Already Included #64 – On Hold

By: Sarah Nyhan

Control issues gone awry. Sometimes you are a person who, justly or even not, feels the need to prove a point. Probably to others. Who maybe don’t care or more likely are also probably successfully maintaining much control by playing the game of refusing to acknowledge the point to you despite all evidence and all your attempts.

What we feed grows. What might have been only a part of your life can then morph into an identity as you hold onto this mission and probably put many other things in your life on hold while you wait. For their acknowledgement, their approval, their apology, etc.

And here is what I have learned after a few decades: you have to give yourself permission to know, to feel, to grieve, to live, and to move on.

They are comfortable enough; their comfort depends on you playing the part they probably set you up to play. As long as you and others participate in the dance with them, the likelihood of them feeling uncomfortable enough to reconsider their choices is, in my opinion, very low. Especially in this society, where we have a high enough level of social mobility to where they can easily find someone, even many, who will take your place.

It can feel very lonely on the path of pursuing better for yourself. It can feel hard to find hope. But there are others out there. We can take back true control when we start creating a life we want versus waiting for anyone to give it to us. Whether we deserved better or not. All we have is now. And all we can really hold onto is ourself. And we will be wherever we go. For better or worse.

I believe everything we encounter is working for our healing. It might not feel that way. We maybe want or expect a more sanitized healing experience. But the longer we go, the more it might take to get our attention also.

Yes, there were probably true times where we were victimized. But we can’t change anyone. They have to want to change. Even if we can force their actions, is that really ultimately satisfying if their hearts and minds are not for or with us?

How much more will you give them?

What do you really want? What life do you really want? And will you take a step right now in that direction?

Already Included #56 – Give Me My Mountain

By Sarah Nyhan

If I trust Trinity for anything then why don’t I trust Trinity for everything? Do we get as much of Trinity as we settle for?

I think about where it was written that Jesus did not do many miracles for a certain group because of their unbelief. If that translation and interpretation is correct, I don’t want to be in that group.

I don’t want to be the Israelites who saw Trinity move in their lives and then assigned their fears and weaknesses more power than God. Always no condemnation, but I want to be like Caleb who believed God to be stronger than any challenge.

Isn’t that the whole issue? We believe we are abandoned. We believe Trinity spun us out, left us alone, and expects us to do our part. Like I’ll believe God to bless my efforts, but to trust Trinity into and beyond my failures? Not anymore than for eternal safety and reconciliation.

But what about here? What if God is in the healing and redeeming business right now?

Do we throw the baby out with the bath water if we totally distance ourselves from what is commonly referred to as “name it and claim it” or “prosperity preaching”?

I don’t know. I just think about my own life. I think about the stories I’ve heard in the recorded testimonies. And I wonder. I don’t want to miss out.

There is this fine line between trust and witchcraft. One involves rest. The other is very much about the illusion of control.

Witchcraft still says I have to do something. Witchcraft says it depends on me. Witchcraft reduces the uncontainable love of Trinity down to a formula to manipulate God. And I think that might be one of the main things being worked out of me. Because the old way of religion versus relationship was most certainly about a formula.

It’s almost blasphemous if you think about it: that I, this little speck on earth not even visible from a plane, have the power to flip a certain switch to make Creator God behave towards me a certain way. And then of course it is my job to keep that switch flipped. Totally ridiculous! I’m just a kid. I was thrown into a body on this earth without a clue about what is going on. How can I possibly have that much power and responsibility?

Maybe earthly parents expect their children to do for them, instead of the other way around. But I think Trinity is teaching me that They are different. They lay up an inheritance for Their children. As quoted in Isaiah, even a nursing mother may neglect their child – but the eyes of God’s heart never wavers; we are continually before Them.

I have been thinking on Psalm 127:
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”

In times past I interpreted Scripture from a perspective of God telling me what to do. Versus the way I now have been leaning: where all Scripture points to Jesus. So from that different viewpoint I look at Psalm 127 and I wonder if Trinity is saying: “I love My children. I take great joy in My children. I take care of them. I protect them. It’s useless for you to scrounge about like an orphan. You were lied to. Focus on Me and My heart instead of your fears and weaknesses.”

