"If only I could lose 5 pounds someone will love me."
"If I could just make $10,000 more a year I could get out of debt."
"Once I get married this addiction will go away."
These are all things I've told myself. These are all lies. Lies from "The Deceiver" himself. He tells us these types of things so that we'll constantly try harder, often in vain & ignore the root of the issue... grace. Or rather the lack thereof.
For those who haven't heard of People of the Second Chance, check it out. Seriously. The concept is so foreign to us as humans, even often as Christians, but the movement is so necessary, so radical. "Overthrow Judgement, Liberate Love." Extend grace to anyone and everyone no matter what their behavior, no matter what their past. It's what Jesus was & is all about.
These recovery groups, Mariners Church & People of the Second Chance are about looking at the heart of the matter. Everyone is broken, that's no secret. But how much of our brokenness is rooted in something unknown or unseen? How many of us have zero clue as to why we act out the way that we do? I'd bet quite a few! So we commit, as a community to love each other unconditionally & to encourage each other on a path to healing & restoration, no matter what the struggle. Awesome, right?!
There's one problem...
During the preparation for this launch & through consistent prayer about my involvement, I've learned a lot about grace and have had the opportunity to reflect on God's expressions of grace in my life. I've experienced it in so many ways & so many times. I still can't believe it. Despite my authentic experience of grace there's one thing that keeps holding me back.
The one thing I'm currently struggling with is extending grace to myself.
Day in and day out I berate myself for my mistakes. I constantly second guess my actions, my desires, my intentions. I compare myself (my looks, my personality, my achievements) to standards I can't possibly live up to. Completely unrealistic expectations that I try to hold myself to are constantly lacking in follow-through or victory. I criticize myself, I get angry at myself, and worst of all I believe the lies that satan and others tell me.
I've believed these lies for a LONG, LONG time and it's a difficult habit to break. It's a battle I tell you. But lately God has been fighting back. He's been exposing those lies for what they really are and has been using some amazing people to speak truth, grace, & beauty into my life. God is clearly telling me to knock it off with the nasty self-talk, the criticism, the thievery. How am I supposed to selflessly love others if I cannot love myself? How I am I to extend grace to others when I refuse to offer it to myself?
He's telling me to fight back too. This week I've committed to finding Biblical & spiritual truths that directly combat the most common lies satan stealthily whispers to me. I haven't delved into that project yet, because I suspect it's going to be an emotional one, but I'm ready for it. I'm excited for it!
Tonight is going be to blow me away. I can feel it. I believe God is going to obliterate the lies that I hear and truly allow me to start loving myself. I'm insanely excited to see how he's going to show up tonight in my heart & in the heart of everyone who attends. Hallelujah!
(Word, Teddy. Word.)