Tag Archives: unworthy

Privilege

Yesterday I was struck with what a privilege it is to be able to speak into people’s lives around me and to have them speak into mine. As Christians, we are called to share each other’s burdens and until I came to Calvary Southbury, I never actually understood what that meant. Through the years we have grown close to our family at this church, and it doesn’t just end after service is over. I know in my heart that people are praying for me as I pray for them. I am confident that I can reach out to a friend with any problems I may be facing and know that I will be received with warmth, truth, love, and understanding. I can be me without fear of judgment.

I am so thankful for the people in my life all around, and at this particular moment, I am just struck by the depth of my Christian family connections. There are people I have known for only moments, and they have entrusted me with their burdens. That is such a privilege. The fact that people are willing to be vulnerable with me is amazing to me. That we can take the masks off that we wear for the world and just be with one another is beyond words. The depth, the beauty, the peace that comes with this type of relationship is to be treasured.

Thank You, Lord, that You designed us to need each other. The perfection I have found in all of our imperfections is beautiful. Thank You for allowing me to be part of the work You are doing in this land I live. That You speak through me and into the lives of those around me is confounding and humbling. You never cease to amaze me.

Works

Do you ever feel like you’re just never good enough? Do you feel like you’re always falling short? I know that I can easily fall into this place if I am not careful. If I don’t hold these thought and feelings captive, I can slip into a place of basing my self-worth, my faith and my title as a child of God, purely on how well I am performing. The problem is that I have very high standards for myself and am also my own worst critic. This can be a nasty combination if allowed to run free. Luckily, we have an amazing Savior that offers us grace and mercy in all things.  We can’t earn it and we should stop trying to.

I have struggled with these things on and off for most of my life I suppose. I definitely see this in others as well. Just last night my husband and I were discussing this issue and how consuming it can become when left unchecked. The Bible tells us to take our thoughts captive because our Creator knows how we are! Thoughts left to their own devices can be used as a weapon against us. We can become consumed with thoughts of our unworthiness, our failures, our lives can become distorted and we no longer feel any satisfaction. The more we hold onto these thoughts, the more we keep them to ourselves, the further we drift from those around us and from Jesus.

This past Sunday’s message was about the importance of true unity in the Body of Christ. We must truly allow ourselves to be open, honest and vulnerable with each other. We are meant to be a support and to help one another find clarity in the midst of storms. We are meant to lean on each other and to seek counsel when our thoughts are seeming to consume us, when we are feeling like we are not good enough or when we are just feeling spiritual separation and are not sure why. We are meant for more.

Christ came and died for each of us. His death was to bring us true freedom. Basing our self-worth on our works only allows us to be held captive once again. There is no list to check off, we never arrive at a place where we are deserving, we are loved no matter what we do. This is such a hard concept to hold onto. Be free in the Grace and the Mercy that is available in all things. Every morning we wake fresh and forgiven, but only if we accept it. Essentially, we are rejecting Christ’s gift when we allow ourselves to become consumed by our negative thoughts. We are getting in the way of ourselves and of the Holy Spirit. We build walls that keep others out and keep ourselves alienated.

I have said this so many times, my personal prayer has been for our Gracious Lord to show me how He sees me. I know that He created me on purpose and He has used me in ways I could never have imagined. He tells me that I am made in His image and that He loves me, so who better to show me what that really means. Who am I to allow myself to become wrapped up in these thoughts of self-loathing? Who am I to say that I am not good enough to be of use in God’s Kingdom? Do I really think that Jesus has made a mistake? That in all the world, our Perfect Creator made this one mistake in me? That is not the Lord I believe in. The God I worship is a God of perfection, patience, kindness, and mercy. My Lord works all things for perfection and beauty. So why do I find it so hard to this see within myself?

I do believe that working to better ourselves, to seek true transformation, and to be true to our callings are important. I also know that we are not meant to beat ourselves up and to drag ourselves down. If we take the time to bring these things before The Living God, He will show us how He sees us. Jesus is ready and willing to bring us all on a path of true freedom, true joy, and true transformation; we only need to get out-of-the-way.

