Jesus Isn’t Into Sharing

For some reason this week I was reflecting on how hard I used to have to work at being a good Christian and how it comes so naturally now. Why is it so different?

Flashback to the early to mid-90s, I truly had myself fooled that I was representing the Lord pretty well. I was always in church, at the church, or chasing whatever revival was nearby. I just couldn’t be in church enough. In looking back I can see how much I was struggling to be ‘a good Christian.’ I couldn’t see it then because I was too busy doing church stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there is anything wrong with church involvement – just that for me it was a hiding place where I could feel like I was being a good Christian. After all, I was busy for the Lord right?

I kept tripping and falling over and over again. I was always losing my temper or control of my tongue. I was constantly in a cycle of hyper faith, failure, and repentance. Sometimes the cycles would last only hours and others I might have squeaked out a little longer. I would try so hard to follow all of the do’s and don’ts I heard laid out week after week but I just couldn’t seem to live Christianity out. Over and over again I would start praying a prayer of re-commitment and stop because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to live it out.

The Lord showed me this week the problem, He said to me “It is because in the past you tried to share your life with me instead of giving your life to me.” To me that answer was so simple and yet to profound.

That was exactly it – my problem all of those years was that I wanted Christ in my life but only when, where, and how I wanted Him. I have control issues and I was not willing to give up control of my life so I tried to share.

The Bible tells us:

  • 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 I planted myself just close enough to the Lord and church to have the association but not close enough that it would really impact my life and I could still do everything that I wanted
  • If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me – but I followed just close enough to see Him and His work in the far distance – but not close enough that I might be expected to be a part of the real stuff
  • Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness – instead of seeking Him first I sought whatever I deemed right for me at the moment
  • Do not worry about tomorrow – I lived in a constant state of worry over every.single.thing every.single.moment of every.single.day

It just wasn’t working for me – because Jesus isn’t that into sharing. I was trying to serve two masters and that never works.

I realized that because I chose not to give Him my life, chose not to completely surrender – my life could never have been that reflection of Him that I wanted it to be.

Without giving Him my life I was unwittingly not giving Him my pain, my heartbreak, my anger, my sins. Without giving Him my life I couldn’t receive His peace, His love, His forgiveness, freedom found only through Him, and reconciliation to God.

I could see all the He had to offer to me, all that He had died so that He could give me but I was unable to grasp Him and His free gifts because my hands we too full holding onto the tatters of my life. The more I tried to hang-on and control my life, the more that I was pulling it apart at the seams.

I can remember praying “God, I want to be good but I can’t. Take away my free will and make me be good. I am okay with that because it is the only way I can make it.” But God in His wisdom and His unfathomable love for me would never have done that. Instead, He let me keep making my own choices good and bad – mostly bad for a very long time.

Instead of leaving me when I made those bad choices, He was always there. I chose not to see Him. As a matter of fact there came a point where I believed that I had gone too far and that I was beyond His love and His grace. I didn’t care then because I believed He had let me down – after all I had done for Him. Oh yes, these were my thoughts and beliefs for many years. Still, I know now that He stayed very close to me.

After a long time, my heart began to soften and I began to think that God wasn’t such a monster using me as a pawn for His entertainment. I began to think about Him again and began exploring who the Bible teaches us that He is. What I found astounded me, how could I have missed it for so long? I missed that He loved me with a love beyond my imagination, far beyond my comprehension. He loved me whether I was living for Him or not. He loved me enough to die for me even if I turned my back on Him. He loved me when I spat at Him and His church for the pain I was feeling and He loved me when I swore never to grace the doors of another church. HE.LOVED.ME. and nothing that I did or ever could do would change that.

Don’t just read the words in that last paragraph – inhale them. Let Him make them come alive in you if you are not already overcome by that love. HE LOVES YOU and there is NOTHING that you can ever do to change that.

The power of that unfailing love washed over me as never before in my life. In the presence of that kind of love I freely and willingly gave my entire life to Him to use as He wished. In the presence of that kind of love there was no fear of what He might do with my life, no fear that I might fail Him again. The revelation of His love was a life-changer for me. Now I wanted to serve this God, before I only wanted to not go to Hell. I wanted to live my life to bring honour to Him, to bring glory to Him.

That laundry list of do’s and don’ts became a thing of the past because we do not live under the law but under a new covenant. In the revelation of His great love was freedom and security. In the revelation of His great love I could truly rest in Him.

