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Guilt, Shame, Jesus’ Name

Guilt, Shame, Jesus’ Name

There is no one more critical of me than me. For every person that has thought or said, “who does she think she is” or “what gives her the right” or “I know her past and she shouldn’t be…”, I’ve thought it more. I’ve made a case to God about why I’m not a good fit for the things he’s called me to. My life is a mess and not just because I have four kids, a guinea pig, a dog, and dirty diapers laying in the living room. The mess I am talking about is the choices I’ve made that led to a heaping scoop of shame and guilt.  You don’t just “get over”, “move on”, or “grow up” from shame and guilt because something about them become you- not just a part of you.

It wasn’t a quick fix- or soul healing for that matter- but a long, hard road of continuing to lean into Jesus through these feelings of being unqualified, ill-equipped, the shame of my past, guilt over broken relationships- as if I had the ability to hold them all together. As I continued to hold these feelings against scripture, God continued to be faithful to reveal himself to me.

The very things the Enemy wants to hold over our heads- to weigh us down and tire us out from being poured out like a drink offering- are the very things that make our testimony miraculous.

If I try and pretend like I have it together, that I am somehow equipped to be following Jesus than I’m robbing God of the glory he so deserves. Actually, let me change that to say, “I’m robbing myself of an opportunity to give God glory” because I don’t see how we can rob God of anything. He is God, we are not so he gets glory regardless of us giving it to him.

Somehow through his full knowledge of all of the things that cause such shame and guilt, God is still choosing to pour into me so I can pour out to others. I don’t know how you define miraculous, but to me, this is a miracle.

All of the people listed below are straight from the scripture. If you aren’t familiar with their testimony, I hope you would open up the Bible and get to know them. Then consider this: what would happen if their testimony stopped at their failures? What if all they were made of was their mess of shame, disloyalty, gossip, slander, etc?

I’m not suggesting that they could have derailed their call- quite frankly, I don’t know how all of that works but what I do know is if I could have derailed mine, I would have. I thought I did at one point but somehow God was holding it all together- there is just no other way to explain it. There is some sort of flow to all of this that I don’t know I can explain, but what I do know is there has been a fire lit in my bones for those who are being weighed down by what God has already marked as forgiven and free.

Legitimate lies the enemy could have tormented these faithful servants of God with:

Ill-equipped: Moses

Fraud: Paul

Shame: Samaritan Woman

Unforgivable: Joseph’s brothers

Bad Friend: Peter

Fear: Abraham and Sarah

We must go and tell what Jesus has done for us. The enemy taunts us with our failures and screw ups but these are the things that are often what the Lord uses to refine us- being the very catalyst to the call God has on our life.

Wouldn’t it be the coolest if we didn’t just ask God to heal us but to also do something mighty through the healing? Even if we doubt it can happen, the guts to ask him is a demonstration of a belief that God can do imaginably more. I know firsthand how gutsy and scary simply asking can be. I mean we are asking God to take the most vulnerable parts of us and somehow make them a catalyst for change. Do we even believe he can do this? I’m not trying to convince you of anything other than opening up scripture and just ask, see, and wait…

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)

I’d like to seal this up with the reason why our screw ups never have to be our ending.

Covers it all with restoration: Jesus

“Satan so vehemently despises what Christ has done for mortals that one of his chief objectives is to make the clean feel unclean. Oh, how he desires to stain the beautiful bride of Christ. Satan can't make the bride do anything, so he does everything he can to get her to. How is this best accomplished? He tries to corrupt thoughts to manipulate feelings. Satan knows that the nature of humankind is to act out of how we feel rather than what we know. Second Timothy 2:26 tells us that Satan's objective in taking people captive is to get them to do his will. If we have received Christ as our Savior, Satan is forced to work from the outside rather than the inside. Thus, he manipulates outside influences to affect the inside decision-makers of the heart and mind.” (Moore, Beth. When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. B&H Publishing Group. 2003)

Used Up or Poured Out Scripture Study

Used Up or Poured Out Scripture Study

“God didn’t create you so that He could use you. He created you so that He could know you… God can use anything, but He sent His Son so that He could have relationships with people who believe- not objects” (Neese, Z (2015) How To Worship A King. pg 3).

This was written as part of a series titled “Used Up or Poured Out” answering the questions: does being used by God mean we are loved by him or does being loved by God mean he can use us in some miraculous way?

It is amazing to me to see scripture come to life as God reveals himself through his word, the Bible. I desire nothing more than for you to pour over scripture and allow God to reveal himself to you through it. I believe it’s important for us, as believers, to know if our God is about using us up like an old sock or pouring us out like a beautiful drink offering. Taste and see for yourself by reading these testimonies with scripture open, hungry for more. Ask him and he will give because he wants to be known by you.

Click here to download the Used Up or Poured Out Scripture Study

Purchase Zach Neese’s book How to Worship a King here.

Read the first post in the series by clicking here.

Used Up or Poured Out

Used Up or Poured Out

After Mom and Dad died in the plane crash, I would beg God to use me through the pain. I wanted my pain to be worth it, and I needed it to be more than what my eyes could see which was death and hopelessness. I thought if God could still use me after this that this would somehow be worth it or evidence that there was a bigger plan. I really struggled for six years as I saw God using others and not me. I didn’t anticipate it being six years of silence and pain of wondering “what was the point” if all that was meant for me in this was to hurt and to grieve.

