Sticks & Stones
As unique humans beings, we all receive and perceive love differently. Ideally, there are five ways we “receive” love from other people: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch. My love language is words of affirmation (as well as quality time). But no really, I really admire and cherish people sharing their hearts about me, to me. To this day, I still have birthday and graduation cards that I read randomly to rehear people’s words of affection towards me. I’m that person who has a journal of recorded and documented prophesies.
Although receiving words of affirmation, is a way for me to experience God’s love through His people, they had started to become a snare in my walk as a believer. Words of affirmation are suppose to bring out the best in me, but instead they’ve revealed how ugly my heart really was.
I’m sure we’re all familiar with popular Christianese phrase “if you don’t live by the praise of man, you wouldn’t die by their criticisms.” I wish that was my case, but I was dying internally from the lack of affirmation. Weird, right? But the weird part was that I wasn’t looking for affirmation in the sense of people complimenting how amazing my outfit was, or how white my teeth were, or how beautiful I was. It was the lack of affirmation in ministry that was causing me to lose my grip on life and creating tension between the friends I served with and I.
A friend once said, “You can’t say you don’t deal with something anymore if the opportunity to do it hasn’t presented itself to test you.” Meaning that you could possibly still have something residing in your heart, but because there hasn’t been an incident to test you, that thing hasn’t had it chance to manifest itself in your outward actions. Capishe?
The opportunity to see the inner battles of my heart presented itself this past summer when I was asked to join my ministry's Discipleship leadership board as the administer director. I had been involved with the department for two years and was a by-product of the discipleship program, so I was honored and excited to continue serving, but also ecstatic that it was on a higher capacity. And the plus side was I was serving with some of my closest friends. But these weren’t just any friends. These were the people you called to lead bible study, or administer deliverance, or even for godly advice on everyday life situations. It is one thing to do life with people like this, but another to serve with them.
Now that the opportunity had presented itself, it was a matter of time before the heart issue manifested. So as I mentioned, I was the administrative director. With a distorted view, I found myself being frustrated because I was under the impression that my role was insignificant. I wasn’t leading the training calls and I wasn’t teaching, so I indirectly assumed I wasn’t an adequate teacher, which led to my childhood battle with speech insecurities to resurface. But mainly, I wasn’t being affirmed like the other leaders. All I seemed to be doing was sending emails. Because I had no one telling me the significance of my role, I began believing my role wasn’t significant. Because I failed to see the great need for it in the department, I didn't take full advantage of my role.
In December, a group of us were at IHOP-KC Onething Conference. It was during a worship set one night, when Misty Edward ministered “I Shall Not Want.” It was right there and then when God affirmed me. As Misty sang, I could feel God comfort me and also remove the insecurities I was dealing with. Even in the prophesy room, God spoke through two fatherly mannered men about things God delighted in me. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom indeed. I was free, or so I thought. Remember the opportunity had to presents itself for me to be tested.
The opportunity presented itself once again. And it led to jealousy and offense towards people I really loved. After a week of the frustration, I called my personal prophet. He said one thing that put a halt to my inner battle: “Ask God what He has for Olamide. You need God to tell you what He sees in you.” *Boom* Shots fired. Who got hit? I was silent. My issue was I needed to hear that I was valuable and needed; but my solution wasn’t found in man, it was literally found in Christ.
My life verse is Colossians 3:3
"For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Well, my identity is hiding in Him as well.
“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!”
Psalm 139:17 NKJV
While recently studying the Book of John, the Holy Spirit highlighted how Jesus really wasn’t seeking public recognition, but was secure in His identity, because He knew where it lied. Jesus proclaimed to be the Son of God, but yet many people didn’t believe Him. Including His family.
“‘For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.’ For even His brothers did not believe in Him.”
But that’s the thing. Man will affirm you for what they see in public. We affirm traits we see people display and attributes they personify in their demeanor.
But God...God is different. He affirms us on what we do in the secret place, what we do in the heart. He affirms what is concealed to the human eye, revealing our inward nature and calling us by that. With God, it's not a matter of doing, but of simply being.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”
1st Samuel 16:17
“... and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Affirmation from man is temporary, but affirmation from God is eternal, for two keys reasons: 1. God is not a man that he should (or even could) lie and 2. God’s word doesn’t come back void, but fulfilled.
But God will affirm you at the appointed time, and before the right people.
"When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
How we receive love shapes and forms how we perceive the relationships we have. Once I knew the state of my heart, I was able to be vulnerable with those around me. I began to confess to my friends the battles I was secretly dealing with. With full transparency, I shared how I felt and was able to receive my much needed healing, peace, and assurance.
”Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.”
“Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
Until the time, when God raises me up in His hands, I will be here dwelling in His Heart. There is no better feeling to know you are His and He is your’s.