Now I cling to Him for my hope and my support. I know that there is no other place that my help comes from but Him.  I know that if I do trip and fall that He is right there to catch me or to help me get back on my feet again. I know that He doesn’t get angry with me and start looking for ways to punish me when I disappoint Him. Now I am quick to believe the best about Him because I have come to understand His character as a loving God who pursued me through some very ugly things when I thought He would wash His hands of me and my filthy rags.

I cannot live in the presence of a love like this without wanting to give myself over to it. In the presence of a love like this there is an eagerness to please because there is an assurance that my best interest is His primary goal.

Have you fully given your life over to Him or are you just trying to share it and hold onto the things in and of the world? Do you realize His great love for you? I know you may sing the songs and have likely heard the words all your life. But do you KNOW it in your heart? Let the words sink in deep – JESUS LOVES YOU – meditate on them and let Him show you just how real this love is. Ask Him to flood you with His presence and fill your senses with Himself. He is right there waiting for an invitation…

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God Blessed The Broken Road…

This blog has been quite some time in the making…  I started it ages ago during my lunch break at work.  I keep pulling it out and reading it and just was not released to finish and post it.  Tonight while visiting with a lovely friend, the discussion turned to how looking back we can see how things worked together to bring us to where we are now – and the Lord said, “Finish it now.” – so here goes…

*******

The realization hit me hard…  After a lifetime of frustration at hearing/reading “be thankful in everything”, I finally got it.

Last year I had the privilege of hearing Kim Phuc (The Girl in the Picture) speak about forgiveness and healing.  Ms. Phuc helped me to realize that, although I had made great strides in forgiveness and healing, I had even further to go.  She talked of forgiving and praying for the man who was responsible for the lifetime of horrible pain that she had endured.  (I wrote about this just over a year ago:  https://krislukings.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/do-scars-hurt/)

My mind heard that she prayed for him daily, but my heart would not accept this – could not fathom this.  It was clear to me that this in itself was a problem.  I would like to say that I immediately corrected my ways, that I started praying for the person (people) responsible for my abuse in the past – but I cannot say that.  I started praying for the strength to want to do that, that I could begin  to release whatever made me feel the extreme resistance that I felt as Ms. Phuc spoke.  Slowly but surely as I allowed, the Lord began to do a work in me.  After sometime, I began praying for my abusers.  It was strictly an act of obedience and submission in the early days.  God has been faithful to meet my willingness with more healing and more understanding.

Still, when I would hear someone talking about “being thankful in all things” I would get my back up and become defensive.  I still couldn’t quite wrap my head around how I was supposed to be thankful for the pain of the past.

A few days ago as I drove home, the song “God Bless the Broken Road” came on the radio.  I was a bit surprised at first because I hadn’t thought of it as a song that would be played on a Christian station.  Then the Lord told me to listen closely, and here is what I heard:

“I set out on a narrow way, many years ago
Hoping I would find true love, along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow, kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign, pointed straight to you”

By the time Rascal Flatts got to the line “But I got lost a time or two” the tears started to stream down my face.  I got lost a lot more than a time or two, but I kept pushing through.  I took great pride in how I could take care of myself – didn’t need anyone else.  Broken roads often lead to more broken roads and more broken roads and, well – I suppose that you get he picture.

“I think about the years I spent, just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost, and give it back to you
But you smile and take my hand
You’ve been there you understand
It’s all a part of a grander plan, that is coming true”

More tears flooded over me.

“Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way, into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

Now I am just rolling home
Into your loving arms
This much I know is true,
God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.”

At last I got it and I can say wholeheartedly that I am thankful for the broken road that has been my life.  I was flooded with such a peace – you know, that kind that surpasses all understanding – yeah, that kind.  How I wish that I had the time back that I wasted on so many broken roads!

For the first time in my life I felt the true sense that the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful had been mixed up – molding me into who I am today.  I am so thankful that “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” – Romans 8:28  is so true.

So thankful

  • that he brought me through it all,
  • that He is taking all the bad and using those experiences to teach me about others,
  • to make me more empathetic to those who are suffering,
  • to help me help those who feel like they are the only ones,
  • to help those who feel like the abuse is their fault or that it is deserved, and
  • that I am alive and on the right road!

