Consequently, God used the lesson to heal me from rejection and the need to be accepted by people.
I am still learning, so there is that grace to continue, to be given opportunities to love on people and have them completely reject me but rejoice that I did it for the Father. It is not easy, sometimes I question the outcomes, but My Lord is kind, and He always reassures me by reminding me that it is not about me but all about Him and His Glory. When I am hurt by the outcome, only He is faithful to heal me and encourage me to continue loving on people. Now I can confidently flash a smile, and bask in the childlike joy that God is restoring back to me daily, simply because He chooses to love me.
Article by – Kat Hlongwane