I think I pretty much always trusted God for my salvation. In spite of my relationship failures, I believed Jesus was merciful – after all He taught us to forgive others seventy times seven. But I struggled to believe I could experience God’s promises. This led me in more recent years to tenaciously cling to (albeit somewhat desperately) the words of Proverbs 8:5.
"Listen to me and you will be prudent and wise. For even the foolish and feeble can receive an understanding heart that will change their inner being."
These words became an anchor, saving me from the tempest of the sea I found myself in, which seemed intent on drowning me. And even more so, when after eleven years of being blissfully single, I fell into the trap of entertaining marriage one more time, and subsequently experienced once again, another devastating failure.
Have I mentioned how difficult it is to accept you have lived most of your life as the proverbial fool? Proverbs defines a fool as someone who will not learn by wisdom, counsel or advice – the fool learns only one way – by the consequences of their actions. This is not a pretty truth to see staring you in the mirror; however, it is a critical one to accept, and repent of, so you can change the direction of your life – by making a different choice to follow the path of godly wisdom! Take heart, if I can do it, so can you!
Proverbs 3 5Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. 6Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go. 7Don’t think for a moment that you know it all, for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion and avoid everything that’s wrong. 8Then you will find the healing refreshment your body and spirit long for.
Why was it so hard for me to believe things could be different? After all I professed to be a believer who read the scriptures while praying fervently for change – to experience His promises. I was past blaming others and I had accepted it wasn’t everyone else’s fault, it was me. Discouragement and overwhelming sadness seemed to pervade my heart – it was a heavy weight and I couldn’t seem to shake it. Outwardly, my face did a pretty good job of disguising my inner reality. I continued to work, never missing a day – I moved through the hours and moments while inwardly carrying a weight the equivalent of cement.
God saw and He provided – He threw me a lifeline through a most unlikely source. I grabbed it and began a journey of seeking God like never before. I enrolled in a series of workshops which from the onset, began to challenge and correct some of my foundational beliefs – of Who God is. One of the greatest pieces of advice I would receive was the need to become teachable – to be open, willing to let go of traditional denominational teachings I had based many of my beliefs on. This was a necessary step so I could move into a more accurate understanding and interpretation of scripture. Losing the security of those closely held beliefs was frightening but I chose to become open, carefully being led by the Holy Spirit into Truth that began to set me free! Mark 7:13 says “Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on. And many things of this kind you are doing.” Some of my incorrectly held beliefs had become a stumbling block and they were preventing me from moving forward into experiencing the manifestation of His promises.
It was while I was listening to the facilitator during one of the workshop sessions when I heard him say something to the effect that, often people see and perceive God based on an authority figure somewhere over their past life. It was one of those moments when truth lights up the room! In an instant I realized that was exactly what I had done. I saw God as sometimes loving, sometimes angry, sometimes critical – never knowing when He would punish me and never knowing when He would withdraw His love from me. I longed for the loving side of God, but I kept Him at a safe distance so I would not experience the pain of His displeasure, disapproval and criticisms – and the pain of love withdrawn to affect behavioral reform. I had spent a lifetime never being able to measure up to the required expectations of others to earn their love and acceptance.
Clearly I understood you cannot trust someone you really don’t know – and don’t believe always has your best interests at heart – or that you are afraid may hurt you. I had a significant trust issue. It was a very hard place to be – after thirty five years as a believer – realizing most of what I had believed about God was probably not accurate or true. When a heart opens, God provides the resources we need. I had wise teachers who knew exactly where to direct me – The Bible. And so, I began the lifechanging journey of letting go of my false beliefs and persuading my heart of the pure truth of God’s character. I began to study the Names of God – what better place to go than His Names through which we can learn about His character and attributes. Not only did I begin to study His Names from a knowledge perspective, but I began to learn how to experience Him in my heart in a personal way – as Jehovah Tsidkenu my righteousness, Jehovah M’Kadesh my sanctifier, Jehovah Jireh my provider, Jehovah Rohi my shephard, Jehovah Rophe my healer and Jehovah Nissi my banner. And as I did I began to feel the emotion of standing before Him as righteous, of always being led to safety by My Shepard, being provided for by my Provider – and it slowly became believable to me, real and alive in my heart! My heart became persuaded of this beautiful, gentle, tender, loving, merciful God Who is forever worthy of all my trust, all my love and worship – the heart God of great intimacy.
I also began to look at the life of Jesus and His teachings – focusing on the gospels. For the scriptures clearly tell us if we have seen the Son we have seen the Father. Jesus is the exact representation of God. Hebrews 1:3 says:
"God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together. After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side of the glorious God in heaven."
I learned that if we do not experience – not just learn about – the fullness of who God is, we will never really be able to fully trust Him or experience heart intimacy with Him. Discovering God as He truly is, truly knowing Him, builds a bridge of trust providing the way of passage to cross over into fullness of intimacy – heart to heart. When we are looking for change one of the most common questions that we ask is “how long will this take?” As my heart slowly became persuaded of His goodness I stopped asking the question. My journey had become so lifegiving, so fulfilling, so satisfying, all I wanted to do was enjoy every moment of this journey – no matter how long it took. My heart had found what it had always longed for and was looking for – the love and acceptance of the One Who created me.
Thank you for taking this journey with me. If you have questions or if there is something you have read which resonated with you, please be sure to reach out. Stay tuned for my next post. I will be sharing what I discovered regarding why it is so important to focus on knowing God, and why it is critical to establish a heart connection where intimacy can thrive.
If you have found this helpful, please do share!