I finally understand how all the different, horrible roads that I have traveled were leading me back to Him, back to the One who gave up everything for me.  How every instance of abuse, every time that I fell because I was trying to do it on my own or because I couldn’t follow the rules closely enough – all of those things were signs or northern stars pointing me back to the One who loves me perfectly.

I had always thought of this song as a nice love song.  It fits how I feel about my husband -there were so many broken roads (for me) before we met.

But the Lord showed me that although it was indeed a love song – it wasn’t about finding the love of my life and having the privilege of marrying & serving alongside him.  It was about finding the Lover of my soul, about Him taking the mess that I had made out of my life and turning it into something beautiful.

It was and is about recognizing that God truly has blessed the broken road that led me back to Him.

How Could It Be Okay?

Tim is reassuring me over the phone “It is okay.  Everything is okay.”  I am screaming back into the phone “NO IT’S NOT!  IT’S NOT OKAY!  YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”  Totally hysterical, sobbing and almost hyperventilating, I can’t seem to get a grip on myself…  How can I?  In the past it wouldn’t have been okay – it would have been the beginning of another nightmare.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – or a flashback of sorts – I am not sure what to call what happened.  Whatever happened, I didn’t know that I could or would have something like that.  I know that it took me years to not flinch when someone was nearby and moved too quickly; that I still feel the need to apologize for every stupid thing that happens, regardless of the fact that it may or may not have anything to do with me directly.  I don’t know what it was – but it was completely unnerving I must tell you.  It has taken me some time to understand exactly what had happened.

Here is an inside view of my one (and I sure hope) only episode:

It was a Monday; my husband Tim had just started his position at a new church out of town.  Because of the distance, he

macro water drop

Image by Tanya Puntti via Flickr

would be staying a few days in our soon to be new city.  I have always credited myself for being strong and perfectly able to take care of myself so this didn’t seem like a big deal to me.  I came home from work, had dinner and was having a normal evening.  Normal until I decided to retrieve something from the basement office.  As I am rummaging around my desk for the item, I hear drip, drip, drip. I step out of the office and into the washroom to find the source of the noise.  I immediately see little drips of water from the ceiling falling into the base of the shower.  My first thought was how lucky I was that it was dripping into the shower instead of getting anything else wet.  I look up to see the ceiling sagging over the shower – not good.  After consulting with Tim, I got a ladder and a hammer so that I could gently remove the hanging piece of ceiling and see what was really happening.

As I begin to remove the ceiling, the water runs down onto my head.  Lovely…  I can see the leak now – just a slight little drip right at the joint.  It must have been leaking for days to soak the ceiling the way that it did.  It seems that all that needed to happen was to turn the water off to the shower.  Wow – that is a no brainer I thought.  Unfortunately, the plumber who did the shower was about as much of a plumber as I was.  The shut off valves were metal and the pipes plastic.  The weight of the metal was actually pulling itself off of the plastic piping – making the shut-off valve completely ineffective.

Now, if you happen to know me well, you likely saw my status on Facebook later this same night.  I am going to repeat it just in case someone new is reading:  IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THE MAIN WATER SHUT OFF VALVE IS (AND HOW TO USE IT) IN YOUR HOUSE – FIND OUT NOW!!!

So, the plastic piping slips out of the metal shut off valve and wouldn’t you know it, it was the HOT water.  Now pouring down onto my head and scalding me.  I had no idea what to do now, the water was going into the shower and overflowing onto the tile floor.  I got off the ladder and ran around the basement like a mad person trying to figure out what to do.  I tried to call Tim and couldn’t reach him immediately.  In my running back and forth around the basement, I slipped several times and smashed my leg into the ladder.  At this point, water is flowing onto the unfinished basement floor towards the carpet – I run, fall but still get the water stopped before it gets to the carpet.

Now envision this, I am soaking wet – through and through.  The bathroom is drenched – the shower is full (bits of the ceiling are clogging the drain) and the floor is soaked.  Water is still pouring from the pipe hanging from the ceiling…  Finally, I am able to reach Tim.  He directs me to the main shut-off valve and instantly the water stops flowing.

I am trying to explain to Tim what happened – what a mess that everything is and I am sobbing and screaming (or at least screeching).  Tim is reassuring me over the phone “It is okay.  Everything is okay.”  I am screaming back into the phone “NO IT’S NOT!  IT’S NOT OKAY!  YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”  Totally hysterical, sobbing and as near to hyperventilating as I have ever been, I can’t seem to get a grip on myself…

We hang up.  I start trying to call a couple of our friends from the area who can help with getting the problem fixed and get the water turned back on and finally I got myself cleaned up as much as possible.  As I sit numbly waiting for one of the two guys to come, I begin realize that it is actually going to be okay.

