Do You Have “Issues?”

Do You Have “Issues?”

We all mess up and do what we don’t want to do. We don’t understand why but it’s something every human experiences. We can’t fully understand ourselves and our motivations. As much as psychology tries to explain the reasons behind why people do what they do, it misses the fact that not just some of us have “issues”. We ALL have “issues”. 

Not one of us has escaped the human condition of:

1. Not doing what we should do 

2. Doing what we know we shouldn’t do

Those Perfect People

If you meet someone that seems amazing and has it all together, just get to know them. You will quickly realize that there are many inconsistencies and hypocrisies under the surface. It is just part of our human nature to not be perfect. A popular song from the 80’s declared, “I’m only human. Of flesh and blood I’m made.” 

Some days I ask God, “How can you love my fickle heart? How can you continue to love me despite my hypocrisies? “

Our Heart

Jesus saw these human failures in the people he knew. He saw that they were all doomed to be inconsistent, superficial, and fickle. So he didn’t put his trust in humans. He only put his trust in God the Father.

We are not capable of always keeping to the high road as humans. When we put too much trust in another person, we make them an idol. We look at them as someone who can save us on a deep level that another person doesn’t have the power to do.

Another person may fill up the holes in your heart for a time. You may feel like you have found someone who is like “heaven on earth”. If you give it time, their heart will eventually fail your deepest desires for communion with another. 

Meet Your Needs

It’s like the woman at the well who was seeking something in the men she was with. When she met Jesus and talked with him, she realized that He was the answer she was looking for. A mere man could never really save her in the ways she needed saving the most. She was so excited about Jesus that she ran to tell everyone about this man she had met who knew her and loved her like no other.

Man doesn’t possess the power of life and death, of blessing and cursing. These things belong to the heavenly realm and supremely to God.
Only God is worthy to completely trust our hearts to.

  • He sees our need to be saved from ourselves.
  • He has mercy on us.
  • He loves us even before we trust him as our God.
  • He knows that we need His love and kindness, his compassion and forgiveness, his faithfulness and peace.

We need hope that we can count on when others fail our heart. Another person can never give us the deep abiding peace and contentment that God’s Spirit can. God knew we needed him in the flesh with us, to save us from ourselves, so he sent Jesus.

Jesus freely offered his life as a sacrifice to break the curse of death and give us complete access to the hope and peace and grace that only God can bring into our lives day after day. His mercy, grace, love, forgiveness are new every day just like a well that never runs dry.

Prayer

Thank you Jesus for giving your life up for me so that I wouldn’t have to trust other humans to fill up my deepest needs and desires. I’ve believed that people could do this many times in my life, but was brought back to the one truth that only you can meet me at my point of need. I can love others unselfishly only when I trust you to live in me and work in my heart. 

I am so grateful for your presence, your unwavering faithfulness and love for me, and how you never leave or forsake me. Whether I cause my own suffering through bad decisions or someone else hurts me, you always show me mercy. You also show me favor as your child. You carry me through valleys and back up onto mountaintops. You make beauty from the ashes of my life time and again. 

Because you show your love to me over and over, I will trust you today and always. Because you are faithful to me despite my indifference to you some days, I am grateful. Because you gave your life to give me your forgiveness, I lay my life before you to use as you will. Because of the favor you show me, I live in your peace, trusting that your heart will never fail me when I need you.

You never leave or forsake me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

Romans 7:19 ESV

“But Jesus, for His part, did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all people [and understood the superficiality and fickleness of human nature], and He did not need anyone to testify concerning man [and human nature], for He Himself knew what was in man [in their hearts—in the very core of their being].”

John 2:24-25

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:5-8 ESV

“Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done! Can this be the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)?” So the people left the city and were coming to Him.  Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus [to have a meal], saying, “Rabbi (Teacher), eat.” But He told them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”  So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to completely finish His work.

John 4:29-34 AMP

Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:5 ESV

“I want to end my life. How should I do this?”

“I want to end my life. How should I do this?”
You’re still alive. You still care about others. Others still care about you. Maybe you can’t see that right now because the hole you’re in is so dark.

I care. I don’t know you so I don’t know how to help you see your worth. But you are worth more than you realize right now. There are people out there who would die for you so that you could live.

Sometimes it’s dark and terrifying in this life, but there is hope.

