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Does it hurt?

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.” Romans 5:3-4

                “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse for he was always truthful.  “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.” 

                                                                (from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams)
I was disgruntled with God.  He was pulling on my heart and revealing things to me that needed to change – things about myself, mainly my “trust” issue.  It wasn’t that I didn’t trust a few folks, it was that I didn’t trust anyone. 
I had been hurt so many times by people, that I just started to adopt my own philosophy that “people suck”.  Every time I allowed someone to get close to me, they let me down.  And every time that happened, it seemed the fall was steeper and more painful.   So, slowly I began to build walls around my heart.  I became very good at keeping people at arm’s length, never that close again – not close enough to hurt me anyway. 
But as we all have heard, and maybe experienced, the problem with a wall is that nothing can get in – which is often what we want – but also, nothing can get out.  It makes it very difficult to love someone else, when you don’t feel loved yourself.  We can go through the motions, and do it well enough to convince ourselves – and maybe others – that we are real, but when the façade falls off, it’s a very lonely and vulnerable place. 
And that’s where God wanted me to be.

So began my argument with God.  “But God, I’ve been down that road, and we all know how it ends up.  I trust, they leave, and I am broken. “

“Trust Me,” God would say.
“But God, how do I know it’s not going to happen again?  How do I know that I’m not going to feel all that pain all over again?  Nope. Not this time, no.”
“Kimi, I love you.  Trust Me,” patiently God would reply.
This went on for quite some time, and God’s response was always the same. Trust Me.  A very dear friend of mine shared this insight with me, “God is asking me to trust Him and love people.”  It took some time to digest this new bit of information, and I couldn’t fully appreciate how simple and how much easier this philosophy was to adopt than my previous one. 

 

So, slowly, one brick at a time, God and I are taking down the wall.  And I am beginning to see how all of my heartache and pain – it all draws me closer to the only one who can make me whole.  I see Him working in my heart and shaping me into a vessel He can use.  I go back through pages and pages of confessions and revelations in my journal to see how He has developed my character.  It’s not an easy path, and too many times I act like a toddler throwing a fit, but Jesus patiently waits and eventually, I give in.  Sometimes it’s more difficult than I want to admit, and sometimes it’s painful.  But, “when you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
Dear Jesus,

Thank you for never leaving my side.  Thank you for knowing what I need, even when I don’t.  Please continue to nudge at my heart and reveal to me things I need to surrender.   Help me to trust You more, so I can share Your love with others.
All this I ask in your Holy Name,
Amen

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