Wow! The Lord is good. First, let me praise Him for providing me with a full-ride assistantship to grad school today. I am honored, humbled, and blessed. I see my dreams coming true. I also want to praise Him for the bible study today. For re-encouraging my dream after the therapy session yesterday made it all come crashing down. I hope by sharing what I learned in study today, it can maybe re-awaken those of you who feel like failures or like giving up on your dreams…or who have given up. Because it’s never too late to start again. So here we go.
I am doing Beth Moore’s new study Children of Light and honestly was getting frustrated because it just didn’t seem to speak to me. Till today…today it yelled at me. An encouraging yell…like the coach on the sideline at a race cheering you on. Or that “That’s my daughter” you hear echo out at graduation. A good kind of yell.
You see…I didn’t express yesterday just how hurt and defeated the session left me. I left questioning if I ever could recover. If maybe I should just give up fighting. If I was really meant to do therapy for eating disorders? If someone as screwed up for me was meant for that. Plus…I liked nutrition more. What if I was meant to be a dietititian. What if I hated social work school once I got there. What if I got it all wrong? What if I failed at recovery? What if I failed at social work school? I just felt confused and like I had no direction. Or the direction I did have was the wrong one. Thank the Lord for the Lord who swooped in today.
First came the letter from UTK telling me of my assistantship. I expected to be excited..instead I burst into tears. No, not over the monthly stipend being less than I expected and thus having financial anxiety, but because now I felt I had this opportunity to go to social work school and I wasn’t even supposed to be a therapist. I wasn’t ever going to be recovered enough or good enough to be a therapist. And what if I got my passion wrong. I wanted to be a therapist and a nutritionist. What if by going to UTK I ruin my chances of becoming an RD. What if I find out I was wrong about this passion? What if they find out they were wrong about me? I was just doubting everything.
I went to spin and was encouraged as always. And then came home to do my bible study and the Lord did a work in me. Today was focusing on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-4. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy are writing to those in Thessalonica and in these verses basically tell the Thessalonians that they were only able to preach there because of the courage of God in them and because of their pure motives of the heart. Motives the Lord knew by searching their hearts. That they served not for the approval of people, but of God. Now why do they say these things? To understand that we go back to Acts 16:16-24.
This depicts what happened to them in the previous town they had stopped in: Phillipi. They had been dragged into the street, beaten with wooden planks, thrown in jail, and shackled….all because they were preaching the Good News and doing what the Lord had called them too. But they didn’t let it keep them down. No! They went on and preached to countless more cities and people. They knew what they were doing was right and they knew the Lord knew that. They knew they were called, no matter what people said. They stood in that confidence, that courage, and pressed on.
Wow! I felt the Lord speaking to me in these verse. He was comforting me. He was telling me, “You may have been beaten down by that therapist. But it does not mean you are not called. It does not mean you are on the wrong path. If anything it means this is where you are called my dear daughter. I never said that where you were called it would be easy. But I know your heart. I know you better than even you know you. I have searched your heart. I know you have an inner strength, resilence, and passion even you don’t know the power of. You have been beaten, but you are not beaten down. Rise up, my daughter. Brush off your shoulders, break off your shackles, and continue on to your calling. This won’t be the first time people will tell you you aren’t capable. But rest in my truth. You are not only capable…you are CALLED.”
I felt so blessed and loved. Just as Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy rested assured because they knew the Lord knew their heart and knew this was what they were supposed to do…I once again felt encouraged about my passion. Not only that, but I felt kind of like the disciples. Even they had felt like failures and had to remind themselves they were not. That is what 1 Thessalonians 2:1 is….it’s their self-talk: “You yourselves, dear brothers and sisters, know our visit was not a failure.” They are reminding themselves their work has meaning and passion. That it is the will of God.
When was the last time someone made you feel like a failure? When did you last take a step of faith/courage and get beaten down? Hopefully not physically, but emotionally? I know the initial reaction is to give up. To take that as some sign what you are going for is wrong, but this suffering…it’s almost a sign what you are doing is right. Because it is the enemy attacking.
As Beth puts it: “Satan loves to fuel our feeling of failure. Just when we finally muster the courage to act or take a stand for the gospel [This for me was going into therapy to work on my healing], he prompts us to believe we blew it. Our feelings of failures can start an ongoing cycle of inadequacy: if we feel like failures, we’ll act like failures and if we let that condemnation go unchecked, we’ll make the next decision out of the same perceived defeat.”
That is what I almost did. I almost let my feelings of failure yesterday lead me to throw out my UTK assistantship. To just give up on it all. And that was exactly what the enemy wanted. The perfect way to scare me from my calling? Have someone with notereity in the ED field tell me I won’t be able to recover and that I will fail at social work school. Speak into my deepest insecurities. Into the exact fears I have…and make me feel like a failure before I even begin.
As Beth put it again: “ The enemy is trying t make wound-licker out of warriors. When God opens the door again, let’s stand back up, brush ourselves off, and step through it.” So the enemy is going to fight us wherever God purposes us, because he wants us to feel like we failed in those areas we are actually fighting and winning. But the truth is…it is in the areas we face the most resistance and most passion we are called.
It is also these areas the Lord know we have the most strength. And the places we underestimate ourselves. As Veth puts it: “If you belong to Christ something is in you that God wants to show you. He knows it’s there because He’s already searched for it, found it, and prayed His will over it.”
For me, this area is eating disorder recovery. I feel now I am meant to be a warrior in this field. It’s why I lay my life and risk a lot by making these public posts, because I don’t care what people think…I care about helping those who are struggling. That is where I feel called. And I don’t care if people don’t think I can do it outpatient. Or feel my recovery is too slow, or different. Or that I can’t serve those with eating disorders because mine is too severe. Those are lies from the enemy. The Lord knows the truth and my true strength and He wouldn’t give me a passion for an area I am not strong enough for. He knows my heart, my motivation, and my ability. He knows it won’t be easy, but He has called me so He knows I am capable and it will be worth it.
So where do you feel attacked? Maybe it’s recovery. Maybe you feel you can’t recover. Maybe the reason you face resistance there is because your recovery is meant to set others free. Or maybe it is in a position you feel called to but don’t feel adequate/qualified enough for it? Or people say you are too old to start or it will be too hard? Well…tell the enemy to back off, stand in the strength and courage of the Lord, and pursue your calling. Cling onto Phillipians 4:13 and know you can do all things through Christ. Even the things people say you aren’t capable of. Go on warrior, stop licking your wounds and instead claim them as signs of victory. When someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other and say…is that all you got, because my God has so much more…and I will not back down!
For me, this was accepting UTK. Fears and all. Because my God is greater than fears and His opinion is all that matters. He knows me better than any therapist, especially one I just met. He knows me better than I know me. And He knows and has positioned me to where I am called. I was knocked down, but I am getting back up.