January 26, 2016

God's Love > Self-Doubt

I used to be so empowered. I look over my oldest blog posts and see how self-assured I was. The things I was writing and the verses I was claiming, they took a lot of guts. The fact I was leading a Bible study at 15 for girls my own age, and went on a month long mission trip to a foreign country with strangers. The whole time I felt self-assured enough to help lead Bible studies there and to keep and teach my belief system in the face of my team members' controversial beliefs. It was a lot for a 15 year old who hadn't exactly been away from home much.

I examine myself now and realize insecurities are not something you leave behind when you are in middle school. Oh no, it's a lifetime battle.

This summer I came face to face with a part of me I had never before, the side of me that was unequipped and unable. Usually when God has me undertake an assignment of His I may begin unequipped but He eventually gives me what I need to do it. Maybe some ability or some wisdom. This didn't happen one week at camp. It was during our Angel Tree week when we have only children of prisoners come to camp.

Angel Tree is one of our challenging weeks because the children come from some of the toughest home situations. They do not often show it, but you can tell because they simply refuse to let you love them. They do not want to let you get close and it breaks your heart. They act out in order to accomplish this goal. The boys fight and the girls both fight and cause drama. The girls I had in my cabin did both, but mostly caused drama. They spread rumors and lies about each other that were simply so hurtful to both the campers and us counselors (if we took it personally, which I did).

I went into Angel Tree thinking I was so discerning and would realizing any time they were doing this and if not, God would help. This is not what happened. I had to overly rely on other workers who had come with the kids, more than I perceived other cabins had to. I played right into each of their games, and felt so foolish. A week of it had me convinced I could never work with inner city kids again, nor could I minister to those with more difficult histories. That and I was convinced I was simply an idiot who should never work with kids again. My mind just saw the real me, a broken person who was nothing and who always messed up. Guess I had never really messed up in ministry before or needed a lot of help. And my brain ran away with the tiny bit of self doubt the girls caused me to have and spiraled into so many doubts and insecurities I had never had before. Past mistakes were remembered and piled up into a crippling pile of evidence for the way I was feeling.

What followed was a semester of serious doubt. I almost quit all of my ministries. I stopped ministering to friends.

God would not let this continue for long. It took a lot, but God began showing through the one ministry I continued, my 8th grade small group, that He could still speak through me. He could still use me to love.

The final push toward walking in victory was (surprise!) the Passion Conference. At it I felt one of the main truths they wanted us to gain was to live in victory. It culminated with Christine Caine's final session in which she spoke on how we need to be like Joshua 1 people and not Numbers 13 people. The Israelites in Numbers 13 would not take the land because they saw how difficult it was and how insufficient they were and so were crippled by fear. But Joshua 1 Israelites chose to be strong and courageous in Christ. She spoke on how we can live in victory and freedom because God is bigger than what people have done and said, and bigger than what we have done.

Christ is in me. He goes before me, watches my back behind me, and comforts and encourages me beside me. He even equips me through the Holy Spirit inside me. Even more, He loves me. So He lovingly brings me to His will doing nothing to destroy me, but to cause me joy and peace.

Yes, that week at camp is one of my worst experiences. And I might be tempted to doubt God's power because He didn't provide for me or live up to His promises. I can tell you He did though, I just lost sight of it. He provided wise women to sort through the drama for me, He enabled me to gain the girls respect when they were not emotional about drama (which was a majority of the time), and He let me lead one of the girls to the Lord and give assurance of salvation to many of the girls. Self-doubt is a big influence to have made me loose sight of all of these provisions from God.

Through all of the self doubt I had I had grown to hate myself. What a terrible decision. To hate what God had made? To hate how God made me? To say God had made mistakes in me? To do so is to claim God is not wise or loving. Yes, I am a sinner who needs God's equipping for everything, but I have Christ's blood permanently flowing though my veins. I am a new creation who is not weak and foolish anymore. I can say no to sin, I can live through the Spirit, I can claim God's promises. I am a part of the royal priesthood and holy nation, part of the light and not the dark. Never the dark. I am not defeated. That is contrary to my new nature. My new nature is to be victorious.

But how do we live in this new nature? It is truly simple. Let the truth be bigger than the lies. Surround yourself with the truth of Scripture. Through songs, following Christian Instagram users, studying scriptures, going to bible studies. Let God's Word be a significant part of your life so that the writing of Joshua 1:8 are true for you: "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." This was another reason Joshua 1 Israelites took the promised land, they meditated on scripture. Then the lies of their heart upon seeing the difficulty of the task was not bigger than the truth of God. 

On Facebook, my favorite author Ted Dekker wrote an analogy teaching what it looks like to be a Christian who does not live in victory and in the strength of God's promises. It would be like Clark Kent forgetting he is Superman. He lives a lie each day unaware or forgetful of just what he can do. He does not get to do the world saving he was meant to do. He does not get the privilege of living in that victory. 

After Passion I decided to combat those lies. I had always known that was what I should do, but I never did it. It was only after the precious story Christine Caine told about her daughter's first day of Kindergarten did I realize just how powerful it was. When Caine's daughter was little her dad always told her that she was beautiful, smart and loved every day. But the first day of Kindergarten a bully decided to pick on the daughter. He stole her pencil and said she was stupid, ugly and that he hated her. The daughter replied confidently saying, "that's not true, my dad say's I'm beautiful and smart."

Isn't that just how we are to be? When tempted to say no one loves us, or that we will never amount to anything to just declare, "I'm loved by God! He will fulfill His purpose for me!" But we must know the scripture to be able to declare the scripture. I've started on a simple way to fill my mind with God's promises. When I read the Bible or am at church I simply write down any and all promises that are for me, or anything that describe me in Christ. I put a heart by it and review it every quiet time until it's permanent in my mind. I also try to use it throughout the day. That is meditating on it. To meditate is to consider and ponder. Easy to do if you need it enough. Easy to do if you ask God to help you do it. 


1 comment:

  1. He allowed you to be humbled before Him, that your faith (which has always been strong and learned)will become mature and experiential. It is how we tell the chaffe from the wheat. In the separation process the wheat is THRASHED not gently shaken. You are wheat! Absolutely adore you!

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