Jesus teaches regulator how to trust Him
T was actively serving in church but was slowly growing overwhelmed and fatigued. Through a time of seeking the Holy Spirit’s counsel, she was led to see that her anxieties about serving God and His people were based on patterns of the world that she had developed as a result of childhood experiences. In laying down her ways and giving her burdens to God, she experienced a renewed joy in her heart. Praise God!
Before I came to Christ, I had experienced decades of being the god of my own life.
Beating to the drum of my own heart – I felt lost and defeated for not having figured it all out. I was carrying a burden of a lifetime’s worth of shame, guilt, fear, sadness and hopelessness.
Shame – that I had not met the measures of success as defined by the world; married, with kids, in my own house, and in a job that I loved. Guilt – that I had not done enough in my formative years to “be successful” by the world’s standards; to “be more like everyone else”, and “be less of my true self”. Fear – that I would always be abandoned and not good enough to deserve true love i.e. God’s love. Hopelessness – because I simply felt lost, wounded, and did not know where I belonged.
After God made His presence known to me, I made the decision to pursue and accept Him as my personal Saviour, my one true God. As I grew in confidence in my faith, I had to unlearn patterns from the world and relearn who God is through the Bible, fellowship, and being discipled.
Part of this journey involved the healing of my heart, which could only really take place in the surrender of my all to Him.
That included my past and with it, all my fears, disappointments and hurts.
Throughout the ongoing healing process, God has been so gentle and patient with me. He began to fill me with ever-growing confidence in Him and not in myself, that He will always be with me wherever I go, and that He would be the one to always love me. I no longer needed to search for love in other places or people.
However, there were several struggles still persisting in my heart that I was unable to let go of.
Grief had always foreshadowed my life. When I was born, my parents were already experiencing their own grief, with the loss of my older sister and my paternal grandfather. It seemed that everyone in my family was dealing with their own pain in their own broken ways.
Whilst I was loved by my parents and knew they sacrificed a lot to raise me and my siblings, I was never encouraged nor were my passions nurtured. I felt unseen and emotionally uncared for. No one appeared to appreciate me for who I was. Whatever I was trying to become, it didn’t seem good enough. So, I spent a lot of time “doing” and “pleasing” others around me. The very core of my identity felt lost.
So, I sought to fill my brain with knowledge from this world so that I could figure out the “formula” for success.
As I began my journey to understand who God is, I undertook a ‘Love the Lord’ discipleship course to grow deeper in my faith. It consisted of 14 weeks of intense soul-diving discussions to review and transform the mind, heart, and soul to become more like Jesus.
A veil was lifted from my eyes – I was able to see through my own brokenness for the very first time. I had allowed the devil to plant all these lies into my head and heart for so many years, to steal so much of my joy, and to turn me away from God and those that He loved!
In the time that I was living life “my way”, I became a head person. This resulted in many judgments of others and of God as I only could see all that others were not doing right.
Satan had even corrupted some of my spiritual gifts, which included intercession, hospitality, faith, exhortation, mercy, giving, and shepherding.
After the course, I undertook a renewal prayer; a deep prayerful session with the Holy Spirit to cast God’s light into dark areas of sin and strongholds. I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal memories of wounding that had occurred in my life that hadn’t yet been healed.
The Holy Spirit showed me that there were things I was still doing through my own fleshly desires that hadn’t been fully laid down.
“So I Say walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” Galatians 5:16-18
He revealed that my fleshly self-reliance was rooted in my fear that God would see me for who I was (flawed), that He would not accept me as I was, and that somehow, He would see that I was not good enough to be loved.
I was forming my view of God and the way He would love me based on what I had experienced (from the world) – not on who He said He was (from the Bible).
This inability to let go of such fears meant my heart did not fully trust God. No matter how much I tried, I was not completely aligned with God.
This also was fueled by a stronghold I had acquired from the world through Tedtalks and self-improvement articles, which taught me that “I had to rely on my own knowledge.”
I thought I had to keep doing and performing in order to receive His love, to prove that I was worthy to be a child of God. This was another lie.
This was evidenced in the way I was living – everything I was doing was extremely burdensome.
I constantly felt anxious and restless in my heart. This was followed by the weight of my self-condemnation. “Why was I still like this? “Why could I not lay this down?” “Why am I still trying to pick up what I am trying to put down?” God showed me that all these self-condemnations were not from the Holy Spirt but from my flesh.
“But the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5: 22-24
Through prayer counselling, the Holy Spirit confirmed to me what I was already feeling; that my soul was consumed by head knowledge from the world – how to think, how to be, how to act, how I needed to do more – this led me to not live my life aligned with Him.
I was relying on my own strength, rather than on God’s, and I was exhausted.
One example was how I was using my spiritual gifts of mercy and exhortation, which had become about blessing others based on my own efforts to serve others. Rather than allow room for God to show me and lead me, I was doing the complete opposite.
The more I tried to figure things out on my own, the more I felt self-condemned and frustrated.
Through intercession, my prayer counsellors shared God’s message with me; that I had been quenching the Holy Spirit and there would be no fruit from my efforts if I did not remain in Him and He in me. Hearing this saddened my heart. I never felt so far from God.
John 15:5 NIV “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
But, in this realisation, I knew that He never left me and was not going to leave me. He was teaching me.
The Holy Spirit had also revealed that I had to revoke a long list of inner vows – words spoken over myself that ended up cursing my life – and replace each one with the truth:
- “I need to rely on myself” – Truth: I can rely on God
- “I need to work harder to prove my worth” – Truth: I am created in the image of God, I am worthy and enough. That I don’t need to do anything more.
- “I cannot allow for any mistakes” – Truth: God forgives us and we are allowed to make mistakes. God is a good God.
- “I will be forever alone” – Truth: Jesus is with me forever
- “I must be strong and put on a brave face” – Truth: God alone if my shield and fortress.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
I was also able to repent for unforgiveness over some broken relationships with my brother and my friends.
Being freed from feelings of judgement arising from bitterroot expectations brought a lightness in my heart again.
After renewal prayer, I kept praying to surrender this burden, to take out the root of all these lies, and to keep reading the Bible daily, and to walk with the Holy Spirit. Then one day, I just stopped trying to do it my own way.
It came about by inviting God into every situation more and more, and handing over the remote control of my life on a daily basis. I had to take a leap of faith at every twist and turn that felt scary. It took a true act of surrender to hand over the outcome and expectations of everything into God’s almighty hands.
By trusting Him to take it all, I was able to be more present, be more aware, and just wait on God.
I was allowing Him to move before I did, to show me, to lead me, to bring people to me. My role in all of it was to simply show up, be available to His calling, and be an empty vessel for God.
I am to be a structure that holds His light, love, compassion, and messages for those who need to hear it. This was the only way forward.
By His grace, an immovable peace began to fill me each and every day.
I am no longer fearful of losing my place in His kingdom or worried that His love for me is conditional on what I do. I don’t know where it all went, but my fears had left me.
I am in awe and so grateful to our Father in Heaven who has shown how much He has loved me all this time, to personally come into my life when I felt most broken and reveal Himself to me, to heal me and restore me. I am filled with a joy that is overflowing, as I continue to stand firm in Jesus Christ.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” Psalm 34:18.
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