"...You have stayed long enough at this mountain."
Preface: This summer I am studying the book of Deuteronomy and I remembered this post I wrote six years ago. I have moved on from that mountain... but for sure there I times I try to circle back! Original post is here.
And that's when I felt the Lord say...
You have stayed long enough at this mountain, Sheri.
Time to give up that hope.
For me, my bondage has been to affirmation. Positive affirmation. Now, please don't get me wrong. Affirmation is a wonderful thing. Very necessary and life giving. We need encouragement. But for me it can become an obsession. I can't have affirmation from just some people. It needs to be from all. And there are some people who need to give me affirmation exactly how I expect it and if not I am distraught. And nothing else matters in life.
In the Bible Study by Priscilla Shirer, One In A Million, I saw it as plain as day. Priscilla was discussing when the Israelites were leaving Egypt and heading to the promised land. They craved what they left behind in Egypt. (Numbers 11:4-7) Because the Israelites had experienced the things of Egypt, they selectively only remembered the pleasure of them and not the bondage of them. They felt that what they knew would have to be better than anything else that could be offered. They would stick with what they knew. It worked for them. And as I read the story I wondered how could you ever desire slavery over freedom? But the truth be told... I do it all the time.
Early on I would find affirmation however I could. I wanted attention whether positive or negative made no matter... just notice me. I grew up trying to find affirmation through grades or guys. It became addictive. The Lord helped me to see that the ways I was trying to get affirmation were destructive. They were not fulfilling.
Then I began to find ways to fill my need for affirmation in ways that were constructive. Positive friendships. Trying to change my expectations. Affirming myself. And yet, it wasn't enough. There would always be one or two people who I felt should affirm me, but didn't... and I would be crushed.
I came to a crossroads. As I began mentoring some of my younger sisters-in-Christ, the topic of affirmation would come up. And I was stuck. I couldn't help them. I couldn't help myself. Some of them were in the same situation I was. What was I to do?
So, I decided to force the situation. That didn't work. I tried talking to others about it. That became gossip. I tried to read books on the topic... that helped... some. I started to pray for that person to change. That didn't work. I started to pray that I would change... now... I began to see some movement... in me.
And I have felt much relief and freedom. But when I was doing Day Three of Week One of Priscilla's study-- entitled, "Bound to a Memory" -- I realized I was not yet free. Completely free. Because I had exchanged my immediate desperate need for affirmation from a particular person into a future fulfillment of that need. Meaning, I was finding comfort in the fact that one day that person would affirm me. I was able to be content today with that person... and with that need for their affirmation, because I had finally resigned myself that one day... one day... they would truly see me... and they would affirm me. And I could be patient... and wait for that.
And that's when I felt the Lord say... You have stayed long enough at this mountain, Sheri. Time to give up that hope. Time to not rely upon the hope that I would ever be affirmed by that person. Not that they won't affirm me... but that I was to no longer cover my symptoms. I still had that desperate desire to be affirmed by that person... but I had covered it up... and that was no longer good enough.
It is now time for me to stop looking back. Stop looking longingly back. Again, let me reiterate that affirmation in itself is not a bad thing. Nothing is inherently wrong with it. But I wanted it more than what God wanted for me. God is offering me an abundant life in Christ... free from bondage... free from insecurity... free from the future hope of someone's affirmation. Free from the dependence on someone else to meet my needs.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then,
and do not let yourselves be burdened
again by a yoke of slavery.
And although there will be times, the allure of someone's affirmation will tempt me... I have resolved to stand firm... and look forward to the promised land of abundant living that Christ has set before me. And now... as I move from this mountain... I pray my testimony of God's faithfulness will encourage those I influence to do the same.