Sometimes I find it hard to be transparent on the page. Sometimes I wish I could just open up my life, like a zipper, and be honest with everyone. Do you ever feel boxed in? Trapped? Tied down? In the haze of my own perspectives I find I am lost in all that I find wrong with myself. I've realised in the past couple of days how truly crippling self-loathing and self-accusation can be. I feel like a self-obsessed monster railing about inside skin, whilst on the outside I long to appear nice, lovely, and caring to all. And then I try to fight that monster and feel condemned because of her beastliness. In other words, I condemn myself for feeling bad about my shame.....I 'should be' over this, shouldn't I? I think it's easy to be disguisted with myself. I've been questioning why I care for people. Is it because I care or because I want people to think I care and because it will make me feel better because it is the right thing to do? Like it's a kind of compensation for something.
Do you know what I mean? I feel like I'm talking in circles....maybe I am. It must be the fine line between receiving conviction and turing it into self-condemnation. It's exhausting demanding perfection from yourself when you won't ever be. Do you ever get tired of the up and down? Don't you wish you could just live in refreshing all the time?
So it comes to the point where I cry out to Him. And I'm ashamed to say it isn't necessarily because I want to. I almost want to run away and hide because of my shame. This self-condemnation and sin that I feel piled on top of me. I feel so dirty and, like Adam and Eve, just want to hide away. But oh how much I need You. So I turn to Him (again) because it's the only place I know to go. I need You.....I need You to be my Saviour. Today, as every day. I don't deserve to even breathe. But you call us to lay our burdens down at your feet and with You find life, freedom, forgiveness, love, and GRACE. So I cry out for help. Help me to take the healthy level of conviction and let the condemnation roll away.
And then it comes. As ever. Forever. Even if it isn't consistent at the moment, and even if I wish I could dwell in it forever, getting frustrated at myself because I don't know why it keeps disappearing. His voice. When I feel the most full of shame and disgrace, He comes and says, 'Who you are is acceptable to Me.' Say what?? Do you all remember that story of the sinful woman who bathes Jesus' feet in her perfume and tears, wiping away the dirt with her own hair? Jesus, You said, 'Simon, I have something to tell you....I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.' Growing up, I always equated myself to the one who loves little because I don't have a mega-uber-awesome-sounding story to tell....just a quiet story of God's faithfulness and grace towards me. But the more I condemn myself and pour hot shame onto my soul in self-inflicted penance for all I find wrong and ugly in my heart, I realise.....I identify with that sinful woman. I feel so dirty. So unworthy. So unlovely to my very core. Jesus, You go on to say, 'Your sins are forgiven'. When all the other guests question and challenge Your actions after that, You simply ignore them and say to her, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.' (Luke 7:36-50). And that same faith You pour into our hearts (Ephesians 2). Go in peace. The more our sin overwhelms us, the more we should RUN to Him. Lay it down at His feet again. At the throne of mercy....clutching only to the promise of His grace. For it is when my sin paralyses me in self-loathing and accusation that these words call out their beautiful freedom....'You are forgiven. Your sins, your many many sinse are forgiven. Go in peace. The faith I have given you has saved you because you came to Me to receive. I will never, ever stop loving you.'
His grace catches my breath and lays waste to my soul again. I write now not out of a place of steady refreshing (I'd still quite like to run away - it's been the plan for a couple of years now, actually)....but I do write out of a new found peace in my own brokenness. So I leave you with a prayer. A prayer that Christ will keep our hearts from dwelling in condemnation, and ever to live in the endless freedom of His grace and mercy.
Here's a song of honesty that has been ringing about in the hidden crevices of my heart for the past twenty-four hours.