Joyce Meyer - My Story - Part 2
Don't ever tell me you cannot overcome negativity because I could not think two positive thoughts in a row without my brain getting in a cramp. I wish I could explain to you how messed up I was. But I don't even know how to tell you. I didn't know how to think right. I didn't know how to act right. I didn't know how to feel right. I misread everything. I had a root of rejection in my life and that colored everything that happened. And if you have that, I can tell you, it's affecting your relationships. And I'll give you one example of how that works. Dave and I couldn't seem to talk about anything. And I would always say, "We can never talk about anything"! And he would get so mad. And "Why do you say we can never talk about anything? We can talk about everything," but he said, "You talk, and you want me to listen". Which was true.
And God finally revealed to me, and I thank God for the Revelations that he gives us, that what was happening to me was because of that root of rejection. If he disagreed with any opinion I had, I took it as him rejecting me. But he wasn't rejecting me, he just didn't agree with what I thought. And I didn't know how to separate my opinion from who I was. Come on, somebody needs that. And so, once I learned how to do that, that just because somebody disagreed with me didn't mean they were rejecting me, that made a huge difference. But I had to press through rejection, betrayal, abandonment. You know, it was bad enough that my dad abused me, but my mother knowing he was doing it and letting him do it, was even worse. To be honest, I had a harder time forgiving her than him. But she, too was afraid. It is amazing what fear will do to you. You realize that? It's just, it's terrible what fear will do to you.
And when she finally did apologize to me, which was 30 years after Dave and I were married, she said, "I'm sorry that I let your dad do to you what he did". She said, "I just couldn't face the scandal". Well, to be honest, my mother was just, she was weak. And I never really hated her, but I hated weakness. So, I was determined I was not gonna be weak. If I was gonna be anything, it wasn't gonna be weak. And in a way that played in my favor because it helped me press through a lot of things that most people would have given up on. So, we were going to church, but I wasn't learning anything that was helping me with my problem, nor did I even realize I had a problem.
One of the first scriptures, after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, that God kind of impressed upon me was John 8:31 and 32, "If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples. And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free," see. And it is the truth that makes us free. But it's not the truth about somebody else, it's the truth about us that sets us free. And I think the hardest thing to deal with is having to face the truth that all your problems are not somebody else's fault. We better just have a little "Selah" right there. That means: pause and calmly think about that. It's very hard to take responsibility for your own mess. And so, 'course for a long time I blamed all my "Behavioral problems" on the fact that "I was abused".
And I remember when God said to me, "Yes, that is why you are the way you are, but don't let it become an excuse to stay that way". Some of these things that these one liners I'm throwing out are worth you being here this afternoon. See, something that somebody did to you may be why you have bad behavior, but you can't let it become an excuse to stay that way. As of today, you need to start taking responsibility for what you do and not blame it on anybody else. And you need to take responsibility for your own joy and your own peace. It's not somebody else's job to keep you happy. Amen?
So, 1976 comes along. There's an outpouring of the Holy Spirit all around the earth. How many of you remember that? Okay. That means you're about as old as I am. And I mean, people in every denomination were being filled with the Holy Spirit. And if you don't know what that's all about, go read the Book of Acts, the first couple of chapters. They were born again, but they weren't filled with the Holy Spirit. And when they were, they all spoke in other tongues. I personally believe in all the gifts of the spirit. I've experienced it. I'm not ashamed to say that. And I'll tell you, you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit gives you courage... you remember Peter, I mean, he was a coward. And after he was baptized in the Holy Spirit, he went out into the street and got 3,000 people saved.
So, when you're filled with the Holy Spirit, it gives you courage and strength. He is our helper, our strengthener, our teacher, and he comes to live inside of us. When Jesus ascended on high, he said, "I'm gonna send you a helper". Wow. You never have to try to do anything by yourself. You've always got a divine helper, and that's what enables you to do anything you need to do, you can do it with God's help. Amen? So, I get filled with the Holy Spirit. And 'course, keeping my mouth shut wasn't an option for me. First of all, when God touches you with that holy fire, you get excited. And you want to tell other people. And this whole thing about, "Well, my religion is a private thing". That's a bunch of nonsense, you know.
You know, if you've been touched by God, you're gonna have a hard time keeping your mouth shut about it. Amen? And there was a lot of things going, I didn't even really know what had happened to me. I just, one morning I was on my way to work, and I was just disgusted with life. Dave and I had had a fight again that morning and I just cried out to God, "You have got to do something in my life"! And I'll tell you right then, I didn't care if I got a Catholic miracle, a Baptist miracle, a Lutheran miracle. I mean, none of it made me any difference, I just wanted God to do something in my life. And I'll tell you, when you get desperate enough, you'll step outside the lines of your denomination if that's what you have to do.
ell then, and this is kind of interesting to me, so many people are always looking for what God's will is for their life. Well, you know, I never one-time asked God what his will was for my life, but when he got ready to tell me, believe me, I understood it. So, I don't think you have to go on some digging expedition. You just need to tell God, "I wanna do whatever you want me to do". And then you just need to go on living your life, and God'll show you. He'll open a door. He'll speak to you. He'll show you. He'll give you a desire, an overwhelming desire to do something. You're either really gonna work, wanna work with kids, or there, you know, there's something you're gonna really want to do.
