The Refining Process
We've heard it all before...diamonds, butterflies, pottery, olive oil, wine, cheese, and gold...
Refining! The most dreaded process for good reason. It usually takes a great deal of time, it's hot, dark, smelly, lonely, and messy. Very very messy. The refining process for you and I will be just that. And like all refining, it is hard. The only way to be refined is to withstand the isolated and painful process.
I always sought validation, reassurance, and boosters to my self esteem. It was never enough. a hole that was way too voluminous to fill. The only way for it to be processed out of me was to be paired with a spouse that would be exactly what I needed. My marriage hasn't exactly been what I pictured and hasn't always been what I desired, but is a gift from God. It is a good and perfect gift. It is just what I needed to refine me. What I once thought was torment and unfair treatment, dare I say even spousal neglect lol, was teaching me to cultivate a confidence that was all my own. It was me and God working together in a dark and lonely place. How else would I have learned to affirm myself and have a deep, unshakeable self-love?
Ultimately, I wouldn't be in this secure place unless I had journeyed through the painful process of being broken and then being built back up brick by brick to reconstruct a solid foundation. In His infinite wisdom, God prepared me to move beyond insecurities so that I could be comfortable in my own skin, fully prepared for this platform. Once in the public eye, I dare not rely on the compliments or take heart the criticism. However affirming the compliments may be or however sharp the criticism may feel, my purpose-led action cannot depend on the voices of others. The confidence I walk in now reaches far beyond my appearance or style, and is grounded in far more than my intelligence or any gift or strength. But instead is grounded in the Lord and my confidence in Him. I know that He makes no mistakes and that I have purpose because all creation has it's place.
Think about it. Reflect on your own life for a moment. Wasn't there great growth after coming through a rough season? Wasn't there some revelation, clearer vision, and better understanding after some of the worst times in your life? It is the only way to be shaped, to be bettered, and to become greater!
Seek out affirmations and use them daily, read scriptures and articles... get your hands on anything that will help you through your refining process. Let Him correct you, direct you, and strengthen you. And let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:4 NIV)
God knows exactly what He is doing so Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5 NIV)
Stay the course and be encouraged. He knows the way that you take; he will process you and you will come forth as gold. (Job 23:10 NIV paraphrased)