Today I celebrate 44 years of life on this earth. Almost exactly a year ago an incredible season of transition began. This transition season has not always been easy, but it was always good. As the season began, I found myself seeking; really seeking my purpose, my path and direction. I was not unhappy with where I was, but I felt there was more and it was time for a change. This transition season is made up of four sub-seasons: Contentment, Stillness, Letting Go, and Evolving.
There was so much going on in my life at that time. In August, I began suffering from a very severe digestive issue. This was still going on in October as I began traveling more professionally. Those two things do not go together! The dynamics of some of my relationships had changed. I had made a decision to discontinue some toxic family relationships. My husband’s employment status changed. We were considering buying a house and completely changing our living environment.
At the time, it seemed like everything happened at once and I was completely baffled by what was happening. Looking back, I can see that it was set in motion at one pivotal moment. A moment I will never forget. At the time, I was barely keeping all the balls in the air, so to speak. The plates were spinning, but at any moment they could all come crashing down. My faith relationship was in a good place. I had a happy marriage/family life. I was excelling in ministry. I was excelling professionally. With all this going well, something just did not feel right. My path had become muddy and no longer felt like it was the one meant for me. That pivotal moment happened one Sunday morning when I decided to take this to the Lord at the altar. I prayed for His guidance, His direction. I prayed for His will for me and my family. As I was surrounded by praying ladies, one spoke some words to me which I truly believe were Spirit-inspired. God was speaking to my heart. My friend there by my side praying for me said, “Be content.”
Contentment Season – a season of being satisfied with where you are.
Be content. Wait! What?!?! I was in a state of toiling looking for the answers. Now some may say the enemy was at play here, but I am not inclined to give him the credit. This moment was clearly a God-directive. I truly believe He saw what was coming and had these words for me. Why? Well, because I was going into some serious transition, and I needed a reminder to not toil or strive, but to be content with where and when I found myself. Be content because I trust Him to work it out. Be content because I am blessed. Be content with what was before me because if it was His will, it would be, and if it wasn’t, it would be removed. Ok, Lord! I will BE CONTENT.
Shortly after these words, I began to suffer from a digestive illness. One, apparently, without a diagnosis or cure. It went on for 6 months with little relief. To this day, no one knows what it was or what caused it. It was a serious detox of my system, and, personally I believe the “purge” was the beginning of much more than a physical detox. I believe it was the beginning of a spiritual detox. Many weeks I could not leave home because I did not know how my body would behave. So I spent time alone with God. In this time, I heard from the Lord in my prayer and devotional time. I was led to Exodus 14. At the time, I specifically focused on verse 14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” I did not know the battle being fought for me, but I knew there was one. I felt very strongly that there were some forces against me in the background. The more religious would say it was an enemy attack, and maybe that is true. What I do know is that there were people involved. Maybe they were tools of the enemy or maybe they are just people behaving badly. Either way, there was an unseen battle, and in the midst of it, the Lord’s directive to me was “Be still, be quiet, hold your peace.” I have written about holding your peace previously in a December blog, Be Still & Hold Your Peace. I was preparing for a women’s retreat when I had a dream that rescuing others may cost me my life. There was so much symbolism in the dream that I could not understand at the time, but it was to be revealed to me in God’s timing. At this point I had served in women’s ministry for 4 years, and there were people I had loved, supported, and counseled that began to attack me verbally. It seemed that all I had done and said was perceived in a way I could have never imagined. What was I going to do with this? Be still, be quiet. For those that know me, know that being quiet isn’t really in my wheelhouse, but I chose obedience. I was not strong enough to be obedient within myself. I had to throw myself into my relationship with Jesus. I had to tap into His strength. Following this was an entirely new and unexpected battle. More of the dream was coming to fruition. People I had complete and total trust for began to attempt tearing my family down. I had some things to say about it, but I heard the words again, “Be still, be quiet.” If I had spoken out during that time, I believe things would have ended much differently. It would not have been beneficial to anyone. God was protecting me by keeping me quiet. More of Exodus 14 seem to apply. So I did as I was told. BE STILL.
During this time of stillness, I kept to myself not even speaking to my closest friends about what was going on. Not only was the ‘be quiet’ directive meant for me to not try to defend myself, but it was meant for me to not talk about it. No dissension or discourse should be sown. I was responsible for not creating offenses. My immediate family knew, but no one else. It was a time of assessing my priorities. God became my ‘go to’. He should have been all along especially since I was serving in women’s ministry. As I mentioned, my priorities were skewed. With the illness, everything I had been involved in had been minimized. There is nothing like minimizing to really drive home what is important. My family re-established their place at the top of the priority list. Being in a time of stillness made me realize the price they had paid for all I had poured out for others. This season of being still brought healthy, open communication which served to connect me to the ones I cherish the most, my husband and daughter. Room for connection is made when you just BE STILL.