You are not alone and you are worth more than you realize right now. Maybe someone or something is hurting you and you want a way out. Ending your life is not the answer. If the people around you are not showing you that you are loved and worthy of love, ask God to show you a way to find what you need in this life. We all need to feel safe. We all need love.

God answers us when we really want to know him. And we can’t know him unless we talk with him ourselves. Other people can’t “know” him for us. He is a person. He wants to get to know you right where you are right now. He wants you to talk to him about why and how you got to this place of desperation. And he wants to help.

I have been where you are several times in my life. I wanted to and was ready to take my life many years ago, but God told me that I didn’t have to live my life alone anymore and that he would be with me, that he would live in me if I wanted him to.

So I told God that I couldn’t do it anymore on my own and that I needed him. After that, I was never alone again and I wasn’t so afraid of living anymore.

Someone I love ended his earthly life in 2016. I know if he could take it back he would. He was looking right into my eyes when he shot himself and he was beyond horrified at what he had done. But then I saw a beautiful presence hold his spirit and give him peace before he left this world. God held him and let him know that he was forgiven and loved no matter what he had done. He was worthy of love.

You are worthy of love. You are important and special, just the way you are, no matter what you have done. No matter what has been done to you, you are loved by the most powerful force in the universe.

There are people on this earth who would die to save you.

There was one on this earth who did.

His name is Jesus. I know because he saved me from myself. I am here on this earth knowing that I am worth something ONLY because God answered me when I was in a tub with a sharp knife years ago.

Jesus pulled me from a dark place and brought me into the light of knowing I mattered and that I am important to him and to others. The truth is that you are not alone. The truth is that you matter. The truth is that you are loved.

Feeling Judged? There is a Way Out.

Feeling Judged? There is a Way Out.

We all deserve respect as human beings with our own unique perspectives and feelings and issues and yet, most of us don’t feel respected. We feel the eyes of judgment; the accusing voices reside in our heads and at our places of worship, our schools, and our workplaces.

We may go to the grocery store and see someone giving us a once over with their eyes or get a formal evaluation at work that tells us exactly where we are going wrong. We check out social media and see a comment directed at our lack of empathy or our lack of style or perhaps someone comes right out and tells us that we have major issues. We may have a conversation that doesn’t go the way we thought it would, so we re-evaluate every word thinking about how we messed up.

If we grew up in church, we were taught that grace covers our sin. What we probably were not taught is that grace covers the sin so completely that we do not have to go around worrying constantly about whether we have messed up or not! God is not looking down on us and trying to see which sins we have committed and judge us. He doesn’t even SEE our sin when we trust Jesus! As soon as we trust him, ALL of our sins are forgiven and God casts them into a sea of forgetfulness. They are further from him than east is from west! Why would he want us focused on our sin when he doesn’t even look at it??

We waste time feeling guilty thinking about something that God never tells us to look at. He says to believe him, trust him, and follow him. He says to come to him with all of our burdens and give them to him. When we talk with Him about what we have done that we feel guilty about, he frees us from judgment and condemnation! He doesn’t want us to dwell on our mistakes, but instead be free from the fear and condemnation that our mistakes cause!

An addiction cycle is when we mess up and feel guilty and then mess up again BECAUSE we feel guilty and unworthy. God doesn’t want us to live there in a place of defeat chained to our habitual mess-ups. He wants us to have the freedom to walk away from whatever is not good for us and others.

Living out of agreement with our conscience is not good for us. We have the ability to know what is right and wrong because of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Before humanity ate of the tree, we lived in perfect connection with God. There was no guilt or condemnation or fear between us! But after the eating of the fruit, the connection was broken.

We began to look at what separated us from God instead of trusting him and wanting to walk and talk with him. Instead, our natural instinct when we mess up is to run from God because we are afraid of condemnation. However, as humans living in the 2020’s, our focus does not need to be sin. We need to put the focus where it belongs – on God himself and his solution to the problem: Jesus. Jesus came to rescue us from the knowledge of good and evil and from the judgments we make about ourselves and others!

Jesus is the one we are following. Did he ever once ask his disciples to look at what they had done and be ashamed? Did he ask them to overthink their clothes, their habits, their food and drink? Did he make everything legalistic and about doing the “right” thing? No.

