Awareness Part I: Unloading our "Junk"

If we want to begin the process of allowing the Holy Spirit to give us the power to overcome our sins, struggles, addictions, depression, low self-esteem, trauma, abuse history, wounds, bad habits and unhealthy obsessions, we need to first stop running from (or denying) those parts of us that make us feel ashamed, guilty, disgusted, weak, sick, ugly, dirty, less than, embarrassed, depressed, and afraid. We must stop running from the parts of ourselves that we have tried to block out, deny, “stuff,” and hide from ourselves, from other people and from God.

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.  Psalm 32:3-5

When we try to hide our struggles from God (and from other Christians who genuinely care for us), we prevent the power of God’s Holy Spirit from empowering and healing us from the inside out. When we maintain the fake and unbiblical outward appearance that we are “strong,” “good,” and “struggle-free,” all the issues that we have hidden inside of us don’t get better – they get worse. The pain and hurt from the wounds and conflicts that we keep “secret” become stronger, fester, hurt other people around us, and require greater and greater expenditures of time and energy to keep hidden!  

We will discuss this topic further in the days to come, but for now we begin the process of healing by starting to unload all the “junk” that we have locked up inside. We lay our burdens down at the Cross without fear or hesitation because we believe in a God who loves us unconditionally. We can finally stop running from who we are, what we’ve done, and what’s been done to us.

For this week, make a list of three issues, wounds, experiences or sins that you have denied, “stuffed,” blocked out or hidden in some way from yourself, God and others. For the next seven days, allot a portion of your daily prayer to talk to God about the items on your list.

Start letting God in today.

Can I take a time-out from this battle?

Have you ever wanted to take a time-out from the daily battle of being a believer in this world? Have you ever wished that Jesus would just come back with the rapture, and take us away to be with him already? Have you ever reached the point of feeling like giving up? Have you ever screamed to yourself that you can’t take it anymore? 
Our cry of desperation for help when we can’t see, feel or hear our God is when we are most united with our God. When we reach that place of despair, we are reminded of our complete dependence upon him. When we cry out to God as Jesus did on the Cross, it marks our opportunity to draw closer to God and to be spiritually blessed by him. We wish that we could avoid the pain that our Christian walk requires, but we must take comfort in the fact that we are following in the same footsteps as Jesus when we find ourselves crying out in desperation to our Father in heaven. Don’t lose hope – God is there with you in the battle!!!

 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). - Matthew 27:46

Acceptance: His ultimate gift of love

The shame, guilt, embarrassment, lack of acceptance and fear surrounding their “weakness,” often prevents Christians from asking for help, which maintains and strengthens the spiritual strongholds that keep such Christians bound.

Acceptance requires you to embrace your weakness as Paul did. You are not “defective,” and nothing is “wrong” with you. You are God’s child – and God fully accepts you for all that you are. When we become increasingly able to accept ourselves, we learn to embrace all that we are in the same manner that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ does. We ultimately learn to love ourselves because God first loved us. (Romans 5:8, 8:31-39)

Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. He performed the ultimate act of love on our behalf to show us that he loved us in spite of our weaknesses and failings. He didn’t die for us because of anything we achieved or did “right” – he died for us to prove that his love was not conditioned upon any imagined “righteousness” on our part. If we could attain “righteousness” on our own – Jesus never would have been crucified. The acceptance step requires us to cast off the facades and pretenses of being “good” or “strong” Christians, and shows us how to get “real” with ourselves, with God and with each other.

When we begin to grasp the significance of God’s acceptance of us, we will begin to understand the depths of his love for us. We will realize that his unconditional acceptance of all that we are is an expression of his unconditional love.