A sobering realization hit me the other day. There is a lie buried deep in my subconscious that I have taken as truth. Its probably been there since childhood and it has shaped how I interact with God and live my life in relation to Him.
To get this, I have to bring some background into the picture. I was raised in a "God-fearing" church environment. When I say "God- Fearing" I mean just that. I thought of God as Mighty King and Judge because that was how He was presented to me by the men who preached each Sunday. When I was nine years old I prayed the prayer asking Jesus to save me. I prayed it because I was afraid I was going to go to hell and burn forever.
It wasn't until I was in my 30's that I came to understand that God was more than just someone to fear. I got my first taste of the loving-kindness of Jesus when in my broken state of pre-divorce, with all my ugly hurts spilling out and consuming me, I needed His Grace, Love and Mercy so desperately. Crying out for Him, He responded: "I want to restore your soul. But I have to have all the pieces."
Full surrender on my part was the key and in that moment I was able to turn to Christ in a way I never had before. Instead of my cries for help based on fear and desperation, I was brought to my knees by His abundant love for me and His desire to have a real relationship with me. That was the turning point and when real growth took place in my walk with the Lord.
Many times of significant healing took place over the next several years and I could feel the chains being broken, link by link, and each day my wings unfurled just a little bit more, allowing me to fly by His grace. Yet, a damaged wing would continue to keep me flying close to the ground, never rising up as high as He or I would love for me to go. I figured this was "OKAY" because He said that in my weakness, I am strong, His grace being all sufficient.
So back to the lie buried inside me that I was accepting as truth. Somewhere, somehow, I came to believe that many of the mistakes I have made are living on in the form of punishment. Punishment from God the Judge. I made a lot of mistakes in my teen years. Running away from home. Marrying at 17. Choices in that first marriage that resulted in years of emotional damage and psychological abuse. I made a lot of mistakes in the years following the divorce, regarding my children and other relationships. And I GET that from choices come consequences. That despite forgiveness we will still have to live with the repercussions of our actions. But it was more than that for me. I was/am still living under the banner of punishment to some degree.
For example. I have had periods of estrangement with both of my children. My son was 13 when I left his dad and things have been strained (to put in mildly) between us since then. The guilt I carry over the way things played out has crippled me in my ability to rebuild a bridge between us. Even though I know that I did the best I could given the broken state I was operating from, and even though I have sought forgiveness from God and from my children, I still struggle with guilt. On some level, I must still believe that I was/am a horrible mother. On some level, deep down, based on all the bad decisions I made, I must think I don't deserve to have a good relationship with my children.
For example. I have had issues with money management from early on. As a single mom I got myself into some deep doo-doo financially. Then I married Bruce and continued to make some poor choices. I'm not talking credit card debt or high stake loans, just every day un-wise, over-spending on things. A few years ago I got some good prayer council that turned things around for me and I have been able to work with the monthly budget and stick to it. Yet, I realized the other day that on some level I have come to believe the lie that says our current financial issues are a direct result of my past mistakes. That our current situation is a punishment from God the Judge.
Like I said; this has been buried deep inside me, causing me to operate on a subconscious level effectively stunting my spiritual walk. It is time to go back to the basics.... If I confess my sin He is faithful and just to forgive my sin... and He removes my sin as far as the east is from the west. In His eyes I am now forgiven. Righteous.
The enemy would have me believe otherwise, in an attempt to rob me of my joy and of my ability to live in the fullness of Christ. I am coming to see how thinking I should be punished has caused the broken wing that keeps me flying so close to the ground. Yes, I have to live with the consequences of my actions-- if I spend the paycheck unwisely we wont make it to the end of the month-- but facing financial chaos isn't punishment from God. The consequences of my rebellion as a young woman, ultimately resulted in estrangement from my children, but it's not punishment from God.
I am prayerfully committing to having this lie removed from my heart, mind and soul. I am choosing to believe that I am forgiven. I am choosing to live like I am forgiven. In Christ I am a new creation.
I may need (daily) reminders of this until it sticks, but blessedly I know where to go for it.