What you need to know is that Tim is the kindest, gentlest man in the world.  Still, these old feelings were suffocating me.  Soon I was afraid again and stayed nervous until he came home a few days later and inspected the mess.  Then he came upstairs and nothing happened.  A sense of relief ran through me that I can’t explain.  Nothing worse was coming – it truly was okay.

It is strange to know someone like I know Tim – to know that, of course it would be okay but to still have such a deep-seated fear that you can hardly breathe.  The Lord really began to speak to me about those things that I had hidden away so well – at least, I thought they were hidden well.  Obviously they were still there, still raw and bleeding and they needed finally to be tended to so that they could mend and heal properly.

If you have ever been involved in wound care, you know that a wound should heal from the inside out – not the outside in.  If it heals from the outside in, infection becomes trapped and can cause so much more damage than the initial injury.  I think that is the way that I tried to heal – I decided that it wasn’t a big deal and closed up the wounds.  All of these years infection has been there and now it is time to allow those wounds to be opened back up – this time to be cleaned out the proper way so that they can heal completely.

You see, what happened was that in the stress of the situation, my mind pulled me back to Alabama; back to a time where everything was my fault and where the price was very high for making/causing such a mess.  It was as if I was instantly transported to a time when I was 15-20 years younger, terrified of making a wrong move and completely isolated when I did.  My mind and my body seemed to go into defense mode.  It took quite some time for the barrier to come down and for me to realize what this incident meant.  Actually, I think that I am still learning from it…

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.  Any personal messages that I receive will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

Also, if you don’t want to miss the next post when it comes, you can sign up to receive these messages in your inbox using the link to the right.

Blessings…

A Humpty Dumpty Kind of Story

I want to tell you a bit about my life now before I get to what my life used to be like.  I guess that you could say that I am starting with the good news first.

The good news of my life is that I truly know the grace and the incredible, abounding love of my awesome God.  He loves me so much more than this human mind can fathom.  He has healed me physically and emotionally to the point that who I was is almost unrecognizable to me now.  He has poured His love into my life in incredible ways and is still working to heal things that are buried deep within this bruised and battered mind and heart.  I am so totally overwhelmed by His love, His grace and His faithfulness.  The more that I allow myself to be covered by His love, the more amazed that I become in the depth and breadth of that love.  I am also amazed by His patience as I walk this road before me, stumbling now and again; He keeps me from falling too far and He always encourages me to continue on.  When invited, He shows me things that I could never have understood on my own and helps me to be a better person that I ever could be without Him.

He has given me the greatest gift that I ever could have imagined in my wonderful husband Tim.  A kind and loving man who, more important than anything, has a heart that seeks after God.  To me, Tim is proof that God gives good gifts to His children – even when they don’t deserve it.

There is a lot more good news – but the information above was important to know before you read further.  The rest isn’t so pretty – but there is good news even in what you will read.  The good news is that God can redeem our pain.  He can take what was meant for evil for us and turn it into something to show His glory.

Now, I feel like I need to give a disclaimer of sorts.  I will be writing about my life quite some time ago so it is going to get quite personal.  As I said, there will be a lot of things that aren’t very pretty.  Some of you are likely going to recognize ‘character or characters’ in my story.  I ask that you remember that this was a very long time ago.  Just as I have changed greatly, they too are not likely the same; I pray that they are not the same.  I ask that you please do not make judgments about them – we must look on them from a position of grace.   Their lives are between them and God just as it is for each of us.  I ask that you seriously let God examine any reaction that you might have to this before you decide to share it with someone else for any reason other than to help someone.

The intent of anything that I write is never to hurt anyone or to tear them down, but to help others who have or maybe still are suffering from abuse.  I want to begin to share my story and the things that God is teaching/showing me so that maybe someone else will see this and they won’t live in the dark and in so much pain for so very long.

Here we go…  I want to take you back in time to a place in time where this all started.  To a place where I had no self-worth and thought that I should be thankful that a boy would like me…  I won’t go into a lot of details about how I got to that point in my lack of self-esteem, you can read a bit about that on my post Have You Ever Felt Like A Fraud?.  I was 15 when I became involved with my first serious boyfriend.  I thought that he treated me okay, although looking back I can identify lots of things about his behaviour as controlling, jealous and a little bizarre.  We were together throughout the remainder of high school and got married within a month of graduation.

