Wednesday, January 22, 2014

One reason I shut God out


I am so uneasy when there is unresolved conflict in my life.

It nags at me all day long. I know some people can compartmentalize more effectively. But I can't. When I am at odds with someone else, I am never free from discomfort. It is an itch that won't go away.

That's how I awoke this morning, itchy, emotionally. And on day 3 of my new commitment, I prayed for God to speak to me as I opened His word at 6 a.m. Let me back up and be a bit more honest: I didn't want to ask God for anything, really, because in truth, I was afraid of hearing instructions regarding the conflict that I may not want to carry out. I wasn't ready to be told what to do. However, I knew I needed something. So I threw up a general "Help. Intervene. Do something." sort of prayer. But instead of a light beaming down from heaven onto my Bible, I struggled to keep my eyes open. I think I reread the same paragraph in Hebrews six times, trying to wrap my mind around it before my brain was fully awake. And then everyone else woke up.

Soon after, the conflict in all its misery nagged at me throughout pancake making and children wrangling. Pandora hummed in the background - a Christian station - and half-caring, I wondered why I was hearing the same song twice in a matter of twenty minutes. But it caught my ear because it was one of my favorites, though this morning, I couldn't connect with the lyrics.

In my morning haze, I watched my daughter walk to the bus stop with a neighbor. I took the dog outside. I drove my son to school. All the while, I acted as if I left God closed up in the Bible, like a bookmark, stuck there until the next time I opened it. But He was quite awake, and working. Even in the haze. Even with me.

As I drove home after drop-off, I felt burdened, but the solitude allowed me to process how I felt. And one thought came to mind. I felt named, and not in a good way. The Holy Spirit whispered to me to dig down. Get it out. The nagging emotion bubbled to the surface:

I am named Rejection.
I am named Injury.
I am named Loneliness.
I am named Fear.

It was strange. All these names were jumping out at me, like stickers being slapped onto my chest. Names that defined me and demanded my attention and made me teary.

But wait, what? Distantly, on the car radio, there is was again. That song. Now I was hearing it for the third time in an hour! I turned it up to try to listen, knowing that three times is no coincidence.

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go
(the chorus)
Oh, I'm running to Your arms
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign
(And then the part that gets me every time. The part Jesus knows is one of my favorite parts of all songs of all time. The part I've sung-prayed in my heart of hearts over and over again...)
My heart will sing
no other Name
but Jesus, Jesus
My heart will sing
no other Name
but Jesus, Jesus.
My heart will sing
no other Name

but Jesus, Jesus...
I could end the post right here because the reminders were all I needed.
I remembered He is God. I let go of the rest. I stopped resisting, I went running to His arms, and I ripped off all the other names on the way. Because my heart will sing no other name but Jesus. He is the only one who gets to name me.
Jesus. I am named by Jesus. He names me Beloved. And Bride. And Daughter. And Beautiful. And a thousand other names full of endearment and honor. 
I don't know when the conflict will be resolved. But I guess that wasn't the point. I guess God's biggest priority was getting me into His arms, not fixing everything.
One Sunday, our pastor said something I felt was unforgettable. He said that God will never tell us what to do before He tells us who we are. I had forgotten that, and I tried to shut Him out because I wasn't ready to be told what to do. But of course God knew that; He knew I wasn't in a place to be ordered around. He just wanted to remind me who I was, which is exactly what I needed most.
I needed a clear identity before I needed clear direction. And what's amazing is that once we know who we are, it becomes clear what we need to do. There is no ordering around or God tapping at the rules with a pointy stick. When my identity is clear, my path is instantly illuminated.
And what about you, dear friend? Is your heart burdened by any other names that have been slapped on you this week? Or can you say with confidence that your heart sings no other name? If you are wondering what to do in a certain problem, maybe try asking the Lord to remind you who you are first.
I'm praying for us tonight. May the Lord help us shed all other names but His.

{song above is Forever Reign, by Hillsong}



  1. Beautiful Leslie and so true. At the end of the day my name is "child of the One True King"
    That is who we are and because of that everything ends well for us. Love your blog!

  2. What gets me in my current situation is the beginning of that song:

    You are good, you are good, when there's nothing good in me. You are love, you are love, on display for all to see. You are light, you are light when the darkness closes in. You are hope, you are hope, you have covered all my sin.

    And then, he is peace when my fear is crippling. He is true, even in my wandering. He is joy and the reason I sing. He is life, and with him death has lost it's sting.

    When I mess up and take on things and names I shouldn't. When I can't even begin to be good about what I'm walking through. When my attitude sucks. He is God, and he is good. And he is enough.

    I needed that reminder.

  3. Your message moved me and I too feel as though I've been lost in a sea of names lately; disturbed, confused, scared that's been me. My hope is in our compassionate, loving God. I am His and He will forever be mine. Thank you Leslie!

  4. His name is comfort food. Jesus. Jesus.

    Praying your heart and mine sings no other name (and no other name calling) than Jesus.

  5. I´m trying to read your post and understand everything because my english is not good as a i thought it would be.
    Kisses and God bless you.

  6. Yes and amen! Whenever we sing that song in church, I *pray* the line about no other name but Jesus!