What Does Christmas Look Like?

The snow this morning was beautiful as it blanketedimg_1146 the trees and the Christmas lights and I thought, “Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” Snow and Christmas lights…what is it about them that makes it look like Christmas?

What does Christmas look like?

I guess there are many answers to that question, each of you probably have your own definition. Listening to the songs played on the radio station describe about every definition of Christmas possible. Anything from “Santa Clause is coming to town,” to “How many kings stepped down from their thrones?”

How do you describe Christmas? What determines your definition?

The dictionary defines Christmas…”The annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus; celebrated on December 25, and now as a legal holiday and an occasion for exchanging gifts.”

I find myself drawn to the word “now” in this definition. I find myself torn by this little three letter word…

Christmas, the original meaning, is the commemorating of the birth of Jesus. This is what I want Christmas to mean to me. This is how I want to see Christmas, how I want to describe Christmas.

Yet, this word “now” has me caught up in celebrating a holiday that is all about exchanging gifts.

I have lived caught between these two definitions. While I know Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth. While I have attended many Christmas Eve services and have sung traditional Christmas Carols all my life, I have also made many Christmas lists with gifts I want and I have sung about Frosty, Rudolf, and Santa, who knows everything about me…even whether or not I’m “naughty or nice.”

I have embraced many Christmas traditions that have brought the family together;

Choosing and decorating the perfect tree. Baking cookies, and making the gingerbread house covered with icing and candy. Attending Christmas Eve service, followed by all our favorite Christmas foods. Reading the Christmas Story from the book of Luke before opening the gifts…

These traditions are wonderful and provided many great memories.

I am thankful that I have kept Christ in Christmas. I am thankful that many of our family traditions have included the celebration of the birth of Jesus…but there is this word “now” that has me wondering if I have really seen Christmas, truly celebrated Christmas commemorating the birth of Jesus, my Savior, and my King.

It’s not condemnation…but it does cause me to do some heart searching.

How has the celebration of the birth of Jesus, “Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace,” now become a holiday that is about a man in a red suit bringing gifts on a sleigh drawn by eight tiny reindeer? The enemy has subtly replaced the truth with the pleasures and lusts of this world to distract us and blind us.

The celebration of the true meaning of Christmas holds within it the power to change lives for eternity.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

God so loved the world!

God gave!

God saved!

How does God see Christmas?

as Love?

as Giving?

as Saving?

“The people who walk in darkness shall see a great light…For onto us a child is born; onto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulders. These will be His royal titles: Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:2,6

Jesus, the Light of the world, humbled Himself, left His throne in heaven, and came to this earth that was lost in darkness. Jesus took on flesh as a Babe in a manger, fully God, fully man.

Jesus, the Savior of the world, came and walked the dust of this earth, the very dust He created us from, to save us from our sins, to give us  life with Him forever!

This is exactly what our enemy doesn’t want for us. He has been eternally expelled from God’s presence and he means to keep as many of God’s creations from Him as well, distracted, blind, and walking in darkness.

So what better strategy than to steal the very celebration that holds within it the power to shine the Light of Jesus into the darkness, the power of a Savior to save souls for eternity, the power to reveal God has come to earth, Emmanuel, God with us?

That little three letter word, “now” represents the subtle ways the enemy has redefined Christmas. I see that I have conformed to ways the world celebrates the holiday of Christmas.

Busyness keeps me distracted from shining the Light and Love of Jesus with others.

Focused on the expectations of myself and others has me blinded to those who need to know the Saving Power of Jesus.

It is my prayer this Christmas that the Lord would show me how He defines Christmas. What does Christmas look like to Him? How would He have me to celebrate the birth of His Son, Jesus?

To celebrate the true meaning of Christmas may look similar to the first Christmas…

God so loved the world that He sent His Son,

so He sends you and me…

As a humble son or daughter…

filled with His Holy Spirit, God with us…

to shine His Light in this dark world…

to share His Story, the Good News…

for the salvation of many!

Lord, Thank You for Your incredible love for us that sent Your Son to earth as a Babe in a manger! Thank You for the Light that You have shined into our darkness so that we could see our sin and receive salvation through faith in Your Son, Jesus. You have given us the most incredible gift ever given!! Lord, show us how to celebrate the birth of Your Son. Show us how You see Christmas.