So, I think we just need to calm down about all this, "Oh God, what is your will for me? What do you want me to do? What do you want me to do? What do you want me to do"? And so, I was making my bed one morning listening to the first, back then, it was teaching cassette tapes. And while I so amazed that I listened to one hour of teaching off of just three or four scriptures and the whole entire time I was just riveted by the anointing that was on this man to preach. And I just thought, "That must be the most wonderful thing in the world". And God spoke to me, and he said, "Someday you're gonna go all over the earth and teach my word". And I wasn't looking for a ministry. I was making my bed. So, maybe some of you need to stop looking for a ministry and you just need to go make your bed and let God come and get you when he wants you. Amen?
And so, I witnessed to a girl that I worked with, took her in the bathroom at work and led her to the Lord. And then, I started to leave and go back to my desk, and I heard God speak to me, said, "You can't leave her that way". And I mean, I said, "Well, what do you want me to do to her"? And I heard the Lord say, "Teach her the word". I said, "Well, I don't know how", you know, "I don't know how to do that". "I know that". Well, I went to my Lutheran pastor and said, "If you were gonna teach a Bible study, where would you start"? He said, "The book of John". So, I got a Thompson chain-reference Bible and started in John chapter one. And I invited all the people that worked for me. I was the office manager and I had 12 ladies that worked for me.
Well, I didn't have enough sense to realize that they were all gonna feel obligated to come. So, I thought I had a great crowd. And so, the very first day that I taught all 12 women got a parking ticket. So, that was my great beginning. And that turned into a Bible study that I had in my home for five years. And at the end of those five years, there was a new church that had started up in our town. And I met the pastor at some big meeting that was in an arena. Somebody brought him over and introduced him to me. And so, we decided we were gonna go to that church. Anyway, long story short, I ended up going on staff at that church. But the first job I had there was the pastor's secretary, and after one day they fired me. Yeah, it's funny, now. But I'll tell you what, I was heartbroken when I went home. And there were just so many things.
So listen to me, there are so many places where you can give up, but you don't have to. Do you hear me? I mean, there are so many places where you can just park and say, "I'm not going any further". But you don't have to. You can say, "No, I am going to cross the finish line". Come on. And so, I worked five years at that church, and it was tough. I was 36 and the pastor was 26. And we both thought we knew everything and neither one of us knew anything. And we're still friends today. I just got a message from him last week. And it was hard. It was very hard. It was hard for me to learn how to submit to authority. That was so hard because of having been mistreated. I had such a strong root of rebellion in me. I didn't want anybody telling me what to do. And 'course you can't work for somebody and nobody ever tell you what to do. And he was young and didn't always know how to treat people.
And so, it was just tough. And I had big dreams, you know? I mean, I didn't, the time came when it was time for me to leave, and I stayed a year after I should have stayed. And it was one miserable year. And finally, God showed me, in no uncertain terms, that I was to, this was what he said to me, "Take your ministry and go north, south, east, and west". Well, that sounds exciting, except nobody knew me north, south, east, or west. So, I live in St. Louis, Missouri, so I went to north St. Louis, south St. Louis, east St. Louis, and west St. Louis.
See, sometimes you gotta just be like a little child and just do the best you know how to do. I mean, I felt like Abraham when God said, "Leave here and go to the place that I will show you". I walked out of my job with a dented desk and a calculator and had no idea what to do with myself. And so, I started a meeting in north county, south county, east and west, once a month, each one of them.
And the church let me have the mailing list from, I had a women's meeting at that church that grew to be about between 400 and 500 people weekly were coming to that women's meeting. And I kind of knew that I wasn't gonna be there forever, but I was committed and loyal and I loved the people there and I didn't wanna leave, and so, God had to kinda kick me out. He said to me, one night I was sitting in church, God said, "What are you doing"? I said, "Well, I'm going to church. It's Tuesday night, I'm going to church". He said, "I'm finished with you, now. Finished with you, here, now. You need to leave". And I thought, I was insulted, "You're finished with me? I'm a church pillar here. How's the church gonna survive without me"?
