There are some things we may never understand about people. This particular woman was one of those people for me. She had a thick accent and I could never really read her facial expressions. I met her at Mary Andrews College last year and although I didn’t understand her much, I was drawn to her. I had a feeling she had a story but communication barriers got me stepping back. Shame.
But! Mary Andrews College sent out a newsletter this week and I had the privilege of reading her story on the front cover! So glad they got it out of her! 🙂
Her story is one of overcoming anxiety and panic attacks. It’s such a real battle, and one that many of us would often face. I think she had quite a while to think about why she was feeling the way she was. Interestingly enough…this is how she puts it:
Before I was a Christian, I was happy because I had no guilt. But as time passed I became more aware of my sin. I went from being a happy ‘good girl’ to feeling guilty all the time. Of course I knew about God’s forgiveness, but I couldn’t quite work out it’s personal implications for me. I struggled…my sin, forgiveness, God’s judgement…what did they all really mean? I couldn’t connect them together. So I couldn’t grow closer to God. And I couldn’t forgive myself.
There it was. And I know she’s not the only one because many times I have felt that same way. I struggle to pray because of the very fact that I don’t connect God’s truth to me personally. If my plug is not connecting, I’m not going to work. Know what I mean? Whoever is reading this right now, I might know you personally or I might not…but be sure God’s truth hits you. Not the person next to you…YOU. Let it connect, let it simmer down. Let it heal your bones and your mind. He loves you, has forgiven you, knows what you will do and what you have done and yet…He’s grip on you seems to only get tighter.
You’re not too far, you’re not too gone. Look around you, child, forgiveness and love surround you!
One of the books I had been reading said ‘Everything we have committed has been eternally paid for by Christ and eternally forgiven by God.’ The Bible tells us ‘The truth shall set you free’ and that truth did! After 28 years of anxiety, guilt and misery, on September 24th 2011, I was set free!
I’m sure every prisoner remembers the day they were set free. Finally seeing and feeling the sun’s rays warm their skin after being in darkness for so long. Will you remember this day? Let God’s truth set you free. You are beloved!
“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. But I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10
The thief’s work is to minimize; to make little of. These actions capture the feeling of having four walls close in on you. Breathing becomes harder and your end becomes a deafening echo that just can’t be ignored. Anxiety, hopelessness and fear are constantly knawing at you, destroying you more and more. These three things: steal, kill and destroy, are the very things that happen to someone being kidnapped and imprisoned. They feel trapped, unable to get out but even if they did, could they ever be the same?
But to have life and have it to the full. Those walls are stretched out as far as possible, breathing is easier. You have so much space to walk and live your life out to every corner you can. Yet, we who have been redeemed still gasp for air. Why is that? We fear being exposed, being seen as who we really are. We are covered and re-covered in shame. Some of us try so hard to brave it, addicted to sin but trying so hard to look “Christian” and strong on the outside. Now I’m not talking about people who fake it, that’s been talked about enough. I want to know why the heck we’re still in bondage when Jesus said “it is finished”. Don’t you?
I don’t believe Jesus is a liar, I don’t believe he ‘accidentally’ got it wrong. But I do believe that there’s a war and Christians are lying on their backs and taking it. Hit after hit after hit. The enemy continues to steal, kill and destroy. But often when we’re stuck right in the midst of temptation, we don’t turn to the One who has come to give us life to the full.
I don’t know about you but I have been in the midst of temptation and I have literally had a thought that almost sounds like someone else was in the room with me. The thought? It’s simple. “Pray”. I can tell you that 100% of the time when I did pray, I received strength to get up and walk away from it. Even sometimes, the temptation was no longer tempting after a short “Jesus, I need your help”. But unfortunately there have been plenty of times when I didn’t pray. I fell straight in to the trap.
Here’s the harsh truth…sometimes we don’t pray or ask God for help when temptation hits because:
- We like the sin too much. We WANT to give in to it. That piece of gossip is on the tip of our tongue and we can stop before it gets out, but oh, it’s just too good! If we only knew the stealing, the killing and the destroying the enemy is doing to us and the people around us… I don’t think we’d like sin so much after all. Be honest with God about this. And ask that He helps you find your sin absolutely disgusting and not worth your time. Even better, ask Him to open your eyes to see how much more desirable He is over any sin!
- Our shame stops us from reaching out to God. There is no shame in being tempted, but if we were to make a deal with the enemy and give in to the temptation…that’s where shame can really grip us.
- We think it won’t help and it’s too late anyway. It’s never too late with God! NEVER! I mean, if God takes us back after the sin is done and the repentance is there, ofcourse He’ll help you in the midst of it all even though you’ve fallen already. Obedience matters to God. That’s when the rubber really hits the road for Him. And, believe me, it helps. Our God is Faithful and True, trust Him in the midst of your weakness, He can be your strength. Just call on Him.