Jesus, You came as the Light, but now You have said that we are the Light of the world. Empower us with Your Holy Spirit to shine Your Light into the darkness around us so that others will see and know You, the true meaning of Christmas!

An Invitation…

There is another tradition that our family has had the privilege of doing with friends for many years. It started over twenty years ago when Mark and I gathered our small group families together, put on robes, and read through the Christmas Story. We began at our house when the angel came to Mary. Then Mark lead our horse, Buck, with me on his back up to the barn where we found no room in the Inn, but were given a stable in which baby Jesus, a teddy bear wrapped in a swaddling blanket, was placed in a hand made manger. The story ended by playing, “Mary, Did You Know?” It was the beginning of a tradition that grew as our small group families joined together and made it bigger and better every year. After many years as our children grew older the costumes and props were left untouched in the basement for several years. Then when our daughter, Kayla, was eight, God prompted me to get out the costumes and the props and He breathed life back into the Living Nativity.

Today as I write this I am reminded of the truth of what I just wrote…there is a battle for the celebration of the true meaning of Christmas.

The “now” is always wanting to steal and destroy…

The “now” is always trying to distract and blind…

Every year of doing the Living Nativity there have been battles…

This year is no exception…

The battle of my will.

The battle of no cast.

The battle of no support roles.

The battle of no practices.

I’m so thankful that God fights my battles. That I can look to Him and trust that He will see that His Story goes out.

Its not about having everything perfect,

its about the Light of the world coming into this darkness,

about the Savior coming to seek and to save the lost,

its about God coming to earth, Emmanuel, God with us!

living-nativity-blogg

I invite you to come and join us as we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas! The Christmas Story told through narration, drama, and song. Two outdoor, hour-long, performances. Followed with hot chocolate and cookies!

 

 

From Prison to Royalty

Back to Joseph who was left in prison… The cup bearer to the king had forgotten all about Joseph. He hadn’t given Joseph another thought once he was set free.

Two full years later Pharaoh had two dreams in one night that distressed him greatly. He called his magicians and wise men, but no one was able to interpret the dreams. This was what reminded the cup bearer of Joseph. He remembered when he too had a disturbing dream that needed to be interpreted. He told Pharaoh about Joseph, a prisoner, who had interpreted his and the chief baker’s dreams accurately.

So Pharaoh immediately called for Joseph. After Joseph shaved and cleaned himself up, he was brought before Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph that he heard he was able to interpret dreams. Joseph was quick to say that it wasn’t within his power, but it would be by the power of God alone that he would tell Pharaoh the meaning of his dreams.

So Pharaoh told Joseph about his dreams…

Seven fat, healthy cows were eaten up by seven skinny, sick-looking cows, but they still looked sick and skinny.

Seven beautiful, full heads of wheat were eaten up by seven dried out, withered heads of wheat, but they were still dried out and withered.

Joseph told Pharaoh that the two dreams had the same meaning, and because he had the dream twice it was sure to happen. He went on and explained that the seven fat, healthy cows, and the beautiful, full heads of wheat represented seven years of plenty. The seven sick-looking, skinny cows and the dried up, withered heads of wheat represented seven years of famine.

God not only gave Joseph the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams, but He also gave Joseph wisdom and understanding how to handle the years of plenty so that during the years of famine the nation would be saved.

“Joseph’s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials. So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?”Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.” Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.”Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, “Kneel down!” So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. And Pharaoh said to him, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.” Genesis 41:37-44

From prison, to royalty!

I can’t image what Joseph must have been thinking as Pharaoh spoke those words over him…

Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with he Spirit of God…

clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are.

I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.

Just moments before he was a prisoner, held captive for several years. Dirty, unshaven…

For thirteen years Joseph faced a pit, slavery, and prison where the enemy meant to steal his dreams through offense, bitterness, and unforgiveness. He meant to kill Joseph’s identity and redefine him through deception. He meant to destroy Joseph’s destiny, by keeping him locked in fear and shame.

But Joseph himself had two dreams many years before. Two times which meant they were sure to come true! They were God dreams – dreams that stayed with Joseph – no matter what the enemy threw at Joseph, no matter how much time passed, he never let go of his dreams.

