Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Who will go first?

"We tell lies when we are afraid... afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger." - Tad Williams

I’m in a missions program. I have people paying me to be on the field. I am working with a church and working for God daily. Shouldn’t I be immune to mistakes? Shouldn’t I be stronger than this? Shouldn’t I have more integrity?

These are just a few of the thoughts I remember thinking when I was on the field. Somehow the label “AIMer” was supposed to make me perfect. Imagine my surprise when I started messing up. I couldn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t ask for help. I couldn’t admit that I was losing control.

The word integrity runs through my head. What I do when no one will ever know or see - that’s who I really am. Paul, even when in prison, rejoiced. He didn’t curse God. He didn’t blame God. He didn’t use his circumstance as an excuse to sin. He had integrity. Yet here I sit in a foreign land, a beautiful place, not a prison, and I want to run from God in embarrassment. I want to find comfort wherever I can.

When asked how I’m doing or asked what’s wrong, I lie. I lie because I’m afraid. I lie because I don’t know how others will react or what they will think. Every time I lie, the fear grows stronger. The chance of me talking about this becomes smaller and smaller.

Someone has to go first. Someone has to be willing to admit the struggle.

I worship at a place where we try to be real - no Sunday School answers, just reality. I see it over and over. Once someone goes beyond the surface and admits something tough, hands begin to go up, and one by one people say, "Me too… I’ve done that… I thought I was the only one."

Someone has to go first. Someone has to be willing to admit the struggle.

About 5 or 6 years after I returned from the field I began to actually be honest. I began to go beyond the surface and talk about my experience and my mistakes. I reached a point where I was no longer afraid of the reactions. The reactions couldn’t hurt as bad as the secrets. It was worth taking a chance. Once I told someone, once I went first, I found out what I should have known all along: I was never alone. I was never the only one.

I thank God for lessons learned. I thank God that He keeps growing something in me that is bigger than the fears that keep me down. Something bigger than depression, addiction, divorce, fear, insecurity, doubt. Whatever the struggle, whatever the fear, He is bigger.

"This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us." - 1 John 3:19-24

Take confidence in this thought. It is true!

And please, find someone to talk to. Be willing to go first.

-Paige Foreman

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