Shattered

Image by LexnGer via Flickr

I had lived a sheltered life.  I came from a Christian home and could only recall one argument between my parents – ever.  I don’t know if they were just good at keeping that away from us or if they just didn’t argue.  I don’t want to give the impression that I was perfect because that is certainly not the case.  But imagine going from a nice, peaceful home to a home with your new husband, where peace was all too soon non-existent; where the norm was to learn to be afraid of opening your mouth for fear of saying something wrong that would unleash a rage that you had never known could exist – especially coming from someone who supposedly loved you.

I was confused and felt betrayed.  I became convinced that if I could just be good enough or make him happy enough the abuse would end.  I would have thoughts like “my dad never hit my mother so it must be something that I was doing wrong”.  Each time there was an episode there would be a period of strained quiet afterward.  A time where he would apologize and tell me he didn’t mean to, that he couldn’t help it and then he would manage to convince me that if only I could do things the right way, his way, that everything would be okay.  He would masterfully convince me that it was all my fault, no matter how ridiculous the trigger had been, it was my fault.  Then to tie his little package of guilt up around me he would promise to never let it happen again.

There is a deep shame associated with being abused.  Just as my abuser did, most are able to convince their victims that they are at fault and that adds to the shame.  My family lived all around me, people that I have known all of my life were minutes away – but I didn’t tell them.  I didn’t leave.  I was too ashamed.  How could I let people see the bruises on my body?  How could I let them know what was happening?  A victim of abuse often comes to believe that, because the abuse is their fault, they deserve what they are getting.  The last thing that I could think of doing was telling someone that I loved about the abuse, I was afraid that they would desert me.  I felt like there was something inherently wrong with me – so I hid the bruises and I lied about them if anyone accidentally saw them.

I was saved as a young child and have gone to church as long as I can remember.  My childhood memories of church are of red-faced preachers talking about people burning in hell if they didn’t follow the rules.  I am sure that there must have been different topics – but I don’t remember a single one.  These guys were very good at painting pictures of people screaming in agony as they burned for eternity.  My imagination grabbed a hold of this and I could practically feel the flames licking at my feet every time I made a mistake.

I don’t remember ever being told that God loved me, but maybe I got hung up on the images of the fire.  Unfortunately, any relationship that I had with God was based on fear and guilt.  I never remember knowing that God cared about me, that He wanted to be involved in my everyday life, that He cared about the smallest detail of my day, that I was so precious to Him that He numbered the hairs on my head.  I only knew that there was a set of rules that I could never seem to live up to no matter how hard I tried and tried.  Fear and guilt were not enough to keep me following all of those rules.  I was never involved in alcohol or drugs, but I still had plenty of sin in my life.

As the abuse progressed, I threw myself into work at my church.  I would go as often as the doors were open thinking that if I worked hard enough at church maybe God would fix things.  I was fooling myself into thinking that just because I was spending time at church that I was building a closer relationship with Him.  The illusion of closeness evaporated in the blink of an eye when I discovered that my abuser was involved in an affair with someone from my church.  I was devastated and felt as though I was the one who had done something wrong.  I was hurt, confused and very angry.  I blamed God for all of it; for the abuse, the affair, everything that had gone wrong in my life.  My reasoning at the time was that He is the God of the Universe and He could have stopped any or all of the awful things that happened.  Now I understand that though He is in control, the things that happened to me come from living in a fallen world.  He has given us humans’ free will and we are royally messing things up.  I stayed in my little home town as long as I could take the stares and the pity.  Then I found a way out and ran 1000 miles from home, trying to leave all of the ugliness – and God – behind me.

Not surprising, my life continued to deteriorate further and further.  I soon became involved with another seemingly good guy.  It wasn’t long before the abuse started and I reasoned that my now ex-husband must have been right.  It was all my fault – I did deserve this…  I accepted that and I was just an awful person who didn’t deserve any better and I tried to keep from drowning in this new assault I was experiencing.

For years, I tiptoed around on eggshells and tried to keep things to a minimum roar.  I was hurting so badly but still couldn’t tell anyone.  Now I was living in a new city so far from home.  These people would certainly peg me as trash if they knew about the abuse.  I would keep quiet and suffer in relative quiet for what seems like a lifetime.

