Healing

Prisons of Self

I just posted this image and the following response to The Parallel Bible – the world’s first visual and social Bible app – and thought it also belonged here as a milestone on my path:

Matthew 5:26

Matthew 5:25-26 – “Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him on the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. Most certainly I tell you, you shall by no means get out of there, until you have paid the last penny.” (WEB)

We take ourselves to court, judging and accusing harshly, and sentencing ourselves to silent prisons from which there is no release. You will never get out when you hold yourself in contempt. It will cost you everything. When Jesus was preaching on the mount about making peace with our enemy before coming to tithe, I propose He was including our own worst enemy: Self.

I’m currently dealing with a whole trove of self-contempt I never knew was beneath the surface. But it keeps popping up to complicate situations in all areas of my life, so I’ve decided to confront it head on.

This photo and post actually comes from a prayer time I was having with Papa earlier this evening. I thought I was repenting and making sure all the last of some ugly sin in my past was covered – again. Suddenly, mid-sentence, I was startled silent – Papa literally rose up within and very sternly said, “STOP. I will NOT allow you to beat, condemn, discount, or hold (hostage) your self any longer! IT IS FINISHED! I don’t even know what you’re talking about anymore, but it certainly does not sound like the woman I know you to be.”

See, when Jesus died, He covered every last deed. He sent your past as far as the east is from the west…as the Cageless Birds song goes, “Guilt went looking for my past but only found Love.” But our hearts are not open to receiving that Love if we’ve locked them away in prisons of contempt and unforgiveness. They can see it through the bars and know it’s for them, but they can never fully receive or participate…and that deferred hope of Love makes the heart sick. And a sick heart becomes the wellspring of a life half-alive.

Release yourself today. Make peace with your enemy, and watch as the fruit your life produces to tithe at Jesus’ feet sweeten and increase by the bushels. The most beautiful offering we can give is our hearts, totally open and free to be loved every bit as much as He died to make possible.

The original post can be found on The Parallel Bible by clicking HERE or looking me up by username (LilWhiteHouse).

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Healing, Life Journey, Thoughts on God

Humble Dependency

I have been really mean to myself this week – really down on myself for shortcomings, ugly/raw reactions, messy processing of emotions, etc. And, of course, I have plenty of Bible verses swirling in my head to back up why I should be upset with myself for not doing x, y, or z or for feeling icky feelings:

“So far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone.”
“Turn the other cheek.”
“They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
“Fruits of the Spirit…” are not anger, mourning, frustration, sorrow.

Luckily, I just had a perspective pivot (courtesy my amazing counselor). She said:

“Instead of seeing yourself as a failure or being hard on yourself for not doing things the way you’d like to, how about saying, ‘Papa, I am not You. My ways don’t ever look like Yours, but that’s not because I’m a failure, it’s because I’m not You. I need You because I am not You. I am humbly dependent upon You because, while I am amazing, I’ll never be You, and that’s ok, because I have You.'”

I think that far too often, we unnecessarily brow-beat ourselves and take verses out of context to hold ourselves in contempt. Yes, we are called to forgive and to love and to live in peace. However, we are not called to be doormats or punching bags or enablers of poor behavior. What we don’t learn soon enough is that sometimes love looks like not allowing someone to continue to behave poorly and to ruin their relationships with hurtful behavior. Yes, we will eventually land on love and accept His peace, but we must give ourselves the grace to grieve and process the emotions, just as they are, first.

So here’s one: “Love others as you love yourself.” THAT right there is permission to love yourself well so that you can love others better. You love yourself by honoring your process, with all the ugly, messy emotions that come up, and listening to what you want/need. If you can’t do that for yourself, you won’t be able to do it for others. Keeping your peace and love on look like being really kind to yourself by recognizing that you’re not God and never will be. And that’s ok, because He is God, so you don’t have to be. But you are human, a spectacular one at that, and humans were created to have emotions – even “negative” ones. Celebrate your humanness, knowing that the God spot is already taken by the One who fearfully and wonderfully made you, process and all.

Today, if only for a moment, may you grant yourself the grace Jesus died to give you – He loved you enough to believe the sacrifice was well worth it, so let Him align your mind and heart to His love. Give Him permission to be God and take your glorified place by His side.

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