When you are ready to become the person God created you to be, God is ready for you. He will never force it on you. But He will stick with you. He never leaves you. It's hard to understand or imagine how He could love you even when you are unlovable. Yet He does.
I'm sharing this because when you decide to release your past and move forward, it may seem as if you have to shed first one layer and then another and another of past hurts and mistakes. At times, you forgive those who inflicted the hurts, yet the pain seems to resurface. I understand that. I have been there. Rejection used to determine my actions. Now I know that forgiving today does not necessarily mean that I won't have to forgive again tomorrow. Forgiveness is a daily thing.
But consciously forgiving someone gives the most amazing feeling! Suddenly, you can see the person who sold you out or hurt or deceived you in some other way, and you no longer feel your heart beating out of your chest. The sight of that person no longer causes anxiety attacks. The pain of what he or she did doesn't overwhelm you anymore. The change isn't always immediate. That's why you may need to forgive again and again.
I think this is one reason so many people quit church. They get hurt by someone's opinions or judgments, and they allow the hurt to determine their choices going forward. If you can understand that church is filled with imperfect people, it will be easier to understand when someone offends you. You will accept the fact that there are no "angels" in the body of Christ. We are all flawed, and we all need forgiveness.
Thank God that He knows us intimately and can understand us when we fall. It's not about falling anyway. It's about getting up again and again and again.
Have you ever heard about how eagles soar above the storms, but chickens scratch in the dirt for their food? Joyce Meyer talks about the differences between the two birds. She explains that eagles are powerful, perching and soaring high up, spying out prey with their sharp vision. Like eagles, chickens also "have wings and feathers and beaks," but they live very differently from eagles. When a storm approaches, the chicken clucks and runs for cover, while the eagle turns its "face into the storm" and flies straight into it when the time is right. "He'll catch the violent updrafts caused by the storm and be immediately swept up above the clouds and into the bright sunshine." While the chicken huddles with its frightened friends, the eagle chooses to "remain above the clouds until the storm blows over."
You'd better believe I would rather be identified with the eagle than with the chicken! What about you? How do you act when you receive a bad diagnosis? When your job is in jeopardy? When your family is in upheaval? Do you immediately start worrying about the what-ifs? Or are you like the eagle that uses the storm to its advantage?
Called to Be an Eagle
I can tell you that God has called you to be an eagle. The eagle understands its identity and then lives the way it was created to live. The greatest day in your life is the day you become acquainted with the you God created you to be. You might not be there yet, but it's in the silent seasons that you will begin to see it. In fact, you cannot have any idea how resilient you really are until you have been rejected. You can't know your strength until it's tested by pain. You cannot really succeed until you go through challenges and overcome them.
Then, suddenly, the day comes when you quit trying to make things right with people who won't take ownership of the pain that they cause you. You tell yourself, "It's enough! I can love them from a distance." That's when you move them out of your VIP section and into your balcony.
The enemy is hoping you will respond to storms like a chicken does. But if he comes calling to intimidate you and bring up your past, it's an indication of something great in your future that he doesn't want you to see. The enemy doesn't rob empty vaults. He's betting that if he can wear you out, the future God promised you will never come to fruition.
The shame is that the enemy often sees more in us than we see in ourselves. I can tell you that, until I let go of the counterfeits who sucked the life out of me, I had no idea that God had created within me a nation shifter. I was letting my situation cloud my present so much that I could not see my future. I learned that you must become friends with your today before you can step into your tomorrow.
Too many people are racing through the present, afraid to face their decisions yet expecting the future to be better. Something is wrong with that picture. The only way to create a better tomorrow is to make good decisions today—yes, even in the midst of the storm.
Hindrances to Your Promise
You have a promise for your life, but certain things can temporarily block your access. Let me explain with an analogy. Because I am a frequent flier, I have learned the importance of weighing my baggage before I leave for the airport. I learned this lesson when I had to shift clothing from an overweight bag to another bag, in public.
The weight of my heavy bag hindered me. In life, you can be so weighed down by the things you allow that you are unable to fly above your circumstances. Everyone around you seems to be succeeding while you keep scratching around in the dirt, with no hope of success.
It's time to become the eagle God created you to be. But just because God spoke something into your life doesn't mean it's going to happen. Look at what the writer of Hebrews said:
"Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1, NKJV).
We have a race to run, but we let excess baggage hinder us. In my experience, many people miss walking in their destinies because they lack the character to press in or are too lazy to seek God for His will. They are so bogged down with unimportant things that they lack the focus and determination to thrive.
Please understand that to become the me that God created, I had to pull myself away from my previous life and allow God to remake me. I had to give Him permission to rewire the selfish woman who had lived life outside His protection, so she could become a whole person who was ready to obey His voice. Had I not done this, nothing from my old life would have changed.
You are free to be you and to fly like an eagle. God has already given you permission. But you must allow Him to be God in every area of your life. It's time to make that choice. Are you ready?
Excerpted from Chapter 12 of Shut Hell Up by Real Talk Kim (Charisma House, 2020).
Kimberly Jones, lovingly known as Real Talk Kim, travels the world fulfilling her passion and purpose of "loving people back to life." She is a wife, mother, pastor, bestselling author, entertainer and, most importantly, a worshipper after God's own heart. Jones is a human rights advocate with a passion for giving back. She finds fulfilling purpose in charity work and believes in the compassion of the Holy Spirit, delivering it to those who need it most. She has been featured on The Doctor Oz Show, Preachers of Atlanta, CNN, Nightline, Praise in the Park Atlanta, and numerous radio shows. She is the author of When Your Bad Meets His Good and is truly a living and walking testimony of God's redemption plan in action.
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