Last evening began a new experience for me as I joined about a dozen other ladies from my church in a group study through Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Uninvited. Some had already read the book, but for me, jumping in without any preface but a short trailer the Sunday evening before was perfect.
The introduction wasted no time getting our minds in gear for the study we were about to immerse ourselves. Right from the start, Lysa started talking about “living loved”, and how our daily experiences cloud our perception of how Jesus sees and loves us. I scrambled in my purse for a pen – I knew that this was just what I needed. She began to spout off Bible references as they appeared on the screen. In my mind, I felt like I was in college again and couldn’t take notes fast enough.
Some of the great nuggets I took away I’d love to share with you:
- Love is full when we are empty!
- Our relationship with God is not a performance-based endeavor.
- Jesus is there to fulfill every affection we are looking for.
- Your problems are already solved!
- Remember to be with Him before you go out to serve
- You don’t have to wait for hope for the atmosphere of love. Isn’t that great?
I don’t know how you are, if you are easily affected by other people’s moods and such – but since I was a little girl I’ve always struggled with letting everyone else’s mood determine my peace of mind. To this day (although I have progressed quite a bit), I have to make a concerted effort to let other people have their own bad moments or bad days without me feeling insecure about myself.
When someone gets snappy with you all of a sudden and you have no idea why, or maybe you do, but their frustration really started somewhere else and you just happened to walk in between them and their target….do you react in panic? Or anger? Any other emotions? There is no condemnation, but there is an alternative: when others are acting in a way that is negative or unhealthy, we have Someone to turn to.
Our lives are so filled with hope because we are children of God. We have a hope that one day we WILL be in Heaven with Him and Jesus and all of the other saints who have gone before us. But we have a hope that can be realized every single day. When you wake up, you can hear the Holy Spirit’s voice reassuring you that you are LOVED. YOU are a child of the Most High God. Nothing you do will separate you from His Love! You and I are not strong enough to break the chain of God’s Love. Isn’t that awesome?
I remember as a little girl, probably between the ages of 8-13 – it was a long time – there was a girl at church about 3 years older than me that I wanted to be friends with, but no matter what she always got to hang out with other cool kids, and as a preteen/teen, I was just heartbroken. I remember crying because I so badly wanted to be her friend. It took several years of growing up before I realized that it’s so much easier to be friends with Jesus because you are ALWAYS welcome, and ALWAYS loved. NO. MATTER. WHAT. His love is what sustains during those times when you feel like you’ve failed miserably and there is no chance that anyone else will accept you again. He does and He always will.
Lysa said, “It’s not easy to live loved when you don’t feel loved.” How true that is. When you feel like nobody cares, it’s just so easy to become an Eeyore about things and let the whole world fall down on you. Are we crazy?? We are children of God – there is a divine reality that exists outside of our visible realm, regardless of our recognition of it.
Being rejected is hard! Of course we want to be accepted – our Father made us that way. We are made to live in community. But, we know because of sin that there will be rejection in some or many areas of our lives. I love that Lysa said, “You don’t have to beg for acceptance, as long as you live in Jesus’ love.” We are not beggars, people!
Finally, something that struck me possibly the hardest of all during this first night was when Lysa said, “Who gets the loudest voice in your life?” Depending on your situation, that could be many different things. It is SO easy – too easy – to let the visible and tangible things of this world, whether they be people or whatever, dictate the direction of our daily living.
Of course what we need is to continue the daily discipline of communicating with the Lord; to turn to Him in every situation. There is nothing too small. Do you really realize that? Several years ago I began a practice of praying all the way to work, which at the time was about 40 minutes. I would sit at my desk and talk to the Lord. I mean – you can do it anywhere, so why not, right?? I will tell you that if it’s something you struggle with…and hey, it’s a discipline for everybody, so you are definitely not alone…just try talking to Jesus 5 minutes at a time. And pour your heart out – I mean, really, REALLY tell Him every single thing that’s weighing on you. Of course He is all-knowing; but He’s dying to hear you spill it all out to Him. Why? Because He wants you to feel the weight lifted off your shoulders when you do as He says: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29.
I hope that in some way you are encouraged as I am to be reassured that Jesus’ Love is constant – you don’t have to feel it for it to exist. It just does. If you feel God’s silence right now, hang on: “To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven.” I want to share the revelations I experience in this study with you, in hopes that God will use my learning lessons to uplift your heart as well.
P.S. I’ve got a very cool Special Feature coming up next week, which I am SO excited to share with you! Hint: AFRICA! 😉