I was sorry to leave you hanging yesterday, but I was afraid the blog was running long as it was and I had so much more to say. Having taken a little break, I hope the information had time to really sink in. As I said yesterday, I would like to tell you how I applied what Lysa TerKeurst wrote about in Chapter 8 of her book “Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl” in my everyday life and how God used it to save a friendship. If you have not read yesterday’s blog “How to Thwart Jealous Thoughts and Assumptions”, I recommend that you please go back and read it before continuing on with today’s blog.
As I mentioned before, I am in a Christian Band called Focus. You can look us up on Facebook under Focus-Music with a Message. Yes, I know it is a shameless plug, but I couldn’t help myself. The band is made up of me, my husband, Connie, Denver-otherwise known as Connie’s husband, and Jennifer. We have two hard-fast rules in Focus. The first one being that all members have to attend church and the second being “no more women in the band.” The first one is a “no brainer”. The second one is a joke mixed with a little truth. We may not want to admit it, but sometimes we women struggle in relationships with other women. The women of Focus were no exception, especially me and Connie. Connie, Connie, Connie, what to say about Connie? Well, let just start off with the fact that she’s six feet tall, skinny, blue-eyed, and a natural blonde. Okay, admit it, you hate her already don’t you? I am just kidding (so you can all relax now). But you see where I am going with this, right? It gets better. This woman is good at everything. She is an incredible singer, gifted teacher, articulate speaker, the most organized administrator, and has an awesome relationship with Jesus Christ. She is also crazy, fun, funny, and gets the best seats at concerts. Did I mention she is a great bargain shopper? The list could go on and on. What I see as wonderful characteristics now use to annoy me to no end. Why? This is where I got stuck. On the outside I did not feel jealous of Connie. I did not want her husband. I wasn’t jealous of her children. I didn’t covet her house or her belongings. I didn’t want to be her. But I was jealous (boy that is still hard to admit).
It took a long time for me to realize I had jealousy issues. I believe the problems Connie and I had stemmed from the fact that we are both insecure and share the same gifts of administration, mercy, prophecy, and music. Connie was always in the forefront while I always stood in the background. Let me point out that I put myself in the backseat. I had no desire to be out front and always saw myself as a helper. Okay, this is where my crazy comes out: I thought she thought I wanted to be her. I didn’t want to be her, but I thought she thought I should want to be her, and I thought others thought I should be her. You may have to go back and read that again. I let my pride get in the way and I refused to admit to even myself that I was jealous of her relationship with God and that she was living out her purpose. I knew God was calling me to something greater; I could feel it deep in my soul. I just couldn’t find my way. Every time I got close, I let Satan lead me astray. I saw in Connie what I knew God was calling me to and I resented her for it. I had yet to find a ministry for myself, which only caused me to then resent her ministry. [Yes, I was in a music ministry, but at that time I saw it more of my husband’s ministry and I was along for the ride. You see, before I joined the band my conversations with my husband were like “another band practice, grr…, and after he convinced me to join, our conversations were more like “Don’t you think we need another band practice.” I know, my husband is a genius. Okay, sidetrack over.]
There is no doubt in my mind that God has a sense of humor. I want you to picture our band practices for a minute. You have two guys who want nothing more but to jam to Jesus music (which hints at why our name is Focus) and you have these three girls who can’t really get along, but try to play nice for the sake of Jesus. Yeah, sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes we left wanting to punch each other in the face (I am not kidding-I wish I were, but sadly that is the God’s honest truth). That is what makes this story so great; imperfect Christians serving a perfect God. All the glory be to God!
So there we were about to punch each other in the face and I still feel God calling me to be friends with this woman. I know, crazy right? I got so frustrated because God told me time and time again to call Connie, to talk to her, to apologize, and to make nice, and I did not understand it at all. Poor Connie, the women was on an up and down roller coaster with my moods. One minute I was snapping at her and the next minute I wanted to be her best friend. God was RELENTLESS!!! He would not let up until we became friends. So I am reading this book “Becoming More..” and God smacks me right in the face. “This is you girl. Stop trying to do what she is doing. It will not get you where I want you to go. I have called you for something great but you have to do it my way,” was what was laid on my heart. In addition, he began to grow this love for her in my heart. I began to want to know why she did some of the things that irked me. I am going to list a few, but let me stress this was my interpretation not how she really was. Connie and I are both bossy and controlling. My bossiness isn’t a problem for me; her bossiness is a big problem for me (just kidding). I also have an issue with people acting one way in front of “important people” and acting another way in front of “regular folk”. God told me to ask her why she had to control things. He also wanted me to ask why she would tell people she was fine, when I knew she wasn’t. You see, often times what we see is only a symptom of a bigger problem. I did not act on what God was suggesting right away, I took my “lil” old sweet time about it.
