3:47 pm 11/20/2018 Tuesday
One would describe what I went through this past month as a hard blunt slap to the face. You know the kind of slap you see on the movie screen as the pompous jerk gets a very deserving SMACK across his face as his present girlfriend catches him making out with another chick.
The kind of slap that was warranted because I was flat out being a spoiled brat, arrogant, and puffed up with pride.
Someone whom I love dearly in my life and whom I won’t name for the confidentiality of their sake had a come- back-down-to-earth talk with as we were getting ready to spend some time together.
The come-back-down-to-earth talk stung painfully as if I had literally just been slapped across the face. It smacked some hard core anger and confusion inside my heart.
I felt the anger whelp up inside me as my heart raced and the heavy lump caught in my throat. “Don’t you dare cry, don’t do it!” I yelled at myself inside my mind. It was my pride blurting out this command.
Pride. He is always the ugliest and meanest inside my head. He makes me act my complete worst! He makes me act stupid, selfish, childish, you name it.
I took the come-back-down-to- earth talk as an attack. Of course pride is the one who takes most offense to this, after all pride is very selfish. Selfish had become my new middle name.
I decided I was going to shut it all down then maybe I would be loved and accepted. Maybe then I could get something, anything right with relationships with the opposite sex.
The next day instead of going to the gym at my routine 4:30am time I skipped and found myself wide awake in my husband’s big comfy recliner in our living room. I knew there was something waiting in hiding for me to discover, like a ruby in the sand. It was there and I was going to find it. All the answers to my problems. At some point the enemy had convinced me I didn’t even know how to love others. He mocked and ridiculed me and used the smack down to drill it into my soul that I only loved myself.
I started searching scriptures when I stumbled across an article on self righteousness.
For years I had been striving and preforming and obeying God but for all the wrong reasons. My heart was pure at first but then I became sucked into the lie that if I measured up to this list of laws I gave myself then I would become a “really good” disciple of Christ. He would be the proudest of me and he would want to shine his glory and works through me because I was on top of my Holy Spirit “A” Game. Finally, I was special.
What I didn’t realize was during this striving for perfection I was ignoring those around me in my pursuit to be the best godly woman. I was loving feeding my insecurities with what I thought to be things God needed out of me to accept me and do his work in my life. I was in love with how I felt. For you see I was a forever lost and insecure girl who turned into a rejected and insecure woman. In my pursuit to be my best for God, all those insecurities were not lying on the surface of my heart anymore.I was feeling good and I didn’t want to let go of the happiness I found in my performance, in the striving in Christ of course. At least that’s what I truly believed. The danger with this behavior is that it’s detrimental to yourself when you fail because then you feel low and defeated and unloved again; not good enough.
When I read that list of bullets that fell under a self righteous person, heavy wet tears filled my checks as they dripped off my chin and onto my lap. To my unpleasant surprise my actions and thoughts were a perfect illustration of each bullet.
I had turned into a self righteous monster.
“I don’t want to be that person anymore, but how can I not be?” I thought to myself.
It took a lot of time, energy, and effort creating my godly woman character I had designed and slipped on like an expensive glamours party dress. If it comes off I will be naked and exposed.
How could I just do this, it would ruin me and my burn my safety net of feeling good enough. Most importantly what would God think? Would he call me a fraud, insecure, ridiculous? Would he choose not to use me anymore? Would he be angry that I was trying to manipulate him with my striving to answer my prayers and feeling accepted by him?
I didn’t know what to think or how to fix this so Numbness became my best friend.
Numbness made me feel like the loneliest person and most far away from God. I would cry myself to sleep begging him to talk to me, begging him to let me sense his presence, begging him to lift the numbness but numbness was robbing me and controlling my thoughts.
See when numbness becomes your friend, you no longer feel, therefore you don’t even know what or how to feel. You become cold and isolated, and it’s the worst feeling I think I experience as a human. Numbness accompanies anger because when I can’t feel, I get angry.
So there I was as numb, angry, confused and felt like I completely screwed it all up with my creator, on top of that I felt undeserving of God’s love and the come- back -to -earth talk person’s love.
I needed to let go of control.
I needed freedom from the unverbalized agreement exchange that I had made myself with God: perfection and performance in exchange of his acceptance and approval.
I needed to pop all my pride like a bright yellow balloon flying high with a pretty white streamer attached to its base. Inflated by deception from the enemy. Inflated with my own selfish pride to be better then what God calls us to be.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks!
God wasn’t mad at me, he was so in love with me that he didn’t want me to continue my journey with him on the terms it set upon, the standards I created for relationship with him. So he allowed what should have shut me down to reteach me his design for relationship with him.
I needed to learn and experience his grace.
Interestingly enough my blog and Instagram name is Absorbing_Grace. I guess if the Lord has willed me the freedom to blog about absorbing grace, I needed a real life lesson on the subject!
This is what I learned.
The true exchange is my doubts and fears, insecurities, pride, perfection, need to be approved, envy, strife, control all of it for God’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
I will never be enough, but that’s okay because Jesus was and is, and Jesus made the ultimate exchange for me and you, when he bore all sins of humanity on the cross and laid down his life for us.
It was in that beautiful moment in time his exchange became enough for us all if we would just believe it, accept it, and confess it.
I told God I’m sorry for my foolish ways, sorry for my rebellion, my pride, and for believing I could control him in my life. I repented of that thinking and I told him I couldn’t live one day with out him in my life.
In this exchange his grace and love flooded my heart and Numbness was driven out of my soul. I could feel again! Love, excitement, peace, hope, it all came back to me!
Grace is an undeserved gift God gives us, his children.
Grace does not expect perfection, Jesus is our perfection.
Grace is not a sentence, grace is a comma.
Grace is continual.
Grace is a symptom of God’s love.
Grace can not be earned. It’s freely given.
Grace enables us to get back up after we fall or fail.
Grace is not a license to sin.
Grace enables forgiveness through Christ.
Grace enables us to be redeemed and saved through Christ.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”
Romans 11:6 ESV
“and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”
Romans 3:24 ESV
Grace can be extended to others through us.
Grace allows us to forgive and love those who have hurt us.
Maybe it’s time for some self-reflection. Are you living under God’s grace, or are you trying to be a control freak like me and earn brownie points? We can’t earn them, lol!