Elevation Requires Separation: The Price of Saying ‘Yes’ to God
“You have to separate to elevate.”
I started seeing and hearing this phrase a lot after I started walking with God. I knew the phrase meant I had to separate from something but I didn’t know exactly what. I didn’t know it meant I would have to shed some dead weight in order to be light enough to soar with Jesus.
I was scared of what that dead weight was. I didn’t want to completely leave my lively lifestyle, close friends, and comfort zone but God led me to shed some relationships, habits, and lifestyle choices that didn’t glorify Him.
Many people speak of losing friends during their journey of salvation. I didn’t necessarily lose friends, but I did lose interest to participate in the same activities that my friends did. My friends identified as believers, but they still attended events and parties that God instructed me to stray from. I felt a multitude of emotions when I saw my friends going out and doing things that I no longer did.
I was struggling with the fact that my friends called themselves believers, but they were still at these parties, events, and with certain crowds. I started asking him why He had me turn away from things but allowed them to stay. I didn’t understand why He exiled me but allowed others to stay put.
My friends knew of my newfound journey with Jesus, and how much I wanted to turn my life around. I expected them to follow suit and take a walk with the Most High just like I did. When they didn’t, it hurt me to the core. “Why would my friends leave me and go do these things knowing I can’t participate?” Even my very best friend, the one I thought would always have my back, would continue to participate in things that would leave me feeling left out.
I felt I had no one that truly understood what I was going through. I also felt like no one really wanted to understand. They didn’t want to acknowledge that maybe they too should turn away from their fun, familiar, yet sinful lifestyle.
In the midst of going through this, all of these feelings festered a deeper desire to cling closer to God and walk with Him through this situation. I had to remember what God said to me. He specifically told me to turn away from my old lifestyle while a dear friend was praying over me. It was so clear that I could not ignore it, misinterpret it, or deny it. So I thought to myself, “Do not listen to, or follow, what other people are doing.” I had to worry about my journey and what God said to me.
I was reminded of Matthew 22:14, to explain to me that I was different: “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
I also had to remember that my friends are not perfect and that they have their own, individual walk with God. I didn’t feel like it was my job to save, condemn, or change them; only God can do that. It was my job to share my testimony with them and pray for them, in hopes of drawing them closer to God. I felt like my sense of betrayal led me to be envious and judgmental; I knew that wasn’t the woman that God called me to be. I became focused on “changing” them, just so I wouldn’t be alone. My heart was not at peace; I was too busy envying their lifestyle and judging them, but Proverbs 14:30 was an eye-opener.“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
Lastly, I learned that I was never really alone. My loneliness prompted me to call on God through prayer. I just wanted him to comfort me, while I mourned the old me and old lifestyle.
While having time with God, I came across a sermon, on YouTube called “The Great Escape” by Sarah Jakes Roberts. This finally spoke to my soul about my situation with separation. The sermon explained that I was “exiled for my protection.” The separation was teaching me that I can fend for myself. The separation was bringing me closer to God. The separation taught me that my gift is unique and that no one else can use it the way I do. The separation taught me that my old lifestyle would have crushed my creativity and pulverized my power; so God had me leave to protect me.
Going through that pain, inspired me to write this article. I wanted to share my experience with someone else that is currently separating from partying, sin, and other lifestyle choices. I just want you to know that you are not alone. I know it is not easy but it is more than worth it. It is okay to have your own party. I like to describe it as a party with Jesus and it is B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Burdens). With Him, you don’t have to feel alone, betrayed, or confused; you can drop those burdens and get down with the greatest friend of all time. He is the one that will always care, will always understand, and will never leave you. When in doubt, whip that bible out and refer to Psalm 55:22.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Remember that you are righteous, radiant, and rare. Embrace your separation, elevate to excellence, and be glad that you are the one that got away.
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