As I began to sense that the abuse was escalating I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I finally got the nerve to break-up with this gem of a man and surprisingly got away from him with relative ease.  Now I was without an abuser for the first time in 17 years.  God was speaking and for the first time in a long time, I was listening.  He began to show me that the abuse was not my fault, that I didn’t deserve any of what had happened.  I was His child and He had much better plans for me.  It was then that I realized that even though I thought I left God when I left Alabama, He had never left me.  He had followed me every step of the way, grieving when I was hurting and longing to comfort me.  He was there waiting for my stubborn and angry heart to once again hear Him.

As I began to try to release the trauma of my life to Him, I realized that I had made a near fatal mistake when I blamed Him.  I had put my trust in the people around me, in my church, in my family.  I put my trust in every frail thing around me instead of trusting Him above all else.  I got my eye off the prize.  He began to tell me how He loved me and flooded me with an overwhelming sense of relief and love that I had never known.  For the first time in my life I understood that He loved me, that He wanted to be a part of my life, that He wanted to help me to move beyond my past.

I would like to say that the moment I turned my life back to God He wiped the slate clean and I didn’t have to do anything to be all shiny and new and free.  That just isn’t the way that it is – at least for me.  I have been working hard to turn loose of the hurts and the pain of the past.  It was a long time before someone could move around me that I didn’t flinch or jump.  I don’t like for people to be in my personal space and I am sure that is a remnant from the past as well.  God continues to heal me from all the hurts and I keep thinking that there can’t possibly be more, He shows me that He isn’t quite finished yet.  It has been about 25 years since the first episode of abuse and it still affects me today.  I don’t know when, or if, I will be completely healed here on this Earth.  I will just keep working on things as God reveals them to me.

Soon my husband Tim and I will celebrate our fifth anniversary and I am still amazed that somehow God cared enough to give me my best friend.  The God of the Universe cared enough to cause our paths to cross and to bring this little Alabama girl all the way to Canada to fulfill His calling.  He has shown us His love for us and His faithfulness in our marriage so many times.  We have learned to trust Him to make a way when in the natural, there just wasn’t a way.  Again I say that God gives good gifts to His children.  I know – I am living proof.

Are you wondering about the Humpty Dumpty reference?  I stumbled upon this poem that I have hung onto for at least 20 years and it seemed to describe how I feel about my life perfectly.

Thanks Sharon Wilson! I love it...

Humpty Dumpty

“Good morning Humpty Dumpty Sir,
How amazing, you are still here
By legend you were shattered!
How cohesive you appear!”

Humpty jumped and said with a smile,
“The tale of horses and men wasn’t the end!
The King Himself put me together again!”

He truly did put me back together again when I was fractured and shattered beyond belief.  But for the grace and love of God I don’t know where I would be today.

In wrapping up, I will just say TRUST HIM ALWAYS.  He sees the big picture while we only see fragmented pieces of the puzzle.  Jeremiah 29: 11-13 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.”  Know that God loves you so much.  If you happen to be (or have been) in such a place as this, know that He cares about every little detail in your life.  He is waiting for you to turn to Him for help…

If you want to hang around, I will take you on more of my journey to healing and wholeness as God leads.  Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.

Also, if you don’t want to miss the next post when it comes, you can sign up to receive these messages in your inbox using the link to the right.

Blessings…

Have You Ever Felt Like A Fraud?

Boy I have.  All of my life, as far back as I can remember I was afraid of being found out.  You see, I have never felt like I was good enough for anything, literally – nothing.  In school, I was never one to have very many close friends and I still find that to be a struggle all of these years later.  It has just always been hard for me to show someone who I really am.

I learned several years after graduating that many people thought that I was a ‘snob’, that I thought I was too good for most people.  I cannot tell you how much that stunned me…  When I questioned the person who revealed this to me explained that I wasn’t easily approachable and I was very difficult to get to know.  Wow – that is so not who I was and I had no idea that was the face that I was presenting to my classmates.

Scared Child at Nighttime

The way that I remember it was once I reached Jr. High School I felt so lost.  I was afraid of absolutely everyone, afraid that they would figure out that I wasn’t good enough to hang out with them or even be seen with them.  I was afraid of my own shadow, afraid that someone would not like me if they got to know me, afraid they would make fun of me for something.

