The Yes God

I should have been cooking dinner.

I should have been peeling potatoes and par-boiling broccoli. Should have been grating cheese and baking bread.

But I was online, trying to catch up with somebody who does the same kind of work I do.

I don’t claim to visit this person online often, simply because every time I do, I leave feeling less than. Inadequate. Like a loser.

 

The comparison trap is easy to fall into and not be able to get out. Do you feel insignificant and like you

 

 

It’s not her fault. It’s mine.

She’s a delightful sister who does work similar to mine… but the response she gets is so much bigger, greater, louder. It’s big and grand, and people love it.

It’s not her fault. It’s mine that it makes me feel worthless.

To avoid the temptation to inadequacy I just don’t go there.

But I’ve been doing much better with identity and insecurity, getting stronger in the Lord and letting Him love me to wholeness. I genuinely wanted to know how this person was doing and felt I was ready to be okay with the response.

A quick catch-up would have been fine. As I read, I was encouraged.

But then I started digging deeper. Like David seeing Bathsheeba on the rooftop and not looking away. I didn’t move on when I should have. The more I looked and read, the more temptation I started to experience.

Comparison set in.

Then the conviction that something must be wrong with me burrowed its way into my heart. That old lie wormed its way in and tried to convince me it was true, same as always.

It left a wake of soul devastation.

A chewed up swiss-cheese kind of heart had I.

The achy weight of insignificance filled me. What a bleeding, broken, bruised spirit I had in a matter of minutes. I had to get out of there quick!

I took it to the Lord. “God,” I cried out, bleeding, desperate for grace to mend the holes, “I need you to love me back to wholeness again. Because I’m taking a beating right now. I need to know that my identity isn’t in what kind of success I have. Or how responsive others are to my labor. “

He did the most amazing thing, then.

He reminded me of the sweeping lady.

I had been walking to volunteer at the school the day before.

Every Tuesday, I make the walk, down ShuangFu Road and past the underpass. Cross the street then turn left down Second Ring Road. On a lonely stretch of the walk, I happened upon a woman, leaning against a wall with her broom beside her. She was clothed in the ugly orange that makes her stand out to traffic. Her job is to sweep debris from the streets.

It was about ten o’clock in the morning and she was having a snack. When I saw her, my first thoughts were, “Wow, she’s hungry because she’s probably been out here since 6 this morning.  And she does this every day, seven days a week. She works so hard and she has probably never been thanked for her work in her entire life. I really appreciate people who work hard to keep things clean.”

At that point, the Spirit prompted me. “So why don’t you tell her?”

It was a still small voice. I could have very easily dismissed it.

And by that point, I was twenty paces past the woman.

For a minute I thought, “That’s crazy. I’m a random person on the street and what difference does it make anyway? I’m a nobody, on my way somewhere, and this is awkward.”

But I knew I’m chosen by God to be light. What a privilege to be a ray of hope to another.

So I stopped.

Turned around. Walked back the thirty or forty paces to the street sweeper. “Auntie, thank you so much for keeping things clean. You get up and work hard every day and your work makes things so much nicer for us to enjoy. Thank you.”

I wanted to say something meaningful but didn’t know what. So I just said, “God bless you.”

To which she started to laugh.

Sometimes people laugh because they are embarrassed. The foreigner makes them feel awkward and they laugh to cover it up.

But as I watched this lady, I saw that she was laughing for joy.

It was a laugh of hope. I could see it spread across her face like a new dawn. I could see it sparkle life in her eye. I could hear it in her voice, see it in the nod of her head. So I said it again, “God bless you.”

I turned and left then, the woman still laughing joyously behind me.

I walked to the school, volunteered in the library, rode the bus home with the kids, cooked dinner, gave baths, checked homework. Didn’t think anything more of the street sweeper lady.

But as I sat at my computer asking God to love me back to health after being chewed into swiss cheese, He reminded me of that lady.

“No one saw that, my child. But I did.”

“That little act didn’t register on anyone’s success meter…but it did on Mine.”

“You don’t need others to tell you you’re significant. You don’t need numbers to define how successful you are. You don’t need opinions to determine whether or not you’re making a difference. You ARE the difference.”

“My girl, you need to understand something about Me. I am a YES God. When I say no to a request, it is because I have said yes to a hundred better things.

If you ask for a fish, I will give you a fish. If you ask for a rock, I will not give you a rock.

I will give you MUCH MORE. If you don’t see the results you’d hoped for, it is not because I am saying no to you. It’s because I’m giving you a hundred other yeses.”

Then He showed me some of the yeses:

“YES, to a soft heart that concerns itself with others.

YES, to an intimacy with Me that hears My voice when I speak softly.

YES, to being entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation.

YES, to doing the small tasks that no one will ever notice but Me.

