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Last week I asked each of you to allow the Lord to show you the great affection He has for you. One fiction series I’m particularly fond of refers to this as the “Great Romance”. I LOVE that. Today I want to tell you about the second stage that the Lord took me through to begin transforming me into the likeness of Him. However, if you have not yet read last week’s post, I encourage you to do so first. I know without an understanding of how much God loved me, I would not have understood what He did next in my life.
I am a bit of a perfectionist and have been known to have some self-esteem issues. I actually have conversations in my head about what others are saying about me. Talk about creating your own issues! Needless to say, I have tended to have a lot of shame and guilt in my life. I tend to beat myself up at times for real and imagined wrongs that I’ve spoken and/or done. Understanding God’s deep love for me is what has broken these chains of bondage over my life. To be honest, they try to creep back in at times, but I’m learning to catch them and put them at the foot of the throne of Jesus. He alone can crush these thoughts.
As a new Christian we are taught that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). We all have darkness in our hearts, hidden sins we hide from others. Sometimes we even hide them from ourselves. The enemy loves to scratch the surface of this evil/darkness that lives within us. He does so in order to shame us or tempt us, sometimes both. God however dives deep into the darkness of our souls and shines His Light on it in order to heal us.
My first bold prayer to do whatever it took to draw my husband to Him had resulted in my finally understanding how much my Savior cherishes me (don’t you love that word? He cherishes us!) My next bold prayer, prompted I know now by the Holy Spirit, was for the Lord to show me the Truth. To show me His Truth (the only Truth) no matter what that looked like. No matter how much it went against what I currently knew and believed.
Once again He heard my cry and was faithful to answer. Once again the results were not exactly what I expected. But oh, they were so much better than I could have ever imagined or hoped! He began to reveal to me all the ugliness of my heart – the selfishness, the pride, the arrogance, the controlling & rebellious nature that lives inside of me. These things when revealed by God’s Holiness and Righteousness were far more appalling than anything I could have ever created in my own mind. However, instead of beating myself up and becoming depressed about how horrible and what a failure I was, I actually felt hope. I finally understood the deep abiding love of my Creator and I knew that God was revealing these things in order to bring healing.
Last week Bonnie left the following comment regarding the Day 5 post:
“I feel like I've been packing so much garbage under some dirt & then planting flowers so no one notices the garbage. It feels like we're going to unearth & destroy the garbage so all that's left is healthy dirt and beautiful flowers...but He isn't playing it soft here. I have most definitely had to get some dirt on my hands & get in there with Him.”
That is exactly what God began to do in my life. I was able to finally let go of the darkness in me instead of dwelling on it. I was able to move forward and allow the Lord to refine and transform me as He removed the garbage from my life and replaced it with healthy rich soil.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise. ~Psalm 51:17We say we want to be transformed, but we must realize that in order for the Lord to transform us He requires us to have a broken and contrite spirit. This does not mean that we have low self-esteem. It means we need to be humbled. I think many times today we think low self-esteem and humbleness are one and the same. That is the furthest thing from the truth. A Beth Moore study I’m going through right now explains it this way:
“Lack of confidence does not equal humility. In fact, genuinely humble people have enormous confidence because it rests in a great God.”
This concept has been life changing for me. I’ve spent my entire life battling low self-esteem by trying to prove I was smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough, loyal enough, good enough! But real confidence comes not in whom we are or what we can accomplish – it comes from resting in the strength and abilities of our Awesome God! Our confidence is not in ourselves but in Him!
However, our human nature wants control, believes we need to be able to fix things by our own strength and knowledge. The funny thing I’m realizing is that the world sees low self-esteem and arrogance as being opposite of one another. In reality they are just different symptoms of the same root cause, the human disease called self-centeredness. In both cases, the root problem is that we are focused on ourselves instead of on Jesus.
We are not able in and of ourselves to set aside that human nature. I’ve spent years trying to get rid of this human nature in my own power so I can please God. Ironic since my thinking I can fix it myself comes from the very nature I was trying to rid myself of! We must go to the Lord and ask Him to show us these things in our lives and heal us of them. We must be ready for Him to humble us, to create a broken and contrite spirit in us. To give us a spirit and heart that fully recognizes that we are but humans, and He is our Sovereign Lord.
My question for you today is – do you dare ask the question? Are you bold enough to sincerely ask the Lord to reveal His Truth to you, regardless of what it looks like? Regardless of what beliefs you hold dear which may be destroyed by doing so? Regardless of how ugly and appalling it may be? Do you truly desire humbleness, a broken and contrite spirit and heart? Do you dare ask the Lord to show you who you really are so that He can begin to heal you and transform you into who He has destined for you to be?
"P.S. - For those of you who may have already prayed this prayer and are in this stage of your journey right now - I want to encourage you to persevere. It is very hard to have your true self revealed by God's Light, however the rewards at the end, a transformed mind and heart, are amazing and so well worth the refining period required to get there."