God’s perfect timing was perfecting Joseph…

Purifying

Refining

Equipping

Then, at just the right time, in just the right situation, Joseph was brought up, out of prison…

filled with the Spirit of God,

filled with understanding and wisdom,

ready and prepared…

to carry out the dream God placed in his heart thirteen years before!

What are the dreams has God given you? Has God given you a dream that seems impossible? A dream that is way beyond your understanding, or ability? Has your dream faded because it was so long ago? Or has the enemy stolen your dream through offense, deception, or disappointment?

The thing about God dreams is that when you receive the dream, you aren’t ready for the dream to be fulfilled.

The time between is just as important as the actual fulfillment.

There is heart work that needs to be done…

Holding to a God dream through the pits and prisons of life will…

Refine character

Build faith

Increase wisdom

Or, the pits and prisons of life will be the very things that bring doubt and fear, and will…

Corrupt character

Erode faith

Bring confusion

Your beliefs determine your direction…

It is a matter of focus,

a decision to trust,

an act of obedience.

May this story of Joseph bring you encouragement today. No matter how long ago you received a God dream, no matter whether you are in a pit of offense, enslaved in deception, or in a prison of self, God is there with you and remains faithful to His promises.

He will enable you to thrive even in the difficult places.

God will never leave you, or give up on you.

God is for you,

and will always give you the ability to overcome everything you face.

Ability to forgive any wrong done against you. Forgiveness sets you free from your pit. Nothing done against you is worth holding on to. Forgiveness makes the difference between staying in a pit or realizing the fulfillment of your dream.

Ability to serve others. Jesus lived a humble and selfless life and He called you to do the same. To die to self, to put aside your desires, your hurts, your disappointments, in order to serve others, prepares and equips you for the promotion of your dream being fulfilled.

Ability to know things, to do things, and to say things beyond your own understanding. God has given you His Holy Spirit as your counselor, your guide into all truth. Not only will He empower you to forgive, and to serve, but He will give you the supernatural understanding and wisdom you need to encourage, and to impact  others around you as your dream becomes a reality.

Trust that the time between, though it is meant for your harm, is actually intended for your good, for the salvation of many.

God dreams will be fulfilled…

“Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” Isaiah 46:10

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13

Fear is a Magnet

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Fear is a magnet, it attracts the very object it fears.

I was having my teeth cleaned one day when the topic of hiking came up. Ever since we adopted, Dixie, our very energetic dog, I have been spending more time hiking around the trails in Ringwood. My hygienist said she didn’t like hiking because she was afraid of snakes and would often see them while hiking. I didn’t think much more of our conversation, nor of the fear of snakes.  Prior to having that conversation with the hygienist I had only seen a snake while hiking maybe three times in over twenty years. The very next time I went hiking after our conversation I saw a snake. Wow, what a coincidence! The next time I went hiking I saw a snake. Wow, what an incredible coincidence!! By the third time in a row since that conversation I saw a snake I realized it wasn’t a coincidence. This was something God was showing me in the spirit realm, a lesson about fear.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

Right then and there in the middle of the trail, while looking back at the object of my fear, the black snake, I rebuked the enemy for his strategy of fear against me. I told the fear of snakes to leave me and never to return. And I thanked God for His protection and reminded myself that God’s perfect love expels all fear.

But I couldn’t help but be amazed at the power of fear. When I had that conversation with the hygienist I wasn’t aware of any fear coming over me. I had never feared snakes. How did her fear come upon me without me even being aware of it?

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Fear is a spirit, meant to be fought in the spirit realm…

Fear is not from God…

I don’t understand the spirit realm or how this spirit of fear came upon me, but I believe the Lord used this as an example to teach me the power of fear. To show me the power of thoughts whether I am aware of them or not.

Job said…

“What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true.” Job 3:25 

Consciously I wasn’t aware that I was afraid of snakes. If you had asked me any time following that conversation if I was afraid of snakes I would have said, “No.”

But why the three snakes the next three times hiking?

When I observe other areas in my life and in the lives of others I see this played out over and over.

The fear of illness brings illness.

The fear of being abandoned, or rejected brings behavior that causes one to be abandoned and rejected.

Believing I was no good I couldn’t receive compliments from my husband Mark. I rejected them and so he stopped giving them. This proved I was no good, “See, my husband doesn’t even think I am good.”