YES, to smallness and meekness and utter dependence upon Me.

YES, to reflecting the glory of Christ.

YES, to the lowliness that allows ME to be the greatest thing about you.

My children can be envious of others because they think I’ve said no to them. Those who deeply know Me understand I’ve actually said yes to MUCH MORE.” 

“No my child, I didn’t give you a pin worthy picture. I didn’t give you a story to rock and wow the internet with. I didn’t give you amazing numbers  to send back home to your supporters. My child, I gave you something much greater.

I gave you evidence of Me in your life.

Ears to hear Me.

Compassion to take note of others.

Words to speak as My mouthpiece.

Seeds and fruit that will last for eternity.

I am a Yes God. When you feel the length of “No” in your soul, remember that I give “much more.” Don’t ever forget it.”

I retreated to my bedroom then. Dinner could wait. I pondered the yeses from my God. I gave them weight, because a quick glance over will never do… and as I did, my soul riddled by insecurities found its healing. The heart holes were filled. The weight of insignificance lifted and I saw my Yes God.

It was near seven o’clock when we finally had dinner…. But this momma served it with softness because she’d been loved into wholeness.

 

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. Okay girlie, you just tweaked my heart because I have been there and also have the someone in my life that I get all out of whack when I dare to visit and choose to compare myself/my ministry with. I too struggle with wanting to love and not fall into the tempting trap of why God! So good for me to read your recovery Arabah! You are a light! You do shine brightly whether many see it isn’t what God is concerned about right?
    Blessings to you as you humbly give back!

  2. Oh, my sister! Your words are always written specifically for me, for where I am right at that moment. Thank you for your heart to serve and your compassion and your obedience and your transparency and your gifting and the way God uses you to minister to me every single time. I love you, my friend!! Thankful – so very very thankful – that our God is truly a Yes God and that we can find peace in Him. I’ve been struggling with the comparisons this week and my heart, too, was swiss cheese!! Your writing and His words through you were exactly what I needed. Praying for you this morning, my dear sweet Arabah! May His love and peace fill you and overtake you as you go about your day today!

  3. Your post brought to mind a saying I once read. Would you do what you do, even if no one were around to see? I’ve always thought that was the test to see where our heart is. Do we stay serving in obscure places, keep reaching out when none seem to listen, write even if none read, etc. Just because he said to, and we want to be obedient? Just because we want to bring him glory, and look up to see him smiling at us?

    Then we are on our way to becoming like Jesus, who often works behind the scenes. Forming life in dark wombs, hiding his children under the shadow of his wings, and shining light in the dark, obscure places! Thanks for this reminder!

  4. Thank you for writing this, Arabah. For sharing your heart so openly. I get this struggle. I am familiar with the wondering. The wondering if something is wrong with me. Love this reminder to look for His beautiful and abundant yeses instead of focusing on the nos. Keeping my eyes open – for His goodness, for His love, for His yeses.

  5. So, so much of this applies, both to my online life and to my personal one. It encourages me to know that I am not alone in such struggles and to be reminded that little is much when God’s yes is in it. Thank you, thank you! Excellent read!! :)

  6. Thank you so much for such a timely post…for today even though you wrote it over two months ago God is faithful to give us what we need when we ask and seek His face. The Lord recently said no to two good things in my life that seemed from His hands. Now, I am dealing with sadness, heartache and grief and asking why Lord? I know it is for my good, but when things don’t make sense, I must trust in Him His goodness. His love. His peace that surpasses all understanding.

    God Bless You, Dear Araba Joy!

  7. Great article! I have been learning just this lesson lately. Specifically from Gideon in the book of judges. He was questioning the angel who appeared to him and wanted proof of who he was. So he told the angel to stay while he went to prepare a gift. The angel stayed. Gideon prepared a meal and then brought it back and presented it to the angel who in turn told him to put the food down. The angel then poured it out. Much in the same way we prepare our gifts for God and then present them to Him. He may ask us to put the gift down (might not advance it like we had hoped he would) and then he might just pour it out. We think “hey! I worked so long and hard on that and this is the response I get? Don’t I deserve more (like so and so might have received)?” But what does God do? He comes and takes the offering as a sacrifice to Him! Even though we think it was considered not good enough or worthy enough… And he gives the gifter peace in his heart. (Judges 6:19-23) our gifts/offerings are for God who is worthy of all glory and honor. Not me. I should strive to do things in order to ascribe to God the glory due his name… Not my name! When I learn that it makes things like this so much easier to handle. It’s God I’m trying to impress not man. Praise God for your obedience to that still small voice! He was surely smiling down on you for being Jesus to that woman on the street. Maybe you won’t be the next huge name blogger but you influence the people you want God to influence and to Him that is a huge success!!!

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