Jesus made life about following Him. And HE followed His Father’s heart. God the Father led Jesus where he needed to be, all the way to the cross where Jesus showed us the meaning of sacrificial love. He fulfilled the law precisely because WE COULD NOT. He fulfilled the law in his own perfection so that we could be at peace with the fact that we will never be perfect as a human here on this earth. We don’t have to try to be perfect and sit around feeling bad about where we mess up.

God created us for perfect connection with him. When we ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, we began to judge good and evil for ourselves instead of trusting God by walking and talking with him daily. Jesus came to change all of that! We can once again have perfect connection with our Creator, but we don’t get there by being perfect. We get there because we trust that Jesus was perfect and he sacrificed his perfection for us. So we can stop judging ourselves and others continually. Instead, we rely on his voice and trust him to define good and evil once again.

We can once again have perfect connection with our Creator, but we don’t get there by being perfect.

We need to keep our relationship with Jesus at the forefront of who we are. When our conscience tells us we have screwed up, we can acknowledge it and run to our Father and tell him how disappointed we are with ourselves. And HE tells us that he loves us anyway because of Jesus. When we realize what Jesus did to set us free from fear and condemnation, we see how much He loves us and we accept the gift of that freedom.

We step into our purpose each time we follow his voice. And when we run to him and not from him, we find that he is always there loving us. We step into our purpose when we ignore the stares and whispers of those that sit in judgment, when we change our thoughts to loving affirmations rather than condemning and harsh judgments of ourselves and others.

So let them look. Let them judge. When our own mind condemns us, let God have those struggles and let them go. We are free from condemnation in Christ Jesus. We follow Jesus. Judgments of our person are not something we need to pay attention to. It is not their business to judge us. It is not OUR business to judge ourselves! It IS God’s business to judge us, but he DIED so that he wouldn’t have to judge us! Instead, he judged Jesus in our place. God chooses love. Perhaps we should think about doing the same for ourselves and others

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?

Galatians 3:2 ESV

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2 ESV

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:11-12 ESV

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved

Acts 16:31 ESV

if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Romans 10:8-10 ESV

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:30 ESV

What Am I Worth?

What Am I Worth?

Abba Father, I am coming to you because you understand me like no one else. You know that I struggle with myself more than anyone else. There is just a part of me that is afraid that “What I do is never going to amount to anything, so why do I even try?” I know that this attitude is defeatist in nature and not good for me, but sometimes I am literally paralyzed with this fear and I stay in my room watching Netflix or just finding pins to put on my Pinterest boards so that I can say to myself that I am doing something worthwhile. I know that every moment doesn’t have to be productive, but I am just feeling like I don’t know what is worth something anymore. Which parts of what I do actually matter? Which matter to You? Are you pleased with me when I do almost nothing for an entire day? How far does Your ability to love me go?

I look at my kids and realize that You love me more than I love them. My love for them is not contingent upon whether they do anything. I just want them to work on whatever they love and have a passion to do because I know that doing what they love is part of living in the giftedness that you gave them. So since You are a good and perfect Father to me, you love me right where I am no matter what I am doing. Your love is not about what I do.

So today I am letting go of trying to be something other than who I am. I will live in the moment and let myself work on things that you’ve given me a desire to do! I will live in the truth that You love me just as I am and you have joy over me. And if you have joy over me, then I will have joy that you feel that way about ME!

The fact that the God who made the entire universe and keeps life in motion loves me and feels actual joy over me is beyond comprehension! How can you feel joy when you look at me? I look at me and see a self-absorbed, anxious, worried, inept, disaster who keeps hurting others and can’t seem to stop. But then I see You watching me and how Your eyes light up just because I am me! You created me so that you could enjoy knowing me. When I talk to You, You listen and You care and You are glad that I came to chat with You for a while.

And then I think about how Jesus came here to this earthly place where he lived like me and felt all of the same messy jumble of feelings that I do. And he endured those feelings of shame and humiliation and sadness and then pain like I’ve never known when He was made a human sacrifice.  All because You love me enough to do absolutely anything to have me in Your life!!

So what can I say? I will choose to see myself as whole and healed and loved and righteous. I will say of myself the things that are true. I am clean. I am held. I am blessed. I am highly favored.

I am YOURS.

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

“But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”  Isaiah 49:4
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”  Habakkuk 3:19
Daniel 10:17  “How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”