I mean that’s the whole story of so many starting with Adam and Eve. David and Goliath also comes to mind. If that scenario repeated itself today, David would be chastised endlessly up until he knocked Goliath out.

Heck, it was those that saw Jesus based only on physical appearances that sought to murder Him.

Who or what is the Goliath in our lives? Where are we limiting God? Again, such a fine line between resting and turning this concept into yet another “spell” to get what we want.

I think the healing of our inward brokenness may be the first versus the final frontiers in all of this. I don’t know, that’s just where I am today. But in that, I was thinking about Joseph. How he endured so much in the physical and yet we know in hindsight those experiences were not an indication that God was unhappy with him. Same as with Jesus.

But how beautiful is it that Joseph’s dream played a part in getting him rejected by his family and ending up in prison and yet God redeemed the whole dream thing by using that as his ticket out of jail.

I mean can you picture yourself young and excited because you feel like God is working in your life? And then something major happens like ultimate betrayals. But you’re still fresh off time with Jesus so you roll with it.

But then a little while turns into a long while. And it seems like God left you or put you on the sidelines and picked someone else in maybe what felt like a place you saw yourself fitting into.

You sit there wondering whether you went wrong. Replaying all the decisions. I mean surely you messed up. “But THIS badly, Lord?! I mean, I don’t want to compare, but how can I not when you look at so-and-so?!”

And at some point you just give up and try to forget about all those dreams. You try to learn to live a simple life in the prision you feel like you’ve failed to break out of no matter how hard you’ve tried. You feel like at best you can muster up the motivation to go through the motions some days. But it’s too painful to hope anymore.

And then one day, even in this state, God says it is time for Trinity to redeem even those private points of pain that are too raw to share with anyone anymore. Maybe you’ve even minimized them in your efforts to move on. But Holy Spirit sees. Holy Spirit knows. Holy Spirit is not content leaving any part of your heart broken. Holy Spirit takes whatever time is needed to get close to our great sadnesses. To delicately place them in Their hand. To not only help us move on but to redeem that which was lost along the way.

That’s what happened with Joseph. He probably doubted himself so much. He was probably done for the most part. I imagine. And God says, ‘Not only am I going to get you out of this prison, but I am going to restore all that was lost to you. Publicly! Your shame will be no more. You will not have all these people looking down on you ever again. And I’m going to redeem dreams – the very thing that seemed to lead you into this.”

Now that’s a God I can trust!

What is God redeeming in our lives? We want deliverance and relief, but what deep healing could Trinity also be up to? What is that Achilles heel in us that we’ve lived with so long that we have considered it something that will never leave us? That place where our best intellectual efforts haven’t been able to speak to our wounded hearts? Maybe the place where deep down we can’t see anything other than God failed us. Or that we failed ourselves or others beyond repair? I don’t think Trinity is content with leaving us alone with any of that darkness. All of you, all of us, will be redeemed, is being redeemed.

Now therefore, give me my mountain. As Peter said, wash all of me, Lord. I don’t want to let go until You bless me.

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Already Included #53 – Patience

By Sarah Nyhan

I feel like God has been encouraging me a lot recently about being patient. That rushing is born out of fear. And fear is extinguished as I experience perfect love.

I feel encouraged and reminded about The Good Shepherd who does not berate the sheep into trusting. No, sheep are extremely sensitive. There is no talking to a sheep. The Shepherd earns their trust slowly until the sheep feel safe. As slowly as the sheep need the process to be.

Many of us listened to people who left us almost drowning in condemnation. So much of their focus was on our behavior versus the heart of God. And let me be clear, I was one of those people. Unfortunately. But the more I experience God, the more all of that heaviness is filtered out of me.

All to say, I was talking with someone who had a heart attack recently. They were taken to the emergency room and surgery was performed immediately. They were kept awake during the surgery. As the surgeon inserted something to allow the blood to return to the heart, the blood flooded the heart all at once. It was such a shock to the system that the body took a bit to adjust. Even though it was a good thing that the blood returned to the heart, there was a danger that it could have been too much too quickly.