One day I just couldn’t take it anymore and I went to my pastor. My pastor told me what you would expect a pastor to tell you, “you just have to love her.” Really helpful, yes, I know. To tell you the truth, it kind of torqued my shorts. I mean, I already knew that answer. Then she recommended that I pray every day that God will allow me to love Connie the way he loved Connie and to see Connie the way God saw Connie. I didn’t want to pray it, but I did. It didn’t change my heart overnight. It took a few months of praying before I saw a significant change in my own heart. In the meantime, I was finally convicted to go to Connie and ask her the questions God had laid on my heart. And do you know what happened? It softened my heart. After hearing her story, I was able to understand why she felt like she had to control everything. I understood because I knew her real story. The real story, not the edited version polished up for the church newsletter, but the real deal. Do you know why she tells people she is fine even though she is not? She says it is because while she may be hurting or something bad is going on, she is fine because she know God will take care of it. Wow, pretty powerful huh? I had always assumed she was putting on heirs and trying to look the part of a good Christian. Funny how things look differently in the light. Also, she shared some stories from her past that shed some light on some other issues we had. Do you remember that Lysa told us that if we want to have someone else’s life, we had to have the good things and the bad things (Becoming more pg. 99). While I won’t share Connie’s testimony with you, let me just say that I am happy with what God has given me. Connie may be blessed with a lot of gifts and talents, but she has also be given a lot of struggles and burdens. Lysa was right, I was not equipped for her good and I was defiantly not equipped for her bad. Thank you Jesus for allowing me to finally see the truth in that statement.
While that first talk cleared up a lot for me, it did not fix everything and inevitably, the big fight happened. We both knew it would. We finally got to the point where we had to lay it all on the line because both of us were ready to walk away from the friendship and the band. In all honesty, this big blow up was the best thing that could have ever happened to our friendship. You see, when everything is brought into the light, Satan has nothing to work with. Once Connie and I discussed everything, Satan no longer had a foothold. PTL! After that night, I was able to love Connie the way God loves Connie and the timing couldn’t have been better. She was about to face something huge. I remember thinking, “God, why did you let me love her now when it hurts so much?” God’s timing is perfect. He knew what was coming. God’s hand was on our friendship even before either one of us knew there would be one.
God also revealed to me through this last big fight that I was not really angry for Connie for living out her purpose, I was angry with myself for being afraid to live out mine. God reminded me of Lysa’s interpretation of Matthew 11:28-30 in which she believes that God has equipped each of us with well fitted assignments and as long as we stick to what God call us to then our burdens will not only be manageable but they will be light. (Becoming More p. 103) Connie was made to full fill her purpose. Everything she had gone through or will go through is to prepare her for her calling. The same goes for me. If I am not being true to my calling, I will never be happy, content, or find rest. I told myself I didn’t know my purpose, but deep down I knew and just lacked faith to carry it out. It seemed perfectly logical that I was supposed to be a helper to Connie. She had the speaking talent, she could teach, etc., so it made sense that I would just come along aside of her. However, God was calling me to more and because I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing I was feeling frustrated and empty. The truth of the matter is in some aspects of my life I am called to be a helper and in others I am called to lead. Everyday I pray that God will use me to bring glory and honor to him in every way that I am called.
I am very blessed to call Connie one of my best friends, but better yet, I am grateful to have such a great sister. My ministry as well as my relationship with the Lord has grown tremendously since I let go of the comparisons and started living the life that I was called live. I cannot stress enough the damage that can be done to relationships when we start assuming and the importance of understanding our true stories. When those comparisons start to creep back in, I call upon what I learned from Lysa, “I am not equipped for her good; I am not equipped for her bad; I am not equipped to carry the weight of her victories; I am not equipped to shoulder her burdens; I am not equipped to be her in any way; I am equipped to be me. ” (Becoming More pg 102)
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,