“I’m Not Nothing!”

“I’m not nothing! I was never nothing! The power you have I don’t need!”
-Emma Swan ‘Once Upon A Time’

Every Sunday, this sentence comes out of my mouth at least once: “It’s Once Upon A Time Time!”

And, in tonight’s episode, in response to a dark voice in her ear, in a show of amazing restraint and power, the main character shouts those lines:

“I’m not nothing! I was never nothing! The power you have I don’t need!”

Does that stir something in you?

It did in me.

You see, I started this day with those pesky little voices in my head reminding me of my “nothingness” – edging out my “enoughness” my “goodness” and my “just rightness”.

I get those pesky little lies in my head – sometimes at work “You can’t do this. You’re not ready. You’re going to fail.” Sometimes with friends/in social settings, “They don’t really want you around. Why would they want to be your friend?”

You’re nothing. You’re worthless. You don’t really have a place to belong. The lies go on and on – even at church.

Though I am glad to be back at my home church, the last couple of weeks, I have felt a little out of place – being Single & an older “young adult” in the MidWest, it’s hard to find the right place.

And, even though I know this is my church home, I keep wondering if something would be better elsewhere. Even though I know this is where God has planted me, I keep wondering if maybe I should try to find another place, greener pastures as it were (ironically, this is partially what we talked about in Sunday School while discussing Jonah).

When I go into the Sunday School class, where I am really enjoying the teaching, I do feel out of place when I first walk in – as the oldest one in the room. Even older than one of the teachers.

It makes me momentarily forget that I have a place in the Kingdom, and that I can still grow where I’m planted. That God’s power is in me & I can serve, if I only seek out ways to do so – exactly where I am.

Sometimes, it even causes momentary amnesia that I am a daughter of the Most High God – adopted into His family through His Son. (Ephesians 1:4-7). That I was created by God, and that the works of His hand are wonderful (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139:14).

You know why this scene is so amazing to me?

As someone who has been a faithful viewer (and as a woman who feels the negative lies of the enemy almost daily), this scene is something beautifully empowering.

You see, Emma is central. She is the important key in this show – she has a power all her own & now, at a pivotal moment in her struggle, the darkness is against her – speaking to her as we often have voices in our head speaking to us. But:

She knows who she is, who she has always been – And, she claims it. She fights against the dark voices & stands in her own power.

I want that. When my “nothingness” threatens me, when the enemy tries to entice me with the things of this world. When he tries to convince me that I am nothing, that I am worthless, that I have no place, I want to remember that I stand in God’s power. I want that to be my reaction:

“I’m not nothing! I was never nothing! The power you have I don’t need.”


(P.S. – I think I have now watched this scene about 20 times since it aired. Thank you, DVR!)
*Emma Swan quote from: ‘Once Upon A Time’ – ‘Nimue’ on ABC. (Sundays at 8/7c.)

Loyalty Beyond Reason

“How can we not talk about Family
When family’s all that we got?
Everything I went through
You were standing there by my side,
And now you go’n be with me for the last ride.”

-Wiz Kalifa ‘See You Again’ 

In 7th grade I fell in love with a fictional character. Then, I fell in love with a family. And, eventually, as more were produced, the franchise never left my heart.

Blue eyes, blonde hair, tan skin, and some Chuck Taylor’s. I was hooked. He was pretty much perfect. But, what really got me?

Loyalty.

This character, this family – the fierce, unwavering loyalty among them, no matter which side of the law they were on…

By now, many readers may realize the character I fell in love with was Brian O’Connor & the film franchise The Fast and The Furious. This film franchise is one of my all time favorites. Paul Walker, one of my favorites. And Brian O’Connor one of my first real “fiction person” crushes.

And that one single quality, Loyalty, is what drew me in & kept me there; immune to the fact that they usually do things that aren’t exactly kosher. 

Loyalty is a characteristic that is very important to me.

As a matter of fact, it is one of the qualities those around me attribute to me most often, and several times has been cited to be to the extreme. I have been told on more than one occasion that because of my loyalty I remind people of Ruth (which is a fantastic compliment to me).

I had an English teacher in High School who described me as “loyal beyond reason” while discussing an issue I was having with a friend, noting that I went farther for those around me who didn’t do the same for me, often even after some had tried to push me away or treat me terribly.

Cousin has also recently pointed out the negatives to my loyalty when it comes to how much responsibility I feel towards bosses I work for.

My loyalty leads to an over-the-top sense of responsibility to just about every relationship around me…

With a very important exception:

  • #1 – relationship to God

I have found myself wavering from my relationship with God more times than I’d like to admit: questioning His Love & providence. Refusing to live with His sovereignty. Putting so many other things first. Oscillating between doubt and faith, often staying in the unrest of the former.

What should always be the most important relationship has been the throw away relationship so often. And, often unintentionally.

“Ride or Die.”

That’s what they say in the F&F movies. Ride or die… That’s how I feel about so many of the closest relationships in my life.

But, this one? I find it hard sometimes…yet, He’s the ONLY ONE who actually did die for me. 

Crucified in the most gruesome of ways so that I may have abundant life, not only here, but in eternity with Him.The only one to sacrifice Himself, conquer death & the grave. The only one to raise from the dead in order to do so.

As I was sitting in church praying over all the things I have going on, I felt Him move, heard him asking, “Are you finally going to put me first? Am I finally going to be the most important?”

