“Jesus is God’s conversation about me. I need to learn how to replace the old tape of my past with God’s opinion of me… Once I figure out who I am in God, I will start to act like it.”
I’ve struggled most of my life feeling God’s judgment instead of His love. Approximately three years ago I finally accepted God’s invitation to see myself the way He truly sees me. There have been many false starts and stops along the way, and this weekend God filled in another puzzle piece for me.
We had a guest speaker at church this past weekend and the sermon was about… living in God’s grace despite our imperfections, our sin. God loved us more than He loved His own Son because He sacrificed His Son’s life in order to give us eternal life. That right there is a mouthful and should be repeated. God loved us more than He loves His own Son. He sacrificed His Son, whom He dearly loves, in order to have a chance at a relationship with us. When I live in self condemnation, I’m refusing God’s free gift of grace. Since I’ve chosen to be His child, accepted Jesus into my heart and am a Christ follower, when I refuse to come boldly to His throne and accept His grace when I mess up, and He expects me to mess up this side of Heaven, when I choose to wallow in my sin instead, I’m insulting Him.
God knows insulting Him isn’t my intent, but He also allowed this message to penetrate my life right now because I’ve been dealing with some pretty heavy self condemnation. God healed me of something fairly significant a few weeks ago and instead of walking in that freedom perfectly, I’ve had some false starts and stops. And I’ve been avoiding Him because I feel guilty. God never asked for me to be perfect. And I’m only hurting myself when I choose to wallow in false guilt instead of after sinning, standing up and approaching His throne of grace boldly, saying, “Okay, God, I need your help again. I know You healed me… help me learn what it means to walk in it.”
God doesn’t want to judge me for messing up, not getting life right any more than I want to punish my child for struggling while mastering a chore or learning something in school. No, this whole time that I’ve been struggling and fluctuating between avoiding Him and begging for His forgiveness… He’s just been loving me and I’ve been too ashamed to look up and let Him. He’s been encouraging me through messages, blogs, devotionals, books, songs, friends, family… and I’ve been too ashamed to look up and receive it.
And, my friends, that’s exactly where the enemy wants me. Looking down in shame because then I’m not effective to be used by God to encourage, uplift or help others or to fulfill the purpose God has for my life.
God came to give us life and life more abundantly. When I actively choose to sin, I block the blessings from happening in my life. But I also block the blessings when I choose to wallow in self imposed guilt or condemnation. Either way, Satan wins and I lose.
I decided to do things differently from now on. I don’t expect to do them perfectly and that’s okay. I lived many decades wallowing in self-imposed guilt and I decided to be as nice to myself as God is to me. I’m taking it one day at a time. I’m choosing to live my life… embrace my imperfect and embrace the joy. God wants to give me an abundant life more than I want an abundant life. That doesn’t mean all inconveniences and trials are over… but it does mean that when I mess up, God is right there to help pick me up, I’m covered in His grace and I can try again guilt free. Jesus took my guilt once and for all. I need to start seeing myself through God’s mirror which is through the lens of Jesus’ perfection. When that happens, watch out because I will be more effective to be used by God instead of sitting on the sidelines with false guilt as my companion.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017