Today I choose to lean on my brothers and sisters in Christ. I seek wise counsel when I am feeling lost and weighed down. I spend time in the presence of our Lord and remember that He is the Creator of all things. He has a plan and it is a privileged to be part of that plan. I will not base my worth on works. I will continue to move forward and follow God’s path, even when I am not seeing results. I know in my heart that I am loved and He has shown me this so many times. Peace is found in Jesus. When I am feeling unsettled and distant, I need to evaluate my thought life and hold captive those that threaten to derail me from my calling. I am a child of God and am free in Him. Thank you, Jesus, for all You have done, for all You are doing, and for that which You continue to do in my life each day.

An Amazing Year

I sit here and ponder the last year or so of this life. The path traveled was a windy and unexpected one. I left the field of hospice care and accepted a position offered to me that I clearly saw Your hand in. I knew for a fact that You meant for me to take that position, even though it meant leaving a field I had spent eight years in. It meant leaving a company I working with from the day they opened their doors here in CT. It meant walking away from the known and into the unknown. So I did, knowing that You had a plan and this was just a step towards something. I took that position, knowing that it would not be a position I would be in forever. It was scary, exciting and freeing in so many ways. The job was great, I was able to work from home and that allowed me to be there each morning to get my kids on the bus. It meant I no longer stressed on snow days, delays and when sickness hit. It allowed me to flex my time and get more involved in my church. It was great.

After working in this new place for six months, layoffs began and I knew that my position would be one of them. I began to apply to some jobs I found I qualified for, but I hated the thought of having to give up my work at the church and my flexibility around my family. Then I lost my job. I was let go during the second wave of layoffs and went on unemployment. The only other time I have ever been on unemployment was ten years ago. It was a shock and yet I heard You telling me that this was all part of Your plan. You told me to trust You and I did. Between the pay I received “in lieu of notice” and the unemployment, we never skipped a beat financially. You just kept on providing. I was blown away each time. I adjusted my budget and saw the negatives glowing red. It brought me anxiety and instead of panicking, I rested on Your promises and handed them over to You. Our finances are not our own, they are Yours and I knew You would ensure that we were taken care of. I was blown away, week by week. You met us in those places of uncertainty every time. I am so blessed to see You move in my life. I am still amazed as I write about it.

The layoff came just three days before my step-daughters were coming to stay for the summer. I was able to be present. I was able to do more around my house and that allowed my husband to do less as he worked a ton of over-time. The over-time that was not supposed to be, the over-time that You provided. The over-time that filled those red spaces in our budget. As we walked in faith, You filled the gaps. We walked knowing that You were there and that You were working, but not knowing how. It is so freeing to be in that place once you let go of the fear.

As I continued to try to pick up more side jobs and applied to other “real jobs”, I was never called in for an interview. This is a first for me! I have always worked and have never had trouble finding a job. I took this to be You telling me that I was to continue to do what I was doing at the church I loved and with the family I adored. I kept walking blindly, just knowing in my heart that this was all going to be great. I also had moments of complete anxiety and fear, those became fewer and fewer. You brought me to a place of immense peace. You reminded me that I have always desired for more and that You were bringing me to that place. You reminded me that what seems like less to the world is so much more to You.

As my professional world lessened, my husband’s expanded. As I had more time to give, I gave it to the church I adore. I was able to serve the people there and use the skills You have given me through time. I never really thought I was “good enough” to serve as a volunteer coordinator at any church, yet my heart has desired it for so long. Here I was, volunteer coordinator at Your church. Crazy. Seriously. I knew I wanted it, but there was always this part that whispered to me of how unqualified I was. There was this part of me that didn’t think I deserved it. I mean, I don’t. The thing is, none of that matters. I knew God was calling me to a different place and I followed and just kept giving Him all my worries and doubts. He is so kind and gentle, He would remind me of who He is and what He was calling me to in so many ways. He used His people to speak just the right words at just the right time and blew me away every time.

As we approached the end of the year, so came the end of my unemployment. I was unsuccessful in finding a job that would offer what I needed to continue my work at the church and allow me to be available for my kids in the same manner that I have been. So now I am working at Your church part-time as I was able to grow into this position You called me to. You gave me this space and told me what to do with it. It was frightening, completely different from anything I have ever done before, yet I just knew that it was exactly where You wanted me.