What I’m not saying and what I didn’t see at the time, I had a belief at the core that to be used by God meant I was valued by God. The enemy’s greatest lie in my life has always been “you aren’t seen, you aren’t valued” and he taunted me with these lies in the midst of this personal disaster. Now don’t get me wrong, I had beautiful life events occur in these six years. I’m not disillusioned to think I had it all bad. We are complex and this situation is complex- in my soul, I was deeply hurt while all the while being thankful for the beauty of his creation.

I began to wonder what the point of this tragedy was for me. I’d often hear how God is using others in big ways through this story. I’d witness this myself, he really was using others in “big” ways through this story. There was something in my heart, this ache that seemed to flare up even more when I heard those words though because it left me with the pain that said, “but what about me”. “God, did you have to allow my parents to die to use this story like this? This wasn’t worth it to me, not to me!” I didn’t need this story to be about me but I needed to know that God was about me through this painful reality. 

Here is where the miraculous soul healing comes in.

I am now confident that God will work everything out for the good of those that love him. I am confident this tragedy was never meant to be a story pointing to a person, but to a mighty God who did a miraculous work in the lives and hearts of people through excruciating pain. Would I have been so confident of this if he didn’t allow the six years of the pain and lingering question of “do you see me”? I don’t know but what I do know is because of those six years, I’ve never been so sure of his goodness. I wouldn’t trade this confidence for anything- anything.

Although I recognize and am thankful for the ways God has used their death, their death will never be worth it to me. The only death I will ever give thanks for is Jesus’ because it’s the one that brought me life. Any other death is just a reminder to me that this is painful here on earth, it’s an ache in my heart that says “I can’t wait for Heaven”.

Being used by God in this tragedy will never wipe away the pain or somehow validate that God is still good. In fact, my curiosity is taking me down a road with God asking him, “did you create me to be used up by you or to be loved by you?”

Furthermore, does being used by God mean we are loved by him or does being loved by God mean he can use us in some miraculous way?

I’ll leave you with a quote from Zach Neese in his book, How to Worship a King, “God didn’t create you so that He could use you. He created you so that He could know you… God can use anything, but He sent His Son so that He could have relationships with people who believe- not objects” (page 3).

 

Upcoming Blog Post: Scripture study of people who have been used by God answering the questions posted above.

Updated as of 2/9/18: Click here to locate the scripture study

The Frustration of Waiting on the Lord

“But I don’t want to wait”, my oldest says. “I’m just so hungry. I’m starving!”, as if to make her final plea before backing down to obey her mother who said “no” to that snack of goldfish before dinner.

Waiting isn’t easy. Whether it be a child or adult, it’s hard to submit to the answer of “no” or “not yet”. In fact, I have wasted so much energy thinking about the thing I’m waiting for by asking questions that are impossible to answer like “what if”, “maybe if”, “could it be”, “should I be”…

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)

If you read the ESV and KJV version of this verse it says “…wait for the Lord” instead of “hope in the Lord”. Those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength. In other words, strength comes from waiting. This seems so contrary to what my mind wants to naturally believe. How can strength come from waiting- a place that seems to bring so much confusion and frustration as if to say, “do something!”? So I went to hunt down what scripture meant by “wait on the Lord” through referencing Strong’s Greek Hebrew Dictionary. Below you will see the definition of the word “wait”.

To Wait: to expect fully; to be an attendant (p  553,1247)

I find it interesting that the words to describe “wait” are verbs. Remember I mentioned how waiting can be frustrating because it causes us to want to do something? By definition, God IS calling us to do something in our waiting: to fully expect that he will produce a harvest and to be present in the waiting by trusting fully that he will work all things out for our good if we love him. (John15, Romans 8:28 NIV)

While this doesn’t make waiting easier, it does give us insight that can help us when pouring out that frustration from the waiting. Instead of using up our energy with questions that will never satisfy, we can fill up by claiming truths about who God is for us and to us. Waiting isn’t a posture of standing lifeless waiting for something to fall into our lap. Instead, waiting is standing with the FULL armor of God in expectation that our God always comes through.

Click here for a FREE download: Waiting on the Lord Scripture

You Hold the Evidence

Our testimony is evidence of Jesus at work on a personal level. We share evidence when we find it worth it and necessary. Is God worth it? If we aren’t sure, why on earth are we following Jesus, and how on earth will anyone else be compelled to? We absolutely have to be confident of our own evidence- that is the revealing of Jesus himself to us personally. Sometimes I wonder if we get so wrapped up in our testimony being “ours”, like a toddler protecting her toy from her sibling, that we miss the very person who gave us our proof to share, Jesus Christ.

Moreover, we can do away with the word “small” when describing our testimony because God doesn’t do anything small. The saving of a soul is a flat out miracle so let’s get tired of cheapening that! Some of us think our testimony isn’t as valuable because they didn’t have some grand turnaround. Please leave that deceptive thought behind and, with complete thanks, go and tell that God is good and prove it- with his word and your testimony. Share your evidence relentlessly!

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