Sometimes we get a little too full of ourselves and think we're more important than what we are. And so, I finally left. Go north, south, east, and west. I mean, the whole story is hilarious. So, I was on one radio station for 15 minutes. And we did everything, I mean, I'd sit on my typewriter and answer the very few pieces of mail that I ever got. And that mailing list that we had, we'd write to the people and ask 'em to support us and help us. And, you know, I really don't even know how God did it. But here we are today, you know, mainly because I just refused to quit. And all that time I was growing spiritually. I was going through all these things behind-the-scenes, overcoming all this junk, this trying to learn how to forgive, trying to learn how to not be offended and when I was to forgive, and getting over self-pity. And man, I was addicted to self-pity. I hated it, but I loved it.
So, we both worked all week. And by then we had three kids and we'd come home and on Saturday he'd play golf and on Sunday he'd watch football. Well, I didn't like sports, didn't want him to like 'em. And I tried to change him and that was useless. One day, when I walked in the room, he was listening to a football game, watching a baseball game, and shining his golf driver. And I thought, "My plan's not working". You can't change people. And the more you try, the more they're gonna hate you. Come on. If you've got somebody on the potter's wheel, you might as well go home and let them off because you are not the potter. Amen? Finally, one day we looked at each other and I said, "I commit to never trying to change you again. You're free to be who you are". And he said, "And I commit to never trying to change you again. You're free to be who you are". And we wouldn't be together today if that wouldn't of happened.
So, if you're trying to change the person you're married to, forget it. It ain't gonna happen. You can pray for 'em, and God might do something. But we have to learn to love people where they're at, not where we want 'em to be. Amen? I think I said over the weekend, "I think Dave's been married to 20 different women", 'cause I would change a little bit. Then a lot of time would go by and I'd change a little bit more, then I'd change a little bit more. Well, I was 42 when we started the ministry, and I was 52 when I went on TV. When I first went into ministry, I had three teenagers and a baby. So, please don't tell me that you can't do anything for God because you've got kids. Look at me, I'm gonna tell you something. You can do anything that God tells you to do. And God will provide everything you need because what he orders, he pays for. Amen?
So, we were on these eight radio stations, and we finally got to the point where we would rent hotel ballrooms and travel to the places that we could drive to, where we were on the radio. And we saved up $1600 and we bought a van that had rusty wheel wells and bald tires. And we would drive to these meetings, and we didn't even have the money to stay in a hotel to come home at night. We would drive home, and when Dave got too tired to drive, he'd pull over in a McDonald's or another fast food restaurant. He'd sleep a little bit and then we would drive home some more. Listen, don't expect to be promoted until you pay your dues. Come on, somebody needs to hear this.
Don't get your nose out of joint because they don't give you some big position at your church the day you walk in because you're so talented. You need more than talent, you need maturity. You need spiritual maturity. You need character. You don't need to be a character. You need character. The character of God. And we just went through so many hard things. But I can tell you, God never let us down. We never paid a bill late. But we worked so hard. I don't even begin to know how to tell you how hard we worked. After I went on television, things just started exploding. Just, I mean, we were multiplying like crazy. Our ministry was tripling every year. And all I can tell you is that every person has an assignment from God, and every person needs to be determined to finish whatever God calls you to do. And if all you're called to do is serve the Lord with gladness, then serve the Lord with gladness. Amen? As long as you're doing what God wants you to do, you're doing something great.
Now, from where I started, let's go back to the little girl whose first memory was being afraid of her father, through all the abuse, and there's a whole lot more to that story, things I could tell you that would just turn your stomach that I won't bother telling you. My daughter said to me, not too long ago, she said, "You know, it is amazing what a good parent you were, considering how you were raised". So, don't ever be afraid, don't ever be afraid that you can't be a good parent because God will anoint you to be whatever he calls you to be. And the anointing is what qualifies you. Jesus was qualified. He said, "His anointing hath qualified me".
And God has been faithful to me. He's been good to me. He has given me back ten times over anything that I lost. He's given me honor. He's rewarded me. He's blessed me. And I have to tell you that, I can't say that I'm sorry about what happened to me because what I once thought was my worst enemy has become my best friend. Amen. And I can tell you that God is faithful. And God is good. And you can press through anything that comes against you because the greater one lives in you. Come on, get up and give God a big praise. I want us to all pray this together because I wanna make sure nobody leaves here without having received Christ. So, we're just gonna all pray this together:
Father God, I love you. Jesus, I believe in you. I believe you are God. The only Son of God. I believe that you died on the cross to pay for my sins. But on the third day, you rose from the dead. My debt has been paid. My sins are forgiven. I'm sorry for the way I've lived. I repent. I surrender. I receive you as my Savior. And I want you to become my Lord. I want your will to be my will. Thank you for saving me. I believe... That I'm forgiven... That I'm on my way to heaven. And I'm gonna enjoy the journey. Teach me. Make me like Jesus. Amen.