I can remember sitting in our screened in porch of our three- bedroom ranch about 7 years ago. I was staring at my Bible, questioning, for the first time, was this whole Christian/Bible thing really working for me.
Sure, I believed in God and I even believed that Jesus died and rose on the third day, but was it really true for me? I certainly didn’t feel the way we sang in church. I didn’t feel free.
I certainty didn’t feel victorious. I wasn’t seeing the fulfillment of being chosen and accepted, like Colossians talked about. I felt tired, frightened, and heavy from my own expectations.
The voice of guilt and condemnation was so loud that it over powered any other voice that may have been trying to speak. My flaws and struggles were all I could see as I opened my Bible or sat through sermons. I was tired of spending all my days covering the great expanse between all I was and all I thought I should be. To be honest, I was ready to give up on this man named Jesus. I just couldn’t seem to get it together enough to make Him happy. I had become a law-abiding citizen that was ready to throw in the towel.
Sure I looked great on the outside, but I was dying on the inside. I had gotten really good at keeping all the laws and rules. When the church doors were open I had the best clothes on with the biggest smile and all the perfect words to say and not to say.
I had this Christian thing down to a T. I knew all the great Christian clichés and knew when to say them at all the right times. I had made people believe I was a “good Christian.” I lead a Bible study, attended a prayer group, and spoke of Jesus as if He was my friend. All the while dying inside and in need of a Savior. I had learned to follow the rules, all the while afraid my own dysfunction would be exposed.
I grew up in a church home. I wouldn’t say “Christian” however we did go to church each Sunday. I was loved for what I did, not for who I was. I was “saved” in a great church, at the age of 11, with people who loved God, but believed a lie that God’s love was based on performance. This lie was then transferred onto me.
Because of the lie I believed, I began serving a God who demanded of me rather than loved me. Which left a void in my heart because I could never live up to His expectations. For most of my teenage years, the void was filled with boys until I got married and settled down and then it was filled with my own achievements.
I stared reading and studying Christian self-help books in search of how to become a “better Christian.” I read books on how to improve my marriage, discipline my children, organize my house, transform my finances, and how to manage my schedule.
When I didn’t measure up to what they proclaimed I was left feeling like a failure. I was resting in my own achievements rather than on what Jesus could do through me. My driving motivation was my own achievements, rather than Jesus’ saving grace.
I was serving a far off God who was making lofty demands. I was trying to live up to His demands because after all, He had made a huge sacrifice for me.
On the porch seven years ago I realized my own achievements could not save me. I just couldn’t be my own savior. I was never meant to bear the weight.
As I read through Colossians I understood, for the first time, my own efforts of the flesh did not produce fruit. And when I depended on the work of the flesh I was left feeling empty and longing for something more…acceptance. I then blamed God and thought He in some way had failed, because my own formula for success did not work out.
I surrendered all to Jesus and chose to trust Him.
My soul began to be hungry for Father God’s never-ending love like never before. I read and studied the Word because I wanted to experience more of Him, not to just check it off my list or to score brownie points. As I spent time with Him I felt His love swallow up the pain of my failures and disappointments.
I will never forget that day on the porch where the Holy Spirit drew near to my brokenness and wrapped me in the Father’s love like a warm blanket. Our love affair is yet to cease, that was just the beginning.
I am no longer a slave to sin, but a daughter of the Most-High God!
I believe right now, the Holy Spirit is beckoning women to forsake their own achievements and lay down the lie that their achievements or the praises of people shape their identity. He is calling women to be adopted into His family and be dependent on His grace!
He is wooing us with His love, longing for us to turn to Him, so He can speak identity and purpose over His daughters. He longs for us to quite the loudness of the world to hear the Spirit. How weary we become when we do not surrender to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Today we choose to surrender to the Holy Spirit and wait for His leading. When we surrender… we find rest!The life and joy that God intends for us is found only in Him. The gospel is designed to free us from the law.