A few weeks ago, we held a marriage conference at our church. Three churches participated ~ ours and the two church plants that have come out of ours. Anyone could come ~ married couples, engaged couples, dating couples, or singles. There was a great turnout. Robert and I spoke on Friday night, giving the biblical purposes of marriage, as well as sharing the many reasons that marriage can be difficult. (We used Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” as a way to introduce our talk, and Robert wrote another version of the song from the male perspective ~so funny!) I spoke again on Saturday to the women, along with my friend Sarah. Then I spoke again on Saturday afternoon on a panel along with the other pastors and wives and one other couple.
I don’t know if you caught it but ~ I spoke, I spoke, and I spoke some more.
Once we got home on Saturday evening, I was sick of hearing my own voice. Sick of myself.
By Sunday, that sickness had turned to disgust, and I began torturing myself over all the things I could have said, or should have said, or wished I said AND all of the things that I wished I hadn’t said. I had become emotional while answering a question about birth control, and felt completely ridiculous over both that AND the answer that I gave, which was really no answer at all.
Sunday, I had also begun leading a Sunday school class on the workbook called Me, Myself, and Lies, by Jennifer Rothschild. This would be the third time I would go through this material. THE THIRD TIME! You’d think that some of it might have sunk into my heart and mind by now. You’d think that I might have begun to apply the things I was teaching to others.
Me. Myself. Lies. That was my problem. Too much worry about ME. Too much concern with MYSELF. Too many lies allowed to enter my mind, settle in, and make a home there.
By Monday I finally started to realize where all of the mental torture I was putting myself through was coming from (myself and my enemy), and began to “destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ ~ using my divine weapons, powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” (2 Cor. 10: 3-5)
It was hard work, because the lies were bombarding me ~ Why did you say that? Why did you wear that? No one cares about your experiences. No one is helped by your teaching. Everyone thinks you’re silly and ridiculous. Tears would come, and I would have to stop whatever I was doing and tell my mind and my enemy to STOP!
Now, never mind that people approached me and thanked me at church on Sunday. They were just being polite. And never mind that compliments came and blessings were shared. Christians are supposed to do that. And never mind that one woman even took the time to hand make and hand write a note of thanks describing how she was touched by my sharing. She’s just crazy like that.
Also on that Monday, this thought kept coming to me ~ He must increase.
Over and over it came ~ He must increase. I must decrease, and He must increase.
That’s it! I knew the Lord was gently whispering to me that in whatever He calls me to do, I need to simply do the best job I can, and then trust that He will use it ~ through me or in spite of me. Release it. Stop rehearsing it a zillion times. “I” was in the way. “I” was too worried about how “I” sounded, looked, presented myself, etc ~ rather than how HE looked.
A few days later (still in battle mode), I opened my daughter’s English grammar notebook to help her with her lesson. Each week the students have an “editing exercise” which is comprised of a portion of Scripture that is misspelled, not punctuated, etc.
Well, guess what that day’s Scripture happened to be?
This one was from the NIV (my heart and mind think in NASB) :
He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30
Wow. OK ~ Got it. It’s loud and clear, Lord, and I’ve got it. (At least momentarily…)
So…..I’m speaking again this weekend ~ at our church’s women’s retreat. Just once, and there will be three other women from church speaking, too. And then I may be speaking at different places a couple of other times in the coming months. These opportunities were unexpected. I do love to teach the Bible and share about how the Lord has worked in my life, so when I’m not engaged in an all out self-hatred battle in my mind, I actually enjoy the privilege.
Did you catch that even self-hatred is TOO MUCH OF ME?
So please pray with me that HE will increase and that Melanie will decrease ~ getting out of the way and letting HIM accomplish HIS purposes in the words that come out of her mouth ~ hopefully only words that HE has put there. (And you could pray for Valerie, Megan, and Cindy, too!)
I don’t want to be sick of myself on Saturday night. I don’t even want to think about myself Saturday night.
I just want to be in awe of HIM.