Embracing the Glory
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 and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us . . . 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. (Marianne Williamson)
When I first read this quote, I thought, No, that’s not true. We don’t fear our glory. We fear we are not glorious at all. We fear that at bottom, we are going to be revealed as . . . disappointments. Mandela is just trying to make a nice speech, like a sermon, to buoy us up for a day or two. But as I thought about it more, I realized we do fear our glory. We fear even heading this direction because, for one thing, it seems prideful. Now pride is a bad thing, to be sure, but it’s not prideful to embrace the truth that you bear the image of God. Paul says it brings glory to God. We walk in humility because we know it is a glory bestowed. It reflects something of the Lord’s glory.
(Waking the Dead , 87)
As I briefly mentioned before our Church is watching John Bevere’s Breaking Intimidation movies and while they’ve been very deep and thought provoking I think God is trying to say something specific to me.
From my daily scripture readings this week:
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble? Psalms 27:1
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Romans 8:31-34
I started reading Romans 8 after listening to one of my dad’s old sermons that Brit had posted on the web. (Isn’t amazing that God can still use him to minister to me even after he’s gone home to be with the Lord? My dad would love to hear that.)
From the plaque I received today as part of raffle (lol God so doesn’t do random or coisedence does he?)
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”
I think God is trying to tell me something here. All of this really struck home when Pastor Michelle was telling Arielle and I about a conversation she had with someone, and in the midst of that conversation she told the person that he/she had a “Man Pleasing Spirit” and needed to deal with it. What is a man pleasing spirit but a spirit of fear/intimidation? (exactly what everything up above deals with) And while I know that PM wasn’t saying that to me, it felt like it. It really hit my heart. And I realized that this is what God has been trying to get through to me these past couple of weeks. With God’s help I will conquer this spirit and step into the place God has called me to be. (I know beyond a doubt that I couldn’t conquer this without his help)
For as long as I can remember, whenever life gets tough I start to seriously consider the temptation to throw away God’s gift. And more often than not, I buy into the lie that the devil is selling. I can still remember times, when I struggled early on in school, that I’d tell my mom, “I wish I had never been born”. Then later on in life when things just seemed to be too hard, my thoughts turned to how I could end it all, to be free of pain, sorrow, loneliness, and despair that seemed to plague my life. To say it plainly, for the majority of my life I’ve struggled with thoughts of suicide. And I don’t think I’m the only one. It breaks my heart every time I read about someone taking their own life, and not even that I almost cry when I read of someone who cuts themselves to dull the pain of their life. I know that God loves them and if only they could understand that, they wouldn’t have to hurt themselves to find peace.
Now I’m not writting this to tell you how I overcame suicide through my own strength or through my own force of will. Because as I stated earlier I bought into the satan’s lie, I believed whole heartedly that I was worthless, that the world would be a much better place without me. But rather how God has repeatedly saved my life, from myself. All glory and honor be to the one who created me, the one who loves me even though at times I haven’t loved myself, the one who had a plan for my life even before I was in my mother’s womb, all the praise belongs to God for taking me beyond the lies and into his heart of truth and love. I’m being transparent here, honest as I can be, not holding anything back (and trust me putting something like this out there isn’t easy) because I believe God has asked me to write about my journey and battling thoughts of suicide has been part of it (an ugly part of it).
One of the reasons I believe this has been a constant struggle in my life, is because every time I wish I was dead, or fantasied about killing myself, the devil was throwing the miracle of my life back in God’s face. If you haven’t read my testimony, then you should know that God preserved my life at a time when I was defenseless, a time when my mother’s decisions meant life or death for me, a time when babies all over the world were being slaughtered simply to make a mother’s life a little more easy (click here if you’d like to read a more detailed account). So if the devil had ever been able to get me to follow through with what I was thinking that would have been a major victory for him, but he seems perfectly fine with a minor victory and insulting God. Thankfully God is not one to let Satan win lasting victories.
Another reason I believe that I was readily open to this attack of the enemy, is that as a human being I love doing things the easy way, or doing the easy things in life. Looking back now, non of the things that made me wish I was dead were really that hard. Math, spelling, heartbreak, loneliness, fear, and failure were all temporary and all things that eventually I worked through (obviously since I’m writing this ;-)). But the lies of the enemy made mole hills turn into mountains. Had I taken these things to God rather than working them out through my own limited human abilities, they would not have seemed so difficult. But I chose to trust in myself rather than the one who made me.
But the root cause of all of this is something I mentioned above, fear. Fear, is brought to us by a spirit of intimidation. This is a spirit I’m very familiar with, I’ve lived under it for so long, I’ve been bound by it’s chains, set free only be the awesome power of Jesus Christ! One of fear’s most used tools is a feeling of hopelessness. For the longest time I had no hope for ever finding a life long friend, I had no hope that I would ever find the woman that God had out there for me (and yes that’s how warped my mind was I acknowledged that God had selected a woman for me but yet didn’t have hope that he would lead me to her, how whacked is that?), I had no hope that I would ever find joy and happiness, and I had no hope that I would ever find understanding. So anytime life would get rough, this spirit would remind me of my hopelessness and I would buy into it. The logical conclusion being that if there is no hope for my life, why live it? As John Bevere talks about in his book “Breaking Intimidation“, fear makes us focus on ourselves. The thoughts constantly running through my head focused almost entirely on me and my current condition. I focused on how sad I was that my “girlfriend” left me, and focusing on something like that long enough I would start to think about how I’d never be able to find someone. This train of thought is something Pastor Michelle would call a death spiral. My other fears were similiar in that my focus was me, and my problems. The opposite of fear, is love. Love forces us to put our focus on others and breaks us free from the death spiral that fear has us trapped in.
I could talk more about the spirit of intimidation’s other tools like a false sense of control or the constant need to blame others, but if you want to know more about breaking this spirit’s control over your life I recommend John Bevere’s book Breaking Intimidation. I could also talk about the things God used in my life to encourage me, to give me hope and how he used my friends Brad and Jen, my Mom and Dad, and my love Arielle to show me how much he loves and cares for me, he used them to save my life in ways they will probably never understand, but if you want to hear more about that you’ll have to ask me someday or God will put it on my heart to write it here. Instead what I’d like to leave you with is this, as I’ve said before, the devil is a liar. Look at what I was so worried about above; finding the right woman for me, finding friendship and understanding. God has provided all those things and then some. I just want to encourage you to stop focusing on yourself and focus on God and he will provide all your needs. I’m a walking example of his love and his provision and I hope that my testimony will be used by God in your life to draw you closer to him.