Acceptance is something I have struggled with for nearly all of my life. I don’t know why I have always felt that way and I don’t think it makes a lot of difference because I cannot go back and change anything. I can only change what I feel now, today. And I am the one who has to change it through Christ in me the hope of Glory. I have the tools I need to make a difference in my thinking. Our Bible is our owner’s manual with all the tools we need to make a difference in our lives and in those of others by sharing Christ with them.
My friend Randy who was a missionary for many years told me when I started blogging that I needed to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly so people could relate and find something that would help them in what I wrote … so here goes.
I have been thinking about acceptance a lot over the last three days because I had a big attack of “I’m not accepted”, which is just plain insane. I have to tell you what has been going on in my life so you can truly understand what I am saying.
My husband passed away about nine weeks ago after months of prayers and the fact he was getting better. That was bad enough for me but we had just moved to a new town where I knew almost nobody and had no relatives. I wasn’t even unpacked completely. But God was not taken by surprise by this death and He had been laying out my path before me way in advance, before I even knew I would need it.
We had spotted a church, by what we thought was accident, a few weeks before we moved to this town. We met the pastor and spent an hour with him just talking and getting acquainted. When we moved in we got to church one Sunday before my husband went into the hospital. On just that brief encounter the pastor was in that hospital nearly every day of those nine weeks visiting my husband. We had a chance to get acquainted with him and he quickly became our true friend and pastor.
When my husband died Pastor Des was there before and during the funeral and through all the grief after. He asked ladies from the church to befriend me and they reached out, some of them widows themselves so they knew what I was feeling. Des himself has spent hours consoling me and praying with me. He has been on the phone many times when I am in tears with all direction lost. He is a blessing beyond words that God put in place for us.
From the beginning I wanted to go back to my Egypt where in my mind I was accepted in my work and with the people of that area. Des kept telling me not to make any quick decisions, to wait at least a month. When a month had gone by he said wait two months or more. I was so torn with the thought that all would be well if I could just return to Egypt.
Finally God had a talk with me and settled the thought of leaving for me. He gave me explicit words about the church, Pastor Des, the ministry and areas where I could help where I was really needed. Sounds like acceptance to me yet I still didn’t feel accepted.
I’m a country girl; this is a city, small but still a city. I worked in the outback of Australia in the most remote area you can find and I felt peace there. I was accepted by the Aboriginal people I worked with and for the first time in my life I didn’t worry about fitting in, I just did fit. That was my Egypt. I couldn’t stop longing for it.
The experts say, perhaps more than anything else, we fear losing approval from others. In tribal times, being ejected from the safety of a group could have meant death. So not being accepted, not fitting in means being alone and that brings fear. It might not mean death in our modern times but being alone can be very damaging in other ways. Maybe at this time in my life the loneliness I was starting to feel along with the grief is what set in motion this big attack of not feeling accepted. But fear is not from God, it is from the enemy who wants to destroy us in any way he can.
After spending time looking at old pictures of the communities I worked in and reading some old blogs I’d written about the joy and peace I felt there I was all set for feeling unaccepted here. The next day I was at the church working and even had a talk with one of the other pastors about some art and writing he needs done. Still the feeling I didn’t belong kept digging at me.
I know this sounds crazy but I know others have had the same insanity come over them due to feeling they aren’t accepted. No matter how much others tell you that you are accepted, no matter how kind they are or how loving, you still can’t believe it. We are so sure we aren’t accepted that it is truth in our minds.
I made it even worse by discussing it with Pastor Des after all he has done to welcome me to his church, spending hours helping me, calling me friend and meaning it, giving me work to do to help him and the church. He patiently listened to my ranting and quietly gave me counsel that I didn’t want to hear. It was awful.
I left the church, got in my car and started down the road and God started talking to me about my acceptance problem and He wasn’t real kind. He chastised me for the things I’d said to Des, the way I treated his kindness and that of the people who had reached out to me, by speaking about feeling unaccepted after all they’d done. God spoke to me about turning my back on the plan He had shown me only weeks before as though it meant nothing and my longing for the communities was more important. I actually saw the way I had hurt Christ with my actions and how hurtful it was to dismiss Des’ care with my childish rant. It was pretty awful but it did snap me out of it and make me fall on my face and ask for forgiveness. Then I had to text Des and ask him for forgiveness too and tell him I was sorry.
Pastor Des forgave me and put a lot of it off to grief, which can hit you in any form, from every angle and is relentless. I believe that but I know the enemy used something that I’ve lived with for most of my life at the very lowest point of my life to separate me from God’s work and His people. That is where we must be watchful and guard ourselves from his attacks with God’s Word and promises to protect us.
So today I went to the source, to God’s Word and did some research on acceptance. Since acceptance and accepted are the same I found the scriptures below and read them through several times. All of us who suffer this thing of acceptance should memorize these words and believe them. We are accepted in the Beloved and nothing or no one is higher than that and no one can take it away from us.
Read these words and let them soak into your heart and mind. God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be Holy and without blame before Him in love … He made us accepted in the Beloved.
He made us and He made us accepted. It doesn’t matter what happened to us in our childhood or any place along the way … we are already accepted by God. Get the reality of this people, we are accepted by God! Who else could matter? He is above all and if He accepts us then we are accepted period or full stop as they say in Australia.
Read it for yourself and keep it in your heart and be free of that feeling you aren’t accepted.
Ephesians 1:3-12 We are accepted by Christ our beloved
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be Holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
We are not only accepted in the Beloved look at our inheritance…
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise …
So if we read those words we see that we are accepted in the beloved, which means we are accepted as one who Christ loves, His beloved. The other thing is that the acceptance by God gives us acceptance by others. I’ve witnessed that happening but still I felt unaccepted. Not any more.
Thank you God for accepting me before the foundation of the world. I have always been accepted no matter what anyone else thinks and You are my God and You love me now and always have and always will! Thank You for setting me free today and showing me the proof in Your Word. I will hang onto this until I come to stand before You where I can thank you in person. In Jesus’ name Amen.