A mosaic cross on a church in Ghana, West Africa

Lucinda Williams sings a very catchy song entitled “Get Right With God.” As I was writing on this very topic today, I couldn’t stop singing her words.

In the chorus, she sings “Cause I want to get right with God. Yes, you know you got to get right with God.” As a sidenote, Lucinda’s grandfathers were both Methodist ministers but she was raised Unitarian—which doesn’t really make any difference other than to prove she’s no stranger to the spiritual realm.

Lucinda’s song is so fitting today because talking about relationships and how to healthily navigate them is really a moot point until we get right with God.

Which is so often easier said than done, no?

Here’s the thing: the more bags we carry, the more difficult it is for us to be in alignment with God. If we aren’t in alignment with God, it’s darn near impossible to be in alignment with others.

A while ago, some of my heart sisters and I were sitting around my living room discussing Matthew 19 in which Jesus is responding to the wealthy man who asks what he can do to have eternal life.

When Jesus told him he must follow the commandments but then added he should sell his possessions and give to the poor, the man walked away feeling rather dejected.

He didn’t really want to have to do THAT.

As the man began to leave the crowd, Jesus said “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

One of my sisters shared that during biblical times, cities were surrounded by great walls to protect them from intruders. The entry to the city was a large gate that was open during the day but closed at night. Should you need access to the city during the evening hours, a much smaller gate called “the eye of the needle” was used to gain entry.

However, camels could only pass through the eye of the needle if they were 1) on their knees and 2) stripped of all baggage.

Sisters, we are no different than those camels—we must humbly seek Him on our knees and strip-off our bags if we are to enter the city of freedom.

Humbling ourselves to the Lord is critical in getting “right” with Him. By no accident, humbling ourselves to others is the only way to gain access to true and authentic relationships.

Not to mention that when we humble ourselves, we are really just having the courage to be vulnerable.

And Heart Sister relationships will never develop at a deeper level if vulnerability is left out of the equation.

It goes without saying that there should be NO relationship placed above our personal relationship with God. Our Heart Sisters can encourage us and sharpen us but they are not ever expected to fulfill what only God can fulfill.

So what are some of the bags we need to lay-down?  I use an acronym called “Can’t Ever Imagine Being Friends.” It stands for comparison, envy, insecurity, being prideful, and fear.

These bags, sisters . . . They’re just bold-face lies you and I have chosen to carry as truth.

1. Comparison:  This happens when we’re looking sideways instead of up. We compare ourselves to those around us and forget the worth we have in His eyes. While I know this, as I’m sure do you, we so easily forget, don’t we? Comparison breeds ingratitude and ingratitude robs trust in God. Lack of trust in Him steals joy. See the downward spiral? It’s not at all from God.

2. Envy: Comparison’s evil twin is envy. These two go together like peas and carrots. While jealousy is defined as being scared to lose something you already possess, envy is desiring someone else’s possessions. Envy can become so deep-rooted that it infects relationships and threatens to derail them.

3. Insecurity: This develops when we allow our identity to be defined by what’s in the world (and can so easily be removed from us) instead of God. Comparison and envy almost always develop out of insecurity.

4. Being prideful: This is a sneaky one. I once thought that I didn’t struggle with pride because, you know, I don’t brag on myself. But wow have I learned about pride in the last few years. Pride can be in the form of refusing to accept help even when I really could use it. It’s withholding forgiveness. It’s keeping up walls around your heart because you’re scared to reveal the “ick” that could emerge if you dared to be vulnerable. Pride is often the culprit of every relational conflict.

5. Fear: Another big one. I personally believe that all negative emotions are rooted in fear. When I begin to slip into my flesh-self, I ask myself “What are you afraid of?” I can almost always trace my frustrations back to fear.

While there are others bags we carry, these five are the most common among women.

The best part is that we don’t have to carry them. If we prioritize our relationship with Him by reading the Bible, going to church, communing with other healthy believers, worshiping, and forgiving, we’ll begin to possess a God-ward orientation rather than a world orientation. It doesn’t mean that life becomes easy but instead it means that you will have the tools to use when it’s not.

Will you join me in laying down those bags? Will you also get on your knees and walk to the city of freedom?

I promise you’ll hear the clanking of chains.

What about you? Do you struggle with any of the above? How do you get right with God?




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