In January of 2012, I wrote this post about lies that swirl around me and threaten to overwhelm me. I shared the art I created to help me replace those lies with God’s truths about me. Here’s the “funny” thing: that blog post was written more than two years ago. You’d think I would have grown and matured in that time, right? Oh, sure, I changed in the last two years, but the lies simply shape-shifted into new nooses. The lies continue to repress me and flatten me. They take the wind out of my sails. They hinder my soaring. They shackle my courage.
I have never questioned or second-guessed myself more than I have these past two years, and it is a scary thing to feel like the one “thing” that is dependable (my own self!) is not. I know my own heart, right? Because of this, I assume my own heart is the one place where I am always safe and always innocent. Oh, but how I’ve found that to be the opposite sometimes! My heart is fickle and selfish. It will always choose self-preservation over future pain (picking a fight with my husband instead of asking for help because I don’t know everything [Yeah, shocker!]). It would rather strike out at others than admit vulnerability (yelling at my kids instead of admitting I’m overwhelmed). Some days, my heart is faulty and undependable and untrustworthy.
Of course, my heart is all those things when it is powered on its own strength. When I try to rely solely on my own judgment and righteousness, my heart – and my self – fail. Through all of this, I’ve discovered one magnificent truth of life: I am not enough. When I depend on me, I always run out of fuel. When I turn to myself, my self lets me down. When I try to tackle obstacles on my own, I end up flattened on my back with the air knocked out of my lungs. I desperately gasp for breath.
Two years ago, lies rattled around in my head and I believed I wasn’t enough. Today, that “lie” has become truth for me, and I realize I really AM not enough! But instead of letting that truth consume and choke me, it has caused me to turn to the One who is enough. There is one Person who is everything I want to be: Selfless. Righteous. Whole. Unbroken. Humble. Courageous. Truthful. Dependable. Trustworthy. Beautiful. Giving. Worthy.
His name is Jesus.
And He is bigger than all those lies, bigger than my failures, and bigger than my mistakes. And what’s more? He died to make me all those things that He is and I am not. Do you get that? Can you understand that?
As a companion piece to the art I posted in 2012, I made another piece of art in 2013. I’ve never posted it here, but I think now is a good time to do so. My 2012 art described me, but this art describes Him. The first art is called “I Am His” and this one is called “He is Mine.” We exist together; a statement that not only could be an entirely separate blog post, but a life calling.
This art goes so well with something else God brought into my life this past April. A friend of mine shared the new MercyMe CD with me. It’s called Welcome to the New and it has become a guardrail in my life. The entire CD is God’s truth set to music, and it is SO. VERY. GOOD. Along with the CD, my friend sent me a clip from the album release concert MercyMe had on JoyFM on April 10. I transcribed the entire 14 minute clip, and have listened to it repeatedly as well. Lead singer Bart Millard talks about the way grace has transformed his life, and how Jesus’ sacrifice for us makes us flawless. (If you want to listen to something very similar, click on this link to listen to the K-Love concert and forward to the 16 minute mark.) This is one of my favorite parts of the JoyFM clip:
In the past, I would get up and say stuff that I hoped would connect but I’m so confident in this message that I know for a fact it’s gonna connect with a lot of you when I say things like, “I struggle every day with the enemy telling me every day that I’m disqualified and that I’m not enough and that if ‘they’ knew what you’ve done in your past they would not listen to a word that you’re saying.” So much so that there would be mornings I wouldn’t even get out of bed because I felt like I was already defeated. And sometimes the enemy sounded a little bit like the Holy Spirit. I would take things like, “You should just be glad that God knows you. That should be enough.” I thought that was a good thing! But that’s not the gospel. Your identity is not what you do or what you’ve done. Your identity is not the guilt and shame that you choose to carry with you throughout your life. Because if you know Christ, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now dwells inside of you 24 hours a day. He ain’t leavin’! And because of that alone, everything changes. You are not someone who cannot be trusted. You are not one that has a wretched heart. We’ll write worship songs and get up under the banner of nobility and say, “God, we just stink as individuals. We are unworthy. We are unrighteous. We are horrible. If I choose, I will choose something other than You every time so I just need You, God. I’m nothing without You.” That last part is true. But as far as the rest of it goes, is it possible that Christ is standing there saying, “You know what? You used to be unworthy. You used to be unrighteous. You used to actually stink pretty good. But because of that whole big deal I made on the cross, you’re a brand new creation.” You are not a bad person trying to be good. You are holy as He is holy. You are righteous. You are redeemed. You are a child of the Living God. If you’re just bad, trying to be good, you’re gonna have your little mountaintop moments but you’re gonna go back to believing you’re this sorry person and if you believe it long enough, you’re gonna live like that when Christ is saying, “No, there is nothing sorry about you.” You have the heart and mind of Christ. How can you be worthless when you are an heir to the throne? When you are a child of the Living King? (emphasis added)
It’s one thing to know God and know His attributes. And it’s another thing to know how completely contrary my heart is to God’s goodness. But when I take His holiness and allow it to cover my wretchedness? When I stop turning away from Him in shame and run full-fledged to Him in gratitude and freedom? Oh! It’s liberating and life-changing and tremendously earth-shaking.
So, back to the start of this post. All those lies that still rattle around and shake my foundations? They’re still here. The last two years of struggles and questions? They haven’t ended yet. Life is still LIFE, y’all. It’s hard and bumpy and painful and fluid and changing and harsh. But God is bigger and He gets the last word. He keeps deflecting those lies by dropping things into my life like the MercyMe CD, my new Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study book (Limitless Life by Derwin Gray), and my friend Stephanie’s book (Cultivating Peace). Each one of those things helps God uproot a few more of the weeds that choke my fickle heart. He uses these things to keep me on His path and following His light.
I’m grateful for His passionate pursuit, and undone by the fact that He never gives up on me!