“The big problem is not whether the Bible is true. The big problem is whether it is true in you.” A.W. Tozer
I sat on the screened in porch of our three- bedroom ranch, staring at my Bible, questioning, for the first time, was this whole Christian/Bible thing really working for me. Sure, I believed in God and I even believed that Jesus died and rose on the third day, but was it really true for me? I certainly didn’t feel the way we sang in church. I didn’t feel free. I didn’t feel victorious. I wasn’t seeing the fulfillment of being chosen and accepted, like Colossians talked about. I felt tired, frightened, and heavy from my own expectations.
The voice of guilt and condemnation was so loud that it over powered any other voice that may have been trying to speak. My flaws and struggles were all I could see as I opened my Bible or sat though sermons. I was tired of spending all my days covering the great expanse between all I was and all I thought I should be. To be honest, I was ready to give up on this man named Jesus. I just couldn’t seem to get it together enough to make Him happy. I had become a law-abiding citizen!
Sure I looked great on the outside, but I was dying on the inside. I had gotten really good at keeping all the laws and rules. When that church doors were open I had the best clothes on with the biggest smile and all the perfect words to say and not to say. I had this Christian thing down to a T. I knew all the great Christian clichés and knew when to say them at all the right times. I had made people believe I was a “good Christian.” I lead a Bible study, attended a prayer group, and spoke of Jesus as if He was my friend. All the while I was dying inside and of need of a Savior. I had learned to follow the rules, and was afraid my own dysfunction would be exposed.
Of course I had no idea I was so lost until that day about 6 years ago.
I had read and studied tons of self-help Christian books, searching on how to fill the void I felt. I read books on how to improve my marriage, discipline my children, organize my house, transform my finances, and to manage my schedule. Everyone of those books, in my eyes, pointed right back to self. When I didn’t measure up to what they proclaimed I was left feeling like a failure. They made me rest in my own achievements rather than on what Jesus could do through me. My driving motivation became my very own achievements, rather than Jesus’ saving grace.
I think it was the children that made me search for more. To be honest, they exposed things in me that I did not like. It was like they cracked a hard shell that begin to seep out all my flaws. I now lived with the guilt that my children would be hurt by my poor skills as a mother. They exposed qualities in me that I thought I had overcome with keeping the law. I had begun to believe if you keep the law long enough those qualities, you didn’t like about yourself, would somehow be suppressed forever. To a watching world that measured you by your performance, my children were failing, which then in turn meant I was failing. I did the logical thing a mother who was so in-tangled with the law would do….react with firm discipline, all the while quoting the law to them.
I grew up being loved for what I did, not for who I was. I was “saved” in a great church, at the age of 11, with people who loved God, but believed a lie that God’s love was based on performance. This lie was then transferred onto me.
Because of the lie I was believing, I was responding out of fear rather than love. I was a serving a God that demanded of me rather than loved me, so of course this is what I was doing in the relationships around me. I was excepting the people around me, including my husband and children, to perform.
I was serving a far off God that was making lofty demands. I was trying to live up to His demands because after all, He had made a huge sacrifice for me.
We eventually realize our own achievements cannot save us. We just can’t be our own savior. We were never meant to bare that kind of weight. There is one major problem with putting all our trust in our own performances. If our own efforts of the flesh do not produce the way we intended them to, we are left feeling empty and longing for something more…acceptance. We then blame God and think He in some way had failed, because our own formula for success had not worked out.
Our soul is hungry for Father God’s never-ending love. We long for His love to swallow up the pain of our failures and disappointments.
That was six years ago. However, I will never forget that day on the porch where the Holy Spirit drew near to my brokenness and wrapped me in the Father’s love like a warm blanket. Our love affair is yet to cease, that was just the beginning. I am no longer a slave to sin, but a daughter of the most High God!
I believe right now, the Holy Spirit is beckoning women to forsake their own achievements and lay down the lie that their achievements, or the praises of people shape their identity. He is calling women to be adopted into His family and be dependent on His grace! He is wooing us with His love, longing for us to turn to Him, so He can speak identity and purpose over His daughters. He longs for us to quite the loudness of the world to hear the Spirit. How weary we become when we do not surrender to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Today we choose to surrender to the Holy Spirit and wait for His leading. When we surrender… we find rest!
“God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:5
The life and joy that God intents for us is found only in Him. The gospel is designed to free us from the law.
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