1″I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-5 (NIV)
Jesus said that He is the true vine, and His Father is the gardener. We, as brothers and sisters in Christ, are the branches whom God prunes so that we will bear more fruit. Let me just say, God has been doing some gardening in my life of late! It has been painful, illuminating, scary…the list goes on. And…I know we aren’t done yet.
I posted previously concerning a journey God started me on nearly two years ago and the fear that has stymied me in moving forward to accomplish God’s purposes in my life. These fears have continued to plague and confound me. I have been filled with angst, disgust, and self-hatred. I have felt like such a failure. Recently, though, God has brought a couple of books to my attention. They are both written by Joyce Meyer. The first is called How to Succeed at Being Yourself and the second is called The Confident Woman. (As a side note, I would like to mention that I don’t necessarily agree with all of Joyce Meyer’s theology. However, that doesn’t preclude her from being used by God to speak a word to me, and in fact, He is doing just that.)
In reading these books, God is showing me that I lack confidence…in Him. Ouch! Me? Really? It can’t be. I’m the one who always trusts that things will work out. That You are in control, and whatever happens, happens. I wouldn’t have pegged myself as a “ye of little faith” kind of girl. But God has been saying otherwise. How big do I believe Him to be? Do I REALLY trust that “nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 (NIV) The answer, I’m sorry to say, is No. At least not when it comes to His plans for me.
I have been plagued with a poor self-image my entire life. I suffered abuse early on which shaped my teenage years and led to many poor choices. I thought I had been healed from all of that, but I am finding that isn’t the case.
Joyce Meyer says in How to Succeed at Being Yourself that it’s important to have a good relationship with yourself. After all, you spend more time with you than with anyone else. I hadn’t ever thought of it that way. The truth is, I don’t think I like me very much. The worst part is, I think I’ve finally figured out “what I want to be when I grow up,” i.e., the plans and purposes God has for me, but I don’t see them coming to fruition. What God has been showing me is I’m really saying I lack confidence that He can accomplish His will through me….and, I do.
I just don’t see it happening. I don’t know how to move forward. I feel inferior next to all the other women I see Him using mightily for His kingdom. I’m not qualified. How can He use me? Why would He want to?
Yes, I know. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I know all of this. But, it hasn’t penetrated my heart. Or…perhaps it’s beginning to. I don’t feel quite so negative and defeated.
God doesn’t ask me to be perfect. He hasn’t said I can’t make a mistake. He only asks for a willing heart and obedience. And, I’m finding that He requires that we have confidence (faith) that He will open that door when we stand before it if it is the one He has led us to.
See, in the past, this would have been another hangup for me. I would have wondered whether or not I heard Him. Am I standing in front of the right door? But, it still comes back to confidence…faith that He loves me and wants to use me. And if I remain in the vine, God will bear fruit in me.
Yes, I’m being pruned. I know God isn’t finished. I think He is probably going to have to cut me back to virtually nothing before all is said and done, but it’s winter, the time when things are dormant. I pray that come spring, there will be beautiful new buds on this creation and that His glory will shine through.