That really spoke to me in regards to those I love. I wish so badly to celebrate with everyone. And yet my words seem to continue to fall on deaf ears. In my own strength, I get so frustrated. The disappointment can be so tiring. I admit I have lashed out in my grief and frustration.

And I feel strongly corrected especially during recent times. Not that I have been on the wrong path, but I have been going about things in ways that are at least not helpful. I have seen people through my strength and my ego versus God’s heart. I feel like there are boundaries to be had, but that my focus needs to shift from defense to desiring healing in all. To see us all as those little sheep that primarily blinded by their fears. Who need healing.

And so it would probably benefit all if I was more patient. A pastor once referred to me on more than one occasion as a pitbull. And both my middle and last names mean “warrior”. Whew! But I need to be sure I am fighting for the right things in the most helpful way. The surgeon does not come in with a butcher knife in order to operate on the heart attack patient. No, the surgeon has a team and they delicately, as non-invasively as possible, make little cuts in order to repair what needs to be healed. They make sure the patient is responding well as they go. I need to also meet people where they are spiritually and fully trust God with their hearts and our connection. That looks like being patient and listening a whole lot more. That looks like letting go of prioritizing love over intellectual consensus or amy similar agenda. My motives are for the most part pure, but the ends will probably be furthered along faster if I use different means.

Now that I think of it, the heart attack survivor that I spoke with had to return to the hospital for a second surgery at a later date. Again, a great picture for spiritual things: God meets us at our current need. Trinity does not heal everything at once. The whole book isn’t thrown at us and we are not beaten over the head with it. Some speakers might do that, but not Holy Spirit. Jesus meets us exactly where we are and patiently walks with us step by step. One day at a time. And my relationships could most likely benefit from me doing the same.

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Already Included #52 – Superheros

By Sarah Nyhan

I can remember being elementary-school-aged and experiencing a specific event where I thought to myself something like, “It’s going to be up to me to take care of myself.”

Fast-forward a few years later when I was in high school and I created a female superhero cartoon character. She was who I aspired to be. I even created and wore a t-shirt with her logo.

Fast-forward to probably shortly after my 18th birthday and I had the logo I created for my female superhero cartoon character tattooed on me. The only tattoo I’ve ever had.

I would save myself.

I believed Jesus for eternal salvation, but probably not much more. Afterall, I incorrectly thought God’s primary emotion was anger. I had pasted the face of other adults onto God. I had projected my thoughts onto God.

I look back in hindsight and see how so many of my decisions were motivated by this drive to save myself. To do my “part”. To figure it all out.

And I hear the words ring back to me, “How’s that been working for ya?”

I look back and see how the best things in my life came as surprises. God-sent surprises. Nothing I orchestrated. Nothing I planned.

And yet it’s been such a long time coming to that realization. Decades. I’m happy for the process even when it has been painful. Maybe I would have taken the truth for granted otherwise. Maybe I wouldn’t really have understood the sweetness of being loved by God had things always been smooth sailing.

Now I am learning to let go. I am putting down my torn and tattered superhero cape. I am living loved. I am relishing the reality that I am a very loved child. That I don’t have to come to my own rescue. That’s it’s ok and to be expected that I do not and will not be able to know or figure everything out.

My motivations for my actions are thankfully changing from fear to following my heart. I can barely type those words after being oppressed in religious errors for so many decades. It feels almost wrong to say. But I experience God for myself these days. So I know it to be true.

Regardless of where you stand on the issues, 2020 has exposed the fact that many of us may have been unconsciously in the habit of defaulting to fear-based decisions. Which situations have we stayed in due to fear? Which actions have we taken out of fear?

You’d think my own track record would be enough motivation, but lately I have become aware that I have my first name to thank for the continuous reminder of how well the fear-based decisions worked for the Biblical Abraham and Sarah. Among many other recorded testimonies.

