I made the mistake of listening to an old voice message today, from someone I thought was a friend. She was responding to a question I had asked in a previous message—a simple request, but it would have required two things: (1) her vested interest in my well-being and (2) her willingness to vouch for my ability. Her response was wordy, but it can be easily summed: no.
She was not for me.
What surprised me most is that in the past I had supported her, vouched for her, even promoted her. I mean, I wasn’t asking for money or a co-sign on a car loan. It was merely a request to say in public “this is a person you should know; she has potential.”
Even listening to the message after so much time has passed, it still hit me like a bullet. If a friend isn’t for you, who is?
I once asked a “famous” family member a similar question and felt the same sting when she pushed me off. Apparently, rejection is a place and I’ve been there often.
So, my inclination is to turn inward, shut out the world and bury myself in pity. Forget all of them. I’ll rely on me!
But, all the slogans of self-reliance fall flat, because self-reliance is not enough. Every day the thorn of doubt pokes me in my side making me uncomfortable with success. Every day I question my ability to fulfill a very specific dream that exists only in my imagination. I move in a direction that circles me back to where I started and I can’t seem to step off of the merry-go-round.
Even I am not for me.
Whether it’s the rejection of a friend, betrayal of family or my own inability to rally, it’s the same thing day after day and I’m dizzy from the ride.
There is a story about a man who was called to do something hard, yet it seemed that he, too, was surrounded by opposition. As he was thinking about his challenge one day he happened upon a soldier who stood before him with his sword drawn. Frightened, Joshua asked, “are you with me or against me?”
“Neither” the man replied. “I represent God.”
Suddenly mine and Joshua’s opposition fades to black. Rather than “who is for me” should my question be “who am I for?” Rather than looking for approval and acceptance from people who will always disappoint, I am challenged to look inward and ask if I’m living my life for a higher purpose. If I am, then the opinions of others don’t matter. Being for God means seeking out his approval which I will always find. Being for God isn’t a cop out, it’s a step up! It requires a higher standard, perhaps even a more difficult road, but if I am for Him I get the benefit of His power. If I center my focus on what He has for me I can more easily tune out the noise of opinions, discouragement and negativity. I can rise above the microagressions and see more clearly the path that lies ahead. By looking up, rather than out I’m given an entirely different view of the challenges that lie ahead.
Being for God ensures that He is for me and “if God is for you who can be against you?”
Not even you.