Genesis 3:9-13 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
I often think of my childhood and things that I wish would have been different. I grew up in a very abusive home; physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by a father who was a Marine and strong disciplinarian and verbally and emotionally abused by my mother who was bipolar and manically depressed. Our home life was very chaotic and I can still recall most of the kinetic stress that my body stored from the many events. One of my greatest strengths and weaknesses is that I am able to adapt very quickly to most situations due to my survival skills from an early age. I often felt unlovable and unworthy of any respect. My first memory was washing out my own cloth diaper in the toilet. I can still recall the feeling of shame, emptiness, and the stinch of the toilet.
I recognized that God was inviting me into a relationship at the age of fourteen and I did not hesitate to respond. I said yes. However, my most dangerous weakness kicked in immediately following and I began to attempt to assess God and how He would fit into my plan. I was the most dangerous type of believer in a negative way. I learned Scripture and the right things to say. I could spout theology and the plan of salvation all along living a chaotic, manipulating, lying life that was void of any depth in my relationship with Christ. I used God as my excuse instead of my source. I would scoop up all the accolades and compliments that came my way, refusing him His glory for using me. I replayed the role of Satan before he was cast down. I boasted in my abilities and talents and stood between a Holy God and praise that was due only him.
I would just as soon lie if I thought I could get away with it. I would exaggerate about something I had done, tell less than the whole truth to make me look better, and simply lie with a made up story that would make me out to be the hero or inspirational. One example; I would tell this story. I used to climb on top of our trailer when I was a kid. My father warned me the first time he caught me not to do it that it was dangerous and I could get hurt. I would tell the story that my father caught me the second time and ordered me to come back to where I climbed onto the roof using the window air conditioner we had except he was standing there wanting me to jump in his arms. When he caught me he said, “and this is how God is, when we do wrong, he is there to correct us and catch us.” That was and is to this day a lie. The story is true but the ending is not. I took a beating for what I did. I WANTED the ending to be different so I told it the way I wanted it to end. I have wasted so much time and energy in my life doing mental gymnastics on how I wanted things to happen or on things that never happened. I have built a cocoon where I am the prisoner enslaved to my own agenda of the world according to what I think it should be for my benefit.
I am learning through my current storm that my fear has been a learned repeated behavior that has built a stronghold in my life. I have said yes to how I feel or how I wanted to feel about relationships, life, and God’s calling on my life to determine what I would do. This was and is foolishness to the highest degree. In the serenity prayer, “trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will” was and is the deepest struggle for me. I am still in my current storm but God invites me in every thought, motive, and action to say yes to the truth of His word instead of my feelings or how I want to feel. I remember the first time I truly spoke my heart to God in this storm. I was laying face down in the carpet. I called him cruel. I told him that I felt like road kill on the side of the road that people passed by with no regard for my pain, my obvious wounds, my humiliation, and my lowly state. When I finished praying, I felt no better but I know that God is good. I often wake up now and confess sin out loud that He helps me recall. With God’s help through the power of his word and an authentic group of people in Tray, Tal, Greg, JT & Sheryl, Steve & Paula, Kelly, People of the Second Chance and my step study brothers I am battling moment by moment to say yes to God and no to my pattern of lies. God is actively redeeming me. He is walking with me each step as I revisit the ugliness of many things I went through in my life. He not only wants my yes for his will in my life but He wants my yes in acknowledging every lie, manipulation, and wayward act of a disobedient heart. I have no preconceived notion for how God will use me but I am saying yes today.
The old game of hide and seek is the vivid picture for me. God invites me in each moment to come out, come out, wherever you are. He wants me to hide under his wing. He wants me to stop trying to impress others with my perseverance and endurance through the struggles of childhood abuse, parents divorce, girl I dated being killed in a wreck, death of a best friend as a child, my manipulation, my own divorce, my agenda, and my lies. I am weak. I have nothing apart from Christ. Through this storm I have lost my car, my job, and some friends but there is this deep drumbeat that resonates my soul…. “come out, come out, wherever you are.”
Secret sin will come out at the most inopportune time in the most uncomfortable way. I do not get to control the consequences of my sin but I can control where I place my faith. God is good. His mercy is everlasting. Lamentations 3:22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. I hurt and this process of undoing is painful yet beautiful. God is not disciplining me to get me back out of revenge but to win me back through his love. I am saying yes.
What sin do you feel paralyzed in? Have you bought into the lie that you have to figure it out or make it right on your own? Do you have someone you can bear your deepest hurts and pain with? There are authentic people that are trustworthy and willing to walk with you, those who have not forgotten their own scares and grace redemption from a loving and pursuant God.
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