Today, I am inviting you into my head and heart and getting real with you. Buckle up! Here we go!
It has been 6 months of taking the necessary steps of beginning Sixty-One Acres. At times, I find myself struggling. Anytime you say YES to God, there will be opposition from the enemy. We all know this! However, knowing it intellectually and experiencing it first hand is completely different. Satan has many tactics to bring about opposition as he is quite clever and HATES God’s purposes and plans.
I cannot tell you how many confirmations the Lord has given me about this ministry. There have been so many that I haven’t recorded them all. God is so kind in that He even gave me the heads up about this being a MARATHON and not a sprint- He said ahead of time that this wasn’t going to be a quick process. How kind of Him!
He has given me everything I have needed to know when I needed to know it. He has repeatedly confirmed and re-confirmed His words to me when I have doubted. Numerous times He has taken me to specific scripture to reassure my heart. He has brought financial supporters before I asked for support. He has brought hands on support to help and to guide me.
He has provided the space to hold these retreats- space that I dreamed about with God but never saw a way. He has provided exactly what we dreamed, only better: beautiful land on many acres with trees, sunsets, old buildings, and water. He caused the non-profit status to be approved in a record time of 4 weeks when it was supposed to take 2 to 8 MONTHS. He has done exceedingly, abundantly, above all that I could have ever asked, thought, or imagined!
Yet, I STILL doubt.
I STILL question God’s Words to me.
I question just like Eve: “Did God really say…?”
I am weak.
Until God meets me in that place. And then I am strong.
He reminds my heart and I am full of Faith.
I believe Him.
I don’t doubt for a second.
I rest in Him and fully trust Him.
Until slowly I fall back into that weak place.
The ups and downs continue. Trust. Doubt. Strong. Weak. Full of Faith. Full of fear.
Through the ebbs and flows, I keep going. I am hopeful. One day, I will look back and realize I have become stronger and more resilient in this area!
As if these internal oppositions aren’t enough, let’s throw in other people’s thoughts and opinions! One of the most significant ways Satan can paralyze me (many of us!) is through other people. It is a vulnerable thing to put yourself out there and share what God is teaching you. It is scary! What if they think I’m crazy? What if I annoy people? What if people don’t agree with me? What if they just don’t care?
Here’s the thing:
There are people who WILL think I’m crazy.
I WILL annoy some people.
There ARE people who don’t agree with me.
There ARE (plenty of) people who just don’t care!
And you know what? That is ok. God didn’t ask me to do this for people’s approval….although it would be nice! ha! He didn’t say I would be a popular Christian celebrity. He didn’t promise anything tangible or of this world, actually.
He promised to provide a place to hold retreats. He didn’t say it would be MY land!
He promised He would be with me and His presence would be available. He didn’t say I would always feel His presence.
He promised greater freedom for myself and others. He didn’t say it would be simple or happen overnight.
He promised His favor would be on me. He didn’t promise I wouldn’t sometimes be fearful.
He promised He would give me the words to speak. He didn’t say it would be easy to say them and He didn’t promise people would be pleased with them!
Satan knows this struggle I have with regards to fear of man and in turn places it right in front of me loud and clear! He wants to trip me up. He wants to silence me. If he can effectively silence me with the fear of what man thinks, then I will become paralyzed and will not live out the assignment God has given me. He is good at his game.
When I place the approval of man above the approval of God, I make man my God. I refuse to stay in that place. I refuse to live out of fear, worshipping man instead of my God!
And so I sit with Jesus and I journal. I ask His thoughts. I gain His perspective. I re-center my heart, my mind, and my focus.
The other day, as I was battling such fear, I was reminded by a dear friend of a project we did at the last retreat I led: The Abide Retreat. God prompted me on the last day of the retreat to have the ladies (including the leaders) sit down and write a letter from God to ourselves.
We were to ask God what He wanted us to remember and hold onto from the retreat. We wrote it in letter form as if God were writing to each of us. I chose a date and had the ladies set a reminder on their phones to re-read their letters. Wouldn’t you know the exact date I chose would end up being a significantly low moment for me? That is how God works. I was leading a retreat for others and was in turn incredibly blessed myself! My letter begins like this…
“Christi, Remember the dreams I have planted inside you. I am doing this! Do not doubt Me. Do not doubt My provision. Faith, rise up! For I am doing a mighty work. Keep moving in close. Come to Me, commune with Me, just be with Me….”
Those words were balm to my soul. It was like the tightest hug to my heart and simultaneously a healthy kick in the pants to stop fearing other people and wanting their approval! In that moment, I needed His words to me! Oftentimes, I am a feeble child- falling into doubt and fear. However, when I am reminded of His Truth- whether through His Word or directly to my spirit- I am able to rise up and remember who I actually am in Christ!
I am His daughter!
I am His chosen one!
I am redeemed, restored, and renewed!
And I am approved!
He works in me and through me and there is nothing that the enemy can do that will thwart God’s plans for me as I partner with Him and follow Him!
Dear One, please hear me. If you struggle with the fear of man (approval syndrome!) like I have, let us band together, rise up, and overcome!
In the movie Braveheart, William Wallace is seen leading the charge of his army in a fight for freedom. The men are on the precipice of giving up, they are tired and battered, yet Mr. Wallace encourages them to continue on. At the end of his speech you see the army crying out for freedom while raising their swords. “Freedom!” they shout! I picture myself and many of you similarly. We are soldiers on a journey of fighting for Freedom! Freedom from sin, from brokenness, and from fear! May we raise the Sword of the Word and fight for what Christ died for: our Freedom!