I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
Romans 7:19 NLT
I’ve always kind of gotten this verse. I cannot count the number of times I did the opposite of what I should have, or didn’t do something when I should have, and I get it. It’s hard to do the right thing all of the time, and it’s hard to NOT do the wrong thing so often.
Hence the reason I fired off a hurtful text to my husband when we were in the middle of a disagreement. I didn’t take captive my thoughts, and I didn’t guard my heart, and the enemy whispered his lies and his doubt, and I became the very weapon he could use against my husband. I don’t want to be a weapon against the people in my life. I want to surrender my words and actions to God, so that I can bring healing and life into my relationships.
God has very tenderly drawn me in close to Him and started unfolding the story line that is my life. As He’s walked me through events that have deeply affected me – both good and bad – He’s begun showing me where the enemy used human error to weave a web of lies. Lies about who I am. About what I was made for (or not made for), lies about whether or not I was cut out for the work before me.
Satan is a deceiver, through and through. In fact, that may be the best way he drives wedges, and separates us from our God who loves us. Lies and more lies.
I struggle with worthlessness. Not in the I’m a sinner and fall short of the glory kind of way that makes me cry out all the more for Jesus. I struggle with worthlessness that breeds despair that makes it hard to connect and build real relationships. For so much of my life I woke up almost dreading the day, anticipating my failures, and walking on eggshells, desperately hoping I didn’t let anyone down in the span of time from the sun rising to the sun setting. Just let me do okay.
The depth of these feelings increased last summer when I faced some challenges with my husband. There are hardly words to explain how consuming my sense of failure was, and how many reminders came to mind of the times I’ve failed in the past. I felt like I was sinking. I was desperate for real, unadulterated love, acceptance, and connection. But suddenly I felt very self protective. I’m usually fairly open, I absolutely hate secrets, and I think hiding breeds shame even where there shouldn’t be any. I will tell anyone I meet the good, bad, and ugly about me. But this hurt changed that for a bit. I found myself ignoring phone calls I usually welcomed, and hiding.
I didn’t want to talk about our struggle because it made it more real, more painful, and revealed my worthlessness. While there is value in not blabbing to everyone and burying us in the opinions of others, absolute silence allows Satan to whisper lies unhindered. My husband isn’t a man of many words, so in the absence of him speaking and without talking to anyone else, Satan is free to continue telling me just how awful I am. I was so beat down by it all that I couldn’t even pray.
And I’m not here to say that in the blink of an eye, the war was won. But God faithfully showed up in the middle of my pain. He drew me in close to Him and He is winning battles for me. And I am realizing that He is super focused on my heart and motivation and thoughts. He is teaching me how to live in victory. He is showing me that I am valuable to Him.
Victory has to be practiced, especially if you’re used to living in defeat, especially if we’re talking internal victory. So God is walking me through the process of learning to take each thought captive, of learning to turn my thoughts to Him, confess the ugly thoughts (even if they are just ugly toward myself) and to hear Him speak. I don’t feel like I’m starving anymore. I don’t feel like no one really sees me anymore. I don’t feel so worthless anymore. I am learning to repeat my Words to Live By more often. I’m replacing the negative self talk with reminders of who God created me to be.
But God hasn’t stopped there. He continues to do a healing work on wounds that are from long ago. As He is helping me face so many yucky things from my past, He is showing me where human error was a door for Satan to waltz in and tell me awful things. In fact, Satan has been working hard at this since I was a young girl. I can’t help but think that he should look at all the stories of redemption and healing and recognize that wreckage may not be his best weapon in his war against God.
I would have never picked painful events as a catalyst for change or growth in my life. However, I can’t help but see how faithful my God has been through this season. He showed up time and time again and carried me when I needed Him most. He has renewed my hope, He has helped me see a vision for my marriage that honors Him, and He has revealed His love to me.
Is there a time when God carried you through a painful time in life? Tell me in the comments about that time.