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You've all felt it, haven't you? That sinking deep feeling in your gut. That ache that gnaws around the edges of your heart. That thought that keeps fluttering about your mind in the wee hours of the night when it should be silent and at rest. Guilt.
Guilt for various sundry items like not being present enough with the children, not being loving enough to your husband, not working hard enough to keep the house clean, the laundry finished, meals home-cooked, on and on and on.
Guilt for yelling when you should have kept your calm. Guilt for not wanting to make a thousand cupcakes for that event at school. Guilt for wanting more for yourself and not giving enough of yourself. Guilt for not being the fun mom you want to be. Guilt for not praying enough. Guilt for not being a fiery disciple of Christ. Guilt for just not being good enough or measuring up to that image of what you thought you'd be as a wife and mother and woman of God.
As much as you would like to, you just can't take Elsa's advice and let it go (though maybe secretly you wish she would let it go because you can't hear that song one more time!). I've been there too. I am there too. I fight those demons every day. Those voices that want me to keep measuring, keep striving, keep reaching without taking stock of the reality of the current day.
The truth is while we are all works in progress, the current self probably isn't as rotten as we sometimes imagine ourselves to be. We're not all sunshine and roses, but we're not all manure piles and flies, either. It's taken me a long time to realize that when those debilitating whispers come in the dark, it isn't the voice of truth. Here are five ways I have learned to distinguish the difference between the whispers of lies and the voice of truth pushing me to grow into the woman God desires me to be.
The voice of Truth leads to conviction. The whispers of the liar lead to condemnation.
The voice of Truth will motivate us. The whispers of the liar will paralyze us.
The voice of Truth will always affirm that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and move us to realize greater depths of that. The whispers of the liar will challenge that and tell us we are worthless.
The voice of Truth will lead us to compare ourselves only to the Cross. The whispers of the liar will lead us into the cross-hairs of comparison with the rest of the world.
The voice of Truth will lead us to look in the mirror and reflect His beauty. The whispers of the liar will have us forever looking out a window toward the distorted belief that everyone else has it together.
God has already told us enormous truths about ourselves:
You are created in the image and likeness of God.
Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness. . . So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
You are wonderfully made.
It was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. Psalm 139:13-14
You are a child of God.
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
You are victorious with God through Christ Jesus. Nothing can separate you from the love of God.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
You are a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Knowing these truths about ourselves can help us to dig ourselves out from the pit of self-condemnation. Don't get me wrong - I think sometimes a healthy dose of good guilt that leads to transformation is a good thing. We all need to be honest with ourselves about where we are in our journey to look more like Jesus. I know I've got miles to go before I sleep! I have to be able to go, though, and worthless guilt has no other purpose that to keep us stuck in deep manure.
Knowing these truths and claiming them also helps us to free others from their pit. If we know these things to be true about ourselves, we can be quicker to realize them about one another and let each other off the hook for trivial things. Claiming the truth of who we are not only frees us to grow into our fearful, wonderful, victorious selves, but it prompts us to help other claim the victory and freedom that is there for them in Christ Jesus as well.
Grab that shovel today and get to work!
|Photo by eprater on Flickr|
Until next time, let's get out there and love 'em like Jesus...and into the likeness of God!
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