Have you ever had one of those Holy Spirit revelations that sends you laughing and crying simultaneously and almost uncontrollably? I had one of those this morning, and it’s not a common occurrence, so I think it’s worth sharing.
The conclusion was – “Dawn, you don’t need to defend yourself!!!”
The revelation of truth is that I’m not good and have never been good and I don’t need to pretend to be.
God doesn’t love me because of something I’ve done, He loves me because He made me and I am His.
It is by grace I have been saved, through faith, and this is not from myself, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no-one can boast.(Eph 2:8-9)
Although I know this in my head, I am one of those people who has such poor self-esteem from a childhood of negative labels and emotional abuse, that I became both always internally critically harsh with myself, whilst also terribly sensitive to external criticism. My own internal critic is loud and unforgiving, but if someone else criticises me, I crumble and cry. I also acknowledge today that I defend myself and can take offence at criticism.I pray for a teachable spirit, but I still don’t seem to take correction well.
A few weeks ago, a good friend told me she thinks I ‘did my best’ (in a certain sensitive area of my life), but that I was ‘not good enough’. Those words pierced my heart and I felt they were deliberately cutting. I brought it all to God in tears and pain and defended myself against the colluding internal critic, by blaming all the external factors that had conspired against me to make my task impossible to do well. I blamed her, my past, all those others and myself. I was hurt. Very hurt. And the “poor me” syndrome raised its head and I thought of all those who had made my life difficult and not helped etc… A slippery slope, to be sure. In AA, they say “Poor me! Pour me another one!” I “forgave” my friend, but she was not happy with that, so I proceeded to get off my chest a couple of other things she had done which had really hurt me too. It was helpful for me to let go of these things, but she was very angry. I had defended myself and attacked her in retaliation. I hurt her in return. I repent of this.
This is not God’s way.
But I mess up.
Yes, I get it wrong, and sometimes I hurt and get impatient and fearful and spiteful and defensive… and all the things I don’t want to be.
I don’t want you to know that.
I want you to see me as a good Christian; as one who always forgives, always loves, always reaches out with kindness and Godly wisdom…
But, you know – I mess up. I am a broken pot. I am a sinner. That’s why I need a Saviour! I fall short every day! I was not good enough and I am not good enough, but by His Grace, His power is made perfect despite and in my weakness.
He loves me.
It is His grace, His righteousness.
I don’t need to pretend!
I don’t need to wear the “goody-two-shoes” mask any more.
I’m not good. He is!
I went into fits of laughter and tears as I saw, and then let God demolish, the defensive walls I have built up in my attempt to look good in my own eyes and to be what I believed other people wanted me to be.
I experienced such an amazing sense of release as I took off the mask (we all now know how uncomfortable masks are!)
I realised today that I have been using the wrong armour! I built up my own armour – it is not the Lord’s armour, but my own! I have a mask of what a good Christian should look like and a shield of defensiveness (to hide behind, or if anyone questions my motives or actions) and a sword of blame and offence against criticism.
Oh my Lord. Oh the peace, the rest that You give. “My burden is easy”, You say.
A friend of mine just sent me a text with “Jeremiah 31:3” quite out of the blue, as I came to the end of my time of reflection with my God, so I looked it up – “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness”, but I had a quick glance at the verse before, which confirmed His message to me – “The people who survive the sword will find favour in the desert. I will come to give rest to Israel.” I have survived the sword, a great many swords and now, in this desert, I have laid down my own sword. Now I take up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and I take up the Shield of Faith, with which I will defend against the fiery darts from the evil one.
I don’t need to fear Satan, the “Accuser” either. Because I am a sinner, saved by grace – that is all. That is the good news. It is not my work or my failure, but God’s love and grace alone that enables me to stand.
But I can relax and accept that I am not good. I will need reminding of course. Un-learning takes a long time.
I don’t need to strive and pretend to be good for Him to love me, or to use me for His glory.
Oh what peace, rest and joy in that revelation for this soul.
Praise be to God, my Saviour!
Relax kid! He sees you just as you are and He loves you with an everlasting love!!