MONDAYS WITH KERRI
I hear a saying countless times as I meet with women. “I’m Stuck!” they proclaim. Exasperated, they are only able to throw up their hands. They are exhausted, depressed, frustrated, and angry. They are aware that something is missing, and yet they are completely confused as to what has gone wrong. Most days they feel so weary it is too overwhelming to even question what the source of discontent might be. The “stuck place” becomes a daunting cycle indeed, for as hopelessness sets in, exhaustion increases. They are living in the defeat of The Betrayed.
While traveling this past weekend I stayed with my friend Shelley. Our first evening together she came home from work in a foul mood. We sat down together on her patio and I listened as she started sharing the details of her day. She began by criticizing her co-workers and her boss for treating her unfairly. She felt unappreciated, unheard, and unseen by them; she was angry. After listening for several minutes I asked, “What hurt you the most?” She looked at me puzzled, so I added, “Anger is never our primary emotion; we are angry when we are in pain. What hurt you?” Shelley thought for a moment and then answered in a way that took us down a completely different and entirely authentic road. She shared that she wasn’t really angry or hurt by the men at work. She was angry at God for “making her work there.” As she confessed, it was if a dam broke inside of her and she poured out her heart.
Her head hung down and she avoided my gaze as she confessed that she believed God had been “holding out on her.” For months she had been stuck in a dead-end job barely able to make ends meet. She felt like a failure for not adequately providing for her children. She felt forgotten and abandoned by God. After all, she had “held up her end of the bargain,” so where was He? She was at her wit’s end and completely perplexed as to why her life had become so hard since she had surrendered it to the Lord. Things had come easy for her when she was trying to do it on her own. Then, as if to add insult to injury, her “Christian friends” were showing themselves to be disloyal and selfish in her time of need while her “past-life party friends” stood near. “I am done,” she growled. “I have done everything I thought I was supposed to do and I feel like God has completely abandoned me. Nothing is happening for me and I’m not getting anything I pray for. Seriously, why isn’t God blessing me?”
Shelley then sat back and silently stared at me. Her defiant gaze seemed to be daring me to defend God. I prayed silently for a moment and as I did, I felt my chest tighten with emotion. Soon tears begin to well up in my eyes and splash down my face. When I finally spoke, all that came to me were the last four words she expected to hear. “I’m so sorry Shelley.” Startled and uncomfortable, feeling she must have crossed the “Angry at God” line, she told me not to cry. “It isn’t really that bad,” she said. Undeterred, I leaned forward and looked her right in the eye. “I am crying because I love you, and because I do, I am grieving over what you are choosing to believe.” “What do you mean?” she asked. “Your words, ‘I am done,’ reveal the fact that you are in rebellion,” I offered. She quietly nodded in agreement, so I continued. “You are in rebellion with God because you were not taught The Truth. Somewhere along the line you came to believe that if you performed well, did your best, and obeyed all the rules you would get what you want. You did all those things and God is not giving you what you want. You believed a lie, so now you are disillusioned and disappointed. I’m so very sorry.” “What do I do now?” she demanded. “Well, you are in a war…” It was then she stopped me short. “I don’t believe in spiritual warfare” she told me. “I don’t want to go there. I believe that God allows everything. So if he allowed it, then it is up to Him to take care of it.” “You’re right, nothing can happen to you without His permission. But, by your own admission, you are angry at Him,” I stated. “So not only are you ignoring the choices you must make in regards to what is coming against you, you’re also allowing the attacks you are experiencing to give you permission to be in rebellion!” “What do you mean?” she queered. “Well, in 1Samuel it says rebellion is just like witchcraft and stubbornness is the same as worshiping idols. So in order for you to move out from this place you need to address what is coming against you spiritually. If not, according to Scripture, you might as well be inviting the enemy into your life.” It was then I had her full attention, and thankfully, she made the choices I believe we must all make in order to claim the victorious life that belongs to us in Jesus Christ.
Shelley’s plea is common among Christians today. It is evidence that we are living in an invisible web, a spiritual mathematical equation of sorts that states: (A) If I do + (B) then God will do = (C) I get my happy ending. The problem with this mentality is that it is steeped in a faulty understanding of God, not a relationship with Him. It is as though we imagine Him to be a divine vending machine that doles out whatever we have “paid” for through our righteous actions. Sadly, this keeps us in a place of not knowing Him and we settle for what we think we know about Him. We depend on how our circumstances and relationships fare to determine whether or not He is involved in, and pleased with our lives. When God doesn’t act or move the way we expect He should, we become angry, disappointed, and rebellious. No wonder we feel exhausted, depressed, and frustrated!
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if there is any "faulty understanding of God" rather then a relationship rooted in God's truth of who is He and will be in your life.
2. Is there any part of your thought process that believes if "I do (fill in the blank) then God will do (fill in the blank) and then God is somehow required to give me a life free of problems, stress or hardships? If so, journal your thoughts and confess them to the God who loves and cares for you and make the choice to "claim the victorious life that belongs to you in Christ Jesus."
3. If you were perfectly honest right now, is there any part of you that is angry or disappointed in God? Confess this to Him right now, He can take it! Let the truth of His love wash over you and find scriptures to memorize that will develop this truth in your spirit.