Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts

Friday, September 9, 2016

Why are God's People Afraid to be Real?

In the past I thought being a good Christian meant wearing a mask. Projecting an image of happiness and wholeness to all those around me. I thought the mask would help others to see Jesus through me. It would keep my brokenness from becoming a distraction to others. I would wear this mask that I created and when the mask would slip, I would become overcome with guilt for failing as a Christian.

Through the last several years, I have found that sometimes people can see God most shining through the cracks of my brokenness. I was doing God no favors by being artificial. God wanted to use my brokenness. He wanted to heal my brokenness. He wanted to love me in my brokenness.

As a society we have things that are stigmatized. Things that go unspoken for fear of rejection and judgement. Sadly, this is not much more different in our Christian walk.There are some subjects that are uncomfortable and can make us feel vulnerable.

Top Three Things Christians Hide: (Some of these overlap)

1. Mental Illness- Depression, Anxiety, Postpartum, Bipolar, PTSD, Schizophrenia, ect.

As I struggle with depression I find times when I feel the need to fake a smile, even when I am feeling shattered. Sometimes it is to hide my struggle. Sometimes it is to not make someone else uncomfortable. Also, sometimes it is because it makes me feel like I can just make it through. I am one of those personalities where if I am on the verge of crying and a friend tries to comfort me through kind words or through even just a touch, I fall apart and have a hard time gaining composure again.

In our society, mental illnesses are seen as weakness. They are often misunderstood. As Christians we are one body. So why can't we be vulnerable with our brothers and sisters in Christ? How is our pride getting in the way of allowing us to seek support and prayer? Are our expectations of others and attitudes keeping others from reaching out to us?

2. Addictions- Drugs, Alcohol, Food, Pornography, ect.

As I struggle with overeating I feel a deep sense of shame and guilt. I will have a nagging thought that seems to get louder and louder as I entertain it. I seek it for comfort. It makes me feel better, but the feeling is so short lived and I end up feeling defeated and worse than before. It is an idol that I have given myself to and that I felt could take away the pain. Food is not the only addiction I have had in my life, but at this time it is the one that I struggle with day by day, hour by hour, sometimes moment by moment.

If so many with addictions find help with support groups, how many more Christians could if we could be open about our struggles? If we could listen, support, and pray for them? Unfortunately, judgmental attitudes get in the way of showing love to each other. Imagine a brother or sister in Christ came to you and said, "Please pray for me. I am addicted to pain pills." How easy would it be to judge that person? It can be so easy to compare ourselves to others, when really we should be comparing ourselves to Jesus.

3. Sexual Immorality- Lust, Adultery, Pornography, ect.

A little over ten years ago, I had an emotional affair that turned into physical affair. It had started as a friendship. Someone who I felt understood me and who made me feel better about myself, when at the time I felt I was in a loveless marriage. I quickly became emotionally attached to the person. My heart would start racing when I saw their number on the caller id. I would find reasons to go and talk. After having a fight with my husband, I went to my friend for comfort. The emotional affair became physical and I had committed adultery. I was so attached to this person that I was willing to break apart my family. My life quickly fell apart. It was soon after that I allowed Jesus to be the Lord of my life.Thankfully, God has worked so many miracles in my life and has brought healing and restoration into my marriage.

In the church sex and sexual immorality is often a topic that is brushed aside. We feel uncomfortable talking about it and it has become faux pas. So many families are or have been impacted by sexual sins. It seems almost like we believe if we ignore it, it will go away. Sexual sins are embarrassing, but they wont just go away. Jesus was a great example with the Samaritan woman at the well. 

John 4:15-19 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
John 4:39-41 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”  So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.  And because of his words many more became believers.

Why should we get real?

*Not only are mental illnesses, addictions, and sexual immorality similar in the way they are stigmatized, they are all very isolating struggles. They lead to others withdrawing and trying to handle it on their own. If we as a body can start communicating about them, it will remove some of the power of them. We can then lift each other up and encourage each other. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

*We are a light, even in our brokenness. The world is filled with fallen broken people. If we can be real with others, they can see that God loves us in our brokenness. We are unable to do good on our own, but God still uses us to bring Him glory. How cool to have a God that can use the very things that we struggle with, to help others. 

1 Timothy 1:15-17 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Brothers and Sisters, 
If you are struggling and you feel all alone, you are not! It may feel like the world is caving in on you and like you are just trying to survive. Even then, God is still there. He loves you so much and you are precious to Him. Please reach out to a friend, family member, a doctor, or a pastor. We are stronger with others at our side. Please let me know if there is any way I can pray for you! 
God Bless, 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Control... And My Lack Of...

As a woman I think one of the most difficult things to deal with is not a particular situation, but rather the lack of control in a situation. There is a small comfort in having control over things in my life. There is a false sense of stability. 

Things I like to have control over: My children, my household, my finances, my friendships, my vehicle, and my spouse. I have this irrational fear. I fear that once I lose control of one thing, everything else will fall apart. I often wonder if God allows certain things to happen in order to show me that He is in control. 

This may seem a little off subject but hang in with me and you will quickly see where I am going with this. 

