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Witness Protection Program (a Timeless Truths blog post)

girl protected

Imagine witnessing a crime so horrific it leaves you running to the authorities in a panic, desperate for their protection. You know, deep down, that if the truth comes to light about what really happened and who was really involved the perpetrator would blame you … and you alone for being the one who ratted on them. Then, without a shadow of a doubt, you know you would be their next target. In order to escape that scenario from becoming a reality you take refuge in a witness protection program. You choose to listen to the people who tell you that you will be safe … as soon as you move out of the area, change your name, change your habits … change your very identity. Because of fear, you listen to them and you do as they say … and you gain the illusion that you are safe (at least from the original perpetrator). However, you find that you have a hard time letting go of the fear. Wherever you turn, you find yourself suspicious … and you ask yourself, “Can these people really be trusted? If I let my guard down and show them who I really am … on the inside (as well as the outside) … can I trust that they would really accept me for me?” And so you hold people at arms length … wary of gaining meaningful true friendships with people … always afraid of what they’ll think … if only they knew … Perhaps you aren’t in the witness protection program yourself but you can still relate. You can still identify with the fear of being accepted … if only the people around you knew the real you … on the inside … the part of you that you’ve been reluctant to share … because of allowing that fear to cripple you. Proverbs 29:25 The Message (MSG) declares, “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.” So, the timeless truth for today is that we need to run to our authority whenever we feel afraid … we need to run to God. We need to receive safety from other’s opinions of us (real or imagined) by resting in God’s opinion of us. We need to remind ourselves that God accepts us, approves of us, and loves us unconditionally … no matter what we look like (on the inside or on the outside). As we trust in God (who gave us the ability to have a personal relationship with Jesus … the only one who could ever make us holy, acceptable, and pleasing to God through His death on the cross) we can have confidence. We can come into agreement with God rather than with the opinions of man (or even with any negative opinion of ourselves). Because God accepts us (flaws and all) we can accept ourselves … and learn to open ourselves up around other people by making the choice to just be ourselves … by making the choice to allow others to get to know who we really are (flaws and all). We can have confidence in who we are, personally … a unique creation created by the Creator of all. When we allow ourselves to be who we really are rooted and grounded with our true identity being “in Christ” as God’s child since we’ve received His gift of salvation, we will actually be allowing others to see not only who we really are, but also who Christ really is, in us.

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God works all things together for good

There is a danger in not listening to the whispers to your soul. The danger of not learning, changing, and growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord – and it can be a humbling experience.

This morning, I realized I hadn’t listened to the whisper to my soul. Instead, I had tried to argue and rationalize and convince myself that everything would be fine – when I knew in my soul it really wasn’t fine.

After an hour, I finally gave up and conceded – humbling myself that I needed to admit the truth.

The situation wasn’t anything huge … just an unwanted gift I’d been given and me trying to figure out if I should just keep it and try to use it anyway (and if I didn’t like it I could always return it, the giver had told me) … or, if I should continue to be honest as I’d started to do the night before and simply tell them outright it wasn’t going to work and had to be returned.

The thing is, this person should have known ahead of time that what they bought me was not what I wanted because I had specifically told them I didn’t want the item if it contained a certain feature.

You see, they were originally trying to do me a favor by buying the item when they bought some other things for themselves. I had told them specifically what I wanted and had pointed out certain features that it should and should not contain. They had even said, “so, if they don’t have this one, I shouldn’t get anything, then.” And I had agreed.

However, when they came back from the store with a substitute item and they had told me they wanted to get me “something” (as that was the only similar item available), I initially tried to explain to them (graciously) that it had the feature I had specifically mentioned I didn’t want.

Then, because I was tired and because they were urging me to try it anyway, I felt like I was complaining and eventually apologized … and reluctantly agreed to try it anyway – even though I didn’t believe it would work.

Then, as I mentioned already, this morning I had the whole argument in my mind of what to do about the situation. Finally, I realized I just had to be truthful with both myself and with the other person.

I realized that – although it looked like I was complaining (on the surface), I knew in my heart I wasn’t really complaining – I was simply trying to find a way to be truthful graciously to the other person.

I also realized how God worked all things together for good.

I realized how this whole situation could be used as a learning experience.

I realized how it would help me to grow once I chose to listen to God’s voice directing me in the truth rather than worrying about the other person’s reaction to me simply being honest … and I realized how it could help the other person learn how to listen better as well to what I had told them in the first place (especially since I also had to ask them to return the item themselves).

I also realized something else. This was an opportunity. An opportunity for God to use me once I did finally listen to Him. An opportunity to be a conduit of change – first in my own life as I prayed and repented of my sin of not listening to God in the first place since I was so worried about what another person thought, then change in the other person’s life as they (at least) considered how it might be a good idea to listen to someone else’s wishes more carefully the next time, and then change in whoever reads this blog post as they may consider seeing an “everyday” situation in their own lives as an opportunity to learn something God may be trying to teach them once they’re honest with themselves and come into agreement with whatever God may be trying to speak into their hearts – whatever the situation may be.

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