I recently came to the realization that for most of my 26 years on planet earth, I've lived with fear in the driver's seat.
I have been subconsciously scared of things and people that believe or live differently than the way I do.
I have feared failure, change and relationships, or really anything that came close to rocking my boat (Yep. I tried to live under a rock in my mind).
I have used “independence” as a blanket to cover up all of my inner fears. I wanted to portray to others that I was strong and confident, a woman who didn't “need anyone else” because I could do it on my own.
However, the truth is, I really just feared letting someone else into my imperfections.
I feared letting all of my colors show.
I feared rejection.
I feared conflict.
I feared questioning.
I feared LOVE.
A few months ago, in the middle of the hardest season I've faced yet, an unexpected relationship entered into my life.
At first, I found myself uncomfortable, confused, terrified, awkward, excited, and if I am really being honest, judgmental. We were at different places in life and had different experiences with faith growing up; and, since I had seemingly walked with the Lord for as long as I can remember, I thought it would be best for me to take matters into my own hands by trying to control the outcome.
Fear convinced me that my way was the best way and that my way was the only way, when really, my way was simply the only way I had ever known.
It wasn't until this past week that God showed me so much more. He opened my eyes to see that this unexpected person was actually a precious gift that He placed into my life to bring me back to my first Love.
Let's rewind so I can explain.
If you read my previous blogpost, you know that I've been struggling with chronic back pain for the last 4 years, and were recently in a season of doubting my faith. I was 99.9% ready to throw in the towel with this whole Jesus thing.
Well what you haven't read yet is that before giving up, I decided to make one last effort to try to find Him and see where it led me.
I booked a weeklong stay at Gold Monarch Healing Center.
Gold Monarch Healing Center is “a place that believes every individual is able to step into their inheritance of kingdom living–spirit, soul, and body. A place that is passionate to see the promise of abundant life alive within each person, and seeks to equip believers to thrive in all circumstances through whole-hearted living and divine health.”
And in my words, Gold Monarch Healing Center is a place that released me from fear, freed me from religiosity, and put my heart back into the hands of Love.
I had visited Gold Monarch once before but left feeling like I needed more, so I decided, “What the heck. My life feels like it's still falling apart! And if this place can't help me find Jesus again, I don't know what else can.”
A few weeks later I packed my car, drove the 13 hours from Nashville, Tennessee to Abilene, Texas and found myself back in the most healing environment I have ever known.
The first time I visited I came with so many walls built between Jesus and I. But when we really got into my heart, I learned that every time I tried to numb my chronic pain, I was subconsciously numbing Jesus too.
This time I came with a heart ready to receive because, honestly, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Within that week I learned that my heart, while good intentioned, was also living with a barrier, and the only way I knew how to let it [my heart] even exist was from a deep-rooted place of religiosity and fear.
AKA: IF you do A + B, God will grant you C: all your wishes will come true and life won't be hard anymore. Unknowingly, this thought also told me that if other people didn't agree with this equation, I shouldn't be around them for fear of “going in the wrong direction.”
Oh sweet Jesus. Bless my soul.
I was SO, so wrong.
At Gold Monarch, they offer HeartSync sessions which is really just a counseling session led by Jesus and a trained guide to help you get into the parts of your heart that you have turned off to Him.
There is one particular session I will never forget.
I was lying on a couch, eyes closed, and Amy, my HeartSync coach, was helping guide my heart into a place where I was able and ready to experience Jesus. For me, Jesus speaks to me in pictures in the most.
During this moment of peace and quiet, I saw Jesus standing before me, but interestingly enough He didn't show up to me as a man. He showed up to me as a majestic White Horse. He knew I wasn't ready to see Him as a man so He came to me in the form of something I felt safe with – something I loved and knew well, a horse.
This White Horse was standing in front of this version of myself that was chained to these long posts that read: Perfectionism, Religion, Shame and Guilt.
I shared this picture with Amy as it was happening and she responded, “Would it be okay if The White Horse came over to those chains and we just wait and see what He does with them?”
What struck me most was that Amy was asking me permission if I wanted Jesus to come closer. I replied quietly, “Yes, that would be okay.”
Then I saw The White Horse walk around me and with His nose He touched the chains. Instantly, they fell to the ground and were no longer attached to me. Then, The White Horse walked a good distance away from me before turning to face me.
Amy asked: “Would it be okay if we ask your heart if it [my heart] wants to move closer to The White Horse and we just see what happens?”
Hesitantly I said, “Yes.”
And in that moment, something clicked.
“Jesus has been waiting for me to choose to come closer to Him.”
In this picture, there was no religion telling me how or why I should move closer. It was my own choice. I saw The White Horse look at me, from a distance, and wait until I made the choice to move towards Him.
He showed me that He is the ultimate gentleman and would never force Himself into a relationship with me.
“What if I got scared and wanted to back away? Or what if I wanted to go back to being chained to the posts?” He was giving me the option.
Sweet reader, how freeing is this news?!
We get to choose to move closer or farther away from Love. From Jesus.
A love that is forced is not love at all, and from the beginning of time, this Love has chosen each and everyone one of us… without force.
I walked out of that room a completely different Grace. NO JOKE. I found inside of me a Grace who finally understood the Gospel. I saw that the true Gospel was not one that is seeped with fear, doing or striving. It wasn't one based on merit and perfection. No, that would be called religion.
Instead, I saw that the true Gospel offers us an unending Love, and gives us the power to receive it… or not. The true Gospel is a relationship, a REAL relationship.
The true Gospel gives us the choice to move through fear and into Love, because of Jesus Christ. He is the one that can take all of our fear, judgement, criticism, and pride, and replace it with grace, humility, love and truth.
When I left Gold Monarch I could finally see with new eyes that Jesus, all along, had been using this unexpected relationship to be His temporary arms of Love until I was ready to receive them fully myself.
This unexpected relationship, this person, showed up at times when my friends couldn't or wouldn't. This person showed up and held me with arms of Love when I was scared, sobbing, in pain, anxious, judgmental or fearful. They let me lean on them when I wasn't ready to lean on Him.
Jesus was constantly moving through this person, even when they didn't know it, to show me that He was still choosing me even when I didn't want to choose Him.
Sweet reader, please hear me out.
Jesus will forever keep choosing us. All of us. We just have to open our eyes and hearts so we don't miss out on the mysterious ways or people He is using.
As for the unexpected relationship, the outcome wasn't what we planned, but it was what we needed – I needed. In this season, for this reason: to tangibly feel and consciously choose Jesus again. This unexpected relationship was actually a bridge back to His heart.
Don't ever underestimate the ability for something to change you even if you first underestimate it yourself. You never know, it might just lead you back to Love.
If you are reading this and have felt doubt or pain, or have walls up between you and Jesus but want to work towards a more wholehearted relationship, I highly recommend two things:
1. Heart Made Whole by Christa Black Gifford. This book changed my entire walk with Jesus. It led me to my second suggestion –
2. Gold Monarch Healing Center. You don't have to believe in Jesus to go. You just need to sign up for one of their monthly intensives. Go, and see how your life can be forever changed. I promise it is worth every penny.
Lastly, a note to that person; you know who you are:
My heart is eternally thankful to you for being such an unexpected gift. You helped lead me back to my First Love.
Written by: Grace Theisen