I opened up the church bulletin and a disappointment set in. I saw that the sermon was focused on a woman's responsibilities in marriage. It may sound bad but to be honest, I didn't want to be convicted. I didn't want for anyone, including God to correct what I am currently doing as a spouse. What sounds even worse is that last week I was thrilled that my pastor was talking to the men about their responsibilities in marriage. You see, sometimes I even want to control who in my family is convicted and needs to change. God immediately began to work on my heart. I had a superior attitude that is the complete opposite of what God expects of me. Though I had heard the scriptures and had even studied them before God was working on me and teaching me something new. 

Before I begin to divulge, to you, what God taught me, I want to start by thanking my pastor, Pastor Stoney Shaw. He was so brave to stand up and speak the Word without holding back in fear of how some may react. Our culture has taught us that we don't need any man to tell us what to do or controlling us. I have been in many churches where either the subject of a wives duties is either shuffled under the rug or is taught by a fellow woman. I was so impressed that he stood at the pulpit and spoke the words. I also am so thankful that he offered me his sermon notes after I had told him how much I enjoyed the sermon and that I would be blogging on it. A pastors notes are very important and can be personal, so it was very kind of him to share them so that I can share more information with you, my close friends. 

Blue Highlighted words are directly from his outline... other writing is my take or opinion on it. 

Godly wives have many roles to fill as well. - This states "Godly wives" not all women. This is speaking to Christian women who are striving to become godly. It can not be expected of single females, non christians, or anyone who has not made the choice to be this way. 

1. A wife is to be a Helper and Companion to her husband. (Gen. 2:18-25; 1 Cor. 11:7-9). 
The pastor discussed how it was man's need for Eve. He was incomplete with out her. He needed a helper and companion and an equal. He said that it doesn't point to Eve's insufficiency but rather to Adam's inadequacy with out her. I found this idea interesting. I had never thought of it as woman being God's answer to mans needs. I know that if my hubby would be able to verbalize his need of me that I would feel of great worth. 

2. A wife is to Submit to her Husband's Authority. (Eph. 5:22,23; Col 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:1-6). 
A woman's subordinate role did not result after the Fall as a cultural, chauvinistic, corruption of God's perfect design; rather, God established her role as part of his original create (1 Tim. 2:13-14). Adam had violated his leadership told, followed Eve in her sin, and plunged the human race into sinfulness- all connected with violating God's planned roles for the sexes. (In submission we are not to do anything illegal or against God's will.) I had always assumed that a woman's role to submit to her husband was part of the punishment for the fall. How differently would I act if I had known that it is part of God's original plan for me? Do I rebel more against it when I feel it is forced. The pastor was explaining how submission is not a forced thing, but it is to be voluntary. It is a choice one makes in order to honor her husband and God. It can also be very difficult to let my husband lead. As my pastor said, we get tired of waiting for men to lead or we don't think they will do it right so we do it ourselves. I have been trying to work on this. I have to remind myself that it is more important for me to let him lead, in the long run, than it is to have something done the way I want it to be done. I have to let go of the control and let him be in control, knowing that God is ultimately in control. It can be scary to submit to someone who doesn't seem to be walking as closely to the Lord as you would want... but that is where faith comes in. In submitting to the husband and to God you are protected. God will bless and care for you. God will also be able to speak to your husband and encourage growth. 

3. A wife is to adorn herself with the inner beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit and with good works. (1 Pet. 3:4, 5; 1 Tim. 2:9, 10). 
A woman should work on her "countenance" so as to draw men's eyes to her face, her countenance! A woman's countenance is her face. We are to pull a man's eyes to our faces and not onto our bodies. It is important the we don't cause other men to stumble and sin. We are to dress modestly. We should not cause them to lust. I was also wondering if working on countenance would be considered smiling, because I don't think he meant to wear makeup. I noticed that people look at your face more when you are joyful. When you smile and have a light that shines outwardly.  
"Gentle is actually "meek and humble" and "quiet" describes the character of her action and reaction to her husband and life in general. This one hurt... I am in no way quiet in general.. but I think I am more controlled in having a gentle and quiet spirit with others. I find it easier to control my reactions to other things. Unfortunately, when it comes to my husband I do not show him the same kind of love and reaction. I often get easily offended. I feel that I have to prove myself right. 

4. A wife is to strive to be an Excellent wife through industry and integrity in the fear of the Lord (Prov. 31:10-31).  This reminds me of the verse that says we are to do all things to the glory of the Lord. If I took that attitude of doing things to bless my family, to honor God, and out of obedience maybe I wouldn't act like such a martyr for doing what is my responsibility in the first place. 

5. A wife is to see the Satisfaction of her husband Sexually(1 Cor. 7:2-5). 
We need to communicate with our spouse. We need to openly ask and tell them about the needs. As the pastor mentioned, there is so much lustful and immoral things in society. Sex is all around and yet we can't talk about it with our spouse, the one person we are supposed to talk to about it. 

Though I had learned so much from the sermon, the biggest thing God taught me wasn't part of the sermon and yet it was. God was speaking to my heart. He was telling me that I am not supposed to change my spouse. I am only supposed to focus on changing myself. Even though it is hard to give up the control... the changes, any changes, in my husbands heart is between him and God. I need to trust that God and give Him control, because the fact is I only have the amount of control that He allows me. He can take away all of my control in a moment. I don't need my safety blanket of control when I have God. 

Colossians 3:18 "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord."