In my last post I shared about acceptance, telling you guys how accepted and loved and complete you are in Christ. For this post I want to share a way of thinking that blocks the blessing of ever knowing acceptance in its most raw state, the except-ance syndrome. Now before I get started, I want to be real with you guys- this is the epitome of my thinking. These type of thoughts drive my motives and have been driving the motives of many women and men since Genesis. So stay tuned because this very well might be what you need to hear.
I rolled my eyes once everyone started naming their praise reports amiss my life group circle. “_____ never has anything wrong with them”, “______’s life group has way more people than mine”, “_______ has way more appreciation for what they do than I do”, my thoughts scrambled around like chickens with their heads cut off. When it got to me I began to feel my eyes swell, and that sweet ol’ lump in my throat came back once again for another round of waterfalls. “I feel like everyone is doing so great in this area…. EXCEPT me” I choked in front of my very kind and gracious friends. I cried. A lot. Snot running down my face and tears dripping from my chin. They tried to encourage me, but nothing they could say would help. I felt like God had left me out.
I felt like God had forgotten me and left me outside of the blessing he was putting on everyone around me. “What’s wrong with me, God?” I questioned. “Why do girls not want me to pour into them?”, “Why is my family not coming to know the Lord?”, “Why can’t I get over this sin struggle and everyone else is free from theirs?”. With those questions, the devil decided to answer them for himself. “Brooke, you aren’t good enough for these girls. You’re boring, and you’re not cool enough.”, “Brooke, you’re not doing enough at home, you’re inconsiderate and selfish.”, “Brooke, something must be wrong with you. You can’t get over this one struggle? Wow, what a shame.” I couldn’t even hear what God was trying to say to me through my amazing friends because the devil was so loud in my ear.
What’s amazing, though, was I CHOSE the devil in that moment. I CHOSE to pity myself. I CHOSE to believe the lies. I was in control of the volume of his voice and I chose to let it ring. I chose the highest volume it could go. “How dare God skip over me. After all I have done for his kingdom? Psh… I should have riches and wealth and blessings and….” I imagined what God SHOULD be giving me instead of what he WAS giving me. I started trying to shift God’s plan according to my preferences (Stephen Fertick quote). I got out my dirty gloves, snapped them on, ran to God, and said “Hey God, so you aren’t really doing enough in this area right now so what I’m going to do is take these areas, and then I’ll give them back to you when they’re fixed. Thanks for all your help and all, but it just wasn’t fast enough, good enough, or perfect enough. Love you, though!”
As you can guess, it didn’t end well at all. And it never will. Even in the bible there are many stories where people thought “Why is everyone getting A,B, and C EXCEPT me,” and once of those is the story of Sarai (later called Sarah) and Hagar. Sarai was the wife of Abraham, and God had done many miracles for her life as well as Abraham’s. They KNEW the goodness of the Lord. They saw the Lord’s provision when they went to Egypt and his promises in his covenant with Abraham- but it wasn’t enough. Sarai was still missing out because she couldn’t bare children. She looked to her servant and said “SHE can have children, but I can’t?!” This kind of “except-me” thinking led her to do something without even thinking. She walked right up to God’s thrown, pushed him off the seat, sat down, and said “So Abraham, you’re going to go to my servant and she will conceive and she will have my children- God just isn’t being fast enough with what I want. *eye roll*” (my own translation). Then what she chose to happen, did. Hagar conceived a kid and Sarai got mad- nothing was fixed.
Moral of the story is Sarai thought that God had missed her womb when making the women of the Earth. Sarai loved the idea of God’s plan, but wasn’t patient enough to wait for it. I believe we have accustomed the same thinking. We have taken God’s place on the thrown and told him “I like your plan, but I like my own better”- we have become our own gods.
But let me tell you a truth today that will make you feel a lot better:
No matter where you are in life, God has a plan. He has not left you, he did not skip over you with that blessing, he didn’t miss that one prayer, he didn’t make a mistake, and he’s not just taking a long time because he forgot you.
It’s a process.
Psalms 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing will he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”
I want to highlight one part of this verse- “no good thing does he withhold”. He is NOT withholding anything GOOD from you!! Now we have to remember that “good” in our sight and “good” in God’s sight are two totally different perspectives. God’s good is good even if it doesn’t feel good:
You and your boyfriend breaking up may not feel good, but it’s good in the sight of God. You moving and having to switch schools may not feel good, but it’s good in the sight of God. Your friend that may not be so good for you distancing herself may not feel good, but to God IT IS GOOD.
We have to remember that this verse doesn’t just say that he gives all good things to us, it also says that he shields us from things he knows WILL NOT be good for us. Either we aren’t ready, or those things are straight up not good for our lives right now. Whatever his reasoning, it’s a protective measure FOR you and not AGAINST you.
“Well then what about the actual good, God things, Brooke? Like the salvation of my family, the disciples I’ve been searching for, and the freedom from my sin,” you may be asking. All I have to say is patience. One of my favorite verses in John is 13:7 where Jesus says, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Right now you can’t see the blessing that’s ahead- the husband, the car, the house, the graduation, etc. God is working through these circumstances in your life to prepare you for them. So be patient, and know that God is ALWAYS on the move in your life, even if it seems like everyone’s life is moving forward EXCEPT yours.
To wrap up I want to go back to the ending of the story of Sarah and Hagar. Hagar ends up coming back to be a servant after Jesus met with her, and Sarah conceiving the son she always wanted. Everything, and every detail, worked out once Sarah stood up from the thrown and let God have his place back. Imagine how much pain could’ve been prevented if she just could’ve WAITED.
Wait on God. Don’t rush him or take his plans into your hands. Put Jesus back on the cross and take yourself off of it. He became a victim for your sin so you wouldn’t have to. He will not forsake you, just like he didn’t forsake Sarah- EVEN after she messed up. He’s the same God now as he was then (Hebrews 13:8). Trust him because his plans are GOOD.
It’s only when you destroy your EXCEPT-ANCE syndrome that you will receive true and raw ACCEPTANCE you have been longing for.
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born, I set you apart and appointed you…”