So now I start a new year as a part-time volunteer coordinator in Your church, I am still with my kids before and after school, I am tending to my home more than I was ever able to before. There has been this huge shift in my life, but everyone here is happy and things haven’t really changed all that much. It’s difficult to explain. Walking in faith is hard, it’s a struggle. There is no easy way to follow You blindly, oh but the rewards are great. The things You have brought me through have hit my core. You have truly transformed this soul in ways that I couldn’t even begin to explain. The peace, the joy, the healing and the light that You have brought in this life are amazing.

I sit here in amazement of You. The path You have brought me through still boggles my mind. To know that so much more is still unseen is impossible to comprehend. Your vast love and kindness must never be forgotten. The freedom You have provided me is incomprehensible, yet I know I only taste a small portion of it. I know I have struggles to go through still and that each brings me closer to You. Each trial offers true strength, true peace, and unspeakable love. The weight being lifted, the pain I hardly know knew was there. Even as I struggle physically, my Soul shines brightly. The enemy may slow me down from time to time, but You’re always there. You lift me up, You patiently wait and You never waver.

To know that You truly want me to be happy, that walking in the way You asked me to would seem so irresponsible to me, yet brought such miracles. How I blindly followed You and it brought me to a place that I cannot describe. My words fail, but my heart sings to You. My gratitude pours out of me. You’ve met me at every step and I know that You always will.

Thank You Lord

You Amaze Me

Dearest Jesus,

You amaze me more and more each day. The depths of healing, peace, and restoration You have bestowed upon me are beyond anything I could have hoped for. The way You have taken such a mess as me and made me part of such beautiful things. I once thought this world full of only darkness, corruption, and disappointments. I long ago counted so much as lost. Yet You have brought me to places that have shown me the true Hope, Peace and Love of all creation. You have shown me that all the misconceptions I once held were lies. Those lies kept me from You for so long and how I hope that I can be a testimony to those that believe those lies now.

I one was lost, a wretch, a liar, and full of destruction. Now that I have You, I can feel the life being poured into me and I am amazed at all  that You have used to bring good into this life. The baggage I once carried has been lifted and I am now able to use my past as a tool to bring others healing. Regret, shame, and guilt melt away with each passing day. Thank You for that.

I see now that I allowed what human beings did in Your name, keep me from You. I see it in people all around me. We are all human and no one is perfect. Following Christ is not an easy road to travel and how easily we can be pulled into the things of the world. How easy it is to use our Lord’s good name to bring pain, suffering , and guilt upon others. We must rely on Jesus every moment. We all fail, we all fall short and we all make mistakes. The Good News is that Jesus died for us and we can repent and be used for greater things. All we need to do is accept Jesus into our hearts. Welcome Him into our lives, learn about Him, let Him into those deep places we try so hard to hide. Let Him be our shelter in the storms of life. Stand firm on the knowledge that He has a plan for each and every person on this planet.

Thank You Lord for Your mercy, your love, your patience, and your kindness. Thank You for answering my prayer and allowing me glimpses of how You see me. I am honored that You look upon me with such affection, for I am most unworthy. Let this life be a testimony to Your greatness, to the transformation made possible in You. You took a lost, destructive, wreck of a life and made it beautiful. I pray that more people can come to know the healing I have experienced. I pray that You continue to heal this life and to dig deeper. I lay my life in Your hands. You created me and I will follow wherever You go.

Thank You, You are amazing.

Day 12 – What Am I Owed?

Most of my life, I walked around being upset that I never received what I was owed. I didn’t get the love my parents owed me, the security I needed or the guidance I deserved. I acted out of this place and it took Jesus to show me that I don’t deserve anything at all.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord – Romans 6:23

I deserve death and nothing more. Only in Jesus have I found true life, true love and true faith. This has been given as a gift. This is given freely despite the fact that I truly don’t deserve it.

I don’t deserve anything from anyone in this world. I find myself reacting to the way people treat me in certain situations. In reality I am reacting to them not reacting the way I predetermined that they should. Does that make sense? I have a standard that others have to meet in order for me to accept how they are treating me. I decide what is acceptable and what they owe me in terms of love, respect, etc. The truth is that they really don’t owe me anything.