(Just for the record, since God has set me free I can receive and so appreciate the compliments Mark gives me. He has become my greatest encourager. Another example of what the enemy meant for harm, God intended for good!)

Fear becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What you fix your eyes upon becomes your reality.

Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” Job 42:1-6

The things Job feared came upon him. In much distress, Job cried out to the Lord for understanding, and God showed Job just how amazing and powerful He was. When Job saw the awesome power and sovereignty of God he was undone. He repented in dust and ashes. He thought he knew God, but he realized there was so much more about God that he hadn’t even considered.

Now, back to that day I was having intense revelation from the Holy Spirit concerning shame…

As the Holy Spirit was connecting the dots of how shame had influenced my thoughts, responses, and words, He also showed me that my belief, that I was no good, had affected me physically. I had been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, about ten years before. When I was first diagnosed I received the diagnosis, took the necessary medication, but believed that some day I would seek God’s healing.

That day as shame was exposed…the Holy Spirit brought revelation concerning my thyroid condition…

It began to be so clear…

Because I believed I was no good, I attacked myself with thoughts, with actions, and with words that were destructive. They brought damage to myself, emotionally and physically.

The Mayo Clinic defines Hashimoto’s disease…

“Hashimoto’s disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple.”

Though there was nothing wrong with my thyroid, it was in fact, good, my immune system believed my thyroid was bad, and therefore brought it under attack.

Sound familiar?

I was overwhelmed with all the Lord was showing me. I remember weeping as I tried to process all I had heard Him say to me that day. The power of His love and truth were washing over me, filling me with a newness I never experienced.

I was good!!! I really was good!!

Not because of anything I had done, but because of what Jesus had done for me!!

My cloak of shame was gone!

I was clothed in Christ’s robe of righteousness!

I am thankful it was so intense because there is an enemy that doesn’t want me to be free from fear and and from the prison of self. Not only that, I live in my flesh that has believed I was no good for all my life. My flesh has developed habits from that lie. Old familiar thoughts…Old familiar self-talk…Though the lie was confessed,  my shame undone, the old fears are familiar and can taunt my mind.

I am learning to recognize when insecurity begins to rise up within me. What am I looking at that is stirring it up? Am I comparing? Am I jealous? Am I focusing on self? What does my self-talk sound like? If these are happening, if I’m going back into that prison of self, I remember what God showed me that day…

I am good, because through Jesus, God has made me good!!

“Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose us to be His very own through what Christ would do for us; He decided then to make us holy in His eyes, without a single fault – we who stand before Him covered with his love.” Ephesians 1:4

It’s not positive thinking, it is the truth of God!

It is wielding the sword of the Spirit!

When God’s word is spoken into a situation it is as a sword that fights off the lie of the enemy.

At the word of God, the enemy must flee!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” Hebrews 12:1-2

Faith fights fear!

Though I have been instantly healed from some things, Hashimoto’s disease has been a process. A process that has been teaching me how to fight fear with faith. As I have walked this journey my faith has been tested many times and each time I have been made aware of the lie, the fear, that has tested it. I am learning how to fight fear with faith and to believe for what I do not yet see.

God isn’t just concerned about the end product, but what you learn along the journey. With each life situation you have the option to respond in either the…

Fear of God…believe the truth…live in the spirit of power, love, and self discipline…receive the good God intends for you.

Or in the…

Fear of Satan…believe his lies…live in the spirit of fear…receive the harm Satan means for you.

Fear is a magnet, what are you attracting?

What’s the source of your understanding?

When Joseph was in prison God gave him an opportunity to know something he didn’t know in order to help others. The dreams two prisoners had caused them to become sorrowful because they didn’t know the meanings. Joseph told them that interpreting dreams was something only God could do. And so, because he knew God, he was confident that God would give him the interpretation to tell them. Joseph’s relationship with God enabled him to know something he didn’t know. He passed this understanding on to the two prisoners, and this understanding from God ultimately raised him out of his prison..

Today, we who have a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus, also have the ability to know things that we don’t know through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples…

“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” John 14:26,17

Besides exposing my shame and unraveling the lie I believed, that I was no good, the Holy Spirit gave me more understanding of shame and how it stole from my life during a very dark season.

