Perhaps one of the most amazing stories (to me) in the Bible is that of Abraham and Isaac. It’s a story that chronicles the life of a man who greatly desired to be a father, a man who was told that he would father many nations through his son Isaac, yet it also tells the story of a man whose faith is greatly tested, a man who is asked by God to give up that thing which meant the most to him as a living sacrifice. While I don’t have children and have never been faced with the challenge of such a sacrifice, I still ask the question, “How does one respond to such a request from God?” It’s truly a battle between letting go and letting God and holding onto one’s own will!
I’ll be honest, I’ve been working on this post for a few weeks now…I had some thoughts, but then it didn’t flow as seamlessly as I had hoped, so I just decided to let this post go, but then…the Sunday after I started writing this post, the sermon at church was focused on Abraham and Isaac…then today, as I was speaking with a fellow church member, she starts speaking to me and ministering to me about Abraham and Isaac…after a while, it’s easy to figure out that God is speaking. And so…I find myself giving this post another shot.
Over the past few months I have found myself in an Abraham place, not in the traditional sense, but I’ve been in a place where God is challenging me to sacrifice my comfortable place, embrace new experiences and opportunities, and put my trust solely in Him to see me through. My Isaac is not material in nature, it’s not a person or a thing, rather my Isaac (the thing which I cherish greatly and struggle to release) is a wall of protection that I’ve built around myself. My Isaac keeps me in an isolated bubble, my Isaac prevents me from shining my light in the lives of all of the people around me. I only allow select people into my space, and even with those individuals, I control how close I allow people to get to me. I share small bits of information, on occasion, but typically, I keep things superficial with everyone, both family and friends. During the past week, I realized just how isolated I’ve become…while on vacation with my family, I found myself just wanting to be alone. Being in the presence of 7 other people was so overwhelming and I felt myself becoming agitated several times, not because someone did something to me, I just needed some alone time. Despite being in the comfort of family, in my mind, I still felt disconnected. The crazy thing is this, I think I’ve had this protective wall up so long that despite how people truly feel about me, I’m convinced that people are not supportive of me, people don’t care about me, and it’s always me against the world, so I tend to have a very defensive response to all people. This is a sad reality!
In this season, I believe God is testing me to see if I am willing to let my wall fall down, sacrifice my defense mechanism and trust that He won’t let me get hurt in the midst of my vulnerability. I’m being challenged to sacrifice a mindset that has sustained me since my middle school years…a mindset that allowed me to overcome being picked on by other Black students when they teased me because of the way I talked and the classes that I was in, a mindset that allowed me to overcome never quite fitting in with my White peers while growing up, a mindset that I allowed me to overcome being picked on by the neighborhood kids, a mindset that allowed me to keep my mind focused on my academics when it seemed I was a social outcast, a mindset that allowed me to keep my head up when I was mistreated or judged because I didn’t fit other people’s idea of perfection, a mindset that sustained me when in the depths of my heart I felt like my brother was everyone’s favorite and my family simply tolerated me, a mindset that has allowed me to live even when I’ve felt like throwing in the towel on my life.
In this season, I believe God is testing my willingness to let go of my will and my way because He truly has some amazing things in store for me…but I have to let my approach go in order for Him to reveal all of His glory in my life. I believe God is challenging me to let people, both friends and family, into my space even if it’s simply to have an extended conversation, I believe God is challenging me to feel comfortable doing something as simple as crying in public, I believe God is challenging me to trust that there are individuals in this world who have my best interest at heart who will not judge me, and who will love me unconditionally. Releasing my Isaac, letting down my wall of protection, and trusting that God isn’t going to fail me are perhaps some of the greatest challenges I’ve yet to face in my life…but it’s a process for my good, so I embrace it and simply trust God to not fail me now.
Until next time…