Tough Love

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
‭‭-Luke‬ ‭22:31-32‬ ‭KJV‬‬

-Cringing laugh- as I am writing the second part of the information down, I hear, “Did I tell you to do that?”, in a very angry tone. I said, “Yes, you told me specifically to do it, I even wrote it down on the sticky notes so I don’t forget, see?”. She exclaimed, “Well that’s not how you’re supposed to do it.” I was in silence with blood boiling, completing the rest of the interaction and telling the customer in the most sweetest “Adiós”.

I was then told to go take my lunch break, just to come back and get called into the VP’s office because that last interaction had went into investigation behind my back. Well, of course I went back to the lions den to get fired.

Photo by Yan Krukov on

I went out with a friend later that day in gloom, faking my smile and joy, or covering the trash day I had endured. The next day, I went back through the whole spill of applying for jobs; this time losing the favor that I once had from God. I had no luck with the jobs calling me back; 10 applications denied me back to back.

I started to grow depressed but still pushing my business and perfecting my craft in the meantime; still not able to hear back from the many applications I’d place. How’d I know I was depressed? I stopped caring for my appearance, I stopped caring for my living arrangement; the spark I once had was destroyed.

I kept praying… feeling lost. I felt like I made the mistake of praying for a person to challenge me to be better. What would be left of my confidence in God or maybe my fragile ego, was then shattered by some much needed words from my dad. His delivery isn’t always the best because of his military style messaging, so anything he says can be slightly offensive, but I heard my pops LOUD and CLEAR.

But through the destruction, I was able to decipher that I needed to find myself on a deeper level, do more self reflection till I purge away every single thing that doesn’t align with God, to stop being weak, put on my armor of God, and speak scriptures into my situations. There was literally nothing wrong with what my dad said but I knew one of the biggest struggles from that summary that I had a hard time dealing with: speaking scriptures in tough situations.

So many thoughts ran across my mind: “God, was I not doing what you told me to do? Remain humble? Not show frustration? Share my issues with You in prayer no matter where I am?” Again, I was beating myself up about my imperfect faith. “I’ve stopped drinking, I stopped smoking, I don’t even curse, I’ve been abstinent…God what else do want me to do? Has my obedience not been enough??”

Even then I couldn’t muster up the courage or faith to speak life to into my life…I felt broken in spirit. All I kept thinking about was that I’m doing this walk in Christ thing all wrong. My faith was wavering but I kept praying.

Sunday finally came and the message I didn’t want to hear from God was mind-blowing but necessary. We read from Luke‬ ‭22:31-32‬ ‭KJV‬‬. The Sunday School preacher called the message “I’m Going through a Breakdown”. And boy was I! But there was confirmation that I was gifted and also diligent in my servant duties unto God. That was cool and all but it was this part for me…

God loves me but He said that it’s necessary for me to be sifted. Sift is defined as to be broken down until nothing is left. In my head I’m like, “Now God why would You be taking me through this process, haven’t I already been through enough?” But then in that same verse, it said Jesus prayed so I wouldn’t fall, that I won’t give up on my faith even when it gets hard. “Jesus prayed for me, He’s not saving me? Lord what’s going on??” I said in my head, dissecting piece by piece the nuggets the Blessed Sunday School Teacher was dropping.

And this what really broke me: “The devil is a tool being used to sift you” Y’all know my head was nearly spinning at this point cause I’m like God ain’t no way you doing me like this! The man of God turned around and said “You will be turned from Simon to Peter”. So a little back story: apparently Simon was this sailor/fisherman who wasn’t fully saved but his process of trials and tests gave him his new identity in and through Christ, practically giving Simon his new name Peter. Simon, now Peter, was a new man in Christ! Glory to God!

Then the man of God went on to say, “The new you will be open to you in this season!” Glory to God! All I could respond was “God carry me through, sustain me Lord, keep me strengthen as You help me to make it at the end of this finish line. Let me walk in the new me through Christ!”. As the preacher said, I had become uncomfortable with my old ways; I was sick and tired of the self-inflicted troubles that I brought over myself. I was tired.. whatever it was going to take, even if it hurt, I begged God to take me through.

The man of God finalized his sermon with “When you come back you will be ready to articulate your feelings, you will be stronger, and you will encourage others! Everything you are going through is not working against you, it’s working for your good!” Jesus, I know I said I wanted to help people but was this really necessary? All I could hear the Lord saying in amusement was “Yes, my child” (The Lord and I have this funny relationship that I love but that’s what I love about Him…how He speaks to me in ways I can understand.)

Then, my Pastor then hit me with Sunday service 30 minutes later with “unclear plans are driven by purpose”. “Your latter shall be greater” but the struggle I was having was grasping this message: “Don’t harden your heart against difficult people… be nice and smile”. You mean to tell me I have to still be nice and smile with people even when their first thought is to be mean to me?? I said “God you talking crazy now!”

Y’all, I had to pray about this cause God was convicting me. I normally tried not to harden my heart towards people who produced ill-treatment towards me or others. However, my default is to go into my “shell” and if I ain’t had nothing nice to say, I don’t say nothing at all. Well, Pastor reiterated his message and said “Get up, stay humble and stay in the will of God!”

Talk about conviction! Everything I was praying about, God was answering me through different preachers including my dad! WOOH! I was not expecting none of this. Well, I hope you grasped something from my lessons. Anyone has tips that can help with the struggles I’m trying to counteract and perfect? Let me know in the comments.

Stay tuned next week for what Pastor Paula White and the result of the new assignment God gave me for later this week. This is going to be fun! Ha!

-Paris Battle

Inspiration, Motivation, Guidance, and Love all Through the Word of God. Dwell on This!

Represent God’s Image

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