We started out with Deb S. sharing her many stories how fear griped her so many times in her life, some coming from within herself and some from her surroundings. How she tried to overcome them unsuccessful and later successful and what God was teaching her through all this. She also included a sheet from the book "Breaking Intimidation" by John Bevere. Someone had given it to her and she was surprised at how under the radar this had been for her, the true causes. This book turned her thinking and life around. Deb S. had also given me a copy a long time ago and I'd have to say the same thing for myself, that it helped me turn things around that I didn't even know was going on (I had thought at the time why is she giving me this book, I don't suffer from this!). Pick up these sheets on the information desk they are with last weeks lessons. If you can't buy it they should have some at the library that you could check out.
In our groups we talked about our biggest fears. Number one among all the women was fear of rejection. To talk about the fear was important because if we really fear lack of acceptance we will build walls, and our beauty that God gave us for other will never shine through. We read together from the book on page 138 A woman who is striving invites others to strive. The message sometimes implicit in her actions, sometimes explicit through her words---is, "Get your act together. Life is uncertain. There is not time for your heart here. Shape up. Get Busy. That's what is important." She does not say, "All is well. All shall be well." Her fear doesn't allow it She is withholding the very things her world needs.
This is not offering comfort or nourishing someones soul as God would desire us to do. We need someone who will listen to us fully, not judging us but cheering us on where ever we are. Acceptance is what we need and our souls desire from others. We also talked about how as we grow older we realize that the people who don't accept us and even lash out at us do it from their hurt in their lives and it really has nothing to do with us or what just happened. Very few people seek to purposely hurt us. When we view it this way very often our dismay can turn into compassion for their hurting hearts.
Now we did talk also about their are some people we can not and should not entrust our hearts to and even give our beauty to. I believe God will be faithful and giving us discernment in this if we ask him.
But it's really when we refuse to give it to anyone at all. Page 130 says "A woman who is hiding invites others to do the same. "Don't be vulnerable, Hide yourself." A woman who makes herself vulnerable and available for intimacy invites others to do the same. After all, Eve is the incarnation of the heart of God for intimacy. She says to the world, through her invitation to relationship. "You are wanted here. We want to know you. Come in. Share yourself. Be enjoyed. Enjoy me as I share myself." A woman who is controlling cannot invite others to rest, to be known. They will feel controlled in her presence. It won't feel safe there. A woman who is unveiling her beauty is inviting others to life. She risks being vulnerable; exposing her true heart and inviting other's to share theirs. She is not demanding, but she is hopeful."
Being vulnerable is so important, the group I am in has been just that. One at a time we have let our guard down, showing our true heart and fears. What has happened is we have connected deeply with each other with great love and compassion for each of our sisters. When you bring the raw truth we can feel your pain and disappointment. Our hearts connect and through passionate prayer filled with love and compassion our hearts sing in unison for God healing touch on behalf of each other. We have seen many miracles in our group over these past weeks for just about everyone in the group. I think God is saying this is what it's all about, this is the way we need to be with each other. So if you are hanging on to your hurt and refusing to share it because of your fear.....let it go. If a big group is to much just email Deb or I and we would be happy to get together with you.
Some of you may know I spent the first ten years at our church barely saying a word. Yes, I was hiding.
I had fear of rejection that of coarse I wasn't going to reveal to any one. If a group was too big I would start even feeling like I couldn't breathe. Some how I thought everything I said sounded stupid and if I did happen to say anything, I would analyze it to death, and hold my breathe that no one would rebuff me. But at least I could teach the children. After Deb S. gave me the book on intimidation I knew the enemy had me in a corner for way to long but I didn't know how to break free. One day in desperation to get rid of this bondage I went to Dale in the back of the church for her to pray for me and the Lord gave her discretion and she felt I had a spirit of intimation on me and she prayed against it and it fell off!
I knew I could not do what God was calling me to do if I couldn't get over this. It felt impossible, truly.
I even at times imaged if someone said stand in front of the congregation or be shot and I could not even be clear in mind that I would even do it then! Ladies please don't wait ten years like I did, if God can free me from something in my mind seemed so totally impossible He can and will do it for YOU!
I remember the week before I was set free someone in the congregation was speaking and said some times we just need to take that leap of faith and just jump. JUST JUMP!
Psalm 34:4-10 I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears, They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. O taste and see that the Lord is good, Blessed is the man who trust in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
We also read I Peter 3:3-4 "Your beauty should no come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. which is of great worth in God's sight." Notice it says gentle and quiet SPIRIT (not voice, many of us thought we may fail on that account alone), but a inner calmness. If we are striving we certainly aren't calm. We can strive to be perfect, as a mother, wife, worker, in our appearance, our homes appearance. God doesn't desire that for us. Maybe our heart should be our barometer , when the tension shoots up it maybe time to accept it as it is.
"A woman of true beauty offers others the grace to be and the room to become. In her presence, we can release the tension and pressure that so often grip our hearts. We can also breathe in the truth that God loves us and that He is good." Can others come to you and be released from tension and pressure?
If not they will hide the truth from you. And from that point you won't know what to pray or how to cheer them on. We need to give GRACE and COMFORT.
Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life." Not guard as in protect, hide. No guard here means to guard your heart from all the negative and worthless things that life may offer. Guard your time with God, protect your heart with His love, spend time with Him in intimacy.
God call us to stop hiding, to stop dominating, to trust Him and to offer our true selves to Him.