By Sally Samuel-Olver
For me, the final days of February 2016 were daunting. Overwhelm, disorder, panic, frustration consumed me. Caring for my family, caring for myself, caring about life felt insurmountable.
For days this weight burdened me. It convinced me that I was useless, so I prayed often. I was praying intently for clarity and absolution, when I heard God say “Sally, I don’t need you to be happy, I don’t need you to be sad. I don’t need you to be a saint, a puritan, or ethereal. What I do need you to be is authentic. I want to know what is happening in the depths of your soul right now, so I can begin to heal you.”
Evidently, I heard what I wanted to hear and conveniently misinterpreted the Lord’s request for my authenticity, as a green light to spray my pent up grievances all over social media. I proceeded to compose a righteous rant, in an effort to make sense, and be released of the oppressive sadness I was carrying. I justified my aggressive attack as an attempt to be ‘real’, to be ‘exposed’, ‘to be ‘vulnerable’. No. If I’m going to be ‘real’, the motive behind ‘the post’, was to glean attention and validation from my fellow social media ‘friends’ and ‘followers’.
For a brief moment, I felt liberated. I was exonerated by my five minutes of ‘raw honesty’. It seemed that so many others exploited the opportunity to project uncouth thoughts and opinions on social media. Why couldn’t I? It’s not like I did it often.
The next morning when I was connecting with God, I heard him bluntly ask “So what was all that about?!” I replied “Dear Lord Jesus, I just longed to be free for a moment. Free to speak my mind, free to speak the truth, free to articulate my true feelings with complete abandon”. God replied “An eloquent response, not convinced! What is going on??!!” God already knew the answer to His question, so feeding him another guised explanation was futile. God wanted me to discover the true answers to His questions for myself. I took a moment and stilled my mind. I searched for the true answers within my heart, because this time, I was going to answer God sincerely.
After a few moments, of uncomfortable reflection, the answers to His questions came screaming to the forefront of my mind and I prayed, “Dear Lord Jesus, please forgive me and thank you for helping me see the truth. ‘The post’ was an unconscious cry for attention. Lord, I was feeling so down and so lonely. I longed for approval, I longed for connection, I longed to be heard”.
I heard God say “NOW we’re getting somewhere! Let’s start from there’. I knew I was hearing the voice of God, because only God can communicate to me with equal parts authority and compassion. He said, “Sal, couple of things. First and foremost, I love you. I loved you before ‘the post’, I love you after ‘the post’ – my love for ALL my children is unconditional and everlasting and that includes YOU!”
He went on to say “Secondly, in the future, if you need attention, YOU COME TO ME! If you need validation, YOU COME TO ME! If you need connection, YOU COME TO ME! If EVER you need to be heard, YOU! COME! TO! ME!”. In this moment, I felt the true exoneration and validation I was searching for.
In the spirit of being truthful, I balled like a baby. Tears still come to my eyes when I replay these words in my mind. I took a wealth of understanding from this encounter. I learned, that NOTHING has the power to deliver us, like the love and grace of our Lord – No person, no item, no substance, no title and certainly no post. Jesus wants to be the One who lifts my spirits and make me whole, and I am saying YES! I am humbly receiving His Divine blessing with an open heart and deep thanksgiving.
I have now made a promise to Jesus. When I feel compelled to ‘comment’, ‘tag’ or ‘like’ uploads on social media, from now on, before hitting ‘post’ or ‘send’, I promise to examine my motives for doing so, and will discern if the action is coming from a place of love, or a place of emotional deficit.
“Thank you Jesus. Thank you for loving me SO much, that you would invest such an important and valuable lesson in me before it was too late. Eternal love and praise to you Dear God. ALL the glory be to you. In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen”