Look up not around
Recently, God has impressed upon me the importance of looking up to Him rather than looking around to others. Two weeks ago, at a time when I was feeling overwhelmed, God reminded me that he is the I AM. After typing 12 pages of Bible scripture entailing the words, I AM, I was reminded of who He is. This helped me forget what I’m not. My fears, doubts and disappointments were not able to stick to my armor once I was reminded of who the Great I AM is. Focusing on Who He is makes my fears, faults and imperfections become less important.
This leads me to an important point: we must look up to God for acceptance and encouragement rather than man (or woman). Sure, friends will encourage us, and that is necessary. We are to encourage each other.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the day approaching.
We must remember, however, that encouragement from man is not sufficient. I believe that it is human nature to forget that our ultimate encourager is God. We look to our husbands (forgetting that God – not our husband - was called to be the perfect man.). When we realize this, we find that we don’t argue with our husband’s near as much as we used to over petty, perfectionistic types of things. We quit expecting perfection from them, and we have a much more peaceful home.
For your maker is your husband.
Men all over America may be high-fiving each other at the mere thought of being let off the hook finally – relieved that we now know they don’t have to be perfect. I think I just heard a few manly “Amen”s echo from my own living room, and the next street over.
But back to my point:
We also quit getting so emotionally distraught over what our girlfriend did or did not do – and what she did or did not say to us.
While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the 12, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
We know from the Scriptures that Jesus was betrayed, that some of those who once supported him turned their backs on him in His darkest hour. We also know that Jesus endured a painful death so that we might have eternal life. And so we know that Jesus focused more on the Great I AM rather than those who were around him (his friends and/or his enemies). Had He focused on mere people, He would have become discouraged. Had He focused on mere human support and encouragement, He would have been crushed. We must learn from His example. In order to persevere and do the will of the Father, we must look to the Father not man.
Spouses let us down. Friends let us down. Siblings let us down. A lot of times, we expect a lot from those closest to us. That makes sense doesn’t it? We don’t expect anything from a stranger, but we expect the moon from those around us, and when we do that we forget that they are not the ones who created the moon and the stars. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,” …. [I am in awe] Psalm 8:3. We must go to God if we are to expect the moon. When we learn to look expectantly towards God, the sky is the limit!
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help give by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Let’s face it: Girls were mean in middle school, high school, college and they can be mean at WalMart and church. Even our closest girlfriends let us down sometimes. They don’t mean to, but they struggle with this little thing called, “humanness.” And so do we. Once we realize not to look to others to fill our voids and meet ALL of our emotional and physical needs, ALL of our relationships improve. Also, an added bonus occurs: as we learn to give others a break, and we begin to give ourselves a break too! We quit being so hard on ourselves for not being perfect; it’s like the chains of criticism fall off.
I thought it would be fun to look up “human” in the dictionary. Not surprising, it reads:
1. “Pertaining to or characterizing man or mankind.” It goes as far as to say
2. “Possessed by or suitable for man.” That is comical to me because don’t we struggle with all the things that pertain to mankind? But, if you take your index finger down to the next word in the dictionary you will find:
Humane: Having or showing kindness or tenderness, compassionate. It lists synonyms: benevolent, benignant, charitable, clement, compassionate, forgiving, gentle, gracious, kind hearted, merciful, sympathetic, and tender.
It goes on to say that “human” does not denote good or evil, but “humane” denotes that what is to be expected is the best treatment.
And so for me, I realize that the difference in 1 letter changes the entire definition of a word! One letter defines something as good whereas when that same letter was missing it could have gone either way. It could have been good or could have been evil; it all depends on what “mankind” decides. Thank God, however, that the difference of one perfect man’s sacrifice gives me the freedom to choose eternity!
For years, I looked to mankind for acceptance, love, nurturing, and kindness, and I’ll have to say that most of the time I was let down. But when I learned to look up, rather than around, I found that I had an unlimited supply of love and encouragement from my Father. And I am so grateful to know the Great I AM, and I am so thankful to know that He accepts me as his imperfect daughter.
For any Warrior in God’s Kingdom out there who has been hurt by their mother (on purpose or on mistake), I want to reassure you that God knows how to love you like a Mom. I was always so excited that God was called a Heavenly Father. As a child who did not know my earthly Father (and who knew 5 not so nice step-fathers), I found great hope in the fact that God could be my “Dad.” That left one void: what do I do about the “Mom” thing? But then, I found a scripture:
As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.
Let us look up to our Father for our encouragement and support for He knows how to comfort like a mother. Let us also realize that as we step out to serve, there is an increased likelihood that we will be let down by others. I was never so hot at math, but I do know some basic statistics: when you surround yourself by more people it increases the possibility of challenges and disappointments. This is especially true IF you are looking to those people for acceptance and approval. But oh the freedom you experience when you learn to walk through fires while looking up to the maker of the rain!
In that day men will look to their maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.
(PS, the I AM study became its own book: Light a Candle and Consider Me. I encourage you to add it to your library of faith.)
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.
Originally published Tuesday, 17 September 2019.