– and my heart genuinely hopes so…

And, as I’ve thought of all this today, I realized, maybe that’s one the biggest reasons I haven’t had a lot of romantic relationships thus far in my life.

Maybe it’s a blessing, the best kind. Perhaps, He has been protecting me from bringing someone into my life before I was ready, not because I am not mature or grown up enough to be a wife and mom, but because my intense feelings of loyalty would immediately put my husband (and possibly kids) over God in my life.

An unintentional idol created by this quality He put in me for beauty & love – taken beyond reasonable measure.

So, as I make the decision each day to really put Him first, perhaps I will move into finally being ready for Him to bring someone into my life. Ready to  put that man in the place he belongs in my life: After God, before me.

For now, I will work on putting everything else in order: God first – all else will follow.


Connecting this week for Tuesday at 10Blessed

Strength & Plan

It’s Tuesday, so I am going to take the opportunity to work last week’s 5 Minute Friday prompt into today’s Tuesday @ 10 prompt.

The prompts are Plan & Strength respectively.

Ready? GO

Strength – I don’t feel like I have any left.

Plan – I had one, it’s kind of falling apart now…

Circumstances beyond my control (which kills me!) have completely torn me down – and each time it seems the plan is back on track, something else comes along & knocks it off.

And, most days, I really just don’t have the strength to deal with it much longer. And, I’m beginning to feel like God is as far away from it all as possible, just watching things fall apart around me all over again…

But, that’s just how I feel… I know feelings lie. I know He has brought me through more trying times than this… Though, this time feels hopeless. I feel helpless again. Like nothing is working; like every decision has been the wrong one. And, I’m trapped. Like everything is out of my control.

When will He show up? I hope He shows up soon, because I’ve lost my own strength & don’t have a plan D-Z…

STOP

Faith & Forgiveness

Forgiveness is this week’s Tuesday @ 10 theme…and Keep is this week’s 5 Minute Friday theme.

Both are hitting close to home today.

Back in December I touched on an incident at work, a complaint about me. Well, that complainant did go to corporate, who sent it back to my manager. My manager investigated, and found all the facts and they showed that the woman was embellishing extremely, pretty much bending the truth into a lie…About my work behavior. And, so, my manager emailed the DM letting him know the situation and problem dropped, right?

No. No it wasn’t.

Now, 2 months later, it’s back. The woman’s husband is involved, a man I’ve never met, and apparently I am now being accused of being racist… I did my job. Properly. The evidence & facts are there that support that I was doing my job according to company procedure & policy. On my side, race never even was an issue, I didn’t even imagine that it could have been.

Upon learning this news, I am having a hard time forgiving this woman who I’ve only met twice, and a man I’ve never met.

I am having trouble letting go of my anger at their false accusations, and forgiving them for their words & the fear that accompany them.

And, as I wrote before, I again find myself afraid: for my job, and more, my reputation & my good name.

And what’s worse & even more frustrating, I don’t understand why they feel the need to be doing this.

Which brings me to Keep…

I am having such a hard time turning off the fear; and trusting God to keep me: safe, secure, free from harm.

And, heres why, (let’s be honest):

Job wasn’t spared

Ezekiel’s wife was taken

Jeremiah spent 50 years being persecuted, humiliated, and more

Stephen, Peter, Paul: martyred

even Christ was crucified.

Now, I realize that some of these were restored here in this life, but, after much suffering. Honestly, I don’t really have the stomach for that, and I have been more fair-weather in my relationship with God at times than these.

Yet, I know His promise of hope & restoration is for me, today. So, why am I having such a hard time trusting that He will keep me, that He will come to my aid?

Why is the enemy’s lie of fear so much easier for me?

And, how selfish that my biggest worry is how will look if this goes any further, rather than being concerned of how I can continue to show His love & glory through this?

Because, my current struggle with this fear & unforgiving spirit can’t be bringing much glory to the name of Christ.

But, I’m trying…to let it go. To trust. To forgive.

This is going to take time.

And, perhaps, memorizing these verses for peace and wisdom to keep as much peace as possible:

“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge Beloved , but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “vengeance is mine, I will repay” says the lord.
Romans 12:17-19

2012 – My Challenge

As I start off the 2012 year, I face some difficult times in life. My faith is being stretched and tested; and my times of solitude are growing, allowing me the beauty of either wallowing in loneliness or turning to Immanuel to soothe my heart.

I have prayed, and have not heard answers. I have hit the ground running, working hard, seeing no results. I have allowed myself to be absorbed into fantasy worlds, trying to pretend that life doesn’t exist, but it does.

That is how I ended 2011. Now, though, as I strike ahead into 2012, that will not work anymore. I will continue to move forward, press in, and expect God to answer as He said He would. Therefore, this year,

I will trade:
My Anxiety      for       His Peace
My Depression     for     His Joy
My Insecurity     for     His Grace
My Hatred    for     His Compassion
My Intelligence     for     His Wisdom
My Doubt     for     His Truth
My Sin & Shame     for    His Salvation
My Apathy    for     His Love

This year, I am making no resolutions. Each year, I fail, fall short, because they are so ego-centric. This year, I am becoming more like Christ so I may live as a light of love to the world around me.
What are your plans to make 2012 a good year? Do they include growing closer to the All Mighty? Let me know below, I would love to hear from you. Thank you and God Bless.

Find me on Twitter: @CandiceJenee
©CandiceJenee – 2012

This is my first 5 Minute Friday post. I will probably have more in the future.