As the months progressed, I began to have good days and bad days with the illness. So I began to step out a little more. I began to share with my closest friends the season of stillness I was experiencing still careful in what I said. While that season of stillness was impressed on my heart, I entered the next sub-season, Letting Go. As I continued to seek the Lord’s will and trust Him, it was revealed that I was holding onto some things in my life that had reached their expiration date. Just as when you hold onto and partake in food beyond its expiration date, when you hold onto seasons, people or appointments it is harmful to your well-being. As long as you clutch these seasons, people and/or appointments, you will not be content, you will not have peace. It was so difficult because I felt much of my identity was tied to these. It was time for the Lord to do more work in my heart to help me really see who He intended me to be in Him. I realized I had fallen into some old behaviors I had in an abusive relationship years ago. I needed to look to Jesus for my identity. Somewhere in my erroneous way of thinking, I felt if I did not have these things I would no longer have worth because I would no longer have people’s approval, admiration and acceptance. In some cases, I did lose people’s approval and some relationships. I had to learn to be okay with that. This is where some of the most difficult work began. As a lifelong approval addict with an intense fear of rejection, I had to learn to accept that some people may reject me. The Lord spoke to my heart through His word which became my 2019 Verse. Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a new way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” I share just what this spoke to me in Exchanging My Story For Truth. God wanted me to see He was doing something new, but I had to release what I was clenching. I had to LET GO. While I thought if I let go, I would lose myself what actually happened was I found my true self. Even greater than that I found freedom. More free than I had been in a long time. I was freed from the darkness of my past, the shame-baggage I had toted for too long. I was freed from abusive, toxic relationships. I gained so much more than I gave up. During this time, I believe that there were people who thought that my letting go was an enemy tactic. I was freed from the burden of caring what others were thinking. I was able to focus on what God thought of me. What I found by letting go was love in its truest form. Through my release, I found release from the chains that bound me.
While I let go, I tried to stay where I was. I have found that this almost never works for a couple reasons. One, if you stay where you are, you are regularly faced with the temptation to pick up what you released. And, two, you feel the pressure of still fulfilling an identity that is no longer you. As I was in praise and worship one morning, I heard these words in my spirit, “Get out of the way.” It was so loud and so clear, it was almost audible. I was surrounded by others. So I looked around to see who may have said it. Then Spirit spoke to my heart, “Get out of the way. You are in the way of your growth and freedom, and you are in the way of others’ growth and freedom.” OUCH! It was as if the final step to letting go had not been achieved because I would not move forward; I would not move out. This meant leaving a time and place I had been connected to for a long time where connections were made and love had grown. Yet, that time had expired. Time to LET GO! It was time for the “new thing” Isaiah 43:19 speaks of. It was time for a new journey through the wilderness. I could not embark on this until I left the place I had been. If we stay where we are, I learned that it may mean we are not only hindering our own growth, but also the growth of others. We have to move to make room for them to take their place.
So here I am, completing 44 years of life on this earth, and I am in an extraordinary season I see as EVOLVING. I have learned to be content with the where/when I find myself. I have been still and quiet in some real adversity. I have let go and moved out of the way even when it hurt and made me extremely uncomfortable. Now, it is time to EVOLVE. Evolve means to develop, progress, advance, move forward, grow, change, expand, transform, mature. I am evolving into the person and on the journey that God has laid before me. So far that has meant becoming a recovering approval addict. It has meant accepting the love and connection of those that love me and accepting the rejection of those that do not. Acceptance means I am okay whether others like me or if they do not. It doesn’t even matter. After getting a solution to a very difficult work situation years ago, my boss said to me, “Nothing that happened in the past matters now.” You know, in my evolving, I welcome this statement as truth. My past has formed me, but it does not define me. My identity is not in my past. My identity is in who God has created me to be. That person may not be everyone’s favorite, and that is okay. I will continue to EVOLVE.
I know many of us have found ourselves in seasons of great transition. Change is hard, but it can be the very thing that makes you a much better version of you. There is no gift greater than the freedom found in being who you were created to be. Beyond that freedom are the gifts of authentic love and connection. Transition seasons make us vulnerable and no one likes that feeling. Yet vulnerability always breeds authentic relationships which results in a freedom to be you! With these connections, you will not make the journey alone. Take the freedom! There is nothing like it!
Be content. Be still. Let go. EVOLVE.
Here is what I know so far…
- God never gave up on me and He is using the situations, events and people of my past to do a NEW THING.
- In all the places I see impossibility, there is incredible potential for my growth and God’s glory.
- I am surrounded by love and essentially that is all that matters. Love is the center of it all.
- There is nothing I am reaching for, striving for or trying to obtain. I just want to be me on the path that is set for me.
- Transparency and authenticity are key to living in freedom.
- You need peace and freedom for the journey. Pack light, but do not forget these essentials.
Let’s journey together!
Peace & Love,
©2019 Amanda Bordner