Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Orphan Complex

Hello again to all of my readers!  First off, I apologize for taking a hiatus for a few weeks.  Between grad school, the Atlanta snow jam, and just regular old life I became extremely busy.  I have missed writing a lot, and I have so many things built up that it was tough to decide what to write about today.  I still owe you all a post about my Daniel fast, but today I want to talk about something that God has been in the process of delivering me from: the orphan mentality.

The orphan mentality is that nagging feeling that the promises of God just don’t work for us.  We believe in God, and we accept Jesus as our savior, but we often find ourselves navigating through life feeling frustrated, tired, and maybe even hopeless.  As its name suggests, the orphan mentality is that of a child of God who acts as though they have no heavenly father at times.  Through my personal experiences and encounters with others, I have noticed five major habits that usually accompany the orphan mentality. 

1.Falling apart at the slightest sign of trouble

Okay y’all, I must admit that I have this one bad, I mean REALLY bad.  The orphan doesn't have to be in trouble to wallow in stress - all she has to do is see stress in the distance over a few hills, and panic begins to arise.  This sign is for those people who get nervous that they failed the final exam and dread the impact that it will have their GPA before the grade has been posted.  I’m talking to the people who think about buying your baby’s Christmas gifts in August and have a mini panic attack because you don’t know where those extra finances will come from.  Yes, you know that God can make a way, but he didn’t make a way for Sally down the street who lost her house.  What if you end up like Sally?  You are a planner by nature, and that has been one of your best traits for the most part, but worrying is an unfortunate side-effect that you always regret in the end.  My dear, you have the orphan mentality.  Welcome to the club!  (Let’s not stay in the club, mmkay?)

2.Viewing vulnerability as a Sign of Weakness

Quite the opposite of sign number one, you are strong on purpose.  You were most likely raised in one of two environments: one where you were taught to never let anyone make you look weak, or one where you were made to feel weak constantly.  No matter what happens in this life, you are determined to count it as a badge of honor and press forward.  Faith is not an issue for you but…. you live inside a stone house with no windows and no doors.  You have emotions and doubts, but you wouldn’t dare let them be seen.  Relationships prove to be difficult because your strength is your pride and joy, and you remain guarded at all times.  When you finally have an emotional reaction to something, you surprise even yourself, and you hope to God that nobody is around to witness it.

3.Believing Harder for others than you do for Yourself

You see a story about a three-legged puppy on the news and want to adopt him.  When your loved ones are sick or hurt, you are the one who keeps the faith.  You pray.  You pray HARD.  (You are probably an intercessor weather you know it or not)  You believe that anyone can be saved, and can’t conjure up the nerve to label anyone as a lost cause.  The problem is…. the faith you have for others matches the doubt you have for yourself.  You are extremely self-critical, and you find yourself feeling guilty for things that God already forgave you for.  When you pray for your own health, finances, or well-being, you beg and plead hoping that God would see fit to drop a blessing on little-old-you like you’ve seen him do for others.

4.Constantly Waiting for Your “Moment”

You sit in what feels like the background and watch others advance to the next level.  You are most likely not completely clear about what your purpose is and you are waiting for God to give you clarity.  There’s nothing wrong with waiting on God, but in the process you settle for much less than being blessed.  You fantasize about the days ahead when you will finally live a comfortable life with a family that you love.  You have great faith that one day you will be doing what you love and glorifying God in the process, but “it’s not your season.”  You will wait until your time comes.   You will watch people excel and be genuinely happy for them.  Depending on how old you are, you may have come to a point where you start to wonder if your moment will ever come.

5.Trying to Fix Things before Turning them Over to God

You don’t know why you repeat this cycle every. single. time.  You find yourself in a jam, and you immediately go into Olivia Pope mode.  You have a plan of attack, and you even have plans B and C just in case something goes wrong.  You even consider how you will cope emotionally if everything fails – yes, you have a plan for avoiding an emotional breakdown.  This usually works until you hit one of those BIG bumps in the road.  If you lose your job, you are on the internet that same day updating and sending out resumes.  When a month or two go by and you haven’t had any interviews, though, you start to lose hope as your “anti-breakdown” plan derails.  Why is this happening?  You put in all of the work, and you didn’t cut any corners.  Oh yeah – you forgot to get on your knees and pray.

Okay, I’ve been living like an Orphan.  What Next?

Alright – If you’re a number 1 then breathe, it’s not the end of the world, and it can be fixed!  (lol)  Let me break something down for you all.  We already know this, but sometimes we just need a little reminder.  Jesus DIED for YOU.  If you were the only person in the world, he still would have gotten on that cross and died just so that you can make it to heaven.  You are a child of the richest, most loving, and most generous man that ever was and ever will be.  When you accepted Jesus into your heart, you became royalty.  You have a heavenly father who loves you and wants to give you the world – you are not alone in this life thing!

So, this is what I need for you all to do…….

#1 – Please, calm down (again).  That trouble will probably turn the corner before it gets to you, and if it happens to actually make it to you God will work it all out in your favor!  It’s the devil who whispers all of those worries in your ear.  How can you shut him up?  Praise GOD!

#2 – Strength is a virtue, it really is.  God did not intend for us to walk through this life alone – he loves us through it, and he is faithful enough to send us people who will love us even at our worst.  Pray to him that he will soften your heart and allow you to be vulnerable to those who truly love you and have your best (godly) interest at heart!

#3 – God’s love for you outnumbers every grain of sand on every beach in the world.  He not only can do for you what he does for others, but he wants to do that and more!  He admires your heart.  Allow yourself to be blessed – you deserve it!

#4 – Patience is something to be proud of, but be careful not to become complacent.  You may not be a CEO tomorrow, but in the name of Jesus, you are blessed TODAY!  You don’t have to wait one second for your moment to come to be blessed.  You ARE blessed!

#5 – You’re independent, and God made you that way.  The bottom line is that you need him, and not just after your plan fails.  He lives to take on your burdens and spin them into a beautiful masterpiece.  Next time you have a problem, pray first and plan later.

I know this one was long, but I hope it blessed somebody!  I will leave you all with a story (you knew it was coming!)  I was once watching Grey’s anatomy, and a character (named George?) had recently died.  His organs had been donated, and one of the recipients felt SO guilty that she lived only as a result of his death that she sat outside of the hospital where he worked and died every day and cried.  Finally one day, one of George’s loved ones saw her and became LIVID.  She went to her and commanded her to stop wasting what was left of him by wallowing in guilt and sorrow.  I would like to tell you that the orphan is like that organ recipient.  We go through life as though we are not royalty while Jesus wears the wounds that he received as our ticket into the kingdom.  Let’s not let his suffering be in vain.  Live like the child of God you are!

Food for thought:

Isaiah 53:3 - But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed

Have an issue/idea that you would like to see in a future blog?  Email me at whitney.p.gordon@gmail.com.  It’s confidential!