Sounds kind of crazy, right? How can I give something that I am feeling deprived of? Many of us have heard similar phrases or teachings, usually in reference to giving of our finances, i.e. if we want to experience an increase, we have to be willing to let go of the tight fist grip on our last $10. It is one of the foundational laws of the universe…seed time and harvest, sowing and reaping. You can have all the opinions you want, but ultimately God’s ways are truth. The way up is down, the way to more is to let go and give of what we have.
In this case, I am not referring to a financial sowing, although both my husband and I have amazing stories of favor and increase in this area. Indeed, we have chosen to live our lives for 27 years in that place of trusting God as our source through giving and we have never been forsaken. On the contrary, we have been blessed in more ways than we can count. We have learned one of God’s greatest gifts He gave to man is the gift of giving – it is the only way to lasting joy and peace. However, what I am referring to in this blog post, is about giving encouragement when you feel discouraged.
A couple of weeks ago, I was speaking to David because I needed his loving advice and prayer. We had done an activation earlier that day in a prayer/worship gathering we were leading, about judgments and vows that we unknowingly (or knowingly) have made and held onto, and I knew something was unsettled in my heart. This particular day, we had a small group, and while we were used to small groups, this was smaller than I had expected. I felt a little ‘triggered’ stemming from being discouraged about all the work we have poured in over the years and not seeing the kinds of consistent results I expected by now. For so many years we have worked hard to share the message of God’s love and healing, to press in to hear His voice and direction, and to encourage and equip others in their gifts and callings. And yet over the last several years, it just seems like we only make a little impact here and there but nothing of a large scale.
I felt we should be farther along…there ‘should’ be hundreds at our gatherings, I ‘should’ have sold multiple thousands of CD’s by now and we’ should’ have had doors open to come and minister in many places, not just an occasional one here and there, and for sure Destiny House ‘should’ be open by now after all the work and prayers poured in. I had a lot of “shoulds”. I felt that David had so much to share and impart to others and the times that he has been able to speak to large groups, people are always transformed. He has certainly made a huge impact in the Healing Center with hundreds of people and a full schedule, but then I was frustrated too that it could be better. While I have genuinely been content in all things for many years, especially through some very difficult situations, I was definitely feeling some ‘dis-contentment’. I confess that I also felt a little bit of envy for others who seemed to have positions of great leadership and financial increase because of their impact over many. I was hearing things come out of my mouth that I realized “wow, I think I have some kind of judgment here.”
Now I know for many of you spiritually enlightened ones, you probably can see everything wrong with me, as we humans are so ‘gifted’ in seeing others weaknesses and blind spots a lot easier than our own. From my own experience, it takes a little bit of loving wisdom (and often a painful but needed word) to help me out of the pit of self-pity and discouragement. In this case, after my intelligently sounding whining and complaining, my husband so wisely said “honey, I think you may want to look at what you’re choosing to focus on… bottom line is, your words are sounding ungrateful and unthankful for all that God HAS done…” A little zinger like that is always good. I knew in my heart that the Word of God is clear – ‘Be thankful in ALL things” and I had to admit that I wasn’t at that moment.
I prayed and asked the Spirit of God to reveal if I had any judgments or vows I had made even towards myself and/or to Him…what came was something like “why bother to keep working and believing for big things when it never turns out that way? We never get to the big dreams and goals anyway. It must be that we’re not really called to do this; after all I’m not really that talented, we should just settle into the second half of our lives and just enjoy the times we have left. (The only thing missing was a violin in the background).
Clue #1 that you’ve made a judgment either against God, yourself or someone else: You use words like ‘never, always, not, continually, etc.’ This means you have something preventing you from seeing the truth accurately, usually in the area of unfulfilled expectations, miscommunications or disappointments. In my case, it didn’t take a long time of prayer (more like 30 seconds) to realize that I was mad at God because I trusted Him to bring it all to pass – I just thought He should have done it bigger and better by now. I had written my dreams and visions for years (albeit inconsistently) and I believed His Word that if I committed my way to The Lord, He would grant the desires of my heart. I had forgotten that sometimes the desires of my heart are a little tinged with self-ambition, impatience, comparisons and other things that hinder the sweet presence of My Heavenly Father and His Spirit. It was true, I had momentary amnesia of the multitudes of times God had healed me, delivered me from fears, restored joy, brought greater love and intimacy in my marriage, and the miraculous gift and beauty of each of my 4 children. I had forgotten all the incredible times where He allowed us to be a vessel of His healing to many others, all the people over the years that had written or shared what an impact we had made, our story and testimony, our belief in them to rise above circumstances and trust God for their breakthroughs.
I repented. I asked God to forgive me for my ungrateful heart and self-pity, and to renew the joy of my salvation. I felt such a lightness and I was renewed and strengthened. All of the heaviness and discouragement was gone and immediately I was stirred in my heart to encourage others! I knew that the only way to prevent the self-focus and pity from coming again was to give encouragement and love to others. I said “okay God, show me everyday at least one person that I can encourage either by phone, email, or in person. What began to happen was amazing.
Within a few days of doing that, we began to receive messages from people in many places (not the same ones I was encouraging), all sharing what a huge blessing our ministry had been in their lives. We even got a message from someone in Australia sharing that he had given David’s book “The Feasts of The Lord: Preparing the Bride for Messiah” to his pastor and it had impacted him so much that they are now holding conferences in their church centered on the biblical feasts! We had forgotten that several years ago we were asked to speak and be part of a conference for Family Foundations Int’l, a blessing and gift. We didn’t know at the time that this gentleman had gone back to Australia with David’s books and my CD’s and it had touched him so much that he shared with his pastor. Was it a coincidence that he happened to write us right after I had repented of the judgments and self-pity? I don’t think so. In the same week we received 3 emails from different people, thanking us for the impact we had made in their lives through One New Man Ministry. I was amazed. I love being amazed at the awesomeness of our God and His ways of truth that bring light to our souls. The way up is down, the way out of un-thankfulness and self pity is to repent for a wrong focus and remember His faithfulness in all the moments that make up our lives;the way to real joy and contentment is to be a blessing to others.
I close with the inspiration from one of my new songs I am writing:
“Now I trust in Your unfailing love, and my heart rejoices in Your salvation, I will sing to You Lord for You have been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6