Why Receiving Thick Skin Is Really Painful.

So this past few months, as I’ve been writing my second book, God has been doing a new thing in me. He’s been giving me thick skin. And it has sucked. Really. It’s been hard, painful, really, and I’m not ashamed that I have cried a few tears over it. My gosh, it is hard to be like Jesus, I have found! To be unoffendable. (Or rather try to be).

This entire time I’ve been writing this second book (which has been an awesome experience, by the way, can’t wait for you all to read it), God has been preparing me. Abi, listen, there are people who aren’t going to like it. Why God? I ask. Because the enemy doesn’t like what you’re saying, it’s the hard truth, so people will oppose it. There are always people who oppose what I am doing. It’s how you know you are on the right track. And, I’ve always known that, but now I am truly learning it. The path truly is narrow.

It’s like when I decided I probably wasn’t (okay I say probably but really…I’m really not. God is like come on Abi, you know you aren’t! I also say “decided”, but let’s be honest, the only thing I decided was to agree to God.) going to go to college, people went wide-eyed when I told them, gave me a polite smile and said “that’s nice, but never say never! Don’t say no! You might still go!” To which I just smile and politely nod and say “uh huh”, when I know better. I know people think I’m crazy. The American way is to finish High School (don’t worry Mom, I’m still going to do that, I think God knows what you can and can’t handle. ;)), go to college, get a job, meet a guy along the way, get married, have kids, and bam. Life accomplished. And I’m sitting here thinking “That sounds boring.”

So you may or may not be wondering why in the world I’m not going to college. Well, let’s just say God has decided He wants to take more of an…Adventurous route with me. (Which I’m mostly fine with, notice the mostly) He’s telling me that college will be a waste of time, money, and resources for me. He’s decided I’m better suited if I’m off in some foreign country working with orphans.

And you know what the best part is? I’m not actually joking. It’s been pretty awesome, the journey He has sent me on just in discovering that was His plan. But needless to say, it’s been just a journey for me getting over that whole college thing (My poor Mother, too. I guess my Dad is pretty cool with me being a dork forever), because I’ve always told myself I was going to college (I never wanted to be a failure) and just because I knew people would judge me. (Which also just happens to be what the second book of mine is about. How lucky! Not.)

I actually came to a place this past week that I actually started to believe it wasn’t meant to be, that I was just making the whole thing up, about me serving overseas (for the record I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere in Eastern Europe), only because of what strong opposition I felt like I was receiving. I felt like I was being foolish, reckless, even. So during a “quiet time”, when I felt God’s presence strongly, I asked Him. Now, He’s pretty cool about answering questions (or at least mine!), so He did answer.

He told me that I’ve been reading in Isaiah 6, where Isaiah had a vision about the throne room of God, and the angel touching his lips with a coal and him being cleansed, and I would read verse 8 and 9 and offer the same to God.

“Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?’
I said, ‘Here I am. Send me.’

One of my favorite songs, God of the Impossible by Everfound, even has that scripture strongly used in it. For years now I’ve been reading that and told him that. Here I am! Send me God! Use me! Well, I thought that that just meant me reading His Word and following Him and maybe every now and again encouraging someone or something…But boy I was wrong! He reminded me of that and asked, “You said this to me, right?” And me, already seeing where this is going, sighed and said yes. “Did you change your mind?” He asked. (Isn’t it cool that He gave me opportunity to do that?!) I told Him no. He said “Okay, then. I will send you. I am sending you. My Children need you. Will you go to them for me?” (And of course how could I say no to that, at this point I could totally see Jesus and He was totally crying about His Children and their need…) Of course I said yes, and that settled that.

But I have to have thick skin. To make sure those words just bounce off when people tell me I should still go to college. When they say it’s dangerous. When they question if it’s really God. I just let it roll off my shoulders and keep my eyes on Him and Him alone. To only listen to His words. To keep saying, “Here I am. Send me.”

With this second book, I sit here wondering, “how will people react? Will they not like it? Will they tell me I’m wrong? Will they post bad things about it?” And God chuckles and says “What will they learn from it? How will it change them? Impact them? How will I use it to accomplish my will in ways you could have never imagined?” And I go, “Oh yeah. Guess so. It’ll be worth it because you say it will be worth it.”

What will people say when I refuse to go to college? Will they judge me? Criticize me? But what will they learn from it? Who will be benefited from it? Who may I inspire from it? Isn’t it good, I’m not following the world’s systems. And that’s all it is. I’m still smart. I’m not a failure or a loser. That’s what people always said when I was growing up, people who didn’t go to college were losers. Well I’m here to say to those people that they are wrong. How can I lose when God is on my side? If God is for me, who can be against me? How can I fail when nothing is impossible with God? I can’t. College doesn’t define me. Having a job doesn’t define me. GOD defines me. And He certainly is.

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