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The post in which I puke all over you. So read only if you are bored and out of your mind

 

 

So I’m writing this post for me. Because this is my blog and sometimes I need to process and struggle through a thing and this is the best way for me to do that. There are no pinnable images, no tips, no nothing. Just me, and raw and wordy at that.

Last fall I wrote a post about putting down the gun. It was a post about dealing with the sin of self protection in my life.

Well.

The Lord and I have traversed a few miles since then. In addressing self-protection, He pinpointed something in my heart even deeper and more sinister… shame.

Self-protection is a telltale sign of shame and it all makes total sense now, everything does, but it has taken me a lifetime to put a stinkin name on the closest friend I’ve had my entire life: SHAME.

I am typing this in tears because shame has exacted a very, very high price from my relationships. It has sabatoged my ministry. It has stolen my voice. It has used me and laughed on its way out.

So as I’ve walked this past few months with the Lord, my writing here on the blog has changed. It’s not what I want, not where I want to stay… but it’s been where I need to be for now.

I’ve shared part of my healing process in this first ever eCourse that I have been so blessed to go through with about 30 others over the past 4 weeks. But this is only the beginning and there is so, so much more.

This morning I woke up and I realized, for the first time in my life, that God loves me unconditionally and He knows every failure, fault, deep sin about me… even my idolatry… and it is not my problem anymore. He is my Savior, He is my Shepherd and He completely has it covered, and always will. He loves me unconditionally, holds no condemnation over me, and is absolutely enabling me to deal with the deep sin issues of the heart and set me free.

Sure, I’ve known and believed all those things before, but I was still trying, in some small unexplainable way, to be my own savior and shepherd my own soul. Today was the first time I felt the truth of the truth. If that makes sense. I woke up sensing God was waiting for me to get up, eagerly waiting, which isn’t out of the ordinary. But today, instead of being weighed down by all the unspoken reasons why I am unworthy and dirty and coming to Him as one stained and wrinkled, I KNEW that I could just. be. myself. and stop trying and stop worrying. 

This week in our eCourse group we are talking about what it means to be “in Christ” and that when we are in Christ, we have been given certain RIGHTS. Not because we are worthy or have earned them, not because God thinks we are awesome with a capital A, but because it comes with the position we’ve been placed into. God has placed us in Christ. I have never understood that prior to the last few months. My eyes have been enlightened.

And I’m holding to that truth like a lifeline.

In fact, it is changing my life.

Each morning, I meet myself in the mirror and say: “You are in Christ. Not only that, but BY GOD’S DOING, you are in Christ. (I Cor 1:30) That means that you have been given the right to be called the child of God, and if a child, then also an heir. You are forever at peace with God. You are a new creation. You are under no condemnation.” I say other things too that the Lord brings to mind, they vary each morning.

And here is another part of this journey: When you are wrapped up in shame, you feel this inner need to prove yourself, to make yourself worthy, to somehow convince yourself you are good enough. And it can become this love idol that sucks the life out of everything. I’ve made progress in dealing with many of those lies. But there is something more that I am doing business with God on TONIGHT… and that is tearing down the altar. Getting rid of the root.

You see, the Lord reminded me today of Judges 6. Judges 6 and I go way back. Years ago, on a beach resort in Thailand, the Lord showed me that in order for Gideon to defeat the enemy, he had to destroy the idols first. Before the victory in Judges 7, Gideon had to do business with his father’s altar in 6:25.

 

“That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.” Judges 6:25-26

 

Years ago, the Lord showed me that lies are the foundation for idolatry. We trust in a lie and it becomes a stronghold for an idol. And every idol has an altar, a place of sacrifice. This is where the idol gets served and fed and worshiped. This is where we, in every day living, make sacrifices to the lies we believe.

So God says, “Tear down the altar and cut down the Asherah pole.” Get rid of the lie, the idol, and the associated {worship} behaviors the idol demands.

In my case, get rid of shame and it’s associated behaviors of self protection and the need to be good and prove myself worthy.

Wow, that’s huge.

And for the first time ever, I know that because I am in Christ, I can do it. I CAN. It’s not just positive self talk. I know that because of what Christ has done for me, because of His gift of grace, because He has completely dealt with my sin and I can be utterly honest before God, I can also tear down and destroy that which has been part of my life ever since I could make memories. {That’s a long time!}

The cool thing is that God says to build an altar to the Lord on the very spot where the stronghold once was. Don’t you love that? The idolatrous is replaced by the glorious and in that very place there is a testimony of God’s grace.

I guess it all boils down to this: I’m starting over.

