Sometimes what we see in the mirror doesn’t accurately reflect who we are. In our vision, we may fail to see the progress that has been made in our hearts long after we have proven that we have, in fact, changed. This failure to be forgiving can keep us from realizing our full potential. It can keep us from entering that rest that God wants for us. It can keep us from acknowledging His grace in our lives and it is, of course, meant to do just that. At what point do we start throwing out those pictures of ourselves that we’re ashamed to show anyone else? It’s time to erase those memories that fail to glorify God’s powerful grace and replace them with a clearer picture of who we have become in Him.
I had this crazy idea that I would try to post an article on one site or another each day in an effort to keep the ideas flowing. For the last few days though, I haven’t posted an article anywhere. I guess I’ve had a lot on my mind. It could be some kind of mental exhaustion. Or maybe just a funk. Or maybe it’s just that things haven’t been moving fast enough toward the goal I want to meet and I’m rebelling. In any case, my ability to write has been hindered by the way I’ve been feeling. When we are attacked like this, surely it is the work of the devil. He knows how God has gifted us and he refuses to let us use those gifts without occasionally throwing some obstacles in our way. For me, it’s usually memories of times when I was basically paralyzed by depression or anxiety. Something triggers the memory and then I spend as many days or hours as it takes to wake up from my unproductive reverie.
For as long as I’ve tried to deal with certain issues in my life, there are those few that still crop up from time to time and remind me where I’ve been. And instead of feeling a sense of victory of the fact that my involvement in those things is in the past tense; I choose to feel ashamed and upset all over again. Not always, but there are times when I simply don’t have enough strength to look back on those things without cringing. On the days when I can see those obstacles as mountains that I have climbed, I can do great things. But those times when my confidence is wavering present a whole new set of challenges.
Everyone has these moments. These are the times when we turn left when we should have turned right. Those nights when instead of sticking to our guns about not drinking, we pour just one to get through the night. Those days when instead of reaching out to someone and getting out of our own minds, we choose to wallow in the hurt all over again to justify whatever binges or remnants of self-destructiveness decide to rear their ugly heads. We are human. And God knows what we are going to do before we even have the thought. So He is not at all surprised that we have these moments of weakness. He’s not at all surprised that we fall down. He’s not even surprised that we forget just how forgiving He is and that His grace will cover us in those times when we forget who we are in Him. He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins and even if we can’t always get it right, He will still overlook our transgressions when we come to Him. Eventually, those memories of the times when we were living in complete darkness will be replaced by those which show how God’s grace lit up our lives. There will be a day when our backward vision only reveals the love that God has shown us; not the pain that the devil put us through before we knew God.
By His stripes, we were healed. Living in the knowledge of Christ’s love for us will change our perspective and before we know it, we will no longer recognize ourselves as that broken mess we once were. For some it takes longer than others, but how amazing it is each time we realize that we’ve been delivered from those pits of despair and that His love never fails.
Today, after a few days of sulking and feeling a little sorry for myself, I realized that in spite of feeling badly about some things that had happened in my past I had much to be thankful for. I no longer react the way that I did when I was living in that darkness and the response I do have to it all is a far cry from where I would have landed years ago when faced with such unflattering memories of my behavior. He is changing me each and every day. From glory to glory, He is making me new. He is making me new!
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
~2 Corinthians 3:18 New International Version~