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"You Yelled at Me, But I'm Adessa"

Over the past year, Jamie and I have been listening to podcast based on the 1990’s sitcom “Boy Meets World.” In the podcast, the now forty-something adults who played Topanga, Shawn, and Eric in “Boy Meets World” recap each episode and share tales from behind the scenes. No, it isn’t spiritual at all, but it does help me relax. It’s also fun and makes long drives a little shorter.

As we’ve been listening to the podcast, I’ve realized that we quote “Boy Meets World” ALOT in our daily conversations. (Jamie and I both speak fluent movie quotes, song lyrics, and sitcom dialogue.) Recently, when the Holy Spirit was working on my heart, I found myself quoting a line from this sitcom to Him! The line is:

“You yelled at me. But I’m Topanga.”

It was spoken by Topanga when Mr. Feeny corrected her. It was shocking.

Topanga didn’t get in trouble—she was a good student, conscientious, well-behaved. She was the voice of reason amid Cory and Shawn’s antics. Why was Mr. Feeny picking on her??

Because she needed correction. She was wrong. There was an area in her life that needed to improve and he told her. But this was a new situation and she was a little jarred.

I have to admit that I felt the same way when I prayed and asked God to change other people and circumstances, to answer some questions and help us solve some problems.

Can you believe that He had the nerve to point out that the issues He wanted to deal with were inside of ME??

But how can that be? I’m Adessa!

I’m adorable. How can I be the problem. (Insert eye roll here—kinda.)

The truth was that I was surprised to learn that the solutions to the issues I prayed about didn’t come from changing other people, removing difficult circumstances or even a miraculous solution to problems. Instead, there were attitudes and mindsets inside of me that had to change.

Who knew???

Here’s something else that surprised me. Every time the Holy Spirit started working on a different area of my heart, the root of the problem was always the same.

God wanted to make changes and I struggled because “that wasn’t the way we always did things” and “that wasn’t what I was taught growing up.”

It was mind-blowing.

God didn’t just want to change ME—He was pointing out that I was resistant to change!

Again, I had no idea. I thought I was a pretty flexible person. Growing up in the church, I couldn’t understand people with this attitude. Now, the Holy Spirit was showing me it was an attitude I needed to overcome!

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, I did the same thing that Topanga did in Episode 13 of Season 5 of “Boy Meets World” (available on the Disney Channel).

I surrendered. I admitted that the Holy Spirit was right. I needed to overcome my very strong ties to way I always did things. I needed to admit that some of the things I was taught were incorrect or sometimes not the only way of doing things. I had to open my heart and mind to the changes the Holy Spirit wanted to make in my life so that I could grow in the direction God wanted me to grow.

When I put aside my shock and accepted that God’s correction was for my good—actually an answer to my prayers—God was able to work in my life.

That’s usually the way it is. Often we go to God asking Him to change every thing and everyone around us and He says, “Let’s start by changing you.”

What I’m learning is that whenever this happens, the best thing we can do it say, “Okay, let’s do this. I’m on board. Whatever You want, I’m in.”

Two thoughts that will help us have this attitude are:

First, we must member that the God of the Universe, the One Who created you, knows you better than you know yourself.

While we may be completely blind to our own flaws or weakness, He can see that often these are the things keeping us from the answers to our prayers. He knows better than we do and we need to trust Him.

Secondly, we need to remember the Scripture that says, "For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children.” (Hebrews 12:6-7)

I know that often it’s hard to equate “discipline” or “correction” with love (especially if you came from discipline that was too harsh or abusive.). However, if we go back to our example from “Boy Meets World” you can see that the reason Mr Feeny was correcting Topanga or even Shawn and Cory was because he loved them. Clearly, they were his favorite students and he cared about their well-being. He wanted them to succeed in life and be the best people they could be.

So he spent extra time with them helping them learn lessons about life. Sometimes this involved correcting them so they could grow and become everything he knew they could be.

God’s love is the same way. He corrects us because He wants what is best for us.

He wants us to be everything that He designed us to be, not wallow in our pain and weakness. So, He corrects us because He loves us.

When we realize this, we can respond perhaps with surprise at first (Who me?) but then we can acknowledge his concern and say, “You’re right. Please help me change.”

Who knows, it might be the answer you were praying for, just weren’t expecting.

Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.

When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."


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