I’m coming to a real place of intimacy with God where I can actually say Goodbye to shame. Goodbye to what others think of me. Goodbye to fitting in. Goodbye to conformity, goodbye to running away. Goodbye to being silent, goodbye to speaking to impress. Goodbye to the caring too much, the anxiety, the wasted hours worrying, the self-protection, the running around standing on my head trying to get noticed and the hiding in the corner when I am.

Together with God, I’m tearing down idols and altars and asherah poles and in this place, I’m rebuilding an altar to the Lord. Boy howdy, this is gonna be good.

 

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Comments

  1. Praising God with you!!! :)

    This has been such a hard season of life for me…learning much like you here, in a pressure cooker sort of way.

    I am truly rejoicing with you right now. Thank you for all of your encouragement through your blog and to me personally! You are a treasure!!

    • Lindsay! So glad to hear from you! I’d love an update on how you guys are doing over there. Now you’ve got me wondering about you! Email me when you get a chance!

  2. AJ, my sweet friend. This must have been a post long in coming and hard to write. You are boldly sharing what most of us would have such difficulty ever speaking…much less proclaiming online. This vulnerability will be used to help so many more (including me) recognize the idols in our hearts so that we can cast them down and fully experience our position in Christ. This is beautiful and precious in His sight…just like you are.

    • Kerry, I so appreciate your encouragement. This is one of those posts that I sort of hoped no one would read :) Thankful for your support and friendship. P.S. I just emailed you :)

  3. Oh, sister – I need to email you. This exact point has come alive and for REAL in my life as well, over the past few months. The tears I’ve shed, the fear I’ve felt, the shame I’ve known – yet realizing it’s NOT my issue. It’s God’s and He will work it out. Sometimes I think we run (fight or flight) when really God wants us to stand still and watch as He works around us in only ways that He can. I think we forget about the army of the Lord that protects us (II Kings 6:17).
    Tell your story. Tell your GOD story. Who cares if you puke it all out – there are people in this world who need YOUR story. God redeems the things that happen to us in great and mighty ways. I am praying for you, with you, around the world, heart-to-heart. May God bless you on your own journey, but also as you minister in Jesus’ name. I will email you in the next few days!!

  4. Thank you so much for this, Arabah. I feel like you and I are walking the same path right now. I, too, am learning and understanding these things for the first time ever. I’ve grown up “knowing” all this, but at 36, I’m finally starting to GRASP it and live by it. It was a little over a year ago that God sent this lightning bolt of truth straight to my heart that my shame was paid for. HE bore the shame for me–to live in it was to throw His gift back into His face. That moment of clarity was the start of the journey for me. It’s been profound and the changes aren’t over yet. I thank you for your honesty and transparency–it’s been a confirming voice in my heart as I think on something that God is telling me and then come and see the exact message on your blog, as if I could’ve written it myself. Does that make sense? I pray God’s blessings on you as you continue to journey through these life-changing truths. IN CHRIST–amazing!

    • Praise the Lord, Summer!! I love how the Lord leads us down certain paths and then brings others into our lives who are walking the same road. What a blessing! It is wonderful that the Lord gave you a lightening bolt moment… for me, it’s been more of a step by step illumination. Either way, the Lord truly does deliver us from these strongholds. Thank you so much for commenting!

  5. I am with you. Please keep up the encouragement!!

  6. Janet, thank you for the encouraging word, especially after that wordy post of mine~grin. I think many of us sisters share this same struggle and I’m thankful the Lord gives us each other. Thankful for you!

  7. Praise God for the work He is doing in you. I relate so much with this post–the self-protection and shame are huge things in my life. It feels like a never ending battle right now. Love that you share your heart!

  8. I just want to encourage you! I, too, had a similar experience about 4 months ago. Like you, I have grown up “knowing” these things, but I think I only knew them in my head and not my heart. See it is the heart that controls life (prov 4:23). In a very Job moment when I was crying out to God about what I thought I deserved, I realize that I had made myself savior. Oh I claimed Jesus with my mouth, but the function of my life said otherwise. After repentance of my idol, The Lord showed me Hebrews 12:1-2 again, verses I was very familiar with. What I saw differently this time is that Jesus is not only the founder/author of our faith, but he ALSO the perfecter of it. I think many of us claim Jesus as the author of faith, but then say, “I can take it from here, Jesus” in our hears and try to carry out our own sanctification. But the truth is that Jesus is the justifier AND the sanctifier! So he gets all the glory! And that is why we must keep our eyes on Jesus and the beauty and completeness of what he has done.

  9. I love the deep, holy work that the Lord is doing in your heart, Arabah! And the beautiful courage you have to face it head on. I praise Him for you and for the process of completing the good work that He has begun in your precious life! xxx

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