“Chosen” – By MVC Guest Author, Audrey Silva
Have you ever looked at a gathered group of people and desired to fit into their group and to be chosen as one of them? Not necessarily to be popular but more to be seen and known. Or are you desiring that deep relationship with another person who just “gets you” without judgement or condemnation? Have you ever longed for a time when you could put down that facade and have others see you as your true self and still choose you? I believe that God has designed each of us to be known and to desire deep authentic relationships with others, yet, as Christians we live in a broken world where our personal longings don’t always align with mainstream ideals and beliefs.
Resetting my spiritual and physical health and mindset has been a blessing during this shelter in place lifestyle. I knew stress was impacting my health but I didn’t realize how many side effects it’s toll was taking on my body both spiritually and physically. While I haven’t taken up a new hobby, nor have I cleaned out every nook and cranny in my home, I’ve used this time to draw closer to the Lord, focus on healthy habits, and getting adequate rest. I am amazed at how clear my thoughts can be with getting a full eight hours of sleep a night. Likewise, by providing space and time for me to deepen my spiritual practices, I’m finding that I’m less frustrated and frazzled. I have more patience, grace, and understanding than I did prior to the shelter in place, and I’m even able to articulate full sentences without pausing to find the right words.
Yet, I’m still struggling with some of the deep desires and longings that I did prior to COVID-19, in some cases these have actually heightened as a result of the shelter in place. For me, I’ve always struggled with wanting to fit in, to be known not in a sense of popularity, (although, if I’m honest I’ve struggled with that longing too), and to have deep connections and relationships with others. One of the hardest things, I’ve learned is that in order to have a deep connection with another is to also set aside my own expectations for that relationship and person. I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this issue, but it is something that I feel the Lord is calling me to explore and to trust in Him.
I’m not even sure when the desire to be picked or chosen first started. I do remember times in grade school when it came time to be chosen for a team. I would stand there waiting for my name to be called, thankful when I wasn’t the last name but conscious that my name was never the first called either. My stomach would tighten, my heart would beat fast, I would avoid eye contact and instead look down at the ground in fear of being the last person called. I experienced this routine, again and again throughout my school years. In college, when professors would say, choose your groups, I would look around hoping to lock eyes with another individual who like me, didn’t want to be chosen last. Again, my heart would beat fast, my face and neck would blush or turn splotchy, and my stomach would tighten anxiety gripping my body. Even as an adult, I’ve been in circumstances where I needed to find a group and the fear of not being chosen has invaded me. The anxious feelings never go away, that dreaded thought if I’m going to be chosen at all creeps through my mind and wrecks havoc on my body. The fear of not being selected, the pain of being rejected, those are deep wounds, some haven’t been fully exposed while others aren’t completely healed.
The enemy uses my desire of wanting deep relationships with others to illuminate areas of comparison, judgement, and feelings of inequality which propel me towards jealousy and discontentment. The enemy cunningly taps into past hurts, some forgiven and others yet to be forgiven, and picks at it like a scab until I put up my self-protective walls and pull away from others or even God himself. This in itself is a vicious cycle because, the very thing I long for is a relationship with others, and yet when I put my self-protective walls up I exclude myself from the very thing I desire. For me, knowing these are my areas of struggle are half the battle, with God’s help I can choose to explore these areas and find healthy ways to engage and surrender the longings to God.
Through my Journey small group, I’ve been vulnerable about my desire and longing to have deep and authentic relationships with others. At our May meeting we were studying the false self and exploring our individual self-protective tendencies, the Lord helped me to tap into the fear of being rejected and my desire for connection with those that are dear to my heart. Being an English teacher, I did a word study on the words comparison, judgement and entitled, I looked at synonyms and antonyms as well as definitions of the words. This was very helpful for me because I was able to look at what I normally see as my weaknesses and negatives and to find something positive within it. For example, some of the synonyms of comparison are: relating, connection, and balance and when my longing is truly explored down into the root…it is the desire to be known, the longing to relate to others and to connect with them that I deeply long for.
1 Peter 2:4-5 states, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
To be chosen by God regardless of your sin is a huge unfathomable reality, yet it is one that does exist. Yes, the Lord gives us our free will and the ability to be able to choose where we want to go and which relationship we want to foster. Gratefully, with the Holy Spirit that dwells in each of us we can follow the path that the Lord desires for us. The Lord uses our experiences, longings, and desires to draw us closer into a deeper relationship with Him. As Christ followers we are often rejected by men, yet we are chosen and precious to God.
Please don’t think I have this all figured out, because I certainly don’t, I think I may be prone to struggle with comparison and discontentment many more times throughout my life. But I’m learning that the more I lean into God, and rely less on my self-protective tendencies, God meets my desire in the most amazing ways. So, instead of being entitled to being noticed, I’m turning to God and leaning into his loving and tender embrace as he daily chooses me.