My denomination is really just an association of seven churches. We are a tight bunch. Really, we are family! So, it was disturbing to me when I woke up and realized that my daughter Abigail did not feel those family feelings. These had been “our people” even before she was born; she had never known anything else! How could she not feel comfortable with them?
I noticed as she was young, that she was the only little girl. There were quite a few boys close to her age, but she seemed self-conscious and unable to break into their groups. Whenever we would go to fellowship meetings and campmeetings, she would be off by herself. She would be sitting in the shadows feeling lonely and forgotten. Like she didn’t fit in.
Some of the adults started to reach out to her older brother, befriending him and encouraging him. I was thrilled. Any time my children get a chance to be around godly older people, I consider it a gift from God.
Abigail was not thrilled. It seemed to highlight to her that these people were NOT her people. They didn’t want her or notice her. She began building a wall around herself, brick by brick. She started dragging her feet. When I would suggest that our family get in the van and head to a revival in a nearby town, she begrudgingly went. The enemy had isolated her from her church family, and I didn’t know what to do about it.
I told my husband, “She will never stay with this group. She does not feel close to them or like she belongs.”
Abigail’s invisible wall soon included not only the people in our group but also family members; she was being isolated from the ones who could help her. These were the people that she desperately needed, but the devil had her cut off. Nobody had done anything wrong intentionally, and they had no idea what was happening!
She needed the help of these loved ones. She had a sin principle down in her heart that needed removed. Although she didn’t say it out loud, I could feel the walls come up, sometimes even against me. Carnal self would raise its head, and I would be left with a choice of whether to hit it head on or back off and let her come around. She was a strong girl, and she had a stubbornness that wanted its own way.
We were on our way to our annual preacher’s convention when I started giving my four children a pep talk. “Listen,” I told them, “we are going to preachers’ convention for the Spirit. We want to get closer to God. We are not going for social reasons. Any friends you happen to make will be a bonus. We are really just going for God. It’s ok if you’re lonely as long as God makes you holy.” God did help my children that year. The services were good. And to my surprise, Abigail came away with a bonus. A new friend! But as wonderful as this was…it was not the main thing. Even if she had never gotten a friend, even if her lot in life was to always be lonely, that wouldn’t have been the main thing. Her HEART was the main thing!
Four years ago, God showed Abigail her heart. He helped her to give that stubborn will to Him! He helped her to die out to the opinions of others, and He sanctified her, giving her a power that she had not had before.
Yes, she is still a strong girl, but those walls are gone! I can’t entirely explain it, but I can feel it! I wondered if anyone knew what a miracle it was when she eagerly went to our church functions. If we can’t get together, she gets homesick for what she calls “my people.” God did that! When she allowed Him, He took control!
All her battles are not over. There have been times since then, that the devil has tried to isolate her from loved ones. Recently, someone unintentionally did something that made her feel unwanted. Abigail was sad about it, and I was sympathetic. A couple of days later, Abigail told me, “God showed me that was self-pity!”
I have been amazed at the faithfulness of God. God showed her what was being offered to her, and her heart cried out against it! She refused the self-pity.
Self-pity will rob you of victory. It will consume you, take away your focus. It will isolate you from others and make a spiritual cripple out of you. But the devil will offer it to you, if you will take it!