This is a place I know. The round tables. The folding chairs. The coffee cups and bagels and sliced fruit. What is new is the candy bar. A mom, baby on hip, snags a couple of Twizzlers before sitting down. Chocolate and strawberry licorice and friends?
Might this be the perfect atmosphere to talk about that time I got mad at God?
Women hug, greeting each other as the they walk through the wide double doors. This is a friendly place; women love each other as they are. I have missed being here. For almost a decade I found home in a group just like this. Yes, we need women who know us and who push us toward the heart of Jesus.
We need women with whom we don’t always have to wear a smile. Women with whom we can feel weak and unsure of what to do next. Women with whom we can let ourselves be known.
Yeah, I like it here, this place where God is invited in. And when I stand up at the front, I tell my sisters this: I am delighted to be in a place where we, as sisters, get to wrestle with God together.
I tell them I am a different person today because of sisters around me, in a room just like this.
I speak on a topic inspired by an ebook I never expected to write. Words scribbled out when I was supposed to be writing a book about identity, about stepping out into the adventure God has for us, the life He has designed for us to live. I tell these sisters here that I just couldn’t find the words. Instead, I just froze.
I was mad, frustrated at God. All I wanted to do was tell God how I didn’t want to believe Him.
I didn’t want to believe He was good.
I didn’t want to believe He was enough for me.
I didn’t want to believe in any good plan for my future.
I didn’t want Him to tell me He loved me.
Something was rising up in me, and I wanted to rebel against Him.
I told him I didn’t want to listen to Him anymore. It was a pretty spectacular temper tantrum, actually. I cried. I crumpled to the cement steps outside my back door and decided then and there I was going to ignore God instead.
And He said okay.
He said okay.
So, still mad, but a little more clear-headed now. (After all, God said “okay”; so much for ignoring Him.) I started to brainstorm, sitting on the patio steps outside my bedroom door, thinking up all the ways I wanted to ignore God.
And I started to list them, one through ten.
I told God, right there on those steps, each way I could ignore Him–not love Him–if I chose to.
And I felt Him listening. And I kept crying, because the words I was forming to Him just felt so awful, so false.
But He stayed close. Still listening. And then, feeling like I was done with my list, feeling that I had sufficiently told God all these awful things, gotten them off my chest, I just sat quiet, exhausted.
And then I heard Him again, this whisper in my heart that I recognize as Him.
“My girl, let me help you recognize what those lies are that you’ve chosen to believe. Let me tell you what they sound like.”
I didn’t expect Him to say that.
But I grabbed some paper and a pen and I listened. And when the words came fast (and I hate writing with pen and paper because my handwriting gets so sloppy and I can’t ever write fast enough) I grabbed my laptop and typed what I heard.
And I was surprised by the words I started to get down. The words I were writing weren’t representing truth, which was weird. But then I saw what the words were showing. They were glimpses at what the lies we believe sound like, the lies we are believing when we choose to ignore–and reject–God’s love.
These words . . . they aren’t pretty.
These words . . . they aren’t encouraging, or kind, or redeeming.
These words . . . they are creepy, and sneaky and clever.
These words. . . they are calculating and manipulative.
These words . . .they are deceiving and dark and awful.
These words . . . they whisper into our doubts, our fears, our insecurities . . . and they hope to be invited in, make a home in our hearts and destroy what God intended to be pure and redeemed and beautiful.
Can you imagine how they look, how they sound?
But I wrote them down..
No, these words . . . they are not the beautiful ones I love reading again and again.
But I needed to see them.
You get this, don’t you?
You get how we need to recognize how these words, these awful, insidious, manipulative words are words that sneak into our hearts and twist truth and make us doubt who God says He is?
They are words that get us to want to believe in a God that is not the one represented in the Bible.
They are the words that whisper:
I am the boss of me,
and I am afraid to take risks,
and I am convinced I am not enough,
and since I am small and powerless to change the sin in me, there is no hope for me,
and I am alone.
Do you ever say things like this? Think things like this?
So, in our wrestling with God, we listen close to God’s whispers. And, if we have a sister near us, we work together with her to recognize the whispers in our hearts that might not be from God. We acknowledge the whispers that aren’t from Him but that feel like truth and not the lies–really, the lies–they actually are.
It’s time to hold up these lies and take a hard look at them. It’s time to let them be blinded by the light.
And we, on this normal day, can do this, my sisters, together.
Do you ever feel like you want to rebel against God? When? Why?