I remember once trying to emulate my older sister.  She was popular, smart and well respected.  I felt like such a dork compared to her…  One day I overheard several people complimenting her on an outfit so I decided that I would borrow the same clothes (down to the shoes & socks people) within the next few weeks.  I figured if I could imitate the way that she dressed it would make me feel safe from anyone deciding that they didn’t like the way I was dressed for at least one day.   So feeling more comfortable than usual I arrive at my locker and while gathering supplies, it happened.  One of the very people that had so complimented my sister was having a field day criticizing me for the very same clothing.  “So now I know, it was just me; there was something wrong with me…”  That was my first thought and then all of the other ‘I am not good enough’s’ started playing in my head.

I am wondering now in looking back if this was the moment that I really bought into those thoughts.  Was this when I started allowing myself to begin accepting that I just didn’t measure up?  Oh, the thoughts had been there before but now I felt that I had confirmation.  So when the tirade started, I just agreed and decided that if they didn’t want me to fit in I would stop trying.  I believe that was the final straw for me and I started to feed on those thoughts and almost no others.

The list goes starts like this:

  • You don’t fit in there, it is easier to not even try
  • They won’t like you, keep your distance so you won’t get your feelings hurt again
  • You aren’t good enough to have that kind of friend
  • Your aren’t smart enough, skinny enough, strong enough, talented enough, pretty enough, nice enough etc. etc. etc.

The list seemed endless and hopeless.  I wondered what was wrong with the few good friends I did have.   I was always racking my brain to see what their angle could possibly be…

I have been out of high school for 25 years and until recently I was still buying into those lies and many new ones associated with my life now.  You know, “you don’t have a job because you are useless, no one wants to hire someone like you, you don’t fit into that ministry/group/company” etc. etc. etc.

Until recently I believed that they were my own thoughts and further reasoned that if that is how I saw myself, I didn’t want anyone else to see me for myself.  It was just easier to keep my distance.

Until recently, even when I accomplished something, was recognized for doing anything well or was just plain recognized for anything at all I just wanted to hide.  I didn’t like the spotlight because it might shine enough light for someone to figure that I am just a dumb, scared little girl who is just not good enough for anything.  Then they would know that I was a fraud pretending that I was actually good enough.

So what is happening that is causing me to change?  Why don’t I feel so much like a fraud anymore?  God has been shining His light onto the truth and onto the lies.  He is on a mission to show me who I really am and I am absolutely loving it.

No more do I have to worry about someone seeing that I am not good enough because now I know that I am!  Now I recognize that all of those thoughts that I used to have, you know, the ones that say I am not good enough and that someone is gonna find out – they are not my thoughts after all.  I now recognize them as lies from the enemy of my soul.  Lies to destroy me, to make me ineffective in whatever God calls me to do.

So now when that endless list starts I know that it is no longer hopeless.  I can refute everything that it says to me by using these scriptures and many more:  Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  How cool is that?  I am God’s masterpiece – YOU are God’s masterpiece.  If that wasn’t enough, try 2 Peter 1:3-4 on for size “As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness!  And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.”

I read this quote the other day and I love it.  It made me look at what I am afraid of a bit more closely and realize that I have been playing it safe for all of my life.

“Our deepest fear is NOT that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, WHO AM I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in SOME of us; IT’S IN EVERYONE. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Nelson Mandela

I am a child of the Most High God and I am most certainly GOOD ENOUGH.  I won’t ever let me or anyone else say differently again.

Have you ever read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31?  It basically says that God chooses the foolish, the weak, the lowly & despised and the things that are not to nullify the things that are.  That means that He chose me precisely because I am not a perfect and spotless person.  He chose me because without HIM I am broken, I am a mess, I have no talents and nothing to offer this world.  He chose me so that I can glorify His Holy name by following Him.  I don’t feel that I have done a very good job of that up until recently but it is not the time to beat myself up about lost time.  I spent too much time doing just that – crying over spilt milk instead of cleaning up the mess and moving on.  I declare that I will glorify His name for the rest of my life with every opportunity.

Can I just tell you that I am so excited?  I am still praying for and desperately needing His leading but He is showing me things left and right about the truth of who I am.  I don’t know where He is leading me but I am so incredibly excited about following Him there one stepping stone at a time.

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below or send me a private message to the email address in the photo badge to the right of this message.

Stepping Stones at Gargrave

Image via Wikipedia

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