Christian Living, faith

Loving Someone That Doesn’t Love Themselves

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

I’ve struggled for much of my life in truly loving myself (in a healthy way.) For a long time I never really understood why it was important to come to a place of love and peace with yourself (of course, this doesn’t negate self improvement and growing in God’s grace and character.)

We love ourselves in the process.

Interestingly, I’ve come to learn its necessity through a friend. For privacy purposes I’ll call her Jane. We are currently not in communication.

Jane has a very different life than me, but I have known her for many years. Fifteen years or so. There’s been stretches of silence and times of pleasant communication. In the past we’ve prayed together a few times. Discussed Bible verses. It was a decent friendship overall.

Except for one thing.

Jane has Borderline Personality Disorder.

Other issues as well. A couple of years ago Jane was hurt by her church. She stopped going anywhere altogether. Then her beloved therapist moved away. I have three young children, my oldest with low functioning autism. My husband lives in pain and is healing through work related injuries. My life simply doesn’t allow me long stretches of free time to socialize. I have little patches of time to work with.

I didn’t respond to a message fast enough for Jane.

I took several days to respond. Told her that I was busy. She didn’t understand that and blocked me on social media. A few weeks later she apologized and asked to reconcile. We did.

Then Jane blocked again.

This time I responded within a few hours but was too short with her, or so it appears. She blocked me again. I sent a message to a mutual friend asking if they’d relay something to her. They said they can’t, she blocked them too.

“Jane is just getting offended by everything right now.”

Sigh…

I don’t have the energy, nor does this other friend, to stay on the roller coaster anymore. The push-pull train stops here for me. For my sanity I have to walk away.

Maybe someday if she comes back to faith and is serious about truth and getting help I’ll reconsider.

But not now. Not for a long time.

Let me stop here and tell you I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD. I have my battles. I am very compassionate and understanding of struggles. But you’ll never get better rejecting truth.

John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

And you can’t be in relationship with someone who refuses truth.

Jane, unfortunately, will continue ruining relationships and pushing people away. She doesn’t know how to self validate and love herself, so she spreads her pain and feelings of self rejection with those around her. People have to walk on eggshells for fear of offending her in some way.

In the end, she’s loving others as she “loves” herself. She doesn’t.

It’s hard to love someone who doesn’t love themselves. I have to love Jane from the sidelines, at a distance. But this situation has caused me to look at myself.

There have been times I’ve resembled Jane.

I’ve never been as extreme as Jane in behavior, but I’ve battled with my emotional triggers. I now wonder how many felt as I do about her.

Tired. Frustrated. Done. Done trying to connect and support someone who has unrealistic, unhealthy expectations. Done trying to love someone who refuses it.

The process is the goal.

It’s OK to have struggles. But, we can’t let them have us. I read a statistic that said 50% of people at some point in life will battle with some kind of mental issue. That’s one out of two.

But there’s hope and healing in Christ.

I know firsthand because I’m living proof.

Sometimes the most loving thing a person can do is let them figure it out for themselves. Truth will set you free, but it can hurt like hell first.

But the truth will set you free if you let it. And the most wonderful truth is that God loves you and I.

Too much to leave us as we are.

Thank you Lord.

Christian Living, faith

Consume

Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Consume: do away with completely; destroy.

The word that came to my spirit is consume. In the words of DC Talk…

Anytime, anyplace you invade my space you consume me.

But, as obvious as the meaning is, it’s also a bit abstract. In Deuteronomy God being a consuming fire is used in correlation with being jealous (of other gods) and in judgment defeating Israel’s enemies. However, there’s something else God is pointing me to.

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe

Offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe.

Consume leads me to look at worship. Hebrews 12:28 is very interesting.

  • Be grateful (for receiving an unshakable kingdom)
  • Offer to God acceptable worship
  • Do so in reverence and awe

For our God is a consuming fire.

In English another way to construct these verses is to say: Because our God is a consuming fire, be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and offer to God acceptable worship in reverence and awe.

The striking statement here is to be grateful and offer proper worship. Because He’s a consuming fire. He is holy and He desires we worship in spirit and in truth (see John 4:24.)

God doesn’t accept any ol’ kind of worship. This is where my differences with many other believers is evident. I don’t participate in Easter egg activities or Christmas trees and the usual festivities. I’m not saying it’s technically salvational, however, I am saying that YHVH demands worship His way. Period. Yes, there’s grace as we’re growing in knowledge and wisdom. But as we know better we should do better.

Create in me a pure heart.

God accepts worship in His ways with right intention. It will not bless Him if I’m offering worldly ways and a sin laden heart. A bitter mind doesn’t honor Him. If there’s blatant unrepentant sin in my life I cannot offer a pleasing aroma of worship to Abba.

I cannot truly draw near to God with a bad heart. I must allow Him to be a consuming fire to my flesh and its desires. He is a holy, jealous God.

I can sense the tug in my spirit to draw near. Drink living waters even more deeply. Worship with my life. But it will consume me. Completely. What’s left is Him shining through.

Today, I want to encourage you to draw near with a humble heart. Be consumed. Let Him remove everything that displeases Him. Jealousy. Rage. Pride. Selfishness. Bitterness. Lust. Greed. Laziness. Perverse speech. Whatever it may be.

Our God is a consuming fire. Worship Him with your whole heart. Be thankful for the blessings He’s given you and His promises. Fear Him. Let the refiner’s fire purify.

Please join me in praying, “Take me. Break me. Make me. Use me.”

Psalm 51:1-10 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Christian Living, faith

Turn Down the Noise

Psalm 17:6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words (ESV. )

The other day my husband and I got into an argument. It started with a misunderstanding. I walked in the living room to find the children watching a learning video. I asked (or attempted to) my husband a question. He didn’t hear all of what I said. There was too much noise. He told me first to speak louder, then responded with a statement that didn’t match my inquiry. We both thought we could just speak louder and the communication would be fine. It wasn’t.

Not until the television was quieted and the kids were settled did the mess actually get resolved. Both of us clearly thought we understood the other person. But we didn’t. I sought God shortly after in prayer and exclaimed in frustration, “Speak louder. I can’t hear you!” In that moment a spiritual light bulb went on. God was speaking. He didn’t need to talk louder. I needed to be quieter.

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I have been processing the times in my life when I thought God wasn’t speaking. I’ve discovered a few things.

  • God communicates primarily through His Word.
  • He doesn’t always use words
  • God speaks through His creation (sometimes people)
  • Silence doesn’t mean ignored
  • His voice is, in general, more like a whisper
  • You have to listen to hear
  • He speaks through peace or a “check/caution”
  • If we are in sin or not seeking wholeheartedly we cannot usually hear (though there are scriptural examples of God speaking through a donkey or using a whale with Jonah)

The bottom line is…God and the world around us has lessons to teach. We must be humble enough to recognize them and apply the wisdom to our lives. Sometimes our lives are too loud to hear Him.

Today, I want to encourage you to be still. Read the Word, pray, and let your prayer be a two way conversation. Speak, then listen. Or perhaps let God speak first. Just recently I’ve been doing that. My formula used to always be “I speak then He speaks.” Really, what He has to say is more important than my words. God is much smarter.

Get somewhere quiet. Or at least be in solitude with yourself. Riding a bus is alone although there’s people around you. In the car. The shower. While vacuuming. On break at work. There’s time if you really want to.

Get quiet. You never know what He’ll say.

1 Samuel 3:10 ESV And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”

Job 13:22 ESV Then call, and I will answer; or let me speak, and you reply to me.

Psalm 119:135 ESV Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.

Colossians 4:2 ESV Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.