To be sure, there is never any condemnation. And Trinity never does abandonment. Holy Spirit is only ever and always in the healing business. They always go to rescue the little lambs no matter how far they wander.

But I am really tired of circling this desert of self-sufficiency and fear. How about you? I want to get on with Life. I want to experience all there is to experience. I want to stop giving any power to lies.

My prayer for 2021 and beyond is that we will all more deeply experience and know the perfect love of Trinity. So that we will be free. So that we and our world and our relationships will be healed. I think it is ours for the taking once we realize who and Whose we are and always have been.

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Already Included #51 – Saving Ourselves

By Sarah Nyhan

I was thinking about how Jesus says this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting (as recorded in Mark 9 and Matthew 17). I feel like God comforted me with the revelation that what it means for me is that the disciples were relying on themselves to be able to deliver this person they wanted to save. Even with good intentions. And yet the point was that in doing good they had even veered off the path.

Mercies are new every morning. What happened to the manna that was collected in fear? I haven’t trusted God to show off for me tomorrow in greater ways than today. I have projected my own self-image on Trinity. I haven’t fully loved myself and I have put that on God. Even after all Trinity has done for me. Over and over and over.

And it will be ok. But some healing, this healing, won’t happen without my heart. Won’t happen just in my mind. Won’t be some routine thing done because it worked before.

I think of Moses. God keeps reminding me of Moses. What was the big deal about the rock and the water?

I picture Moses being so tired. Going round and round all these years. Not understanding how safe he was in The Father’s heart. Incorrectly feeling like he carried all these people he loved on HIS back.

“Yet again here we are in need, God. Yet again these people don’t believe Your love for them.”

But what was the issue all along? “It doesn’t depend on you, Moses.”

“And it doesn’t depend on you, Sarah.”

“It doesn’t depend on you.”

It doesn’t depend on us. In returning and REST will be our salvation.

But just like me, Moses didn’t want to “fall” that far. I mean look at all these people that were depending on him. Or so it seemed.

God gave him a new way. But he was scared. Understandably. So at the last minute he chickened out and hit the rock instead of just speaking to it. His strength again. Sure, not murdering an Egyptian this time. But still his strength. Versus God’s heart.

Did God really lead Moses out into the desert and then leave him there and expect him to be responsible for all those people? Any of those people?

What did Jesus do when He was led out into the desert (not at all as punishment)?

Our prayers are answered. Just not always in the way we expect. We are not being punished. That thinking is one of the things being healed. Our total healing is only ever the aim. FOR us. If God was in the using business, which I don’t believe Trinity is, then there are plenty of others. But I think there are things especially FOR us. Joys especially FOR us. That God is so excited for us to get to and enjoy. Through all this.

God does new things. And the fasting and prayer don’t make them happen. The fasting and prayer just helps us be in better alignment.

And so we can face these wrestlings head on without fear. Easier said than done. 🙂

“Ok, God – what am I not seeing? What am I not hearing? What are You doing differently this time? Who is this for? What Word do I need? What Word do they need? Help me hear. Help me see. Help me see Your heart. Help me see myself and them through Your heart.”

Prayer like that. Fasting is simply removing my distractions to that end. Not me moving mountains in my own strength.

Different rocks, different fears possess me and others in that and this future. There isn’t some formula I can run to apart from running to Trinity. New. Fresh.

Yesterday They might have me hitting the rock. Today They might have me speaking to the rock. It’s not torture or some sick game. My healing comes not from a formula I can fall back on. Not some witchcraft. But in knowing I don’t need to know. 😊 In coming to experience the unlimitedness of my Father’s heart for us all.

I think our gifts are greater than we know and God wants us to be totally free to use them without worrying that all of Israel depends on us, so to speak. We are this loved, beloved child. Just as we are. We are exactly where it was always known we would be. Who we are was always factored in.

God keeps telling me that we’re not late. But also that we can stop circling the deserts of our self-sufficiency whenever we like. We can choose. We are already fully healed. We can experience that as much as we want.

The only thing God ever depended on was our fear and failure. 😊 Our betrayal. Our sacrificing Him on the cross.

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