This goes both ways. I cannot feel guilty when i don’t meet another person’s expectations either. I can remember that they owe me nothing, that I owe them nothing and that we can choose to love each other despite it all. See acceptance, love and true relationships are a choice. Not one person on this planet deserves the awesome gift of eternal life in the presence of God, we all fall short. He chose to send Jesus to bridge the gag, to cover our sins, to allow us to be with Him once again. It was a choice.

So I am going to remember that I am no one owes me anything. I am going to let my pride die a little more. I am going to look at people’s reactions differently and try to see where they are so that I can meet them there rather than expecting them to meet my standards.

I choose love, life and transparency. I choose to lower my standards and to be real. I choose to accept that I don’t deserve the life Christ gave to me. I choose to live in the place of acceptance, humility and peace.

I must let these standards go in order for this life to be used by Jesus. I must learn to let it all go, love through the offence and choose Christ above all things.

What do I deserve? Death. What do I have in Christ? Eternal life. How can I not love everyone in my life unconditionally? How can I choose anything other than to let it all go, lay it all down and die to self? Live in the eternal and allow Christ to work through you the way He wants to. I am free indeed and I must never lose sight of that.

Day 5 – Surrender

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. … Genesis 22:2-14

Can you imagine surrendering to this degree? Am I the only one that reads this and flinches at the thought of out great Creator asking this of me? How would I respond? I am sure I would falter.

How can I have a faith as great as Abraham? How do I get to the point that I follow Him no matter what? How can I get past myself to that point? I know for sure that He always has my best interest at heart. So why do I waiver when I hear Him speak to my heart?

I am weak, I am emotional, I am so very human. This world blinds me, I am so easily distracted. The funny part is that so many will look at me and tell me how spiritual I am. Sure, I am always looking to deepen my relationship with Jesus, this does not take the challenges away.

The further I travel on the road Jesus lays before me, the harder and easier it becomes. It’s easier for me to know that He is with me always, it is easier to release the chains I have allowed for so long and it is easier to turn to Him in all things. The challenges are always right there too. I struggle moving forward at times. I struggle with the unknown and uncertainties when He is silent. I fight with my emotions as the cloud my sight and prevent me from hearing the Truth.

Surrender, oh how I want to surrender all.

Our Lord did not walk with the well respected of the times. He did not choose to teach those that had it all together. He chose to be side by side with those that fell short often. He looked past all that and looked right into their hearts. That is key. The heart is what He wants.

I lay it all out. I want to stop hiding when I struggle. I want to let it all out and not feel ashamed and self-conscious. My God knows my heart and that is all that matters. I cannot hold onto regret and shame, that only gets in the way of the work Jesus is doing in me. I must put my pride aside and care not what judgments man could bring. It matters not.

I surrender this life, this heart, this foolish girl turns it all over to You and You alone. I pray that the Holy Spirit fill me and to bring healing in the broken places. We all fall short and we all must extend the grace that is extended to us.

Willingness

Willingness to let go is key in transformation.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

– John 3:16-17

If god did not send Jesus to condemn us, than why would we spend so much time condemning ourselves? I ask myself this question today. Why do I have such a long list of failures? Why do I carry these with me when I am free in Christ? There is no security in the baggage I choose to carry with me each day. There is a choice I make when I decide to strap on these heavy burdens. Pride comes through when I look to Jesus and tell Him that “it’s ok, I got it, I can carry this all by myself. Thank You anyway.” Take this pride and break it Lord!

Why? Why do I turn from the outreached hand of Jesus each morning and choose to walk the hard road? What will happen when I look at the heavy load I have packed and decide to leave it behind? I am sure it will feel quite strange at first, as I have become so used to the weight. I would walk differently, talk differently, smile more.

Change is hard, accepting love and grace can be too. We have a choice every moment of every day. Will I choose to burden myself or will I choose to give it all over to Jesus?

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

– John 8:32

I don’t want to look to myself or to the world for approval, I will never find it there. I know the truth and I choose to let it set me free. God’s word is true and He tells us to walk in it.

How do you feel after bringing your guilt, shame and pain before God? Do you feel like you have left it all there? Do you know that when you do, He will allow it all to fade away and to no longer burden us? Do you accept what God tells us to be truth? Will you rely on Him in all things? Accept the gift being handed to you, unwrap it, open it up and use it every day. It is meant to be used, not to just sit on a mantel collecting dust. Break these chains Jesus!

