Hitting the six mile trail I put on my headphones and began
praying crying. An array of negative emotions were assaulting me from all sides as I pressed into my time with the Lord. The previous weeks were filled with many good things in life. We were gifted with some really needed items, I met my nephew for the first time, along with other answers to prayer. With many blessings came a lot of pain that seemed to be coming to the surface. Legitimate areas God wanted to address. I began to press into time with the only one who can care and heal my heart.
It was two hours (yes those were 20min miles folks…lightning speed) where anger, fear, and confusion seemed to assault my mind as I tried everything I knew to combat it. About mid way through I reached out to a few friends by text to pray for me. All the tools I knew to use were pulled and I was hammering away with no relief. Usually, my walks with God are very uplifting and I leave feeling refreshed, but that day after my two hours were over, I was in no better place.
I felt like I was rode hard and put away wet.
Processing with my husband that night I knew that the Lord would be faithful to direct me and so I fell asleep. As I woke up the presence of the Lord was strong and opening my eyes I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me these words: self-absorption.
Self-absorption…um, like paper towels?
After a few moments of running down my list of cotton products, I knew the help I had cried out for was arriving. God was speaking to my storm.
Already poised to began to beat myself up for being self absorbed I sensed the Lord say, “I don’t call you self-absorbed. This is what you’re warring against. This is outside you, not within you.” Hearing this brought a lot of relief and clarity as I began to study more about self-absorption and what the Lord wanted to teach me about it.
My husband and I have a passion to see others walk in the freedom of Jesus. We know what it is like to be bound with no escape until Jesus sets you free. And we also know what it is like to fail big time and miss it, all the while getting back up and running after Him all the more. With that being said, we teach and model to others the process of Christ centered self-awareness. Not a self-awareness that centers on your pain but a self-awareness of a dependency on Him, knowing He’s the only one who can restore. That humility is required to truly bring your pain, failures, and needs into the light so that the Lord can break bondages.
This process, when it is Christ centered, produces complete honesty and vulnerability which results in knowing the Lord’s goodness. Christ centered self-awareness – my awareness that I need Him – is the opposite of self-absorption. Jesus can only move on your behalf when you humble yourself because that in itself is a reflection of HIm. He is humble. Coming to serve not be served.
As I wrestled to understand all of this I began to see that self-absorption comes in to derail the mission God has for us. Self-absorption is a preoccupation with one’s own emotions, interests, or situation. Thoughts like “I should just give up. I’m disqualified because I’m a hot mess. I should be over these insecurities. I’m not like so and so…they seem to have their act together. I’m not educated enough to do what I’m doing.” and so on are great indicators that you’re being assaulted with self-absorbed thoughts that are not from God.
As you step into the new places of authority God has for you, insecurity is natural. Your dependence for Him is amped up to eleven because it would be your own strength if it wasn’t. So self-absorption comes along and wants you to give up, stop, and lick your wounds instead of moving forward. There is no way around the pruning process if you want to fight the good fight.
Matthew 7:13-14 MSG says 13-14 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.”
New territory, new giants to battle, new people to love.
In all of this I now know more than ever that the Lord is faithful to meet us in our most broken places yet as we move forward we can trust Him. As we pour into others He is faithful to provide for us. We are a work in progress and He enjoys every step of it. It’s all important to Him.
Probably the most impactful thing I sensed from the Lord as I wrestled with this attack was that when we are pursuing Him with everything we have, He is not a critical father that needs to come down hard on us. It’s the opposite, He lovingly reminds us to keep going. That resistance is a sign that we are moving in the right direction, which is His heart to reach and love others.
Since the Lord cares just as much about your feet and hands as He does your heart – keep moving forward.
Keep pouring into others.
Liz Flaherty lives in South Carolina with her husband Andy. They’ve been married since 2005, and have spent the majority of their marriage ministering to and mentoring people in areas of sexual wholeness and identity. In her book, The God of My Parents, Liz shares her powerful testimony in which she faced immense grief, rejection, drug abuse, pornography, and homosexuality. Her heart is to inspire the Christian community to address these issues with love, respect and honesty.
Liz and Andy have two cats, named Paddie and Ginger.