For every interview, I ask God for words or themes that He wants to bring out. The words are rich with story and tend to symbolize unturned stones in the person’s life. For Joelle, the words “unexposed” and “worthy” were striking. As someone who has grown up in the church, Joelle knows how to give the answer people expect to hear: “I’m in a rough season, but God is faithful.” All the while, doubt is breaking her apart, thought by thought*.
*Joelle’s story is not finished; rather, God is still writing redemption in to the fabric of her heart. Here is a glimpse into a beginning.
Do any of these words–worthy, held, joy or unexposed–resonate with you?
Unexposed. I don’t really open up, and I tend to hide everything. And, worthy… because I don’t feel like I am worthy of living, worthy of His love.
Let that phrase sink in for a moment. “Because I don’t feel worthy of living…” A precious daughter of Christ does not feel worthy or able to reveal what is stirring up within her, whether good or bad. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Joelle is not alone in her suffering. Women and men struggle, day in and day out, with accepting that they are worthy.
This begs the question: when did God’s love transform into comparison or a check-list of requirements?
Where do those lies come from?
I don’t know. I’ve struggled with depression and trying to get out of life. High school… I wasn’t smart enough and I wasn’t good enough. I still think I believe all the lies that the devil is saying… but hearing from classmates, ‘oh Joelle, you’re just stupid,’ was too much.
Junior year is when I got a lot of F’s in my subjects and I wanted to give up. I asked God, ‘why am I here? I’m just another person walking on the earth.’
God tries to speak through some people, but I let the devil speak louder than Him.
Why do you think it is easier to listen to his voice?
I just compare, compare myself to everyone. Saying, ‘I’m never going to be good enough or as good as her.’ I just don’t understand why God has me here…my calling.
But as my mom reminded me today, God didn’t use the smartest or the best. He always used the broken ones, the ones that He saw were used and ragged.
Joelle is on a journey, and God allowed me to be a voice of truth to help her along the way. I listened, spoke honest words, and we cried together. Tears fell freely from both of us as we recognized the purpose behind our brokenness. We were meant to encourage one another through it, not go it alone.
God plans divine appointments, everyone. He is always stirring up opportunities for intimacy, for hope, and for redemption.
You know what can get in the way? Our inability to uncover the lies we hide within us.
Whatever the lie, it is time to get rid of it. Call it out. Expose what Satan wants to remain hidden…because by exposing the lies, we have an opportunity to see God’s truth overwhelm us and others.
Joelle and I had each other. Who will God lead you to?