To put some things into perspective I need to go back to where I came from. I grew up in a rural farming town in Pennsylvania. We were members of a small Mennonite Church which stayed separate from much of the culture around us. Our separateness came from convictions based on scripture that we followed as part of our obedience to God and as a demonstration of our faith in God. Such as the conviction I spoke up about not listening to “rock” music. The heart of those convictions were godly, intended to be the outflow of a heart that loved God and desired to please Him. Many of them were concerned with the outward appearance and along with the word curse I heard spoken a lot in our home, “What will people think?” it was a perfect set up for the enemy to take those “rules” and twist them and use them for my harm.

So moving along, this young, Mennonite girl married and moved to Bergen County, New Jersey. Needless to say, there are no Mennonite Churches in Bergen County, no farms, no cows…

I was excited, but clueless!

The country was still in me. The convictions were still in me. And so were the lies…”Don’t speak up for your convictions or you won’t fit in.” Oh, and don’t forget what you have heard, “What will people think?” But, I was no longer in my sheltered little community.

That culture change stirred up an insecurity within me. All of a sudden the convictions and rules I had grown up with were no longer adhered to by those around me. My convictions were still in me, but those around me didn’t live by them. Who was I? How did I fit in?

Insecurity seeks a way to fit in…

I had lost some weight and I received many compliments. These compliments fell on a very insecure and vulnerable heart. Those compliments proved I fit in, that others thought I was good! It was those compliments the enemy meant for my harm. Those compliments were seed for an eating disorder and a downward spiral to much more devastation in my life.

Fear keeps the soul striving…

Being thin got me accepted! Being thin was good! That became my truth; this is good, fat is bad. Thin was the way to appear good, if I was fat others would see that I was really no good.

Shame fears exposure, Shame hides in the dark. Shame does all it can to remain a secret.

From the outside I was living a normal, happy, life. Mark and I had a great marriage. We regularly attended church and I attended a woman’s Bible study each week. Our family was growing, God blessed us with three wonderful sons. Mark was in business with his father, we owned our house, I was able to be home to raise the boys…

I had everything I ever dreamed of…and more,

But, the enemy comes to steal, kill, and to destroy…

So, now I was “The thinnest woman in church.” But now what?

There is no satisfying shame; it’s insatiable. 

It was like an addiction… I needed others to constantly approve of me. 

It was that need of approval that led me down an even darker path. The fear of not fitting in became so strong I completely compromised my convictions. The fear of what others would think of me caused me to conform to what others wanted of me.

Those were the things the Holy Spirit was showing me and I wept as He brought clarity to so much of what happened during that dark season. Though it was a long time ago, and I had already confessed and repented of my sin, I was amazed how clear I could see the ways shame had affected me. With the understanding of how shame worked, how it was connected to the lies I believed, brought an insight that I am so thankful for. Not that I now had an excuse, or I could say that the enemy made me do it.

But seeing the power of the fear from the lies of Satan.

Realizing the deception and secrecy of shame.

Becoming aware of how the strategies of the enemy are meant for my harm, to steal, kill, and to destroy me,brought an understanding that I never had before. 

Understanding based on the loving truth of God is powerful…

If you find yourself in a prison of self please be encouraged that God has something you need to know. He has an understanding that He wants to tell you. Get alone with God, completely alone, with no interruptions, and ask the Holy Spirit to speak. And then listen. And you will be amazed!

God is for you and He has a destiny for you to fulfill.

The prison of self is meant for your harm. It is meant to be a  place where your hopes and dreams are stolen, killed, and destroyed. But God intends good for you and He has understanding He wants to give you so that He can raise you up out of your prison of self and carry out the hopes, dreams, and destiny He has placed within you!

 

 

 

My Shame is Undone!

 

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Yes, the day I asked God why my heart hurt so much when I became offended by a ministry decision, He showed me what was at the root.

And what He showed me changed me forever!

Desperate to hear what God wanted to teach me from this offense my eyes fell on a book from the ministry of Ancient Paths. The Lord led me to a page about shame. As I read the ways shame shows itself in a person’s life my eyes were opened to so much I needed to see.