Where do you come from guilt?

As I begin to delve into this guilt I deal with, I wonder where it comes from. My feelings of inadequacy certainly play a part. Past pains I have endured and caused. Feeling like I have to be everything to everybody. Generally speaking, I believe my high standards play a significant role in my guilt.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

So I take this before Jesus and ask Him what his standard is. How do I measure up Lord? How do I please You, for that is truly all that matters. When I am focused on pleasing Yahweh, the rest follows and my burden is lifted. This I can testify to and long to do more.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

When I allow myself to be consumed by guilt and anxiety, I am to confess it to Jesus. He forgives me and cleanses me. This is permanent! He does not keep a list of past failures to remind me of. So why do I?

Today I will take the time to sit down and make the list of failures I still hold onto. Once I feel like I am done, I will bring them before Jesus and ask Him to wash them away. I must repent and allow Jesus to cleanse me of these burdens I am not meant to bare. I must release these to our Lord so that He can break the chains. I must give them up in order for Him to take them away. I need to be willing to release and to accept the healing that Jesus offers. If I don’t take the first step, if I don’t allow the space, I will be stuck right where I am.

Our God is a wonderful God. He will not force anything and waits for us to go before Him with our messes. Today I will pour out all the guilt and shame I carry each day. Today I accept the promise of Jesus and lay it all down before Him. Today I ask Him to replace the guilt withe the joy, peace and love that He offers. I beg for the exchange to take place in the deepest parts of me.

Will you allow him to work in your hearts today? Will you dare to lay it all down for Him to take away? Will you give God the space to work miracles in you?

Let’s walk in this together.

Guilt Free Living

Each year I find that I grow in one or two major areas at most. This seems to be my growth pattern over the past few years. This year I am feeling a focus in the following areas:

Guilt Free Living and Freedom in Christ.

Let me elaborate a bit on each of these.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

– Romans 3:23

Guilt. Oh that dreaded guilt that creeps in so easily when I am not paying attention. Guilt comes in many forms and I am so susceptible! I experience the dreaded mommy guilt, the wife guilt, the employee guilt, christian guilt, and so on. What I am beginning to see is that guilt is useless. Feeling guilty does not motivate me, it generally tires me out as I am battling it in the midst of trying to accomplish goals.

At this point in my life, I am choosing to recognize the guilt as it sneaks up on me, and stop it from tainting my life. I am not responsible for other people’s happiness. I am not responsible when people I care about fail. I am not going to take other people’s failures  on as my own. I am not going to beat myself up for my own failures. I am going to accept each day as it is and loosen my expectations and standards. I sin and I fall short, this is part of the human condition and I need to accept that before I can move on.

This way of thinking brings me right into the Freedom in Christ.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1

I believe in Jesus and I have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I am free in Him. I can stand firm and weather the storms of life. I need to accept His never ending love and grace as my own. I am at a point where I am seeing where I am still allowing bondage. I am not walking free in Him. I may have moments where I get a taste of that freedom and it is so sweet. I know it’s there, I can see it, I can feel it. When I close my eyes I can be in it. God is so good.

The time has come, I must walk in this freedom each and every day. This is not an obligation, but a wonderful gift that I let remain unwrapped. A gift that my Lord has handed to me and I thank Him for it each day while it sits there, unused and collecting dust. I believe that I hold myself unworthy of this gift and while that is true, it is not for me to deem myself so. Jesus came to save each of us and I will not turn from that.

Society, culture, expectations, these things all get in my way. I want to deepen my reliance on Yahweh and lessen the outside world’s influences.

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

– Galatians 1:10

These are the goals that sit on my heart right now. I want to follow Jesus completely and not allow the world we walk in to distract me. I no longer want to be filled with doubt and anxiety. I choose Jesus.

I invite you all to join me on this journey and would love to hear from you in regards to the areas you struggle most in. We are here to lean on and learn from each other.

Saved

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. – Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT

http://bible.com/116/eph.2.8-9.nlt

To me, this is a portion of Scripture that I like to keep close to my heart. A reminder of where my salvation b comes from. A reminder that it will never be about my good works. I long to serve the Living God and to walk in His ways for He is all powerful,  all knowing and more loving then I could ever imagine.

Let all praise and glory be to Jesus.