I found myself checking off many of the evidences of shame I saw working in my own life…

“Fear of emotion” yes, that was definitely true about me. I asked the Lord, “Where did my fear of emotion come from?” I knew growing up my family never shared our feelings or showed our emotions. I realized that expressing feelings and emotions exposed who I really was deep inside. Then I began to see that I had a fear of exposing myself to others. The Lord reminded me that my parents often spoke these words in our home, “What will people think?” This “word curse,” as I have called it, kept me fearful of being seen as anything but good to others. Feelings and emotions require vulnerability, honesty, authenticity. To share my feelings and emotions opened me up to the judgment of others. What would others think of me if I admitted “that feeling”? What would they think of me if I expressed “that emotion”? Because I needed others to only see me as good I wouldn’t risk sharing my feelings, I wouldn’t risk expressing my emotions. I held them in and didn’t allow myself to feel, to express myself. I would stick with facts, superficial things that I knew well so others would only think good of me.

“Inability to be seen in public unless one’s physical appearance is perfect.” Yup, this one got my attention too. Though I had gotten less obsessed, this was often a huge concern of mine. Again, “What will people think?” if I’m less than perfect. If I wasn’t well put together I wouldn’t appear as good. I always felt vulnerable to the judgment of others, fearful they would see me in a negative way, as bad, wrong.

“Fear of trying new things.” This one received a check mark as well. “What if I don’t do well?” “What if I make a mistake?” “What if I fail?” “What will people think of me?” It was amazing how the Holy Spirit was connecting the dots and bringing revelation! I began to realize that this word curse had affected my entire life. Yes, this was the root fear of why I wouldn’t try new things. It was safe to just stick with the things I could do well. Why risk something that I may not do well? Why put myself in a position that others would see what I already knew about myself, that I wasn’t good, that I was incapable, that I was a failure.

“Jealousy and comparison”  Oh my goodness, this one I was well aware of and I had been asking God to set me free from these for so long. My prayers were finally answered as God opened my eyes to understand what the root was. It was all coming together, the Holy Spirit showed me that shame was at the root of my insecurity, and insecurity was what kept me striving to prove my value, my worth. Because I believed I was no good, I needed to prove to others that I was good. The typical scenario went like this…I would get dressed in the morning and feel pretty good about myself. My outfit looked good, my hair was properly fluffed. (Yes, I love big hair!) I left the house feeling good and confident. The confidence continued as I walked into church on Sunday morning, into the mall, or anywhere there were other women. But as I began to check out other women, their outfits, their hair, their body types…insecurity began to set in. All of a sudden my outfit wasn’t right for the occasion. My hair wasn’t fluffed as well as it should be. My figure didn’t measure up…before I knew it I felt wrong, bad, ugly! How did I go from feeling so good about myself that morning to feeling so bad about myself?

It had a name, it was called, Shame!

Shame was the root, deep down inside I believed I was no good. No matter how good I looked, how stylish the outfit, how amazing the hair, how thin the body…no matter how I measured up to those around me, it was what I believed about myself that kept me insecure, striving, and in a prison of self. And quite frankly it was very stressful and tiring!!!

But now, it had a name!

Now I could finally see the lie that held me captive in a prison of self!

My shame was exposed!

I knew what I needed to do, and I was so ready!

I confessed my sin of believing the lie that “I was no good.”

I asked God to forgive me for all the jealousy, comparing, and striving I had done to prove that I was good, to prove my worth.

I asked God to forgive me for allowing the word curse, “What will people think?” to keep me in fear of man, for making people as idols, looking to them to determine my value.

Jesus took off my cloak of shame and He wrapped me in His Robe of Righteousness!

In her song, “Holy Spirit,” Kari Jobe, says that it is in God’s presence “Where my heart becomes free, and my shame is undone.”

This is the very thing that happened to me that day I became desperate for the Lord to show me about the hurt in my heart. It is in the presence of the Lord where lies and deception, those strategies of the enemy meant for harm, are exposed by the light of God’s truth.

When the Holy Spirit reveals your sin, it is without shame. It is without condemnation. It comes with pure love meant to draw you to repentance.

It is His lovingkindness that enables you to confess your sin, to let go of your shame, and to be set free from your prison of self!

It is by the shed blood of Jesus you are forgiven, you are cleansed, and your cloak of shame is exchanged for Christ’s Robe of Righteousness!my-shame-is-undone